You are part way through a new term at University. You might be one of the elite sportspeople heading for a professional career—more likely you are not!
Good (but not elite) sports
You enjoy your sport and put in lots of effort, training and competing, but you have no expectation of making it to the top. You are not even sure that you want to make it to the top of your chosen sport. You know that the difference between elite sportspeople and the rest usually lies mainly between the ears. Some want it more than others and are willing to do what it takes.
You might have picked your University, in part, because of the sports facilities it offers. You maybe even went there because of their performance and record in your chosen sport. You are looking forward to 3 years of participation at a high level and to winning cups and glory within the university, and for the university when competing against other institutions.
When you graduate you plan to continue pursuit of your sport at club level and maybe represent your county too. But sport will remain a sideline to your career and life path. Important, both for your health and your mental wellbeing. But you don’t expect sport to be part of your income-generating activities.
Expectations of your uni sports career.
When you arrived at the first training session and saw the standard of everyone else around you felt:
- relief – you weren’t the weakest there
- worry – you were the weakest there
- doubt – difficult to tell where you might fit into the hierarchy
Of course, it might have been the other way round. You felt:
- relief – you were just going to one of the crowd and not stand out
- worry – if this was the quality of your teammates it is going to be a tough 3 years
- doubt – why am I doing this?
Your expectations of how your university sports career might pan out will probably dictate your mindset at that first training session. But…
Win or lose – it doesn’t matter
In sport, as in all other aspects of life, the primary aim is to do your best and enjoy doing your best. That is the same whether you are at the elite level for your sport or not. If you can enjoy what you are doing at your level, whatever that may be, and enjoy trying to improve and move up a level then you are already a winner no matter the trophies you collect.
You can only control your efforts. Whether you win or lose is not within your control. There may be someone better than you, or the opposing team may be stronger, more together. Your personal success isn’t measured by the trophies you win but by your effort and approach. You might not even get picked for the team but that doesn’t diminish your contribution if you have done the best you can.
No idea where this image came from (we will happily attribute it if someone can tell us) but taken to the ultimate it is true at all levels. A successful team is built upon and supported by the people in and around the team.
Everyone, no matter their standard, who has contributed to the end result in any way can be happy with their contribution.
The value of the whole team
The Leavers Hoodies Company have been decorating and shipping hoodies for uni sports teams for many years. There are probably only one or two elite athletes, possibly gold-medal winners, who have worn a hoodie created by us. But every team member, every supporter, every organiser who has worn the team hoodies we have produced has done so proudly. They have been giving their all to the success of their uni sports team and we salute each and every one of you.