Keeping Perspective – Enjoy the Game!

Hard work, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, discipline, perseverance, teamwork and focus.  These are all elements to becoming a success in sports and in life. Sports can be a great training ground to instill and to test these important character qualities.  Volleyball is challenging and requires a great deal of skill to play it successfully at a high level.  There are some “naturals” who can do things seemingly effortlessly.  However even for those who are naturally gifted high levels of skill are not generally casually acquired.  Having a high level of skill at any pursuit does not just happen it takes hard work and dedication.  As coaches, players and parents, it is easy to get caught up in the challenges of competition, the work of improving, winning and losing. We invest a lot into it, we are passionate about it.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of this simple truth. Volleyball is a GAME! 

Your intrinsic value as a human begin cannot be measured by how hard you hit or how well you can pass a volleyball. Some will do it better than others, some will advance farther, play more, play at a higher level. That is all okay! How well you play a game should not define you as a person! Your character and how you treat others are much more important.  Win or lose, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west.  For high end athletes there may be a point in time where your performance on the court can be turned into an athletic scholarship or open doors for you academically that may otherwise be closed.  If you are good enough, those door will open for you and those are great opportunities to pursue.  But no matter how good you are, if you enjoy the game, play the game!  Play the game today, because you enjoy it today.

The true consequences of success or failure in sport are by and large, well, minimal. We stress over who plays more, who played less, who should have done better.  We worry about which position I am a playing and why is she on that team and I am on this team. Players make mistakes, coaches make mistakes and referees make mistakes.  Sometime we just need to sit back and take a deep breath. Realize that if you have food in your belly, a pair of gym shoes, practice clothes, a mom or day to get to back and forth to practice and games and a place to call home- you are in a pretty darn good place.  You are blessed!  It is a privilege and a luxury to have so much time and energy to invest into a game.  Don't over think it! Enjoy the experience and the opportunity that you have for what it is!  Enjoy your teammate for who they are and what they contribute.  Don't dwell on what could be, be thankful for what is!

Yes sometimes your coach may get on your case. You may think that he or she is being "mean" and "not fun."  Just keep in perspective that he or she is trying to help you achieve your goals, pushing you to success.  Your coach is helping you acquire either the skill, the mindset or the fitness required to be more effective. In turn this will help you have more "fun" and be more successful when you play!  As Tom Landry is quoted as saying "A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so that you can be who you have always known you could be."  This process is not always "fun" but the results of the success that the process can bring are fun. Either way, win or lose, let's keep perspective that is just a game!


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