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Playing the Game: How Sports Can Teach Us About Dating and Relationships

Sporting and dating might seem like two completely different topics. The former requires a lot of self-discipline, and in many instances – athletics, swimming, diving, golf, kayaking, ice skating – it’s a solo activity. On other occasions – soccer, American football, baseball, rugby, ice hockey – it’s all about participating in a team. The latter tends to be about the relationship between two people. But if you step back to take a more subjective look into both subjects, it quickly becomes apparent how closely related they can be. In short, sports can prepare you for many other things in life, especially relationships.

How sports and dating can be related

The essence of sport is competition. Any game is about winning, whether that’s an international contest or a less formal but enthusiastically fought encounter at your local park or leisure center. There are opposing players or teams, and the rivalry which develops can become intense.

But within the teams or the background staff supporting a premiere athlete, the key element is learning to work together. There’s a fascinating overlap with relationships when we consider one of the current hottest topics: digital matchmaking. In the modern world, increasing numbers of liaisons are being arranged via the convenience of online dating sites and apps.

Why would someone choose to register with a flirt dating site rather than go down the traditional route of hanging around in social settings, such as bars or clubs? That’s down to convenience. These online outlets provide a streamlined method for getting in touch with like-minded individuals; other site users who share the same interests (such as enjoying the same sports).

Compatibility is everything when it comes to finding the perfect match. Sporting endeavors can also be enhanced by utilizing technology. Have you ever watched live soccer and noticed the coaches on the sidelines?

When they’re not angrily gesticulating at their players, they’re often intent on the tablet they’re clutching, checking out pre-prepared game plans. Although, given the popularity of virtual flirting and dating these days, they might well be taking advantage of any lull in play to hit the bookmark to their favorite matching app. Just to see if any messages are waiting in their inbox!

Lessons from team sports

Sports have so many useful tools that can be adopted by anyone eager to pursue a successful partnership. No individual athlete or team is ever going to win anything unless they excel at some specific attributes.

Amongst the crucial of these are communication, trust, and working towards a common goal. Having a target – trophy, competition medal, winner’s ribbon, or whatever – allows plans to be put into place. This can become the aim for everyone involved, from coaches and players down to the supporting medical. How to then achieve this goal will unite the team, informing everything from tactics to how financial resources will be deployed to give the players the best chance of achieving success.

Communication is the lifeblood of successful sports. As well as sharing the vision of how to win that coveted cup, instructions will need to be relayed back and forth constantly. As for trust – all that will lie ahead are runners-up medals unless every participant knows they can implicitly rely on others to have their back. These purposeful threads will also work wonders in relationships away from the field of play. Whether we’re talking about friendship or friends with benefits, communication, trust, and sharing a common goal are equally intrinsic. Many relationships falter when there’s a communication breakdown.

After an event, winning and losing teams will withdraw to their respective changing rooms, where their performance will be broken down by coaching staff and then analyzed, praised, or constructively criticized. Players can give their feedback in this two-way process. Within personal relationships, people should also set aside time for conversations. Trust is the fundamental building block of all human relationships. If you can’t trust your teammates or the person you’re going out with, goals become impossible to achieve.

sport teaches you teamwork. sport teaches you teamwork

Lessons from individual sports

What about individual athletes who are, to an extent, operating within more of a bubble? Being outstanding at what they do requires self-discipline, motivation, and resilience. Any sportsperson with an eye on a prize can’t allow themselves to be distracted. Much as it might be tempting to take the occasional day off from training or over-indulge in takeaway meals through laziness, this will run the risk of derailing the whole process of winning. It will also lead to a sense of motivation slacking.

Where resilience is concerned, any losing athlete who isn’t prepared to put the disappointment behind them and move on, remaining focused and becoming better prepared is never going to win anything. Where personal relationships and growth are concerned, each of these attributes is equally applicable. People can be all too easily distracted, especially in the early stages, and this can be detrimental.

Learning from defeat

Any sporting event that has ended up in defeat can be a setback, and it’s only human to feel the bruises (physical and mental). The same goes for any relationship. But with loss comes humility and perseverance. There’s a familiar adage – if, at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. This should be your mantra for sports and dating. For the latter, a relationship unraveling can be troubling, but every setback presents an opportunity to live and learn. Be aware of mistakes and how these can best be rectified.

Importance of good sportsmanship

Regardless of who won and who lost, after any game or race, participants will shake hands. Respect and kindness towards opponents are vital components of sport. The adjective sporting is defined as being fair and gracious to opponents, even in defeat. Behaving like a good sport will win you friends and boost your popularity. This is just as true in any real-life situation. If a relationship breaks up, those avoiding the temptation to get negative and vindictive, but retaining a sporting outlook, will bounce back far quicker.

A final but hugely worthwhile lesson we can learn from sports is the many fantastic ways of keeping in trim condition for whatever the activity is. This can then be extrapolated into your life in general. Focus on areas like the best nutritional food to help you perform. This will also be beneficial for ensuring you don’t put on excess weight. Sticking to a regular exercise regime is another factor that will boost your health, both as an athlete and in general. Most importantly of all, maintaining a disciplined attitude towards keeping fit will also be positive for your mental health and well-being.

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