From Leisure to Competition: Two Visions of Sport or Musical Practices in Nevers

“We are a competitive club,” confirms Michael Andre, co-chair of Osoo Nevers Handball Club. The Neversoise Association’s Unmistakable Philosophy: Sports Rhymes with Competition. “It is the sport that wants it. In handball, there is no entertainment show for children. From the age of 9 to 16-18, all youth categories participate in tournaments. Every player is prepared twice a week for the next match.” Competition is the engine of youth practice. “Willing to play and win the game is the logic of the sport,” he says.

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Driven by strategic goals, the club intends to train teams at the highest level. “During matches, the coach must give his best performance while saving playing time and improving others. A fragile balance that risks leaving some kids on the sidelines.

By Uson Nevers Rugby, competition comes later in the learning process. “From the age of 3 to 12, the goal is to get every child to play,” insists Arthur Hamann, the school’s principal.

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The shift from entertainment to competition is occurring in the U-14 category. “This is the pivotal category. There is the big challenge in France, where the best players are competing, and the federation. When we get to U-16s and U-18s, we have a top-level performance.” A high standard subject to the expectations of the French rugby union and the national championships.

high level requirements

“Training is more rhythmic, there are matches every weekend. We cannot keep players who will not play and who could put themselves at risk. There is a level for every player,” adds Jonathan Garcia, head of the academy. Players who do not have the expected level are redirected to other Nivernais clubs (Saint-Léger, Varennes-Vauzelles, Pougues-les-Eaux). “Uson is a professional club. We choose the best players. This is the law of high-level sport,” sums up Arthur Hamann.

You can’t block the spirit of competition, that’s normal. But we’re here to play an educational role. Teach children to respect the opponent.

In football, the competition is held in the under-13 category. For the little ones, entertainment is in the first place. “Up until the age of 13, we’re about to have fun. They learn and have fun. Then we move on to the higher categories. We start the field at 11, there are official referees, the tournaments,” explains Christophe Marvell, president of UCS Football in Cousins-sur-Loire. It was then time for individual development and tactical execution, once again under the direction of the League.

However, during the U6-U9 tournaments, the younger ones get caught up in the competition game that the collegiate group holds. “Competitiveness takes precedence. I hear inappropriate comments and insults,” notes Anne, Antoine’s mother, at U9 in Cousins-sur-Loire. To reduce this flooding, the club is implementing civil procedures with the players. “You cannot prevent the spirit of competition, it is normal. But we are here to play an educational role. Teach children to respect the opponent,” continues the president.

In other disciplines, the boundaries between leisure and competition are less drawn by clubs. But parents of young athletes can in turn nurture the spirit of competition. “Kids can participate in minicross races from the age of 8,” testifies Jimmy Piot, teacher at MX Activities Driving School in Sichamps. “It is so small, it is of no use.”

But sports activity is an important investment. “It’s expensive for the motorcycle, the equipment, the maintenance, the travel…the races sometimes are at the request of the parents,” he laments. Be it from the club, parents or the child himself, competition is inevitable, walks on flowerbeds for simple leisure. Sports culture is perhaps just a reflection of our society.

Swimming Asav

Asav swimming, in Varennes-Vauzelles, offers an alternative that favors neither entertainment nor competition.

The aquatic center L’île Corail, in Varennes-Vauzelles, differentiates between entertainment and competition.

“Here, entertainment and competition are put on a par,” notes Pierre Cartieron, Asav swimming coach, at L’Îlot Corail aquatic center in Varennes-Vauzelles. The Athletic Association chose to distinguish between leisure time and competition time. From the age of 6, children can join the “Water School”. From the age of 8, the question is asked. Each swimmer can choose to join a leisure group or competition group. “We do not confuse competition with entertainment. There is a difference in level and desire. The gap is widening among young people,” he adds.

The competition course offers four compulsory courses per week. “We are in bulk. Swimming is not a fun sport. There is a split after water school. We move from learning through play to sequencing lengths. The group has 25 children out of 170 licensed.”

80 swimmers in a leisure course

The recreational course attracted 80 young swimmers this year. “In general, those who want to spend free time go there immediately. Children who stop competing do not go for leisure but stop swimming altogether,” said the coach.

Discipline ceases to follow a form of disgust. “It is a difficult sport. Some may have over-compulsory coaches or parents. It is not my mentality. We try to keep them in this sport by reducing the demands of competition. They are taught to enjoy themselves through competition and sports.”

But once two groups are separated, the question arises of how they perceive each other. “Cleaver has good and bad. He will create representations,” emphasizes child psychiatrist Jean-Claude Guillaume. To maintain the bonds between the young graduates, Pierre Cartieron created activities that bring together the different groups. We try to organize shared games, picnics and swimming sessions. »

On the music side

La Never offers many offers to learn music. But not all of them have the same philosophy.

Drum lessons at the Municipal Music School in Varennes-Vauzelles.

Marie-Helen Gaullier chose the Conservatory of Nevers several years ago. “I knew the lessons were high quality. The cellist also knew the level and the requirements for personal investment.” I also participate in group practices, in choirs, in singing lessons. That’s more than six hours a week. But this is my passion. “Music takes time, and that’s the price to pay,” she says.

Trumpeter Théo Apprederice also turned to the Conservatory to pursue a diploma course. I will get a diploma in music studies next year. It’s a plus, it’s an acknowledgment of everything you’ve done in music so far. »

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Other musicians are more sensitive to the idea of ​​integrating the course with exams, teacher assessments, and theory courses. They turn to music schools, which offer a less “academic” approach.

We try to get into the complicated in a fun way, when needed, not beforehand.

In Nevers, the Alban Bouquette School offers lessons in classical and folk guitar, jazz, electric, bass, and ukulele. Here, there is no annual commitment but there is a monthly package, a la carte package, or custom courses. “Initially, the goal is a taste for listening and musical practice,” the teacher notes. For music theory, there are no class lessons. “We try to get into the complicated in a fun way, as needed, not beforehand.”

On the same paradigm, the Municipal Music School of Varennes-Vauzelles introduces young students to the instrument before beginning musical training in class. “We shouldn’t rush them on the theoretical side,” says director Sebastien Charmot.

Elisa Zagam

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