Shayamal Vallabhjee

Biggest lesson from sport

Sport can be very unforgiving, especially when one-hundredth of second or one millimetre can be the difference between gold and anonymity. No other field is as brutal on one’s career. Very often, I’ve seen athletes question their sacrifices in the quest for excellence. One of the toughest lessons to learn from sport is how to handle failure. I’ve found that how you define winning is the secret to handling failure and eventually bouncing back. ‘Have I done everything I possibly can to ensure that I am giving myself the best chance of success?’ If you can cross onto the field of play having answered this question with a ‘Yes’, then you have already won. Too many athletes cannot handle failure because they question their preparation. If you answer ‘Yes’, you will have comfort in knowing that you have done everything you possibly could and were beaten by a superior competitive. True champions win and lose with grace. They respect their opponents and can give credit where credit is due. This all comes from answering ‘Yes’.

 

Learning from mentoring sportsmen

Sport teaches life lessons that transcend race, religion, caste or creed. It gives you the opportunity to travel the world, nurture friendships and empower. Working with elite athletes for more than 15 years has taught me the importance of discipline, dedication and perseverance. But most importantly, it has shown me that sport can unite nations. I’ve seen many of my athletes – Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Shaun Pollock, Sachin Tendulkar, Jonty Rhodes and many more inspire youngsters to chase their dreams. I’ve seen them use the power of sport to instil hope where there was previously only despair.

 

Enhancing life through sports

Through sport, you will learn the importance of discipline, dedication and perseverance. You will learn to value your teammates and respect your opponents. You will learn to win and lose gracefully. You will learn to make the penalty for failure high. It will grow your belief and teach you that hope is the last thing you lose. But the greats learn one very important lesson: Accountability. Champions accept responsibility and view themselves as accountable for every failure. It’s this mindset that drives them.

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