You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it.

Written by Natalie Doyle

October 6, 2023

A bowler bowls to the batter in a women's rounders match

Yesterday, whilst I was scrolling through social media, someone I follow said something that really struck a chord with me – “You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it”. It really resonated with me because I think it highlights a common barrier to women and girls participating in sport. If they feel that they aren’t going to be very good then they don’t want to do it. I’m sure there’s a wider point in there around the standards and expectations placed on us by society to be a certain way, to be ‘good girls’, to ‘have it all’ etc etc, but there are people much more knowledgeable than me on the wider societal challenges for women and girls that could probably expand on that. Psychotherapist, Anna Mathur does this very well around women and motherhood in particular.

Anyway, I digress. Personally, I’ve certainly seen this in action in women’s beginners football. A new participant comes along and says “But I’m rubbish at football” as if they’re already talking themselves out of it. Wouldn’t it be better to think “I might not be very good at this, but I enjoy it and that’s the main thing”. Let’s stop thinking we need to be good at everything. Let’s just sometimes do things for the fun of it, for the enjoyment, and see where it takes us.

How brilliant would it be if we all had the mantra “You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it”? Just think how much fun we’d have! Trying out new sports, not feeling the need to be good at something, having a laugh as we try something new with other people in the same situation with the same approach. Prioritising enjoyment over performance.

Randomly, I’m playing shuffleboard this weekend for a family day out and I’m not expecting to be very good at it, but I know I’m going to enjoy myself. That’s the most important thing for me. So next time you start talking yourself out of doing something because you’re not very good at it, remind yourself “You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it” and let me know where it takes you.

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