Last week in our first school assembly after the half term break, I spoke to the girls about competitiveness in sport and what it means to be competitive. This was driven by my observations of having watched some Netball matches in the first half of term when I didn’t think the girls were being as competitive as they could be. Unfortunately for them I am (quite) a competitive person who always plays any game to win!

My opening gambit was to give the girls a definition of what being competitive means:

‘Possession of a strong desire to be more successful than others’.

I particularly reinforced the ‘strong desire’ part as I felt this was missing in some of their performances. Frankly if they’re just going to show up for a match with no desire to do their best there seems little point in being there. Sport is for competitors so by its very nature the girls should be going out there to compete. You can be sure the other team will be there to compete to the best of their ability so we have to match their effort. I don’t mind if they lose provided they come off the court or pitch having given their very best; that’s all we can reasonably ask of them.

Next, we talked about their approach to practising. I pointed out that even the very best teams in the world at whatever sport have to practise to improve. We went over a few key rules when practising:

  • Be prepared – Wear the right kit/take the right kit
  • Give 100%
  • Compete fairly for every challenge
  • Listen to your coaches
  • Try and improve every time you go out to practise
  • Enjoy yourself

 

I repeated they should approach matches in exactly the same way:

  • Be prepared – Wear the right kit/take the right kit
  • Give 100%
  • Compete fairly for every challenge
  • Listen to your coaches
  • Try and improve in every match you play
  • Enjoy yourself

 

At the end of the match:

  • Thank the referee/umpire
  • Thank the opposition
  • Congratulate the opposition on their good play
  • Celebrate & congratulate each-other
  • Enjoy the match tea – the food and the company
  • Say goodbye to the other team whether playing home or away
  • Remember the game and how you played for next time.

And finally, not to underestimate the joy of winning!