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Gymnastics vs Football – A Psychologist’s Perspective

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I trained in gymnastics daily for 8 years in my life.

I trained as a footballer for another 8 years of my life.

And here is what I found as the difference.

Individualism Vs Team Orientation.

In Gymnastics, the goal is focused towards personal achievement and excellence. Motivation is always internal, goals are individualistic, and celebration is personal. In one academy itself, the people you train with daily are your competitors on the final competition day.

In Contrast, in football, the people you train with every day are the people you will be playing with together AGAINST ANOTHER opponent.

There is no surprise here why during my gymnastics career I found flexibility, personal strength, and performance perfectionism, while in football I found camaraderie, leadership, team orientation, and collaborative victory.

When a sport shapes an individual, the sporting environment is very crucial to how the person is shaped. While each sport teaches an individual the skillset of perseverance, discipline, and resilience, they also teach different aspects of life skills.

No doubt football has its moments of personal glory, but those moments can never be highlighted without collaborative support, teammate motivation, and collective effort towards achievement.

I am grateful for what both sports have taught me and excited when I meet athletes of different sports and understand the sporting culture they are coming from.

Not all sports are the same, not all individuals are the same. The more experiences you have and the people you meet increase your repertoire of cultural nuances of each niche.

Kunashni Parikh, Clinical and Sport Psychologist – former State-level Gymnast medallist and former Vice-Captain and Goalkeeper, Junior India Women’s Football Team.

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