In whatever sports you are in to, there are many things that you have to consider to teach your players, or whoever there is who wants to become an athlete. The job does not always stay on teaching athletes to perform the technical ways of the sport. You have to be holistic. When you say holistic, you think about all of the aspects of players including their social, physical, mental, or even spiritual aspect.

Now, if you think that you have given your players enough knowledge about the sport and you have help them develop their corresponding skills, the next thing to do is to teach them how to be competitive. But I got to tell you that being consistent in developing your players is still helpful for them to become competitive. And I will show you how that can be. Going back to the word competitiveness, aside from the word compete, there is another term that should be taken into consideration. And this is the word competitive. Let us break down these words into pieces to fully understand the concept of competitiveness.

I used the Webster’s dictionary and word reference English dictionary as my source for presenting the following terms:

  • Compete – to strive; to contend; to take part in a competition, especially in sports.
  • Competitive – involving, or determined by competition; showing a fighting disposition; involving competition to improve one’s competitive position.

The definitions are all relating to competition. Well, according to Webster’s dictionary, competition is a contest in skill or knowledge. It is the same as in a match. And so, if you put it all together, competitiveness is the fighting spirit, or motivation, of a player to surpass a rival’s knowledge and skills, as well as to enhance himself as a player in specified sports.

Sports is all about competition. Players should be competitive in order to win games. Let me give you some ideas on how to teach competitiveness among your players.

1. Give sufficient knowledge of the sport
How can you be competitive if you do not even know the sport itself? If you want a player to be competitive, tell him what he needs to know about the sport. You can start off with the basics down into the deeper level of knowledge about the sport. Perhaps, this knowledge can be new techniques on how to improvise a player’s skill. Knowledge itself is the foundation of a player. Just like a machine, it can serve as a series of instructions that gives the player the idea on what to do. The reality is a good physical condition is useless if you do not know how to play the sport.

2. Assist in enhancing new learned skills
After gaining the knowledge of the sport, it is time to show off that knowledge. Now in any sport, everyone can see how a player thinks just by the way he executes his game. You can help the player enhance his new learned skills by assisting him in the proper mechanics of the necessary skills of the sport. For example in basketball, you observe that your player commits a blocking foul, you can teach him how he should move his feet or legs in order to handle an opponent who rushes into the basket. In a blocking foul, the most common mistake players commit is moving their body against an opponent instead of moving the feet off the ground. It is wise to aid a player develop his skills.

3. Establish a great level of Self-Confidence
Self – confidence alone is competitiveness. Those who are determined to match the skills of their opponents are the players who display self–confidence. It gives you the energy that you can fight against anybody in your field of sport. Self–confidence is also self–encouragement. If you feel good about yourself, you continually encourage yourself to perform well because you know you have the capabilities to win games. This positive self-worth perception can bring a player to the maximum of his potentials. And so, you should act as a tool to influence your player to develop a sense of self – confidence.

4. Let your players play against each other
This is a way of continuously exposing your player to competitions. Even though they may not be fighting against the real opponent, this can also be helpful for them to develop competitiveness against any individual. However, the competition must be healthy. It means it should be for the benefit of all the players, and not bringing other players down.

5. Orient your players on skills of the rivals
I see this idea as an aid in teaching competitiveness. You see, when a player knows who he will compete against with, he has the tendency to get excited and to prepare himself in order to defeat that rival. It becomes a motivation for him that he should practice well in order to match his opponent.

6. Let players compete against themselves
The greatest competition comes between a player and himself. Oftentimes, there can be too many distractions wherein a player can possibly fail to carry out his roles and responsibilities in his team. The hardest thing here is that you are fighting against yourself. For example, a player feels lazy on getting up and going to the gym. If this happens, you compete against your laziness. Fight it, get off the bed, and go to practice. Another example, a player develops a low percentage field goal shooting in a game. He starts doubting his shooting ability and passes that ball around to his teammates. He develops a fear of not making shots. Again, compete against your fear. Do not let it stop you.

7. Develop a competitive character
If you want your player to be competitive, you should let them make it their choice to be competitive. Do not just let them think about it. Let them do it. Emphasize to them to compete by heart. You should teach players to be willing to fight against anybody. Win or lose, you cannot lose the character of competition. That character will give your opponent a hard time to win, and a devastating time to lose.

8. Establish a sense of Purpose
Lastly, establish a sense of purpose. It is useless to get into a game without any goal at all. Moreover, it is very much boring to come into a game just for the sake of playing the sport. The purpose of competitiveness is not just to be able to win games, but also to be a better player.

You must have the heart to inspire your players to do their job. At times, it needs a great deal of inspiration and motivation for a player to keep a high level of energy in a competition. Remember, energy is self – confidence, and self–confidence is competitiveness. One way or the other, they significantly influence each other.

Picture credit: JMRosenfeldCreative Commons Attribution