The True Meaning of Competition

  • November 10, 2016


The True Meaning of Competition – (Written by Multi-Sport LF & Coach Joe)

What is the true meaning of competition?

What do you want your athletes to take away from competition?

There is nothing so unsure as a sure thing. As they say on the Pro-Line commercials, “Because anything can happen, anyone can win.” Anything can happen in a competition, and it usually does.

Your team might be highly favoured to win, you might be bigger, stronger, faster, older, more experienced or whatever, BUT there is no such thing as a sure win. The result is always in doubt, upsets happen – often. That’s why they play the game. Underdogs become Top Dogs. The vanquished become victorious. David did defeat Goliath – you can look it up. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Teams often surprise their favoured opponents, with increased focus and motivation.

So guard against complacency. Respect all opponents. Play hard, Get ahead early, Don’t let the opposition “hang around”

Play fair and practice good sportsmanship always, but when you think about it, the most sincere way to respect your opponents is to show them your best effort at all times. Regardless, upsets will happen – you can only do your best to reduce their frequency!

So when they happen, make no excuses, and congratulate your opponent on their hard-won victory. They deserve no less.

In his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum says:

“About winning: It isn’t important. What really counts is how you play the game. About losing: It isn’t important.  What really counts is how you play the game. About playing the game: Play it to win!”

Teams will learn lessons. There are no mistakes only lessons. Lessons will be repeated until learned.

Be the type of player and team than learns lessons quickly. Play with passion. Play with purpose. Play to dominate.

See what Coach-2-Coach is all about!

Coach Responses

What is the true meaning of competition?

How do you inspire your athletes to understand the meaning of competition?

What do you want your athletes to take away from competition?

Share your tips and best practices!

Coach Silvia – Sport Climbing – Toronto – 5 Years

“…I often aim to keep my athletes focused and relaxed, we review their warm-up and ensure they are clear about what they need to do to be ready. When we debrief about how their performance was I ask how they felt about their effort, as long as they feel like they truly gave 100% then they achieved what they came to do. Try their hardest, stay focused and enjoy the challenge…”

Coach Edward – Karate – Ottawa – 12 Years

“…I strive to have my athletes understand that competition is a means to an end. it is not the end result of today that matters, but the result you want for tomorrow is what you are working towards. Everything had a purpose, and each race, no matter how big or small provides opportunities to learn not only about performing better but learning about yourself…”

Coach Gordon – House League Hockey – Ottawa

“…This is a challenging issue in non-competitive (house) leagues. We deal with the notion of participating versus being competitive. The challenge is inspiring everyone to be as competitive as they can be while dealing with the mindset that they are only involved to have fun. Have fun and be competitive at the same time…”

Coach Michael – Basketball – Durham

“…While we have all hoped of winning the championship, losing in the National High School Championships, I looked at the bigger picture of what we had achieved. We did not win the championship trophy but we got a lot of respect from our opponents, coaches and organizers. Organizers were so impressed with how we carried ourselves during the course of the tournament that we got an automatic slot for next year’s championship. We will always treasure the lessons learned and the experience we have gained. We made lots of friends and followers. With this, I came to realize that winning was not all about the championship trophy but finding peace and pride knowing we did our best and gave it all…”

Coach Louisa – Swimming – Windsor – 4 Years

“…The Greek meaning of ‘competition’ means to ‘strive with.’ Competition is meant to make each other better. Every time you step into a ring, on a field or in a pool, it is an opportunity to better yourself. Remembering that although there are a winner and a loser, in the end, you strive to be better for having to compete…”

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