Sports: Letting Go of The Bad Pressure

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If you follow me regularly on this blog, you know that I value physical activity in my life. I think practicing a sport or a physical activity truly helps being balanced psychologically and emotionally, as well as keeping a body healthy.

However, performance is often related to sports, sometimes leading to having a heavy pressure. As far as I’m concerned, I want to stay away from such bad feelings as much as possible. It doesn’t mean to not give it all you got. It means to not forget why you started it: health, pleasure, happiness? I doubt bad pressure should be linked to these!

So How to Let Go?

I remember hearing the Canadian Olympics Medalist Sylvie Fréchette on how to be a good parent for an athlete and thought it could be a good lesson for everyone as well. These few points are the ones I decided to put into practice, both for my kids and myself.

1. Being Present

As a parent of an athlete, it is easy to understand. It means to be present as often as possible into your child’s practices and competitions, and to encourage your child.

To me, as an adult and for myself, it means to be in the present time. When I get into action, I make sure to be dedicated to it 100%. I give it my total focus and concentrate on what I have to do.

2. Communicate

The Olympian explained very well that we have to ask questions to our children instead of putting words on their “performance”. As parents, we have to ask them how they feel about their practice or competition and how they see their performance or result. What do they think about it, not what you think.

Again, for myself, it makes me put the importance on the emotions the physical activity I made bring me. Am I proud? Do I feel satisfied? Did I have fun? It helps focusing more on the benefits of practicing a sport than on the results.

3. Don’t Build on Performance

Mrs. Fréchette thinks that we better encourage physical and psychological aptitudes than the performance of our kids. This means encouraging the fact your child respects the rules, listens to the coach, is motivated, works well in the team or do what is asked with a smile. Therefore, losing or making mistakes become a mean to learn rather than a failure.

How to apply this as an adult and towards ourselves? By asking yourself the exact same thing, period! Don’t build on your performance. Focus on how you took the challenge. Focus on your attitude.

4. Having Fun

For sure, it is something to remember both for kids and adults. Sports should be fun. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If your child or yourself can’t practice it with a smile, then maybe it’s not the right activity for you.

Personally, I’m doing horseback riding, spinning lessons and I run. I sure don’t have a smile on my face all the time because sometimes all you would see on it is the efforts I put it into. However, once I’m done on a hard jumps course, a 10 minute ride up on the bike or a hard start-up running, I make sure to give it a smile, to be proud of myself while I continue.

A new year has started and I know many people would like to lose weight as a resolution. I will always encourage someone who tries to take on a healthy path. But I really think having these few rules will help anyone keep it up and have fun while at it!


What Do You Think?


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