Competitive sport puts off schoolchildren - survey

Seven-year-olds competing in sport

Related Stories

The majority of children would be happy to see the competitive element removed from school sport, a survey suggests.

Almost two thirds (64%) of eight to 16-year-olds polled said they would be "relieved, not bothered or happier" if winning or losing were not a factor.

However, 22% of parents said they would have less interest in watching school sport if it was not competitive.

The poll, by Marylebone Cricket Club and charity Chance to Shine, surveyed 1,000 children and 1,000 parents.

Although 84% of children believed experiencing winning and losing was important, the survey revealed that many would rather play sport for fun, or would be relieved if less was at stake.

Start Quote

It is worrying to see that so many children would be relieved to see competition removed from sport”

End Quote Wasim Khan Chance to Shine CEO
'Less anxious'

Asked how they would feel if winning and losing was removed from sport, 30.3% responded that "as long as I get to play I'm fine with it", one in five said "it wouldn't bother me" and one in 10 said "it would make me less anxious".

The figures have caused concern at Chance to Shine, which seeks to increase cricket participation in state schools.

"It is worrying to see that so many children would be relieved to see competition removed from sport," said the organisation's chief executive Wasim Khan.

"We want to teach children the importance of playing sport competitively and fairly and for them to see the benefits that it can bring to their lives."

The survey also found that 89.3% of parents of eight to 16-year-olds believed it was "important" or "very important" for their children to taste victory or defeat in sport.

Just under two in five (39%) children said their parents would be less interested without a competitive factor.

Children playing cricket Chance to Shine wants to stress the importance of competitive sport and fair play in schools.
Pushy parents

The poll also suggests that pushy parents who shout orders at their offspring from the touchlines are on the rise.

About 86% of the children surveyed, along with 97% of the parents, said that they felt some mothers and fathers were more concerned about winning than the children themselves.

Asked what was most important about school sport, both parents and children agreed that teamwork and exercise were the key aspects.

The study follows a report by education watchdog Ofsted last year that said there was not enough strenuous physical activity in school PE lessons.

In February, the government pledged to award primary schools in England £150m per year in sports funding in an effort to restore PE to the heart of the timetable and capitalise on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics.

Chance to Shine is launching a campaign to stress the importance of competitive sport and fair play in schools.

Coaches will give assemblies and lessons to 420,000 children in 5,500 state schools.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    The only Kids I know who claim to be not competitive are the ones who aren't very good at sports. Until you find the one they can relate to, and then they are just the same as the rest.

    Life is competitive, we have to know how to win and how to lose.

    The real reason for lack of competitive sports in most schools is lack of interest (overtime??) from the PE staff

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    Succeeding in modern life is a competition, even trying for your first job for example. By all means remove bad teaching and bad management of sporting competitions but do remove all competition from sport or schools or our young people will never learn a very important part of life's lesson.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    I was never good at sports in school and couldn't care less whether I won or lost, it didn't make me less of a high achiever or try less hard in life, because I focussed on more academic subjects where I could compete! I could have done without the additional stress of PE class and dreaded it each week! I am sure many other non-sporty people had similar experiences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    I took part in sport at school and loved it. During school years there is nothing better than team sport to develop the team working skills needed in real life. The problem the UK faces now is that too many kids have left school thinking competition is bad and winning doesn't matter. That's why UK PLC has difficulty competing in world markets. Others countries breed winners - that's what we need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Coming second, third or last will often teach kids a lot more than coming first. They can work out why they didn't win and what they need to do to improve. The one who comes first quite often accepts his/her own (perhaps genuinely outstanding) ability and relies on that alone so comes a cropper when eventually there is someone out there better than them....its only then they start learning.


Comments 5 of 10


More UK stories



Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.