Fun: Key to Sports Success

Performance is superior when the athlete enjoys and experiences passion, joy, joy and fun in sport.

All people like to have fun and have fun. Who doesn’t want to find their calling and dedicate themselves to a job that they like, are passionate about and have fun with? There are some lucky ones who can continue to “play” as adults and live it up. They are the ones who find their calling and feel like this for what they do. Sports practice is not the exception to this, quite the opposite. Sports activity originates and is born from the pleasure and fun that it generates when practicing it, that is why a myth begins to practice sports because it enjoys it and that makes it continue to persevere in it. 

However, the paradox occurs when this enjoyable activity becomes work. An obligation loses its Mica quality for many athletes, when this should not be the case, since sport is a regulated game. The purpose of the games is to entertain, amuse and have a good time. One does not play something that seems boring to him but one that he perceives as fun. When an athlete finds his sporting vocation, it is because he has chosen the game that he likes the most and has fun. This, many times, begins to disappear in competitions. It is worth noting how many athletes when asked why they practice their sport completely forget the most important thing: “BECAUSE I LIKE IT AND I ENJOY IT.” Many times they do not remember something as basic as this, because they have fallen into such a strong rhythm of competition and at such a high competitive level that they no longer know why they are doing it, and they just do it.

Successful athletes do not forget this, and what is more, they enjoy the most difficult and complicated situations above all else. They enjoy extreme situations. They know and feel that they bring out their best. Competing against the best makes them better. An athlete who fails to have fun in his sport will not last long on the competitive circuit.

The long, arduous, exhausting and constant training sessions, added to the trips, pressure from sports, interviews, marketing, physical care (food, etc.), media siege, work even on Sundays, etc. They are the number one enemy of fun. In the end, the athlete just wants to play their sport, but they know that for that they have to work hard and make a lot of sacrifices.

When you are too focused on results, you can easily lose the experience. If you are too concerned about winning a test, you may not reach the mental state necessary for victory. This can be disastrous for activity. Even worse, if you lose the sense of enjoyment that justifies the existence of sports in the first place. (Jackson and Csikszentmihalyi , 2002, p. 29)

This appointment tells us about the importance of experiencing fun so that there is fluidity in sport: maximum performance, loose, creative, in a natural and fluid way.

Fun must be and is the end of sports practice and as a consequence of its appearance, success in sports occurs. Performance is superior when the athlete has fun and the sport generates passion, joy, joy and fun.

Sofía Mulanovich (1): I feel like I’m not having fun in the waves. I must get a taste for it again.

This reveals the importance that Sofía attaches to having fun in her search for success, it indicates her concern about the absence of fun in the practice of her sport, because she is aware that the path to victory is inevitably linked to fun or rather fun is the way to success.

(1) Statement 2 dates before the end of the 2005 season, in which she was leading the ranking, she finally finished second (world runner-up). For more information see or Tablista Magazine (winter edition 2005, # 41).  


Many times we observe in athletes the difficulty in being able to access fun within competitions, since not all athletes are capable of achieving fun due to anxieties, fears, fears that these situations produce. This has to do with external stimuli (opponents, public, event, etc.) and internal (personality, perceptions, thoughts, etc.).

A fairly common problem is perception in relation to the opponent, whether he is going to face a superior or inferior opponent regarding his own appreciations of his abilities in relation to those of the opponent. Depending on the type of athlete, this will make them feel more or less motivated by their personality characteristics and way of dealing with situations. This is the way in which competition is faced with respect to rivals, depending on the attribution that is given to the ability of the opponents in relation to their own capabilities.

Within this area, there are two problems in athletes who have not learned to handle this:

  • Rival stimulated by superior opponents vs. Unmotivated by inferior rivals: These athletes or teams feel motivated, excited, and stimulated when facing superior rivals, this makes them increase their production, they give their best, allowing maximum performances before the opportunity to learn against the best. On the other hand, when they face inferior rivals their motivation decreases, they get bored, which causes their performance to decrease. They often have a hard time winning or even losing against these rivals.
  • This can be due to the following reasons:

I They have defeated them in the past, giving them the mistaken belief that they will always defeat them.

I They have not faced them but have seen them compete and consider them inferior by observation.

The little experience of their opponent, they are novices or they do not have much time on the circuit or redo ‘) they went up in category.

  • Rival stimulated by inferior rivals vs. demotivated by superior rivals: When they face inferior rivals they feel and know superior, which allows them to act with ease, naturalness and comfort while having fun (they know themselves superior, therefore they have the “certainty” that they are going to spend a good time) getting good results. Whereas when they do it against superior rivals they show fear, anxiety, which triggers a decrease in fun and in their sporting performance.
  • This may be due to the following:

I They have been defeated by them in the past, giving rise to the erroneous belief that they will always be defeated. This generates a mental record of defeat against certain opponents.

I They have not faced them but have seen them compete and consider them far superior, through observation.

I They do not believe it is possible to access that level.

In both cases, the athlete’s own experiences have a lot to do with this to give that type of attributions to the opponents in relation to themselves. Both are a problem, they have their complexities and must be worked on in order to achieve homeostasis (balance) in sport, otherwise the athlete will not be able to be regular, nor achieve an even performance. These problems occur very frequently with novice athletes, which I laugh ”) begin, but also, not in a few cases, in professionals and / or more experienced. The ideal is that a balance in performance can be maintained regardless of the rival. It should be that the results are given according to the athlete or the team and not depending on the rivals on duty. This is often difficult to work with, but it is achieved with dedication and psychological support. This is one of the great contributions of psychology to sport, getting athletes to become regular. This is achieved in a formidable way by the American psychologist James E. Loher with Andre Agassi, a historian of white sports.

Examples: Importance of fun:

Ronaldinho (on the Brazilian team): We go out to have fun, we are not afraid of losing (2005, Fox). This quote gives extremely valuable information. He emphatically highlights the importance of fun and not just anyone but a player of the five-time champion in the world says it, who is also the best soccer player today. Another very valuable point is that he is not afraid of losing, that is not in his head, he thinks of having fun therefore in winning. He who is afraid of losing cannot concentrate on winning because he is focusing on avoiding losing. It seems contradictory but the athlete cannot focus on two things at the same time, cannot concentrate on not losing and winning at the same time (it is not the same), or he can focus on not losing or winning. Victory comes as a consequence of fun and what better example than Ronaldinho. Does anyone think that he can win without having fun? We do not believe it.

It could be said that difficult victories, with “blood” or “gritting teeth”, exclude fun, but nevertheless, this is not the case. They are ideal and desired situations for many teams or athletes. Precisely these situations are the ones that motivate, stimulate and amuse them the most, because they know that in those moments is when they perform best.

The above is clearer in this quote from Jack Nicklaus (one of the best golfers in the world): The tougher and tighter the competition, the more I enjoy golf. Winning by comfortable margins may offer another kind of satisfaction, but it’s nowhere near as exciting as fighting blow by blow, straight to the goal. (Jackson and Csikszentmihalyi tornado , p. 69, 2002).

Andre Agassi says that the one who he enjoyed playing the most was with Pete Sampras , he got very excited, he affirms that no player made him play like him, he made him play at another level, he adored those situations, while other athletes could face him with fear, he did happy, excited, since he was going to be able to deploy his best tennis and being able to reach another level thanks to his opponent. That is the correct way to face sports competitions. As you can see, in his mind there is not the stress and anxiety to win, but rather the enjoyment of the competition and that is the right path to victory. He was aware that the most difficult challenges were the ones that made him enjoy the competition the most. Victory is the consequence of enjoying what you do, that is, an athlete wins because they have fun and not as some believe, they have fun because they win.

Michael Schumacher, seven times world champion of Formula 1 (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, record) refers the following: What I do is natural and fun, this is the key to interpreting what it happens to me. And doing something that I like allows me to be more competitive. My advice to the demos is that they contend having fun and otherwise they change (February 25, 2005) It is forceful is their assertions regarding fun. It directly relates the increase in your competitiveness and your sporting successes with it.

Nelly Giscafre , psychologist of the Argentine women’s hockey team Sabré Turf (Olympic runners-up in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and world champions 2002) refers the following about the team: This is the result of a silent work that & Trance does six atlases. What ° cum-6 with Las Leonas was brewing Step by step, it was no accident. Here (I begin to aim to achieve the unity of the group. Secondly, let’s try to convince them that with claw everything is possible. We instill in them that they have to give more than normal when entering the shell. All the players, both those who reached the Like those who could not come, they transpire passion. And passion increases performance. The nickname of Leonas emerged as a strategy for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. We looked with them for a symbol that would represent them and we are not wrong. These guys they don’t wrinkle or give in. They have a winning mentality. They like to play under pressure ( Darthes Tornado , p. 23, 2003) 

This quote raises several issues that may be the subject of a separate article, the planned, serious, even and gradual work (let’s not forget that the contribution of psychology is not magic, it is science and its improvement is gradual, it does not occur from the Noche a la Mariana), group cohesion, group identity, perseverance, fighting spirit and mental strength (see article on the subject: at and passion. Passion is what moves us, it is energy, it is the desire and desire that we have to do something and that amuses us, passion implies fun. Lionesses are passionate about what they do and have fun. He also tells us that they enjoy playing with pressure, the more pressure they have the more fun, this is very important.  

A journalist asked us how an athlete or team can have fun by winning with “clenched teeth”, the answer we gave him is that precisely those situations are the ones that generate the greatest pleasure and fun, and what better way than to win Las Leonas as an example , explained by the person most knowledgeable on this subject within the group, their psychologist.



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