Every day, I take an invigorating morning walk. On days like today with beautiful clear skies and the chill of winter in the air, it can be especially satisfying. At times like these, it’s good to reflect on just how lucky we are to be given one of the greatest gifts of all, the gift of life itself. Yes, to be alive and healthy, each one of us unique in our own particular way with the power to create our own life journey is truly awe-inspiring.
Some time ago, my son crafted a rather unique poem about a young boy. The boy not yet of school-age realized his days of play and doing as he pleased were about to end. The boy had come to the conclusion that with school came responsibility and work, so he needed to make the most of the carefree days he had left. Although somewhat overly exaggerated, the poem highlighted how things change as we grow.
Fortunately, most of us are all born with the same gifts and opportunities to learn and develop. As children, our parents nurture us, ensure we eat right, steer us away from danger and comfort us when we need comforting.
As we grow and learn, our ability to reason and think independently develops. Our own sense of purpose starts to emerge, a process that continues into adulthood and throughout our life’s journey.
With personal growth and decision making, there are times, despite our best efforts, we will make bad choices. Failure can be an unsettling experience, our path which may have seemed very clear may become a little blurred. Self-doubt may cause us to lose focus on objectives. Fear may start to erode our confidence and belief in our ability to succeed.
The mindset reality check we all need
The reality is; the fear of failure is an ever-present condition even the most successful entrepreneur’s experience. If this sounds frightening or negative, it doesn’t have to be.
Fear is a natural condition that serves as a safety net for your mind and body. Fear acts as a protection mechanism to prevent you from a course of action it deems life-threatening or which may produce an unfavorable outcome.
Fortunately, we can keep our fear in check with another emotion, that emotion is confidence.
School sport participation and its benefits to students
School sport offers children of all ages the opportunity to keep fit, development body strength, balance, and coordination as well as build lasting friendships. Sports provides participants with a welcome time-out from the daily stressors of life, such as work or study. During physical activity, participants enjoy reduced levels of stress, a direct effect of the body’s production of endorphins stimulated during exercise.
Regular exercise promotes better well-being, over time, your body goes through physical changes such as improved strength, stamina, balance and coordination. Changes in your body and mental health are reflected in a range of psychological, social and physical benefits such as;
- Increased self-confidence
- Better social skills
- Better grades
- Boost in leadership skills
- Improvements in mood
- Higher self-esteem
- Better concentration
- Reduced stress
- Improved sleeping habits
- Healthy, more manageable body weight
A recent study showed active children were more likely to grow into active adults. An article by Harvard Health Publishing linked exercise with a reduction to the onset of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia while improving memory, mood, sleep, and general well-being.
Another perspective on how exercise improves memory can be found on the acc.edu.au website.
Whatever your reason to want to participate in sport, the benefits are clear.
Nurturing success through sport
Many inspirational stories have been told of sportsmen who endure and succeed under extreme hardship, against all the odds. They possess the perseverance, determination, and courage to press on despite the setbacks encountered.
The truth is, life will throw you a curve-ball from time to time, and will almost certainly and unexpectedly knock you down when your least prepared. Your goal is to develop a mindset that is strong enough to take the blows, repel the negative thoughts and press on.
By bland definition, sport is an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess of a competitive nature. To me personally, sport; encompasses bringing together the resources of our mind, body, and spirit and channeling our energy and passion to achieve the desired outcome.
That’s what I love about participating in sports – it presents an opportunity for everyone to take away a unique learning experience.
Anyone who has ever set a goal in the sport will attest, is the sacrifice, hard work and determination required and the challenge of performing under pressure.
Athletes condition themselves both physically and mentally. It’s the mental conditioning that enables athletes to push their bodies through the pain, discomfort, and fear they experience to achieve their objectives.
You see, the benefits of sport go far beyond just physical prowess, it’s about the valuable life lessons we learn through participation. Seem a little overdramatic? Let’s take a look at the quintessential qualities needed to become a successful sportsman.
Traits professional athletes possess you to need
Professional athletes seem to exude confidence, a professional athlete has:
It’s hard to imagine doing something every day without a genuine interest and passion for what you do. Passion is recognized as a primary driver amongst successful business people and athletes alike.
Imagine an archer drawing their bow to hit a target that didn’t exist. Athletes set seasonal, annual and future goals and regularly reevaluate and tweak them to ensure they stay on target.
Breaking down goals into objectives enables athletes to more easily focus on reaching and achieving each individual target. Focus requires unwavering discipline to strive after a goal that spans years into the future.
Successful athletics listen. Can you imagine not heeding the advice of an experienced coach or a more seasoned athlete had to offer? Listening is essential to the learning and development process.
What sets an athlete apart from the crowd is their dedication to training in the pursuit of elite athletic performance. Never be satisfied with the status-quo, refine and repeat.
Great athletes have an unrelenting ability to endure the unpleasant, requiring a significant amount of physical stamina. Athletes often quote mental strength as the key to pushing beyond their physical boundaries.
Just a few years ago, my son was fortunate enough to meet one of Australia’s legendary athletes, Robert de Castella. One of the most memorable pieces of advice he gave; the importance of patience – that success takes time.
Rest is essential to life. Knowing when to pull back, take account of your position and reevaluating your goals is paramount. Getting the optimum amount of physical and mental rest is the key to a sharp mind and a healthy body. Listen to your body.
For any athlete to be successful, they need an undying belief in their ability to achieve their goal. An athlete’s beliefs are founded on training, performance and a positive attitude that drives them to continue to train harder and longer than anyone else.
Personal ambition aside, there’s a lot to be said about sharing success as a team. Teamwork requires the entire team to work together towards a common goal with each team member making a unique contribution to the team’s success.
Applying the formula of success to school study
School sports offer the opportunity for students to learn a range of essential life skills while engaging in an activity that benefits their physical and mental health. Often skills acquired on the playing field enable children to overcome obstacles in their daily life. Rather than buckle under pressure, focus, determination, and perseverance provide a winning formula to rise above adversity and excel.
A famous quotation from Tim Notke, which you may have heard, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. The world is full of individuals who are smarter or more naturally gifted than you, the good news is that hard work can ace talent.
It is important to remember that in life, there are no shortcuts, anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. Successful mindsets are built by applying what we learn from the knowledge we garner.
Sport provides a positive experience to young and old to develop healthy relationships, acquire leadership and life skills that go beyond the sports field or personal endeavor. Through participation, sport inspires us to take part in the journey of life, to triumph over adversity, conquer our fears and build confidence.
As a runner who regularly attends fun runs and athletic meets, I often note the happy demeanor of athletes, their families, and friends. Sport is the instrument that draws families and friends together to enjoy the benefits that only participation in life can bring – health and happiness.
Sport goes way beyond personal endeavor, it impacts those with whom you interact with daily – your family, friends, and colleagues. Sport is all about relishing the moment and living life to the fullest.