Today, I’m here to open your mind on the topic of risk-taking in sports. A wise man once said “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” This means it never feels like the right time to take risks because, well, there are risks to taking risks.
First, when you start taking risks, as you learn to push your limits, those risks won’t be immediately rewarded right away. In other words, you’ll likely make mistakes and experience failures more than usual because you are performing at a level you are not accustomed to.
Risk-taking is, in a sense, a skill that takes time, commitment and persistence to develop. Just like any skill, however, when you first start taking risks in your sport, your mind and body are not going to be used to it, so, your performances may take a step or two backwards in your practices and competitions. Because you haven’t ingrained the skills fully, it won’t immediately translate into improved performance.
Second, because you will struggle at first, your confidence may also suffer and you may question whether risk-taking is the right path to be on. You might say to yourself, “Gosh, my past safer approach worked pretty well, certainly much better than the way this is going now, so maybe I should just stick with what has worked.”
However, what may have worked in the past and gotten you to where you currently won’t work in the future or get you where you want to go. As an old Texas saying goes, “If all you ever do is all you have ever done, then all you will ever get is all you have ever gotten.”
Your efforts shouldn’t be devoted to where you are now, but where you want to be next month, next year, or in five years in your sport. You need to prepare yourself for performing at the next level. And performing safe just won’t cut it.
In conclusion, in an ideal world the off-season is the best time to start taking risks because you have no concern about results and you have the time to practise the skill of risk-taking.
However, I would argue that there is no time like the present to start taking risks, regardless of the time of year. If you’re going to make a real commitment to risk-taking to get your performance to the next level, you might as well start now because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at email@example.com.