Athletes usually say they enjoy winning. The common and natural corollary is therefore that you must win if you are genuinely going to enjoy the sport.

Most athletes will also shut down conscious thinking processes when the pressure of competition is upon them and respond primarily from the conditioned skills and beliefs they have stored in their sub-conscious. The conclusion here is that the performance state is generally a mindless one and winning depends on the quality of past learnings, not ongoing ones.

But what if we now turn these assumptions around and say the opposite: That, in order to win, you must enjoy the game first?

And to truly succeed, only winning that emerges from optimal “in the moment” learning, counts?

What if enjoyment, learning and winning sat integrated, side by side and encapsulated an experience of success that actually meant something to the human being in us, not just the athlete?

What if these components could be merged into a single objective that, at any level of competition, reconciled enjoyment of the game with continuous optimal learning and while doing so necessarily produced the greatest possible probably of winning?

Would that be a philosophy worth exploring? Could that form the basis for a more meaningful definition of sporting success? Could it bring a greater sense of justification for all the energy, time and money that our society pumps into sport when there exist so many alternative uses towards which those precious resources could be directed?

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