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Movement & mobility: play

14/06/2022

The second tip: Play! How do we describe play? To answer this question, I start by addressing that ‘to play' is not just a concept. It is the actually the most thought-less state we are all able to enter. One of clarity. One absent of pressure. And one present in flow.

Scientifically; the play approach is often defined as a learning state that is intrinsically motivated, freely chosen, non-literal, safe, and actively engaged in by a sense of joy.

To start accessing this dimension of your practise on a regular basis, start by asking yourself: what parts do I enjoy (most) about my sport?

What has been the reason for me to start playing this sport in the first place?

What do I always look forward to in training (and what not)?

Try to approach every part of your training newly— allow yourself to find a way to make each element of your sport include the possibility to approach it with a light and playful attitude. One where you (momentarily) exclude the necessity of having to reach specific outcomes and results.

Sounds like something only children should do, right?

Nope!

A state of play is the most fertile ground for your brain to develop new neural networks without any psychological resistance.

More specifically, learning is a non-linear process. And by playing, it can be one where the brain is adapting to a task in creative (undefined) ways alone.

There is many scientific principles backing this approach, but the overall principle I would like you to play away with today— is the neuropsychological principle of training yourself to be aware of the activity that you like doing and having that be the base for your training (as opposed to (subconsciously) feeling that the activity is working against your health, desires, expectations, or beliefs).

 As we are evolutionarily wired to do more of the things that we perceive as supporting us, and to do less of what we perceive as not.

Especially in high level sports, extreme physical exertions, long training hours, and highly skilled iterations of coordinative tasks can wear down the psychological appreciation of the activity. Therefore, try to consciously stay in a space of playfully approaching the training practise by teaming up with a good friend, changing locations, changing the order of your session, and (at times) dropping the need to reach better results every time you train. Allow minimal progress to keep progressing and compounding over a longer window of time.

So what would other wise require ‘hard work’, a forceful commitment taking all your willpower, dreading thoughts of going back to the gym.. Can now start to become another opportunity to play, learn and perform better each time you hit the track.

Not to mention that this will also (most likely) positively impact your recovery, your likelihood of wanting to practise more, and grow your overal appreciation of what you are doing. All resulting in becoming better at what you are doing consciously, and joyfully.