Hannah and Jake, First Place Novice A, 2008
|Are You Ready to Compete? Now there’s a question all of us have asked ourselves at one time or another. When do you start competing? How do you know if you are ready? One place to start is to determine what you want to accomplish by competing. If your sole purpose is to win you might think that you should not start competing until you are performing at a high enough level in training to beat the competition.Nice idea but it will not work and here’s why. The only way you can train for competitions is to compete in them. There is a big difference between the training environment and the competition environment. We often find ourselves training either by ourselves or with a small group. In a competition the field is full. Add people and you have a totally different environment.
Next, there is no pressure in training and plenty in competitions. You need the pressure to bring out the best in your game. Competition pressure is either an asset or a liability depending on your attitude about it. One thing is for certain. You have to be able to deal with it and it is just not there in training.
Additionally, competitions create contacts. You need people and knowledge to aid you in reaching your goals and many of the folks with the know-how are at the competitions. When you compete you are able to watch, listen and talk to the veterans and see first hand what you are up against.
Finally, try competing in a number of sports before you decide get too serious about choosing to master one. You will never know how you like a sport until you give it a try. Many athletes have found that they were much better at individual sports after they had poor showings in team events. The opposite is also true. Take advantage of any opportunity to try out a sport. It just might be your calling.
So, when should you start to compete? Start as soon as you are certain that you know enough about your sport to be safe and are ready to learn. Don’t worry about winning anything in the beginning and do not be concerned about looking like you do not know everything. You will have plenty of company in that area at the competition. Remember, competitions are where the fun starts. Go enter one.