Monday, January 6, 2014

Coach Daemon: Some Negatives of the Competitive Nature

One of the things I have to deal with all of the time as a Coach, with both juniors and adults, is "the competitive nature". The Competitive Nature is one which would really prefer to just be the best, all the time (as with all traits there is a spectrum); to skate the fastest, hit the hardest, juke the best, get the most points, take down the most girls etc.  Being competitive is not a bad thing, on it's face, and it is definitely a necessary thing in becoming the best in any endeavour. Even if you are only trying to outdo yourself, you must always be fighting to be better. There are many times I will talk about good ways to be competitive, and how important that is, but today it's about a couple of the cons.

One of the negative aspects can be that the competitive person develops a lack of empathy and/or lack of sympathy with those not at their level. These are the people who act like everyone could be as good as them, if they just tried a little. Those who pretend we are all on the same, level, playing field, just deciding where we get by our effort. We all know (deep down inside) that this is so incredibly not the case.

How could it be? Do we all have the same genes? Environment? Input?
In my juniors I have girls who are; very athletic and have come from other sports (often hockey or rugby), never played a sport until derby, athletic families, families who do sports together, families who don't do sports together, sedentary families, smart families, dumb families, supportive families, unsupportive families (these ones always hurt me to see), girls who had cancer and therapy and lost all of their muscle mass before they were 15, and girls who have led lucky healthy lives. Girls who could stand up from a knee from the beginning, and girls who couldn't. Lot's of differences. Lot's of choices thrust upon, not chosen. That's life. Different for everyone. We all only can do the best with what we have, and each new situation means a new time to make a better choice then the last time. There is no point in looking for sympathy for the hand you've been dealt (there will always be someone far worse off doing far better to humble you) better to just focus on your goals, grin through the pain knowing you're creating a future you want.

In the adult league I have seen more of that first type of negative of the competitive nature, those being judgemental based on their lack of empathy and being critical in a cruel way. In juniors it often manifests in a different and, I find, more difficult way to deal with, in that juniors who are ultra competitive often become emotional and upset when they are not the best and look for outward reasons for their lack of being at the top. She doesn't like, she was just being mean, she's out to get me, my blockers didn't help me enough, my strategy made more sense. Well, truthfully, I've seen this in the adult league as well but generally you just ignore it (or make minor comments making it clear that it was clean) and it goes away, which is a very different response then is required with youth.

When we look outward for fault it means we are unable or having difficulty finding fault within ourselves. That's an unfortunate way to be. Because we are so full of fault. There will be so many times in our lives where we will have to realize how we screwed something up, and learn from it, and move on. So. Many. Times. I'm only 38 and I don't think I'm a total idiot and I have lost count of how many times I have screwed up. There will be more. I try and learn. I try to improve. I want these girls to know it's ok not to be the best all the time. No one is. And when they are, it is fleeting. That doesn't mean it's not something great to strive for. Being the best, is, well, it's the best. If we can all have that feeling once or twice in our lives, we are lucky, a moment where we know, for real, deep down, that we are the best in that moment, at that thing.

But we still have to be ok with not being perfect, not all the time, at all the things. No one is. We can't allow our competitive nature overshadow a peaceful existence. The peace of knowing you won't be the best at all the things, all the time, and… that's ok. So much better to work to be the best that YOU can be. Better then YOUR best. Pushing to be the most amazing YOU that you are capable of being. That's the most you can ask of yourself. Be the best you.

Hit hard, every time.*

No comments:

Post a Comment