Sports have always been pressure-packed.
End of the game free throws. Final drive with 2:00 minutes left on the clock. Lining up face-to-face on a penalty kick. Pressure is intertwined with sports. The pressure in these moments is willingly accepted because the ecstasy of victory is so enticing. These moments are what make sports so thrilling & invigorating and serve as a magnet drawing us in.
In a strange way, the pressure creates a joy for the game.
Unfortunately, not all pressure compels, some compel. For example:
— The pressure to win fueled by the coach’s ego to accelerate THEIR status and coaching career.
— The pressure to win fueled by parents desperate hopes you’ll remove the financial burden of college through a scholarship.
— The pressure to excel, to fulfill the only perceived life-line that’ll allow you to one-day get out of the struggle
— The pressure to perform because you’ve created an identity on social media wrapped around “showing out” and letting everyone know it’s “time to eat.”
But when things aren’t going well or you lose, you’re left starving.
You’re left miserable and not just the miserable feeling you after a tough loss. It’s deeper than that.
It’s the new line item on your chore list, right behind making your bed and in front of taking out the trash, your parents are making you do.
It’s the elements of depression that sets in over the reality you may never “make it out.”
It’s the feeling of embarrassment and shame you aren’t able to live up the expectations you personally created on your social pages.
These pressures aren’t the compelling pressure of sport we signed-up for.
The game gives us pressures we enjoy; ironically we create the pressures we don’t want.
It’s no surprise why I so often hear of statistics that coaches careers are shorter than ever before. It’s becomes no surprise to me when I hear of players “choosing” not to play this year. The joy is gone for many.
As we’ve desire to have our programs “on-point”, I think we’ve missed the point.
This is a game. Games are meant to be “played” and if you research “play” it means to “engage in a game or activity for enjoyment.” To be “in joy” of the game is the goal. Joy is played out under the guise of enthusiasm.
Self-awareness is the starting point for any growth and this subject of enthusiasm is no different. Has the joy and enthusiasm in your program gone awry? Is not what it once was? Could your team improve if you were to infuse that “juice” back in your team?
Reflect and reset and lets commit together that moving forward we won’t miss the point.
Have fun and #LeadEmUp