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How to make children winners?

Children are not born physically, mentally, or emotionally prepared for competition. Instead, infancy, childhood, and adolescence are periods of development and learning. And during these periods, self-improvement is the essence of winning. 

Introducing a progression of challenges to children in small steps gives them a chance to develop the tools needed for good future performance. In such scenarios, our role is not to push the child to compete to win! Instead, our part is to help children understand that they will be on a winning path if they keep improving. 

View every small gain and progress as a success and a winning experience for the child. After all, small but successive, short-term goals are much easier to achieve than grand, unapproachable ones. 

For example: 

A winner is a person who plays up to his or her potential. This means a child who almost catches the ball or loses a tennis match but performs better than last time is still a winner. If they do one more pull-up, jump one inch further or hit one more ball over the net, they are a winner. 

Another critical role for us as parents and coaches is to help children comprehend that there will always be someone who can perform better. But through practice, they can and will improve. If they continue to progress, they will eventually outperform other people and achieve incredible results that were once unimaginable. 

Teaching children to win and excel is essential — but only under the proper circumstances. They should be taught how to win, lose, and overcome adversity in the right time and ways. In general, we should teach the child what winning is, and what it takes to be a winner. The concept of competition should be introduced to children gradually at the right time, and they should be taught that the most important competition is one where you compete against oneself. 

Early emphasis on competition and winning has a detrimental effect on growth in several important skill and fitness areas. We should never deny a child the right to fail because failing is part of the developmental process. Because in the wrong environment, childhood competitive experience creates a person who cannot cooperate with others and lacks the ability to improve. 

An alternative to early competition is sports instruction. Children can try out many different sports. A variety of experiences develops well-rounded skills and allows a more rational basis for sports specialization during the teenage years. 

For instance, children can take lessons in gymnastics, tennis, skiing, diving, horse riding, dancing, and ice-skating — all in a non-competitive environment. 

Except in sports where early participation is essential — figure skating, gymnastics, and swimming — children should avoid serious athletic competition before they are ten years old.

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