Creativity: the essence of success in sport

Creativity has always been an element that has made a difference, whether in ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, Romans, Incas, Aztecs, among others, until our times. The most successful professionals are creative, whether they are architects, lawyers, managers. etc. Creativity is not exclusive to artists (literati, painters, musicians, etc.).

Sport is by no means alien to this, creativity is an indispensable element in it, it is also in general a highly appreciated good, which is not known when it will appear, it is like the inspiration of the artist.

Similarly, we allow ourselves to affirm (without wanting to offend anyone) that, a musician who writes a song, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, do not differ in anything with the creativity of Diego Armando Maradona to get the second goal against the English at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Although it is true that they are moments of special inspiration, what can be done is to provide the athlete with all the conditions so that this creativity is more likely to occur, naturally, since unfortunately it cannot be forced. In turn, rigid thoughts can be relaxed to increase creativity, through exercises, to achieve cognitive or thinking flexibility.

Creativity is related to flexibility, originality and fluidity, in turn, with divergent thinking, this is an essential aspect of it, since it is what allows providing different and creative solutions to new, unforeseen and / or complicated situations . This way of thinking allows not just one answer but a whole range of possibilities in the same situation.

This type of thinking also occurs in reverie states, where you are at the alpha (1) thinking level, where limits and parameters are minimized, therefore you can promote and work in an excellent way through visualization. (two).

Sports are regulated games, when one plays as a child creativity is essential. When playing games for adults, which are sports, creativity and playful capacity should not be neglected, sports being regulated games should serve to amuse and recreate, since that is why they have been built and that is their purpose, the more creativity, the more fun, and to make creativity more likely to appear, you must have an adequate state of relaxation and good emotional management.

The most successful athletes are extremely creative, and sport becomes an art. Well, not for nothing millions of people see them, because they are beautiful and we always look forward to those magical moments of inspiration and creativity, so sublime.

The fan can spend hours watching boring sports just to wait for that moment of inspiration that only lasts a few seconds, it is the moment of climax, when the inspiration of the athlete and his magic is born.

  • Ideal mental state for the human being to make decisions or solve problems. as it allows you to think more clearly. Calm down. concentration and energy.
  • Successful athletes invariably have well-developed image display control skills. They can think in pictures instead of words and can control the consent of their mental pictures and images in positive and constructive directions. Good performance in sport requires from an athlete the ability to move from a highly rational, logical, and deliberate style of thinking to one that is much more spontaneous, free, and instinctive. Visualization and imagination practice before and during performances helps facilitate this ability. Visualization is one of the most powerful mental training strategies discovered so far to translate mental desires into physical performance. The secret is in the fact that the central nervous system is unable to differentiate between a very vivid visualization and a real event. So the more vivid, detailed and real the visualization is, the more powerful the effect will be. The ability to think in pictures instead of words, to control the flow of images in positive directions, and to visualize vividly and in great detail is surely improved with practice. It is an essential mental skill in the area of ​​performance ( Loher . 1987).

Is creativity something that comes with the person or can it be worked on, how technical and / or physical aspects?

Some are tall, others skinny, others naturally stronger or flexible, it is the same with creativity and other mental aspects. However, this does not mean that it cannot and should not work. Natural talent must be worked on and cultivated to improve it. If something is missing you can work, if you add talent with serious and disciplined work you get an out of series in sports. It is essential in the elite sports world the flexibility of thought to flow naturally in competitions, making fast and precise decisions in the face of unforeseen problems, performing at the best possible level, a rigid, monotonous, warned and / or predictable game will be easy to counter. An athlete without creativity will be predictable, so the results will not accompany him, which will lead him to a safe distance from competitions or even sport.

To make the appearance of creativity more likely, the athlete has to be loose, relaxed, cannot be tense, nervous and / or rigid, for that they must have an adequate management of relaxation and / or breathing techniques (Yoga, Tai Chi. Chi Kung, to name a few).

Facing anxiety; the athlete becomes mentally blocked and begins to resort to the same defects that he had before training (Caravedo, 2005).

This quote from the Peruvian sports psychologist Leopoldo Caravedo clearly indicates to us the importance of managing anxiety in athletes during competitions and training sessions (although it is always easier for this to occur in training sessions, due to the absence of the pressures that sports bring with them. competencies), since anxiety, stress, fears, irrational and / or negative thoughts are the main enemies of creativity and anxiety is the most important pillar of a whole series of mental consequences that can become extremely unfavorable for the athlete . Anxiety, in turn, leads the athlete to make the same mistakes that they had before technical corrections and the subsequent internalization of the appropriate technique, that is, the automation of movements, since the resources they had disappear due to the mental block so you only have to resort to what you knew before and the result, as you can imagine, can reach catastrophic levels. Anxiety is the number one enemy of creativity, anxiety leads to fear, fear leads to negative and / or irrational thoughts, thus a vicious circle occurs and it becomes a “snowball” that grows more and more if the athlete or team does not have adequate resources to deal with this situation. This is very important to work with a sports psychologist.

An anxious, nervous or rigid athlete will not be able to allow their creativity to flow, but on the contrary, it will be locked, encapsulated and unable to go out, which will cause a poor performance. The athlete must be with an open and clear mind to allow creativity to appear when it has to appear, without being forced, because the more desire and effort the athlete puts in so that it occurs, the more difficult it will be for it to appear, it seems contradictory but wanting to force its appearance will only make it more unlikely to happen. The paradox of mental abilities is that the more aware one is of these, the more difficult it will be for them to occur and, rather, they must appear without the athlete noticing that it is happening in the moment in which it occurs, that is, it must be automated as physical ability or technical gesture.

In sports, techniques are learned first, having to reach a level where they come out naturally, flow with the athlete’s personal style and can get their full potential. As in martial arts, in sport one must “learn to unlearn”, once the technique has been learned, one must stop thinking about it so that talent and creativity can flow, developing the athlete’s personal style, but for this occurs, the movement must first be automated and then, as the wisdom of martial artists says, “the mind must be emptied.” Once the technical movement has been learned, it is internalized and becomes a natural movement of the person and merges with the personal style, as well as their conformation and physical constitution. If the athlete, who already has the internalized technique, is asked how he does it, he will have to stop for a moment to think about how he performs it, since it has become a natural movement for him and even if he is asked this before Entering the competition can put him in trouble, since he will try to make conscious something that he is no longer conscious and that occurs naturally in him, which could cause mental disorganization when entering the competition.

In sport we find great examples of creativity, in tennis with Roger Federer or Andre Agassi, in basketball with Michael Jordan , in football today with Zinedine Zidane or Ronaldinho Gaúcho and before with Diego Armando Maradona, Edson Arantes do Nascimento ‘Pelé ” or Johan Cruyff , on the Hawaiian board (Surf) with Kelly Slater , Andy lrons or Sofía Mulanovich and in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Jean Jacques Machado, to mention just a few well-known and internationally recognized athletes.

For example: Sofía Mulanovich has flexibility of thought to be able to react easily to unexpected situations, flowing naturally in the waves, making quick and correct decisions. The Hawaiian board (Surf) is an art, the most beautiful maneuvers are the ones that give the most scores, so the most creative, the one who performs the most radical and beautiful movements will be the winner and that was Sofia in 2004.

Cognitive or thinking flexibility is something that should be promoted in athletes from a young age, in formative ages. This responsibility must be shared by parents, teachers, teachers, psychologists and / or coaches, it is associated with fun that is the essence of any activity that generates pleasure and sport cannot be the exception.


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