This Saturday we’ll be holding the first Roots internal kids competition we’ve had in a while, after a long break last year. The aim is to get our kids used to the feel of competitions again, so that they can experience the whole process of being a competitor. Experiencing a win or loss is important, but more than that, we want our kids to experience the fear and adrenaline that builds up in the days and hours before their name is called up on the mats.
That is what truly helps the development of our children, and what I believe to be the most valuable aspect of their development. Feeling the butterflies in the stomach, the nerves and excitement, and the build-up to the competition, allows our children to experience nervousness in a safe and controlled environment, and this builds their resilience to stressful situations.
Safely experiencing stressful situations can also be applied to other parts of their lives, like standing up to a bully, or having the confidence to try new things, even if they seem to be scary at first. Developing this life skill is what we want for all our children, so that they can grow up and become confident adults that stand the best chance of living a rewarding and meaningful life.
Sure, team sports build confidence and collaboration which is very important as well. But nothing compares to an individual competition that really develops your tenacity for self-reliance. When you step on the mats, it’s just you and your opponent. What happens next, whether you win or lose it all, depends on your own performance. You can’t hide behind a team, or as teams go, even take the glory away from the other players by scoring a goal, a try or a run.
What it comes down to is all up to the individual, and that’s why it’s scarier than anything else that our kids would be involved with. But as it turns out, this is also the best thing for their character development.