There are a number of reasons each and every one of us play sports but what we take from sports is much more than just athletic skills. Over the last few days I have been reading a couple of articles surrounding this topic and what we as players can learn from the sporting greats.
Some common themes that I have come across include:
Practice makes better not perfect
Perfection is something everybody strives for in sport but something that is rarely seen. The ability to react to situations effectively is common place in all sports. Practice hones your skills to adapt quickly to more situations at a faster pace. There is also a great satisfaction in becoming better at any individual skill, something often forgotten when reviewing practice over a length of time.
To succeed in sport comes at a cost
In order to succeed at any sport each individual must devote themselves to hours of practice and a high level of commitment. This comes at a cost. Even practicing comes at a cost, by practising one skill you are unable to practice another so there is always a cost associated to learning any skill. Players therefore need an understanding of how and when they must spend their energy and when they do to truly commit to what they are doing. It is a great skill for any athlete to know what is necessary to improve and what is comfortable to practice. The best always aim to practice what is necessary as often as possible.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
Risk and reward go hand in hand. Without simply copying a famous phrase, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. The meaning behind this saying is extremely important for athletes to succeed. Without taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone you will not uncover your true potential. This however is not a blanket pass for recklessness. Sports are filled with plenty of opportunities to naturally take risks, only through repeated exposure to these situations do you develop a sense of when is a good time to take a risk and when it is better to pass it up.
It's ok to not always win.
Sports teach us about the value of failure. While practicing and competing, sports are built on the moments of success and failure. Athlete's need to accept that within sport every risk you take will not pay off, that every game will not result in a win and that everything will not go your way all the time. It is hugely important not to become paralysed or fixated by thought of failure. Every element of sport helps improve your learning and every experience helps shape your knowledge of the game.
Striving for improvement is a never ending process and as players it is important to always learn from all aspects of your life.
Please comment below if you feel there is something you would like to add on this topic. It would be great to learn from others and about what has helped you succeed in sports or any aspect of life.
SOURCE: University of Kansas - School of Education and Human Sciences