Healthy Competition

“90% of children would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench of a winning team.”

- Dr. Rainer Martens, Sport Psychologist, Author of Best Selling ‘Successful Coaching’

Several years ago, sport organizations who were using HIGH FIVE® training asked for a sport module that dealt with competitive environments. So HIGH FIVE linked with experts including the Offord Centre for Child Studies and Canadian Sport for Life to evaluate whether or not competition was good for children. The findings were that competition can be good or bad for children depending on these factors:

  • The developmental readiness of the child
  • The support and attitudes of the parents/guardians
  • The environment created by the coach, club or league

While HIGH FIVE cannot change the developmental readiness of the child, it can help improve the environments and attitudes of those around the child to enhance everyone’s competitive experience. HIGH FIVE also surveyed community coaches to find out what their top 5 challenges were. They said:

  1. Dealing with parents
  2. Ensuring fair play
  3. Keeping child’s interest
  4. Developing new skills
  5. Dealing effectively with bullying and teasing

HIGH FIVE Sport was developed taking all that into consideration and is now being used by national, provincial and local sport organizations to help coaches to have a better understanding of children’s mental health and emotional needs in a competitive environment.

“It is so easy to get caught up in competition and lose sight of the overall objective. HIGH FIVE, and other organizations that work with children, who are really interested in development of children, really remind us that this is what we’re here to do.” - Dr. Peter Jensen, Sport Psychology Expert, Canadian Olympic Team

A competitive environment can also exist within swimming lessons as kids work their way through multiple levels and HIGH FIVE is working with 3 Canadian aquatics organizations (The Canadian Red Cross, The Lifesaving Society and I Can Swim) to ensure kids learn to swim in a positive environment.


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HIGH FIVE is also addressing: