The Science of Entertainment, Improvement, and Success

Fun is not the first priority for these girls out here. If they wanted fun, they shouldn’t have been on varsity 

-Head Varsity Tennis Coach.


….because the Varsity team is serious competition for serious players looking for serious results in serious times. Because everyone wants to be a winner, and the only way to be a winner is to win more matches than you lose. And the only way to win more matches is to work hard. And the only way to work hard…is to be serious.

Or so the paradigm goes.

In the short term, that strategy works well. If I have to win this weekend (a match, an exam, a presentation, a recital), then I can work hard now and see the results.

But what if the date of the reward is next year? or 10 years from now? Will the reward still motivate me to work hard? Probably not.

The only consistent short term reward is one that can exist in isolation; one that is provided by the activity performed or by the performer. Fun.

The responsibility of an educator or instructor, then, is twofold:

  1. to teach the mechanics of the activity, and
  2. to teach the student the ability to reward himself/herself consistently.

In other words, the educator must be able to give the student the ability to have fun in the activity performed.

Only then can the student experience long term improvement, and consequently, success.

#musings