You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling..

This weekend we had a phone call from a family member who was feeling a little anxious about going away on a sporting holiday. This is an annual week’s holiday he has taken with his friends for the past thirty years. It’s all about golf, and lately his game hadn’t been going well. He was distressed that his swing was going to pot, and that he would be holding people back with his long game. In short, he had fallen out of love with golf.

Falling out of love can happen in any sport; it can happen to marathoners, triathletes, dancers and tennis players, and none of us are immune from it. When it happens, is a bit like a souring of a relationship with a person you previously couldn’t spend enough time with. When we find our dream sport, we may fall hard and fast, consumed by the excitement of learning a new set of skills, and the joy of geeking-out over associated tech and with new chums in internet forums.

So what should you do if you find yourself making excuses for picking up your clubs or lacing on your shoes induces a feeling an attack of apathy?

1.) Firstly, remember that everyone has days when they feel like their technique is a bit pants, that their Park run sucked, or that that they shouldn’t have lost to the novice squash player who’s been at it just ten minutes. It’s normal to have naff days, so try avoid full-filling your own negative prophecy, by laying off the negative self-talk + pinot grigio.

2.) Have a look at your training schedule, and ask yourself, are you frankly taking on too much by trying to squeeze in 20 hours of iron-man training, with a new baby, year-end, and four and a half hour’s sleep? Maybe this is not the time to be getting serious about winning an age-group place at Kona.

3.) If you’re been injured, or are struggling to get back to your former form, have you been subconsciously mentally ‘framing’ your rehab and physio as ‘work’, when you could be thinking about it as a positive and fun way to return to what you love doing?

fall in love with your sport

4.) If your sport is your usual outlet for life’s stressors, and you’re missing a way to decompress, what activity could you have a ‘temporary romance’ with to rekindle those lovin’ feelings? Could you swap golf for ashtanga, or tennis for a Psycle class?

5.) Try setting yourself a different, less ambitious level bar, that enables you to still participate, but maybe on fewer hours per week of training. Could a ‘rat run’ or ‘tough mudder’ with friends make training a little less serious, and put fun back into being active?

6.) Seek out those who are still in love with your sport, and spend time with them doing it their way. Find new training routes, have an away game at a different club, and set yourself the sole goal of enjoying yourself.

7.) Finally, one of the best ways to fall in love with your sport again, is to mentor someone. Focusing on someone else, and helping them hone their new skills is a great way to witness progress in another, and the pleasure that nurturing them through that process brings.

Take a little time out, reflect on why you fell in love with your sport the first place, and maybe you’ll find yourself renewing your vows again soon.

We’re making 2017 the year of injury education. We want to raise awareness about sport injury management and prevention, for patients and clinicians alike.

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Dr Cath x