Sports Just Don't Make Sense

Sports just don't make sense. They don't always go the way we want them to. Sports can be so frustrating. To the point where it's easy to wonder why we devote so much time and energy to it. Let's look at why sports don't make sense.

First, sports are complex. There are many factors that impact performance. Some of those influences are external such as weather and field or course conditions. Others are internal including your health, fitness, technique, tactics and, of course, your mind. And don't forget all of the equipment involved in many sports. Sports are so unforgiving that if just one of these areas is off, your performance will be off and you won't achieve your goals.

Second, sports are unpredictable and uncontrollable. To illustrate my point, let's compare sports to school. If you're reasonably intelligent and you study hard for an exam, assuming the exam is fair, the chances of earning a good grade are almost 100 percent. Why? Because just about everything that contributes to success is within your control. There is no equivalent of bad weather or bad field conditions when you take an exam. Most often, whatever you put into school is what you get out of it. Not so with sports. Great effort and total preparation doesn't always equal great results. You can be totally prepared to perform your best before a competition, but the almighty sports gods decide it's not going to be your day and you perform poorly.

Third, nothing comes quick and easy in sports. There are rarely sudden leaps in performance. Rather, there is the frustratingly slow grind forward as you get stronger physically, better technically and tactically, sharper mentally, and, hopefully, more successful in competitions.

Third, progress isn't steady. You'll be improving solidly, then, all of a sudden, you seem to be going nowhere fast. If you're lucky, you just plateau for a little while. If you're really unlucky, your performances seems to go backward, meaning you actually get slower. In either case, your stagnation is often a mystery that you can't seem to solve. Then, hopefully, just as suddenly, you're back on your game. Oh so frustrating!

Fourth, sports aren't fair. Often, those who don't deserve to find success do (the supremely talented, but lazy), at least to a point, and those who do deserve to find success don't (the hard workers, but perhaps with less talent). Also, what you put into your sport isn't always what you get out of it. Sometimes, your best efforts don't lead to the results you want.

How To Deal with the (Non) Sense of Sports

With the craziness of sports, you have two choices. You can either quit because they just don't make any sense (not something I would recommend). Or, you can recognize that sports make no sense and decide to deal with them the best you can. Here are some more practical suggestions.

First, and most basically, you must accept that sports don't make sense and stop expending energy over raging against that fact or trying to force it to make sense. This shift in your thinking alone should remove some of the emotional weight that you carry when you push back against this simple, yet so frustrating, reality.

Second, though sports are complex, they are also organized, which means you can break all that complexity into manageable pieces. You can then take what had felt overwhelming and wrap your arms around each of the 'bite-sized' pieces and do everything you can maximize each piece.

Third, sports may seem unpredictable and feel uncontrollable, but there is a lot you can control, mainly you (i.e., your physical health, technical and tactical skills, psychology, and equipment). If you focus on and control the control-ables, you don't gain total control over your sport, but you do take enough control so that when the un-control-ables aren't against you, you'll have a very good chance of finding success.

Fourth, many sports can have multiple "winners" in a competition, meaning more than one athlete can have a great result and feel successful. Yet, thinking about your competitors is a certain deal killer when it comes to performing your best and good results. If you're thinking about other athletes, they're in your head and you're not. So, ignore everyone else and focus on yourself and what you need to do to perform your best.

Fourth, sports are a long-term investment. No aspect of sports has quick fixes. Rather, you need three things to hang in there long enough to achieve your goals. The patience to give yourself the time necessary to improve and get the results you want. The persistence to keep working hard when it gets monotonous, boring, tiring, or painful. And the perseverance to stay positive and motivated in the face of failure, mistakes, setbacks, and other struggles.

Ultimately, for you to keep pursuing your sports dreams, you must have faith that sports do make sense in the long run. Hopefully, that faith is rewarded with the results you want and the goals you have striven for. But, the reality is that sports don't always work out that way.

But sports can still make sense to you. If you don't get the results you want, even with your best efforts, you can still find the sense in sports by knowing that you'll notch far more important victories than wins and trophies. What victories am I talking about? The fun, excitement, satisfaction, experiences, relationships, memories, and life lessons that you take with you from sports that will not only stick with you the rest of your life, but will also propel you toward success in another chapter of your life.