My Children mostly participate in individual sports. Even at the young ages of 8 and 7, my daughters seem to place quite a bit of pressure on themselves to perform well. There is a real focus on individual technique, performance and achieving personal bests.
I truly believe that stepping up to the challenge of individual sport has many benefits for building confidence and character. However, The fun and enjoyment from their individual sports often seems to come from their results: swimming a good time, rather than actually enjoying the process of competing in the sport itself. I wonder if perhaps they are missing out on some of the fun, friendships, camaraderie, and team building that can be obtained from team sports.
Today, the girls swam in the Speedo Sprints Relay Carnival. The atmosphere at the pool was simply amazing and infectious. When the older kids swam their relay events the noise level in the pool was absolutely off the scale! It was hard not to smile and cheer at the fingernail biting closeness of some of the relay’s. The joy on the kids faces was priceless. Listening to our club members cheer for my little girls brought tears to my eyes!
Although swimming is not a team sport, I think relay events are the next best thing. The spirit of camaraderie was there for all to see. The best part of the event was that the kids really seemed to be having fun!
Interestingly, many of the competitors swam personal best times as part of their relay teams. I wonder if taking some of the individual pressure and expectation off, or the added motivation to perform well for your team was responsible.
I think that in youth sport, it is important not to measure success just by winning or doing personal bests. In the relay competition today, the relay teams my girls were in did not receive any medals. However. The day was a resounding success as the girls were able to really have fun, enjoy swimming and enjoy competing with their friends.
The relay carnival was so important today because ultimately I aim to make my children’s youth sports experience fun and fulfilling. In making sport enjoyable and fun, I believe I am giving them every chance to participate in an active lifestyle for life.
I’d just like to add that my oldest daughter, Flash (8) participated in the Speedo Sprints Heats as well. This was a individual competition to select swimmers to represent the ACT at a NSW state swimming competition; The Speedo Sprint Finals, next month at
If your children have participated in a youth sport this weekend, please consider adding your blog post to the link at the bottom of the page. My aim for ‘Youth Sport Weekend’ is to build a community of supportive parents to encourage and motivate each other to involve their children in a youth sport or active lifestyle.