Importance of Character in Sports Performance

I do not think there is a Viagra pill that can suddenly rid sports of all its ills and infuse such spirits that would catapult sportsperson to ultimate glory. Such short-term measures may show instant results momentarily, but not repeatedly. They will not make a champion out of you. There are no quick-fix solutions.

I am looking at a holistic view of improving sporting activity, nurturing the talent available, assisting them in achieving excellence in their discipline and also preparing them for a productive life after their “sporting life” is over. In the process of creating excellent sportsperson, I also have a dream of molding their character and personalities which would not only stand them in good stead during an active sporting carrier but throughout life. There is an incredible talent that we can ill-afford to ignore.

I have a vision that someone should take under their wings, without disturbing the existing structure of “training”, all young potential sportsperson in the age group of 8 years to 14 years and 15 years to 21/25 years, for imparting soft skills and emotional literacy. The literacy should be provided continuously as a ‘course’ during their sporting-skill training at Centers. Subject-specific workshops must also be conducted at regular intervals. The idea is to in-grain these skills into their psyche that they automatically begin to ‘live’ these skills. The sports fields should be their ‘classrooms’ where they learn to be soft-skill-and-emotionally literate sportsperson.

It is widely accepted that sports and games provide lessons for soft skill and personality/character development. In fact, games and sports serve as a resource to teach soft skills in management and other educational institutions. When a sportsperson participates in competitive games and sports, he tends to unconsciously learn and develop his soft skills. By the time he is proficient in these skills his active sporting life is over. He gets no opportunity to use these skills to contribute to excellence in his chosen sports discipline. It is too late. I recommend some ‘reverse engineering’ merely by changing the timing of his exposure. Whilst developing sporting skills, the sportsperson should be imparted soft skills and emotional literacy side-by-side. When he graduates into a team of some ‘level’, it must be with all these skills in place. Thereafter, he has ample opportunity to contribute to individual or team excellence as the case may be. And of course, his skills are not only used to achieve excellence, but also fine-tuned and improved upon with live experience.

Benefits Of Sports

Children spend most of their day time at school, albeit they are deprived of time for sports and fun. The main reason for this is that either the schools do not have enough facilities to organize sports or the management does not realize the importance of sports and other physical activities. In schools, the break time is hardly of 20 to 30 minutes. Children can either play games with friends or have their lunch during this short time. They do have games session, but that is just once in a week. Even on that day the children cannot play sports as there is nothing for them to play. All they do is to spend that time in either learning a test or doing their homework. Teachers and parents both emphasize on doing homework and learning lessons after school. There are only a few parents and educators who understand that a child should have a balance routine, and get time for studies, games, and proper rest. Education is not just reading, memorizing, and writing homework, it is, in fact, the development of one’s personality. Importance of sports and games should not be neglected, when it comes to educating children and teenagers. Sports contribute on a child’s physical, emotional and psychological development.

Why Is Sports Essential?
Sports is essential for a healthy living, as Hippocrates said, “Sport is a preserver of health.” Let’s see what different benefits we can get from playing and physical activity.

Sports reduces body fat, controls body weight, prevents Cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
Playing outdoor games enhance endurance, flexibility, improves balance as well as strengthens bones and muscles.
Sports help in developing better hand-eye co-ordination and fast foot movement.
It reduces risks of getting injured and quickens recovery and healing.
The children who play sports are less likely to get arthritis and diabetes than their peers who do not exercise or play games.
Sports plays pivotal role in child mental development. It is a proven fact that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. Sports makes one both physically and mentally fit. According to a research, the children who play sports, do better in their academic studies. Involving in physical activities improve concentration and enables mind to focus properly. This helps students in their studies. They can understand and learn their lessons effectively and quickly than those who do not play sports. Beside this, sports also teaches children problem-solving skills and enables them to set and accomplish goals.

1. How Sports Contribute In Character And Personality Building?
“Sports is human life in microcosm,” said a sports broadcaster. Apart from benefiting their physical health, sports also play an important role in psychological development and social well-being of a child. Playing inculcate values like values like discipline, responsibility, self-confidence, sacrifice, and accountability. By playing sports, children how to get along with their peers and interact positively with their coaches and elders. It builds sportsmanship spirits in them, whether they win or lose. The losing team shake hands with the winning one and pat on their shoulders as a gesture of appreciating them.

2. Sports Reduces Stress
Sports help one combat anxiety, depression and stress. Sports trains one to accept defeat gracefully and move one. They learn that winning and losing are parts of life, one should not feel depressed and dishearten on losing, but move on and strive more for the next time. Rita Mae Brown, an author says, “Sports strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sports gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves.” The children who play sports get more chance of meeting and interacting with people of similar interests and make new friends, this boosts their confidence. Sports inculcates the spirits of sportsmanship and sharing. Children playing together as a team, share and celebrate their victory together. This has a positive affect on a child’s psychology and behavior. Players are less likely to become selfish when they grow up; they are caring and readily to work as a team and get along better with others. Dr. Keith and Rebecca White, conducted a research which reveals that middle-school teenagers who are physically active and play sports are more contented with their lives and feel healthier than those who do not participate in sports and physical activities. “Our study demonstrates the benefits of youth sports participation on self-rated health and life satisfaction among young youth at a critical juncture in adolescent development. Our findings suggest that sports team participation may enhance school connectedness, social support and bonding among friends and teammates,” says Dr. Keith and Rebecca White.

3. Why Girls Should Be Encouraged To Play Sports?
Most parents discourage their daughters from participating in sports and performing physical activities at school. This is mainly, because they fear that their complexion would become dark. The fact is that playing sports will make them look younger than those girls who do not play. Yes, that’s right! Playing slow down the aging process and make skin healthy, beautiful and glowing. Girls who play sports are less likely to become over-weight. Sports make girls physically fit, attractive, energetic and confident. They can socially interact better with others as compared to the girls who do not play sports or exercise. A research has found that girls who play sports have positive physical image and high self-esteem. According to a report, physical activity can help to prevent hip fractures among females and reduce the effects of osteoporosis. Parents should not stop their girls from playing sports only because they do not want them to become dark. Girls can prevent their skin complexion from becoming dark, tan or sunburn by using a sunblock before they go out.

Live Your Sport

The world of sports is one of the most competitive professions in the world. For this reason, only a select few make it to the top of the ranks. Those who are lucky enough to make it are the ones who consume their life with the sport that they are so passionate about and refuse to give up. In order to make it that high up you have to have that hunger to be the best and you must live your sport. You do this by being properly equipped, surrounding yourself with the sport, and working hard every single day.

It is not very hard to be properly equipped. If you love a sport than you will know what kind of equipment you will need for that sport. Being well equipped though also means that you have all of the practice gear, workout wear and places to train at your disposal so that you can work at building yourself and your skill as much as you can.

Motivation is just as important a factor which is why you will have to surround yourself with your chosen sport. By this I mean, gain friends who also are big participants in that sport and hang around them a lot. Talk about the sport, watch the sport on television, heck even hang up posters of your favorite athletes that inspire you to become better. Do as much as you can to always have your sport circulating in your life. This will keep you well motivated and on the way to becoming great.

The last thing that is required is something that is required for success in any aspect of life and that is plain old hard work. Hard work is the meat and potatoes of success and you have to work harder than everyone else in the world of sports. The other reasons I mentioned help greatly in this regard as you will always be able to work hard as long as you are properly prepared and motivated. For anyone who wants to live a life around their sport, this is essential.

Sports are a fun and exciting world to be a part of. These things are the essence of living any sport. As long as you are properly equipped, surround all areas of your life with the sport, and work hard, you won’t just be living your sport but you will be great at it.

The Barbadian Sporting Life

With the London Olympics 2012 just months away, those in a sporty frame of mind come the holiday season may well be looking for a holiday destination that caters for their desire to experience a variety of sporting activities amidst a backdrop of paradise and splendour.

Ideal for satisfying the twin desires of an attractive location and a craving for sporting endeavour is the Island of Barbados, widely considered to be the sporting heart of the Caribbean.

Barbadians take their sports very seriously and there are a number of varied pursuits available on the Island including such popular fare as Cricket, Golf, Cycling, Tennis, and Horse Racing/Riding, as well as those with a little less global appeal like Paragliding and Polo.

As a direct result of the Barbadian government’s decision to introduce a policy of sport-based tourism, the Island’s sporting calendar is bursting at the seams all year round, providing opportunities aplenty for holidaying visitors to take part both as a spectator and active participant.

Great Golf
Barbados is home to an impressive collection of world-class golf courses and resorts that cater for the recreational golfer as well as the more seriously inclined practitioner. Their number includes Royal Westmoreland, Sandy Lane, Rockley Golf Club, and Apes Hill Golf Club, which is also the newest in the Caribbean.

The Apes Hill Club opened in December 2009 and in its short existence has built its reputation to become the premier golfing destination in the Caribbean. Corresponding closely with the sporting enthusiast’s desire for ‘splendour’ mentioned earlier, Apes Hill can be found in the very centre of Barbados, surrounded by 470 acres, a third of which is used for golf and the rest as a scenic montage of meadows, forests and quarries.

A religion called Cricket
Barbadians treat their Cricket more as a religion than a sporting pastime if truth be told. Introduced to Barbados by the original English settlers, Cricket is played on the streets with homemade bats and balls, in local competitions organised by the Barbados Cricket Association, and for visitors to the Island, there are numerous cricket pitches available to give the batting arm some practice.

If spectating is preferred, the Kensington Oval (scene of the 2007 Cricket World Cup), home of the West Indies Cricket team, is the place to be seen. Only the best players in the Caribbean are selected for the West Indies team and many famous names have plied their trade in this area of the world including the legendary likes of Malcolm Marshall, Desmond Haynes, and Garry Sobers.

Welcome to watersports
Crystal clear waters and an abundance of watersports are likely to attract many to the coastal regions for the Kayaking, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Sailing, and Surfing.

As you’d expect, Barbados is not found wanting in the watersport providers department with Barbados Blue Watersports, based at Needham’s Point, offering a professional service for the experienced and the novice alike as they experience the excitement of sports above the waves and the wonder of underwater escapades.

This Sporting Life

Massage has a long history as a way of enhancing athletes’ performances and preventing sports injuries. Regular massage helps athletes as diverse as football players and dancers keep physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. It improves performance by keeping muscles at the peak of their flexibility and strength, and reduces stiffness and muscle soreness. Sports massage also eases anxiety, keeping the athlete alert, yet calm. Regular sports massage provides improved speed, strength, flexibility, and quicker post-event recovery. Sports massage can be used both before and after an event.

Ready, steady, go
Massage can be extremely beneficial for athletes, or in fact anyone involved in athletic activity. Two to three days before a sporting (or other) event, give your partner a massage to help him or her feel relaxed and supple.

A full body massage is ideal but, if you are short of time, massage the main muscles your partner will be using. Use rocking and kneading movements and, instead of finishing your massage with soporific stroking, use a stimulating movement, like pummeling, to increase blood supply. Athletes also benefit from a light, stimulating massage an hour or so before an event. Use calming strokes instead if your partner is anxious.

Many of my clients are involved in sports or dance and they all claim that after a massage their minds are clear and relaxed, and their performances are greatly improved.

After the event
During exercise, waste products such as carbonic acid and lactic acid are released into the muscles. It is the accumulation of these wastes that can cause muscular tension, stiffness, and pain. The lymphatic system drains them out of the body, but this can take several hours or even days.

With its pumping and stroking action, massage can improve lymphatic flow and speed up the elimination of wastes and thus help prevent stiffness. Massage improves the blood flow and brings fresh oxygenated blood to the area. Deeper movements can also soften and lengthen tense, contracted muscles.

The best techniques to use are those that encourage blood and lymph to drain toward the body. Use light pressure at first, and gradually increase it, always staying within your partner’s “comfort zone.”

Squeezing a limb correctly is similar in effect to squeezing a sponge to extract water. As you squeeze, you encourage the circulation so that waste products from the muscles are flushed into the lymphatic system, and oxygen-rich blood is shunted into the muscle.

What’s the problem?
Anyone who does regular exercise or participates a lot in sports is naturally at greater risk of injury than someone who leads a more sedentary existence. Very few athletes, soccer, football, and baseball players, cyclists, or dancers escape the occasional injury that requires treatment. Fortunately however, most injuries are minor and the soothing effects of massage can ease the pain and stimulate the healing process. Massage can speed up the return to full physical fitness, which can be crucially important for professionals.

If your injured partner has excessive swelling, increased temperature, or great pain, treat with basic first aid and seek medical assistance urgently.

Cuts and bruises
Work very gently around a cut or bruise, stroking toward the nearest lymph nodes. Very gently stroke the flesh above and to the side of the injury. Ask your partner to tell you if there is any tenderness or discomfort. If there is, work further away from the injury.

Never work directly on an injury. Do not massage around an open wound, or on a bruised area unless you know the cause of the bruising.

If you are prone to cramp during or after exercise, massage can definitely help. A cramped muscle is tightly contracted and the blood supply to it is reduced. Massage stretches the muscle and improves circulation, leaving it more flexible. The following instructions are for self-massage.

Hamstring cramp – lie on your back and raise the affected leg. Stroke the back of your thigh firmly, then knead it. Finally, stroke the area again to soothe it.

Calf cramp – sit with the affected leg straight, and bend your foot up so that you stretch the calf muscle. Then knead the muscle firmly, working up your leg. When you feel the muscle relaxing, soothe it by rhythmically stroking down the whole leg.

Foot cramp – grasp your toes, and gently but firmly bend them back while holding your heel with your other hand. Then stroke and knead the sole of the foot. You can do the same movements through your sneakers if you get cramp during an event.