Covid-19’s Silver Lining
Imagine stress free coaching. Imagine only experiencing the joys of coaching and sport. And never having to concern yourself with the pressure and problems that often go along with coaching.
Well, I believe this imaginary world can be a reality. And it’s Covid-19 that has made it so.
We are lucky to be playing. Make the most of it.
Three months ago, we weren’t sure if the season was going ahead. The Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to cause so much uncertainty, with so many things still up in the air. Fortunately for the current sports season, the resumption of the season is imminent or in some cases has already begun.
But even with the resumption of sports, the current season is going to be severely affected. Most competitions are reducing the number of games in their season, which will make this season like no other. And it is like no other.
Regardless of how your season pans out, you will remember this season for a very long time. With that being the case, let’s make a considered effort to remember this season for good reasons rather than the season that was destroyed by Covid-19.
I believe we can do this by changing our mindset heading into the reformed season. Instead of worrying about wins and losses and all the pressure often associated with sports, let’s focus solely on the joy that sports bring us.
Play every game as if it were your last. It could be.
We have been starved of the joy of playing sports for too long, so now that it is here embrace it. Every single one of us should be extremely grateful that we are able to get back out onto the field or court and playing again. But in reality, in this volatile environment that we currently living in, every game we play could potentially be our last for the season.
If that’s the case, would you want your last game of the season to be clouded by the desperation and pressure to win? Or would you prefer to know your last game was focused on having as much fun as possible playing your wonderful game?
I think the answer is obvious.
So, in this season that has been like nothing else we have ever experienced, do something that you have never tried before. Forget the pressure, forget the stress, and forget the wins and losses. Focus solely on having a great time and just enjoy being out there playing.
The only question left is how do we do this?
“What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last!”Michael Jordan
How to remove pressure and just have fun.
It all starts by changing your and your player’s mindset. First, you must take the focus off winning and remove the associated pressure. Sure, we all want to play well, but that is different to focusing on winning.
Instead of focussing on what is going to win you the next game, focus on what is going to bring you and your team the most enjoyment. It might be the same thing, but focusing on enjoyment doesn’t carry the same pressure as focusing on winning.
Change your language so that the team understands your objective is having fun rather than winning games. Be mindful of the words you use and what message they are sending. One wrong word could again load up the pressure on your players and take their focus off having fun.
Be honest with your players and let them know that throughout this season you just want to have the most fun you have ever had. And what comes of that in terms of results will be. But you’ll have fun regardless.
Celebrate the little things. Everything you can possibly be happy about, celebrate it with your team. It could be a clever bit of play, a sacrifice a player made to help a teammate, a goal, a tackle or intercept, or something funny that happened during the game. Make a special effort to ensure everything you do encourages your players to smile and enjoy the game.
And then after games, win, lose, or draw, celebrate the fun you all had, not the result on the scoreboard.
An easy way to picture this is to think of every game as if it were the last game of the season and you had no chance of making finals. How would you approach that game differently to every other?
The fun will produce results.
The best part of this approach is I believe you will find that if you focus solely on everyone having a great time, the results will look after themselves. But, there is only one way to find out. And there has never been a better season in which to try it.
Let’s turn this pandemic into a turning point where we play every game as if it were our last. We play it with passion and excitement, and we finish every game knowing we had as much fun as we could possibly have.
Good luck and stay safe.
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