How To Know If You’re Ready To Play

Are you ready to play? Think about it. When you head out to practice or workout or to your game are you ready to play?  I don’t mean compete or strive or sacrifice or any of the things we often associate with that question. Those things certainly have their place. But, I’m not talking about the locker room scene where the coach or captain turns to the team and says, ” Are  you ready to play?”  I mean, ” Are you ready to PLAY?”

We don’t “work” golf. We play it. We don’t talk about hockey “workers” or basketball “workers” or baseball ” workers”. We talk about the players. So are you approaching your game and your preparation in that spirit of play – or has it become something else.

Stuart Brown, M.D. Psychiatrist, Clinical Researcher and Direction of the National Institute of Play offers some properties of play in his book Play, How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul.

1. Apparent Purposelessness – we don’t do it for it’s practical value, we do it for it’s own sake. Some people might even think it’s a waste of time.

2. It’s voluntary – nobody’s making you do it.

3. Inherent attraction – It’s just plain  fun. It make you feel good.

4. Freedom from time – When we’re really into it we lose a sense of time.

5. Diminished consciousness of self – We stop thinking about thinking. We stop worrying about how we look. We’re just doing it.

6. Improvisational potential – We aren’t locked in to one way of doing things. We’re open to trying different approaches, messing about, making it up as we go.

7. Continuation desire – It’s fun and when we’re done we want to do it again.

It might interesting and informative to check this list against what’s going on when you go to soccer or basketball or whatever sport you go to, whether it’s practice or training or a game. Is it about PLAYING the game or has it started to become something else? If  you’re an athlete are you ready to play? And, if you’re a coach or parent or administrator are you helping them get ready to play or is the spirit of play being lost?

So, are you ready to play?   Good, then let’s  go!

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