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Sports Properly Directed

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Abbey athletes practicing the drill Dr. Thierfelder demonstrated Abbey athletes practicing the drill Dr. Thierfelder demonstrated

In the fall of 2011, Angelina Clare Stella, a senior Psychology student and Hintemeyer scholar of Belmont Abbey College launched the first Excellence in Sport Competition Workshop for all of the freshman student-athletes.

The first workshop was held on October 15, 2011 for half of the freshman athletes and the other half participated in the same workshop on November 7, 2011, which started at 7:30 pm in the Wheeler Center.

The workshops are geared towards analyzing a certain, specific definition of sport with Dr. Travis Feezell and learning sports performance skills from Dr. Bill Thierfelder, President of Belmont Abbey College.  While both of these are aimed at improving an athlete’s performance not only in their sport but in every area of their lives, Dr. Feezell’s session aims to provide a foundation of sport that is greatly lacking in societies current practice and education of sport.

In particular, Dr. Feezell presented a definition of sport that deviates from the normal, modern view of sport.  Overall, he analyzed sport starting from the viewpoint of “play.” Humans like to play; there is essentially no other purpose than enjoyment.  Then, putting rules around play transforms it into a “game.” Next, determining a winner or loser in a game transforms it into “competition.”  And competition is sport.   To truly understand the definition of sport, one needs to understand the essence of competition.  He explained, “When two people engage in competition, they agree to an unspoken contract that: 1. They will abide by the same rules of the game.  And, 2. They will provide the best challenge possible for their opponent.

If one does not stay true to this contract, then one is not engaging in competition; thus, destroying the essence of sport. Therefore, this contract is the definition of sport. By nature of this definition, respect is inherent to the essence of sport.  Respect, repeatedly practiced becomes a good habit, which is the definition of virtue.   For Sport to be properly directed, this is how each person must attempt to understand & practice sport.

In particular, Dr. Thierfelder emphasized focusing on the present moment, not caring about the past, or what is to come in the future while in competition.  Meaning, rather than wasting time thinking about what you did wrong, evaluate what you did exactly.  Staying in the present moment allows you to stay in the zone.

Hopefully, this will continue to be a workshop that incoming athletes have the opportunity to participate in.  It will expose them to fresh ways to look at sport, and reinforce the basic principles of Sport Properly Directed early on in their college career.


Visit Dr. Thierfelder’s website at reclaimthegame.com

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