Spotlight On: Healthy Competition

1 September 2023


This article first appeared in Queenwood Weekly News on Friday 1 September 2023.

Competition is a natural part of life, and it's something we all experience from a young age. Whether it's playing a game with friends, participating in sports, or even working on school projects, competition helps us learn, grow, and become better versions of ourselves. But what exactly is healthy competition, and why is it important for our girls at Queenwood?

Healthy competition is a type of rivalry that encourages individuals or teams to do their best while respecting the rules and valuing the process rather than just the outcome. It's not about tearing others down or being solely focused on winning at any cost. Instead, healthy competition is about personal growth, skill development, and building positive relationships.

At Queenwood, healthy competition can manifest in various ways.  We can look at the achievements from Term 3 for instance; Snowsports, NSW Netball and Futsal Schools Cups, Debating, Athletics Teams, Dance eisteddfods, Music and Drama performances to name a few.  The goal is to create an environment where children can challenge themselves, learn new things, and build character while fostering teamwork and empathy.

Benefits of Healthy Competition

  1. Skill Development: Engaging in healthy competition allows children to develop a wide range of skills. Whether it's improving their teamwork abilities in group activities or enhancing their problem-solving skills when faced with challenges, competition provides a platform for practical learning.
  2. Motivation: Competition can be a great motivator. When children see their peers achieving goals or making progress, it inspires them to work harder and aim higher. This drive to improve can extend to various aspects of their lives, including academics and personal hobbies.
  3. Resilience: Not every competition will end in victory, and that's okay. Healthy competition teaches children how to handle both success and failure gracefully. It helps them understand that setbacks are opportunities for growth and that they can bounce back stronger.
  4. Time Management: Participating in activities, requires children to manage their time effectively. Whether it's setting aside practice time for a sport’s event or planning their study sessions or music practice, children learn the importance of prioritisation and time management.
  5. Social Skills: Healthy competition encourages interaction and communication. Children learn to collaborate with teammates, respect opponents, and handle victories and losses with grace and sportsmanship. These experiences contribute to the development of their social skills and emotional intelligence.
  6. Goal Setting: Competitions provide clear goals for children to strive toward. This teaches them how to set achievable objectives and work diligently to accomplish them. Setting and achieving goals fosters a sense of accomplishment and boosts their self-confidence.
  7. Learning from Mistakes: Losing or not performing as well as expected in a competition can be disappointing. However, it's an opportunity for children to learn from their mistakes and figure out how to improve next time. 

Maintaining a Healthy Approach

While competition offers numerous benefits, it's important to ensure that the competition remains healthy and positive. Here are some key principles to keep in mind:

  1. Sportsmanship: Encourage children to always practise good sportsmanship. This means showing respect for opponents, congratulating them on their successes, and maintaining a positive attitude, regardless of the outcome.
  2. Emphasise Effort: Focus on the effort children put in rather than solely on the outcome. Acknowledge their hard work, dedication, and improvement, regardless of whether they win or lose.
  3. Avoid Comparisons: Every child is unique and has their strengths and weaknesses. Avoid comparing one child to another, as this can leadto unhealthy competition and feelings of inadequacy.
  4. Celebrate Progress: Whether it's a small improvement or a big achievement, celebrate the progress children make along the way. This positive reinforcement encourages them to keep working hard and striving for their goals.
  5. Set Realistic Expectations: Ensure that the competition's expectations are age-appropriate and within the children's capabilities. Unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration and burnout.
  6. Encourage Collaboration: Teach children that healthy competition can also involve collaboration. Working as a team to achieve a common goal can be just as rewarding as individual accomplishments.

At Queenwood, we are proud of our diverse cocurricular offerings and encourage every student to participate and experience the benefits and challenges that come with healthy competition. We recognise the crucial role this plays in the student’s overall development. It offers a platform for skill-building, personal growth, and valuable life lessons. By focusing on effort, resilience, and good sportsmanship, children can learn to navigate challenges, work well with others, and become well-rounded individuals. Remember, healthy competition isn't just about winning; it's about learning, growing, and enjoying the journey along the way. Our job as adults is to make sure that we, and our children, don’t lose sight of this.