Competitiveness, a necessary evil

La competitividad, un mal necesario


*Psychologist. Center Provincial of Medicine of the Sport Matanzas

Faculty of Physical Culture of Matanzas

**Faculty of Physical Culture of Santiago de Cuba

***University of Physical Culture “Manuel Fajardo” of La Habana

****Faculty of Physical Culture of Granma


Lic. Michel Poey Reyes*


Dra.C. Asunción Milagros Pérez Mariño**


Dr.C. Rafael Inufio Díaz***


Msc. Norma Guerra Martínez****







          Presently article is encouraged to the reflection about the competitiveness, the particularities of the current competitive demands are approached in the sports of combats, different conceptions are approached on the competitiveness and the suitable age for its beginning, finally they intend orientations for its formation and development and you arrive to conclusions. Propitiating the capacity to expose their maximum technician-tactical potentialities and to act consequently in the suitable moment of the competition in any sport discipline and particularly in combat sports it presents big complexities and it constitutes a challenge for any trainer in the high yield.

          Keywords: Sports of combat. Competitiveness. Formation and development.



          En el presente artículo se realiza una reflexión acerca de la competitividad y sus particularidades en las actuales exigencias competitivas en los deportes de combates. Se abordan diferentes concepciones sobre la competitividad y la edad adecuada para su comienzo, finalmente se proponen orientaciones para su formación y desarrollo. Se concluye que el entrenador de alto rendimiento debe propiciar la capacidad para exponer sus máximas potencialidades técnico-táctico y estimular esta importante cualidad deportiva.

          Palabras clave: Deportes de combate. Competitividad. Formación y desarrollo.


Reception: 13/03/2015 - Acceptance: 05/05/2015


EFDeportes.com, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires - Año 20 - Nº 204 - Mayo de 2015. http://www.efdeportes.com/

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The combat sports

    They belong to those denominated individual sports, according to the contributions of A. Z. Puní, J. Laughed, A. Thomas and others. They are characterized to be extremely demanding sports where, from the functional point of view, a development of great capacity of work is required, reaction of speed in accidental situations and great mobility of the nervous system for the concentration and distribution of attention and sensations, specialized perceptions as well as to adapt with easiness and speed to the different demands of the combat and for appropriate psychological tolerance for the confrontation to frustration. Here the athlete has to overcome alone not only the physical force that the opponent imposes on him, but also the tactics that he uses in the execution of the techniques he carries out in each of the offensive and defensive movements.

    The growing balance of forces that one comes experiencing in these disciplines at world level, together with the modifications of the rules in the past years, have increased the real time of combat. This has generated changes in the technical and tactical concepts, bearing a more spectacular combat, characterized by bigger projections of attacks and offensive aggressiveness as well as great mistrust in the defensive and offensive order, since the anticipation and the counterattack of the actions nowadays are compared to a rhythm of a stronger combat, with moments of surprising accelerations and others of pauses and distractions, where there is a prevalence of speed and precision in the technical executions. This maximizes training and therefore the demand in search of a good sport. In spite of this tendency, we have seen, in high level events of the last times where our sportsmen participate that every time there is a frequent loss of combats due to small imprecision details and insecurity.

The deficiencies

    This peculiarity repeats particularly in some combat sports of the county of Matanzas where in one year they perform well locating themselves among the first four, and in the other year they fall to the tenth place, what infers a poor expression of sport mastership. In accumulated data of the past juvenile games, 68.5% of the lost combats are due to tactical deficiencies or shortcomings in certain psychological components, and the rest 31.5% was due to physical deficiencies.

    Without obviating, 80% of the county was generally in the medal square in these last games (2013), where the possibilities to triumph in this event were more difficult and the environment every time becomes more competitive. With the result that the Psychology of Sport in the last years has contributed theoretically as well as practically to allow the increase of quality training (high disposition, assertiveness in actions and stability of emotional control).



    Competitiveness is a topic that has been approached by many authors in different moments in the history of sport; it constitutes the dynamic expression of the capacities of an athlete or sport team that determines the effective execution of his actions under specific conditions. Among its psychological components is motivation directed to previous achievements during competitions supported by psychophysiological particularities of quality, effectiveness in the execution of the technical and tactical actions starting from self-determination capacity and/or self control before the unfavorable situations.

    Without doubt one of the studied aspects in this specialty is the psychological damage by the competition and the psychological maturity in the athletes. In this sense trainers provide recommendations to give solutions to concrete problems that athletes confront in the formation and development of competitiveness as well as of the assimilation of the technical and tactical actions in different age groups in spite of constituting a priority inside their fundamental aspirations as professionals: “Conforming athletes or competitive teams”.

    Competitiveness nowadays is becoming stronger in all areas: academic, labor as much as in sport. Everyone wants and needs to be competitive, of which it is necessary to develop certain indispensable aptitudes. According to Dr. Roberto Perrone, the emulation or the militancy, the desire to prevail is latent in each human being as a natural instinct. Nobody can avoid this expression of life, and each of us in our field are frequently, wanting it or not, in position of competing. This said one could deduce that children, the sooner they become competitive, the better and this way they will get ready and will be prepared for their future life...

    On the other hand, competitiveness, according to Cáceres (2004), many times is transferred to school sportsmen unnecessarily making sport practice seem like war when their end is exactly to recreate, to have a good time, to form knots of friendship, companionship, to form morals and to establish values. When it is taken this way it generates stress and anxiety, which causes a decrease of the amusement in the sport practice and it can get to generate a series of physical and psychological uneasiness. The objective of sporting in schools is not to get sport prizes but developing people and an important part of this development includes sport practice as much as recreation and competitiveness.

    From the author´s point of view, sport cannot be separated from education. If we want better sportsmen we need to form better human beings. If education improves, inevitably, so will sport, because people will become more responsible, committed, and will improve decision making, etc., the progress and success of one improves the other. Sport in the educational environment is as important as the regular matters such as integral communication, mathematics etc. because it contributes to the student's integral formation.

    On the other hand, the Dictionary of Sciences of the Sport (1992) defines competition as a confrontation among individuals, groups, teams, or nations that it has been regulated ahead of time by means of valid rules for all the participants. Many authors outline that in the early ages there are a series of motivations and interests for sport activity that produces an assimilation of movements in general from a basic way to the demonstration and explanation in the ages from 7 to 12. But on the contrary, the development of competitiveness requires certain maturity and psychology and for that some authors like Cáceres and a collective of authors (2005), differ and notice that it’s better to develop it in 18 year olds than 13 year-old minors because it is necessary to dominate the particularities of sport and its fundamental developmental demands for the indispensable abilities to compete.

    The appropriate age to develop other complex skills and superior characteristics of the concept of the zone of next development of Vygotski (1987) on competitiveness is the best form of propitiating the development of many factors that are indispensable to compete, in which motivation, attention and tactical thought (operative) also have their expression from the concrete thought, characteristic of images of early age that are indispensable for the formation of habits and abilities in form of images in their memory, for the immediate use under the demands of technical and tactical actions of the opponent. The sport result also depends in great measure of parameters such as speed, precision, effectiveness of technical-tactical actions in the execution of the tactical tasks during competitions, assertiveness of the operative thinking of sportsmen, seeking to form sportsmen or competitive teams, with the purpose of propitiating the adaptability and the formation of habits, abilities as well as dexterities, starting from sports training. Many Cuban authors, apparently, obviate the different manifestations of the human mind in competition where the quality in the execution of the technical- tactic actions and necessary habits and competitive abilities, without the means, the methodology, the suitable scenario (the competitions) and mainly the time, are impossible.

    According to Molnar (2001) and Cañizares (2009) the sport initiation in children should not be directed to create champions. The champion is formed in the process of the activity in which multiple psycho pedagogical variables intervene; the sportsman's innate attitudes are developed under the influences of the process of training in its sport quality. They make emphasis in the auto image, the auto evaluation, the self confidence that can be considered as the belief of a fellow in his own possibilities and/or capacity to carry out something.

    In this sense the psychological aspects of initiation of sport constitute indications that should take into account the planning and organization of sport training. In this important process the adolescent should be valued as an active fellow in personality development keeping in mind their physical and psychological potentialities. Being of great importance is the trainers’ role that constitutes the central axis of this process, transmitting their knowledge and experiences to the athletes, and through this assimilation and interiorization of knowledge their capacities are developed resulting in the formation and development of habits, abilities and necessary dexterities for their sport life and for competitive ends. With this it results indispensable, on the part of the trainer, the knowledge of certain psychological precepts in the social situation of development and the scholars’ zone of next development, concepts contributed by Vygotski (1987): which is of obligatory domain for anyone that is devoted to teach. This helps the trainer to have knowledge of the athlete's psychological characteristics and the influence of the external conditions in each stage. This author also points out that teaching should not be guided toward those functions that already have matured toward certain concluded cycles of the development, but on the contrary, it should focus on the functions that are in maturation process. In accordance with the previously exposed aspect training should motivate the harmonic development of athletes having as fundamental objective to propitiate an integral developmental process.

Orientations for its formation and development

    It is very important that athletes of these disciplines are developed on the base of the domain of a combat environment that educates their attention, the capacity of anticipation, the identification of their opponents' corporal segments that improve fast, precise and creative reasoning capacity with total independence, characteristics of the operative thinking on which the execution of technical elements in low determined situations are essential to execute under specific combat conditions. Personally, the author of this article asserts that competitiveness, as a colophon of competition, constitutes the level or the quality with which an athlete or a sports team acts during participation in different events depending on the level of commitment, disposition and implication of the outlined tasks, the values that it defends, the perseverance and nobility starting from the capacity in the making of decisions under specific conditions; which is consequent and appropriate with the planted objectives expressed in the self-determination of their personality .

    This obligates us, in our county, to form competitive athletes and in the first place to qualify the trainers in psychological preparation as well as techniques and tactics to improve the selection psychometric test (qualities of the attention, time of assimilation and execution of technical elements, motivational abilities, cortical mobility of the Central Nervous System) and in the second place to apply different procedures of psychological preparation for the development of competent athletes.

    All of these motivate the formation of habits and the capacity of adaptation to compete, starting educating volitive qualities, attention and anticipation of actions focusing on the opponent's certain points for the identification, solution of problems and execution of specific actions that give solution to different situations, develop creativity and independence, acquiring confidence and trust in the execution of every technique.

    On these aspects, Anton (1990, in Sainz de la Torre, 2001) includes more aspects in the progressive use of competition:

  1. To improve against oneself. It means to use challenge, - competing against ourselves makes performance quicker, stronger, more varied, etc.

  2. To improve with regard to others. Trying to make things better than others ones: to arrive before, to rush stronger, etc.

  3. To overcome opponents facilitates improvement. Attempting to be superior to the opponent.

  4. To overcome the other teams in a periodic way. This would represent the final synthesis of the competitive process since it will suppose the prevalence of our team or county on that of the other ones as much in friendly tournaments as in official tournaments.

    We can use the competition, creating big scenarios of all variations and stages, carrying out systematic controls, keeping in mind the executions of tactical plans, the execution of those techniques in specific circumstances, with an appropriate correction of errors. and in every moment to quantify, to evaluate and to stimulate their results establishing a qualitative pattern.

    The author considers that competition should not be seen as a synonym of competitiveness, it should rather be seen as an activity where all the components of the sportsman's preparation are manifested. It becomes necessary to change these concepts and to conceive competition inside the programs and the plans of the sportsman's preparation like a part of the systematic training emphasizing on tactical aspects, in form of study, characteristics of combat school competitions, conditioning the decision making process, the independence and creativity, propitiating and forming habits and necessary competitive abilities for its confrontation, meaning competitiveness should be seen as an activity that develops, as a feature of the personality, in short, its development represents a wrong necessity sporting activities.


    The road to foment and to develop competitiveness, at any stage, in the liberation of fighters from facing problems in the contemporary competitive environment, should be created. In the complex teaching process alone, overcoming the difficulties to develop mental capacities with the possibility of being able to identify and to know the strengths and own weaknesses or of the opponent is very important, as well as educating attention for the precision of their application in the suitable moment to fix in their memory the dynamic stereotypes of the technical-tactical expressions. Therefore in the solution of the diverse accidental situations occur in combats, competitiveness in itself it is not negative, but a wrong necessity contrary to its bad interpretation and application in teaching.


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