British children not encouraged to compete, warns Strictly judge

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FORMER PROFESSIONAL ballerina Darcey Bussell has warned Britain has got too “soft” on children – who are not instilled with enough competitive spirit.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge, 45, claimed she worried that today’s children lack the drive to succeed in a career like dance.

The ex-prima ballerina maintained the nation’s youngsters are missing a competitive edge that is far more prevalent in other countries around the world, including the US and Australia.

In an interview with Radio Times magazine, she said: “I think we are getting a little bit soft on kids. Their options are limitless and the technology is extraordinary.

“It would be easy to stay locked up in a room on a computer all day but if you’re not physical when you’re a child, when are you going to be? And that’s what worries me. Kids are either naturally lazy or naturally hyper – they have to be motivated into trying things out and committing to them.”

The mother-of-two, who retired from ballet in 2007, claimed British children should be doing more sport.

“When we lived in Australia, sport was compulsory every Saturday for every child. I think the Government is only just starting to realise how important that is,” Ms Bussell said.

“In dance, like any sport, you have to have real dedication and I don’t think kids today are prepared to put in the hard work. It’s not a highly paid career, you’re not going to always get the job, however talented you are.

“So it’s a question of ‘Do I go into a profession that I’m absolutely passionate about but might not succeed in? And put in the hours to even stand a chance?’

“I don’t think it’s a lack of talent, it’s just whether kids are being encouraged to go out and compete,” she added. “The Americans are far better than us in that department. They are raised with the attitude that each and every one of them can be a star.

“Here, I don’t think we always believe...we’re always surprised and say we’ve been lucky.”