Competitive Readiness: Developmental Considerations to Promote Positive Youth Development in Competitive Activities
Keywords:competitive readiness, youth development, competition
Competitive experiences have the potential to empower youth. Understanding the conditions under which young people can grow through competition is necessary to identify how competitive experiences can optimally support youth as engaged participants and people. This paper serves as a novel integration of previous research aimed toward practitioners. The purpose of this paper is to provide adult (and youth) leaders with empirically-based, practically meaningful guidance to integrate practices that support competitive readiness for youth development. To clarify the youth competitive readiness debate, this paper adopts a process-oriented, developmental perspective. We first define and provide background on youth development. Second, we put forth guiding postulates and their application to practice for organized competitive experiences for positive youth development promotion. We argue that youth are “ready” to compete not just when they can survive competitive experiences, but thrive through them. Interactions between individual, contextual, and developmental factors over time influence fluctuations in a young person’s state of competitive readiness. In this way, competitive readiness is an ongoing process that encompasses the individual needs of the child in relation to the environment.
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