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The Benefits of Competition

posted Apr 10, 2012, 4:52 AM by Chelsea Nordiq   [ updated Apr 10, 2012, 4:53 AM ]

Competition is a fact of life! In the hands of the right people, with the right attitudes (another reason to have a certified coach), competition can be a positive, fun and character-building experience. It provides one of the best opportunities for children to come in contact with rules and social values. It defines the need to get along well with others and be accepted as part of a team. It plays a prime role in promoting values such as tolerance, fairness and responsibility. In cross country skiing the skiers that you race with are often your friends pushing each other to be better, faster stronger.

Many people comment about competition stress and that they are concerned about this for their child. There is stress in competition, I do not deny this and handled improperly it can have a negative impact. With careful training we have an opportunity to teach our athletes how do deal with stress in a balanced manor as stress is a fact of life. Imagine an accountant at tax time, a doctor or dentist having to make a difficult surgury, a teacher that has to teach math to a difficult class, there is alot of stress in each of these situations. We all live with stress in our lives, some of us deal with it better than others.

There are two types of stress ustress and distress. Ustress is positive, it is a positive motivator that allows us and our bodies to get things done. Distress is negative and can cause lots of grief and illness in people. There is a lot of distress in Candian culture because people do not know how to center, be balanced and enjoy the work and the business of their lives. In racing we have the opportunity to teach athletes how to see the stress of competition as ustress something that motivates rather than so thing that debilitates.

Below is a list of other benifits of competition.

Competitive sports help participants to:
• Learn to work as part of a team
• Learn to manage success and disappointment
• Learn patience and perseverance, particularly when pursuing goals
• Learn responsibility and time management: by balancing training and other activities; and by managing race day activities
• Learn to manage stress
• Learn to interact and relate with a variety of other people in a variety of situations: team mates on trips; officials at competitions; coaches; other competitors…..
• Learn to set and achieve goals and perform long term planning
• Learn respect for others
• Gain physical fitness and develop body awareness
• Gain confidence in their abilities and improve their self esteem
• See different parts of the country and world and learn about new cultures
• Learn about nutrition, physiology, psychology, biomechanics, health and in particular how these fields of science relate to skiing
• Learn skills in public speaking and speaking to the media

Competition is not a problem for young children; in fact it can be very positive. Problems only arise when someone else - usually a poorly informed coach or an overly enthusiastic parent - distorts competition by overemphasizing the value of winning.

With content from CCC's Skier Development Model Summary (1988) and the CCBC Rabbit Manual.