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The playground effect

Has the school playground robbed your sporting success?... What effect did your school years have on you?

Many recreational athletes have a tough time thinking of themselves as an elite athlete. In fact they shake off any ambition in their sport at all. I’ve heard every excuse there is - too old, too fat, too late or too broken to ever go there.

The biggest barrier is that most recreational athletes don’t believe they can be successful in their sport. Would they ask for success in sport out loud – nope! They actually fear saying it out loud. It's like there'll be this big kid in the playground ready to laugh their ambition into the ground.

You only have to read Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers to realise most peoples’ thoughts about sport have been influenced by their very first experiences at school. Either you were good at sport in school or you weren’t. And there was no room for late developers - you had about a month to sort that out. Gladwell explores what happens to those kids that go to school in the second half of the school year. Statistics show this demographic is unlikely to make it to top level sport simply because the kids with birthdays in the first half of the year have 6 months more skill, confidence and knowhow by the time the second intake gets there.

What would 6 months more practise over the competition mean to your chosen sport? It's a shame those big kids are still hurting 20, 30, 40 years on.

The people I work with have often succeeded in many areas of their life, so I can’t imagine why they would expect to succeed less in their sport? It’s an arena that is served well by goals, steady consistent effort and regular evaluation.

Get out of the rut, enable your success; ask for it out loud and engage with activities and people that will surely improve your sport. Your health has everything to gain and nothing to lose in this approach .


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Palmerston North, NZ 4410


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© 2020 Created by Barbara Kelly for Xalt Ltd.