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Sport and Competition

Fun Is a Mental Tool in Sports

When you're enjoying yourself, you also perform your best.

Source: CCO

Fun is a powerful mental tool that is under utilized by athletes and coaches alike. In fact, when I ask the athletes with whom I work what is the most important contributor to their success, the most widely expressed response is fun. When you think of mental tools, you probably don’t think of fun. Yet, fun has a profound effect on athletes psychologically, emotionally, and physically in ways that encourage maximum performance.

So, why is fun so beneficial to athletes?

  • Fun generates positive emotions, such as happiness, joy, and excitement.
  • Fun counters negative emotions that can creep in such as fear, worry, frustration.
  • Fun prevents overthinking because when you’re having fun, you have no need to think.
  • Fun keeps you focused in the present.
  • Fun prevents distractions such as thinking about results and comparing yourself to others.
  • Fun provides perspective by reminding you why you compete (because it’s fun!).

As a mental tool, you need to approach fun in the same way you approach your use of other mental tools. In other words, how do you ensure that you have fun at competitions? No, you can’t force yourself to have fun. But you can build things into your competitive routine that are fun. You can, for example:

  • Watch an entertaining TV show or movie, or play games with your friends the night before a competition;
  • Hang out with teammates who are fun to be with before a competition (and stay away from teammates who are too serious!);
  • Listen to music that makes you happy;
  • Goof around and keep things light until it’s time to put on your game face.

To learn more about how you can use fun as a mental tool to perform your best when it matters most, watch Prime Sport vlog segment #11.

Want to get your mind in the best shape of your life so you can perform your best when it matters most? Take a look at my latest book, Train Your Mind for Athletic Success: Mental Preparation to Achieve Your Sports Goals and at my online courses for athletes, coaches, and parents.

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