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Competitive Attitudes of Children and Adolescent Athletes

Dixson, Linnea
Youth athletes undergo a significant number of physiological and psychological changes as they mature within their respective sports. They are often noted by coaches to transform from noncompetitive to very competitive as they grow. Trait competitiveness has been described in previous literature as Competing to Win/CW (competing to dominate others) and Competing to Excel/CE (competing to surpass personal goals) [6]. This study aims to determine if a change from competing to excel to competing to win occurs in association with age and gender. Three questionnaires (Hypercompetitive Attitude Scale, Personal Development Competitive Attitude Scale, and Goal Competitiveness subscale of the Competitiveness Questionnaire) were used to determine a scaled score for CW and CE. 29 athletes (13 male, 16 female, ages 8-17 years) completed the questionnaires. Results demonstrated that CE is maintained and CW is obtained around the age of 12 (p=0.036). This finding will allow coaches, parents, and educators to use trait competitiveness in an advantageous manner to ensure less burnout, more involvement, and more happiness of youth and adolescents involved in athletics.
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