Regardless of what research you look at, when it comes to learning, the number one important factor is are you having fun? This can be phrased differently, but the premise is the same. Learning should be fun. Learners should want to explore. Learners should want to spend more time on the activity. Let’s not correlate fun with goofying around. Fun can mean different things to different people. However at the end of the day, we want to enjoy what we do.
Naval Ravikant discusses this concept and talks about how the best at what they do are just playing and having fun. He says, “It looks like work to others, but feels like play to me”
Elon Musk is having fun. Jeff Bezos is having fun. Bill Gates is having fun. Kobe Bryant is having fun. Cristiano Ronaldo is having fun. Luka Doncic is having fun.
That doesn’t mean they enjoy every second of what they do. It means they enjoy the process, the challenge, the competition. It means they enjoy what they do so much that everything else doesn’t matter and they keep doing it.
When you truly enjoy what you are doing, you will make time to do it. You will do it more frequently. You will be consistent and deliberate with it. You will not worry about failure or looking bad. You will enjoy being thoroughly immersed with it that you reflect, analyse and adjust. All of that means you get more opportunities to learn whatever it is that you want. In the end, you learn without actually thinking that you are learning. You are just playing, just having fun, just enjoying yourself.
Think about all the people who are so passionate about what they do, and just do it as a hobby. People who are consistently working out because they enjoy training. All of a sudden, they know more about nutrition, protein intake, training methodologies, upcoming events, benefits of sleep and hydrations and so much more. Think about the person that enjoys watching sports. They know who won the world cup and when they won it, who was the highest goal scorer, the ballon d’or winner, the unbelievable stats, the highest paid professional etc. Now, ask them about their history lesson. It’s not that they can’t retain facts, figures, data or information. It is that they find one extremely interesting to them. As coaches, are we making learning fun?
An idea that I got from Michael MacKay is to start practice with a really fun activity (according to the players that you have). If the first part of practice is the most enjoyable and fun aspect, players wouldn’t want to be late. They would want to be there on time, because that is the most enjoyable aspect. All of a sudden, you don’t have to spend time preaching about punctuality and tardiness. Just changing the start of practice has done that for you.