5 popular misconceptions about competition sports


The idea of competing in sport might be a little scary for you, it might make you question your abilities… To shake off the stereotypes about the whole competition thing and discover a fascinating new world, follow our guide!

Are you thinking about entering the world of competition sports, or wondering if you should sign your child up for it? Stress, sacrificing your social life, physical suffering… Hmmm, sounds great! Let's open up our chakras and sweep away these vague ideas about competition sports.

1- Competition means sacrificing your social life… is that right?

You might think that 3 to 5 training sessions per week and a lifestyle that's "healthy" enough to perform, makes a competition sportsperson's life rather boring. You'd be forgiven for thinking that. But what if we told you that life for someone involved in competition sports is actually quite different from what society generally reckons it to be? Sure, it may be true that sportspeople - at least, those who do competitions though it varies according to level, sport and temperament - don't go out, or not much, don't frequently stay up all night, don't drink alcohol at Lucy's 20th birthday party… In other words, we'll give you that one. It may be that they do, in fact, miss some good times with friends after lessons or work, as they go training instead. Perhaps that is indeed the case.
But what about the times when they travel to a sports event, in a coach that's buzzing with excitement, where everybody's on the same vibe? Tournaments and competitions in which you laugh, cry, and help each other out? What about those moments when you celebrate your victories in the changing rooms? The support you get from your team or your training partners? Those life-changing moments with your coach? These are all bonds that are woven and nurtured, giving you joy as you stock up with precious experiences, no matter your age.
But so long as you've never experienced that kind of thing, it might be hard to understand, and you might imagine that you'd be sacrificing your social life… And also, competition is very often a choice. If that choice doesn't make you as happy you thought it would, then it makes sense to re-consider the matter. It's never too late to change your way of life.

5 popular misconceptions about competition sports

2- Competition: source of stress, yes, but…

“Got a competition this week-end? You alright, not too stressed?”
Ah, that stress. That desire to do well, to succeed, it can be draining. But there's a big difference between that kind of stress and the kind you go through in everyday life, which boils down to this: Sports people can learn to understand it: why is it present? What are the feelings of stress in my body? And above all, how do I channel it, how do I manage it?
Stress management is part and parcel of sports training. Knowing how to master your stress is a mental skill, a great strength in competition sports. That skill can be transposed to everyday life. Managing your stress means getting to know yourself better, and thus adopting the right reaction for each situation; it means being lucid. That can come in useful…

3- “if you're in it to win it, you can't take any pleasure” oh really?

For many people, competition means effort - that's often the case - and the kind of effort that makes you suffer. That might be realistic enough, but it's not the whole picture. Let's take a step back... What's missing? What's hiding there, behind the foreground? Can you see anything? Step back a little further… There. Now you can see it clearly: pleasure. That feeling is well and truly at the beating heart of competition sports, in spite of the efforts, in spite of the disappointments, in spite of everything. How is that possible? It's provoked by the power of a very interesting hormone: endorphin. The body is capable of synthesising this hormone, which procures a feeling of well-being (by the way, there's no need to be competing to get the effects). That's why, even after tough physical training, sports people go back and do it all again. Add to this the adrenalin generated by big competitions, the desire to progress, succeed and win - which applies to training as well - and you've got the perfect recipe for getting into competition sports, happy and performing.

5 popular misconceptions about competition sports

4- Competition = high level = expensive?

You might think that to take part in competitions, you have to put out the cash. Transport, accommodation, cost of entering. OK, but again, it's all relative. Because the word "expensive" doesn't mean the same thing to everyone, depending on the income of the sports person or their family when it's a child. In reality, the cost of taking part in competitions varies according to the sport, the level at which it's practised and the support of the clubs. When you do a competition sport as part of a club that's affiliated with a federation, you pay your license at the beginning of the season, pay for your basic gear and sometimes borrow specific equipment from the club, as each club is free to loan it out or not. Clubs can also shoulder part or even all the costs of a competition. When you train independently from any club or body or you want to participate in competitions over and above the ones on the planned schedule, you may have to pay for them yourself. So let's have a look at the numbers. Expenses for competition sports vary from 55 Euros per year (diving) to 1226 Euros per year (sports shooting). Here are the three sports that are cheapest to compete in, as listed by the Caisse d’Épargne (France's national savings bank): In first place comes handball, which costs 116 Euros per year, in other words 1 Euro per session if you do 2 sessions a week throughout the year; second place on the podium comes football, costing 125 Euros a years, and then judo at 206 Euros. To find out more, visit the Caisse d’Épargne's "pacte sportif" (sporting pact): https://www.lepactesportif.fr/trouver-un-sport

5 popular misconceptions about competition sports

5- You have to be young to compete 

It's up to us, older men and women, to bust this stereotype! Obviously, when it comes to sport, your age does play a part. In gymnastics, for instance, 20 years old is already a distinguished age at which to compete and luckily, there are people over 30 who compete anyway. You should know that, while strength diminishes with age, endurance lasts longer, so let's make the most of it! Did you know that the average age of marathon runners is about forty? It's true that young people's strength and vitality helps them perform in competition, let's admit that. When you're past 30, you might start doubting your abilities - but that's where experience comes into it, accompanied by mental resilience, which is a serious advantage! There are also competitions, sports or categories tailored to your physical abilities. Maybe it could be interesting to change sport or category when you feel that your body's struggling and the pleasure's diminishing? So, as a recap: The age limit for competitions is set by you - or your body. Dare to challenge yourself!

Competing in sports is not a matter of age nor of means - at least, not in most cases - instead, it's about what you want and the pleasure you get from it. It's up to you to choose to experience memorable sports moments, in competition or not, and the challenges can become great sources of motivation.

5 popular misconceptions about competition sports


Editorial advisor

Personalised sports coach and big fan of artistic pursuits.  Always available to support and appreciate the major sports events!

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