“The medals don’t mean anything and the glory doesn’t last. It’s all about your happiness. The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.” Jackie Joyner Kersee, 2-time Olympic Gold medalist in track & field
One of the most important ingredients of peak athletic performance at all levels is the one that most often gets lost in today’s intense pressure cooker that is competitive sports: FUN. How many times do you hear your coaches or teammates say to you, “Hey, let’s just go out today and have some fun. That’s our only goal”? My best guess is not very often. The fact of the matter is that you should only be playing your sport because it makes you happy. You should practice and suffer through the hard work and pain of intense training because you absolutely love it. Sports are games and games are supposed to be fun. The outcome of any sporting event should never be so larger-than-life that you’re freaking out and dreading it before or during the performance. The more that you can keep this perspective, that having fun should always be your major goal when you compete, then the more consistently that you’ll perform at your highest level. This is one of the great ironies about peak performance. If you’re having first, then you’ll always play your best. Getting too serious about a game’s outcome is the fastest way to kill your enjoyment of that particular performance. If you’re not having fun, if you are overly worried going into the match, game or race or you’re miserable throughout it, then you will most always perform way below your potential. Without fun there is no satisfaction. Without fun there will be no feeling of accomplishment. Without fun there is really no point in being an athlete. Just remember, FUN is the town that you must always drive through in order to get to your final destination, CHAMPION!