The Telegraph recently reported on a government study in the UK which found that fewer students are participating in competitive sports. There is a general decline in competing school against school and an increase in non-competitive “fun” endeavors like cheer-leading (they obviously aren’t on a competitive cheer team), yoga, and circus skills (not too sure what that is but it sounds fun).
Interestingly the article is against this shift. Quoting Nick Seaton, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education:
“Non-competitive sport can never be a substitute for competitive sport which stretches young people to the utmost and help them get used to winning and losing.”
In addition, the article appears to blame non-competitive sports for the increase in childhood obesity.
Hold on! I don’t think so.
Simply by increasing opportunities for non-competitive activities that doesn’t mean the activities are any less physically demanding. The idea that kids are motivated to excel physically simply due to their competitive natures is so wrong. Yes, healthy competition may bring out the best in some. It is always great to win. However, there are numerous individuals who simply opt out, knowing that they will never be fast enough, strong enough, good enough to win the gold medal.
Providing non-competitive options in school settings allows all students (jocks and nots) with an opportunity to develop their physical abilities. Yoga in particular will explore other aspects of the individual, and definitely challenge those who believe they are strong and fit, while involving non-physically inclined participants. I applaud the schools in the UK who are offering students a variety of competitive and non-competitive options in their PE curriculum. By providing a variety of options more kids may discover ways to stay fit and healthy throughout their lives.
What do you think? Are we motivated by competition? What are your motives for getting fit? Why do your kids exercise?
A shout out to Yoga Buzz for highlighting this article.