As humans we’re naturally competitive creatures. A little healthy dose of competition is generally a good thing. It helps us strive to be better. I’m sure our competitive spirit goes all the way back to the caveman era where guys would argue with each other on which dudes fire created more cave light! Men…eh?
You often hear about the many advantages that competition in sports brings. There are many, especially for kids growing up. Look no further than your local high school and you’d realize it’s a staple in most schools culture. It was a recent incident at my local CrossFit gym that had me thinking:
What are some of the disadvantages of participating in competitive sports?
I’ll admit the thing that initially attracted me to CrossFit was the competition aspect of the sport. You do compete against others, but I soon realized I much rather enjoyed the competition against myself and the clock. The downside to CrossFit that I’ve come to realize is the “Whiteboard.”
The whiteboard is where everyone’s score gets posted at the end of the day. You get to see how you stack up against others in your gym, class, age group ect. While this is great in many ways it can sometimes be bad. My incident is an example of the bad. To make a long story short, I had an instructor who placed more emphasis on what numbers appear on the whiteboard then actually instructing the class. I always thought a fitness instructor’s job was to instruct and make sure people aren’t doing stupid things like dropping hundreds of pounds of weight on their heads. Not to police or place so much emphasis on some meaningless scoreboard.
I mean this whiteboard score means nothing. You don’t win a prize at the end of the day. You just see where you stack up against others that completed the same work out that day. Are people really that obsessed with this scoreboard? I might be the odd man out but I have an inner scorecard. I really don’t care where I stack up against others.My competition has always been looking at me in the mirror. Click To Tweet
So What Could Be Some Of The Disadvantages In Competitive Sports?
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
The first big problem I can think of is when the focus goes from participation to winning. Winning at all costs.
In weightlifting or CrossFit this can be downright DANGEROUS!
You’re moving a lot of weight, up and down and often over your head. In CrossFit you’re doing Olympic lifts for time. If you start sacrificing form for speed on some of these manoeuvres its a disaster waiting to happen. This is one of the reasons CrossFit gets a bad rap. Bodybuilders, powerlifters and even some medical professionals will often point to this negative aspect of CrossFit. I hate to admit it but I can agree sometimes. I’m even guilty of this myself. I’ve thrown form out the window a few times to try to beat my best time. Ask my wife. She’s actually scolded me a few times saying I’ll be one lift away from an injury if I keep doing that. Over the years CrossFit has tried to defend this argument over and over with mixed reviews.
Wanting to win builds more pressure and stress. A little bit of pressure is a good thing. At the end of the day whether you play for the Green Bay Packers or your high school hockey team, you play sports for fun. Competition can create undue stress that may actually prove to be counterproductive to some athletes efforts and development. A little bit of pressure is usually a good thing, but some people just don’t perform well under pressure. And that’s okay. We’re not all meant to be starting QB’s. Some people just excel more in an easygoing atmosphere.
Committed or Obsessed?
In any sport, learning the importance of focus and commitment has many benefits. This lesson often takes a sideways turn when athletes become unwilling to take part in activities other than theirs. CrossFit has been known to be cult like. Because of the dedication and time required to perfect the skills that contribute to excelling at Crossfit, athletes seem to lose the desire to do anything else because it pales in comparison. This is where the cult aspect of CrossFit is probably bred. This can apply to any competitive sport. This common extreme level of exclusivity is detrimental because it limits the athlete’s ability to practice moderation and listen to their bodies when they’re working out too hard.
The winning at all cost attitude in sports can spill over into everyday life. If the drive to win turns into win at all costs you’ll end up turning into a prick at home and at work. Competition can also create unhealthy rivalries that results in athletes resenting one another, which is especially true if one person or team always wins. This can turn into a gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” where camaraderie, sportsmanship, and fair play go right out the window.
So there’s lots of advantages to playing and participating in competitive sports. There’s also some downsides. Whether you’re working out at your local CrossFit gym or playing touch football with the guys, a healthy dose of competition is a good thing. We shouldn’t forget the reason we participate in sports to begin with……..TO HAVE FUN! I hope I didn’t sound too much like my mother there. God the older you get the more you start to sound like your parents. At the end of the day when we’re talking about fitness:I exercise to improve myself…not my worth against others. Click To Tweet
Comments are always encouraged. Good and bad.
Keep the blue side up.
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