Watch the game as if it was a Mystery Movie

What if we watched a game and truly let go of wanting anything out of that game for ourselves or for our players. What if we watched the game as if it was a mystery movie, and we were truly curious as to what will happen next.  Watching any sport can be just like watching a good movie.  Think about this for a second.  When you watch a movie, you don’t try to control the outcome or the end.  You know you can’t change the ending, instead you roll with every twist and turn the movie brings.  You go through the movie with the characters.  Oh sure, you watch the suspense movie on the edge of your seat, telling (or even yelling) at the character “don’t do it…..don’t go in there!!!!”.  Knowing full well, he or she is going to go in there! But hey, it wouldn’t be a good movie if they didn’t “go in there”.

What stops us from truly being able to enjoy the mystery of the game for what it is? To be able to watch the game, as if the outcome was already pre-set? Desire vs Allowing…that’s what.

Here is what I mean.  Have you ever wanted something so bad that you can taste it? We all know that expression. It is an important game and you really want to win. Perhaps it is a team that smoked you the last time and nothing would be more satisfying then to beat them!  Or you really, really want your player to score a goal. So much so you have told them you will buy them a new stick, pay them X$ for every goal they score.    This is desiring.

We’ve all seen it in the players, who are trying so hard…almost too hard.  Yet, if they just settled in and allowed themselves to play their game, chances are they would score.  When players are trying to hard to score, their style of play is described as choppy, or tense, or un-natural.  Where as when we see a player who is truly playing their game, it is a beautiful sight.  They are in “the zone” or “in flow”.  This is allowing.

In Wayne Dyer’s book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, he talks about the concept of a continuum between desire and allow; or trying and doing.

He challenges us to pay attention to the times when you can feel in your body where you are on the continuum between desiring and allowing (or trying and doing).   Feel the difference between the desire to win a game vs allowing.  Watch the players and see if you can see which ones are in the flow of allowing vs being blocked by their desire.


Understand that we need both desire and allowing, and it is not that one is better than the other.  You need them both.  It is the desire that brings us to allowing.  The desire to get better, practice harder, look for a better job.  However, we need to know when to let go of the desire and just allow and live in the mystery.

The other challenge of course as observers of a game, especially when it comes to our kids is putting our desires on them, which may interfere with their ability to move closer to allow and get into the flow of the game.

The first step is to know the difference between desire and allow within yourself.

Try this:

  • Before you watch your players next game, ask yourself what you really want for your player, you, the team. ( perhaps it is: win because it is a semi final; for my kid not to be on the floor/ice/field when the other team scores; for my player to score just one goal as examples).  Plot yourself on the desire to allow line – where are you?  Be honest with yourself.  Now watch the game.  Being aware of your desires can be enough to let them go.
  • Watch the game as if it is a movie and the ending is already determined. Whatever happens in the game is SUPPOSED to happen.  You may leave with the feeling of “wow, I didn’t see that ending coming”, or feel like you just watched a real tear jerk-er.  What ever the ending, it is always fun debriefing our experiences.

Change your thoughts from the desire for your player to win; your desire for him or her to play their best, or score; to allowing your athlete to play his best  and watch how it changes your experience of the game.

Special thanks to my Team Coaching Cohort at Corentus for posing for the scary movie picture!