Sport Principle 7: Get the basics right

About the Sport Principle

In most sports, there are tricks and short cuts for the learner that will fast-track the beginner and accelerate their early progress, to a point. Ways of bending and stretching the rules to the very edge of acceptability – the easy wins we might say. But these are no replacement at all for the long-term process of quite simply, getting the basics right. The fundamental principles, like movement and direction and timing and flexibility and ball control, etc. (depending on your sport), that when mastered, will serve the sports player for a lifetime. 

But these are not spectacular, and require the investment of that precious commodity called ‘time’. It comes down to the age-old discussion about events and process. The medal at the local championships, the place on the regional squad, the title, the recognition, is the event; the practice, practice and more practice – unseen, unspectacular, and sheer hard graft, is the process. Just like the FA Cup final win versus months and months of qualifying through round after round of matches. Our human tendency is always to over-endorse the event at the expense of the process, and getting the basics right is no exception. 

Application to Life

This human tendency is not just confined to the sports field, it cuts across all of life: We emphasize the exam at the expense of the learning, (and we can pass this paranoia on to our kids if we’re not careful! Try instead to cultivate a love of learning for its own sake in them. Easier said than done, but it’s worth a try!) How often have we witnessed marriages fail, because all the preparation beforehand was on the wedding day (the event)? Married couples often wake up after the honeymoon into the middle of a process that should be life-long, which they are simply not ready for, and it’s all downhill from there. How often, even in the church, is the event of the conference, with its inspirational speakers, great worship, and supernatural ‘touches’ from God, over-endorsed at the expense of a daily walk with Him? Unspectacular, unseen and sheer hard graft, but absolutely crucial if we are to give God maximum yield from our lives. And of course, there is nothing wrong with any of these things: FA Cup finals; exams; weddings; church conferences, but if the event could speak, it would say “I am only an event, it’s the process that matters.”

Today’s blog is an appeal to us all to ‘get the basics right’ in our lives. To commit to the process – of learning to be Christ-like in all things, however unspectacular it feels. The older I get, the more I realise how important it is to be a man of rock-solid, uncompromising integrity before God. I don’t think it gets more basic than that! 

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”

Proverbs 10:9 
The ‘basics’ for living often comes down to one word: integrity – being consistent, the same person when nobody is looking, as we are in public!

Image Credit: Veri Ivanova