Posted by: michellemuldoon | November 26, 2010

Crossover Skills: Sport Meets Creativity

When I started writing, I would go to workshops and events. I enjoyed meeting new people wherever I went. When we would get to the part regarding what we do in our spare time, besides writing, I would usually receive blank stares. People were more than a little surprised. You see, I was coaching a high school volleyball team. It seemed like a natural extension for me, since I had played competitively for years, including two years at my University.

What I would hear was that, to many, jocks, and creativity never mix. The thought that one person would do both, was not the norm to the people I was meeting. This surprised me. I’ve coached players who were in band and played volleyball, were on improv teams and played volleyball, heck, were in the school play and played volleyball. And all of them played and started for a provincially ranked team; my team.  My thought was, why couldn’t their coach do the same?

All of this got me thinking. What are the crossover skills that one receives in sport, that are ideally suited to enhancing someone’s success, creatively. Here’s my answer.

1. In sport, you learn to set short and long-term goals, and plan out how to reach them. That’s not unlike outlining a story, producing a short, or setting out a plan to develop a career.

2. In sport, communication is crucial to bringing together a sometimes disparate group of girls and creating a team. When filming a short, I feel communicating vision, and expectation is crucial to creating a productive set atmosphere.

3.  Successful coaching is built on communication, motivation, and confidence building. A great team is one that feels confident that they can take risks without ramifications to their involvement. They need to feel that their coach believes in them, no matter what. I think every player wants to feel validation in the pursuit of excellence. I think actors look to directors for the same thing.

4.  Athletes with a passion for sport are not unlike writers, actors, and directors with a passion for their craft. They never take no for an answer.

5. Striving for a goal is all about discipline, and no activity teaches that better than sport. If you’re a writer, then you must have the discipline to write. It’s a solitary pursuit, and if you don’t have self-discipline, you’ll never finish anything.

6. Lastly, if you’re involved with sport, you’ve learned how to actualize your dreams through effort, focus, and repetition. How is that unlike the old adage, writing is rewriting?

I’m thankful for having had so many years in sport. It’s been a wonderful teacher and now, I get to practice my lessons every time I strive towards a career in film.

Crossover skills are sometimes hard to recognize. Maybe today is as good a day as any to take a good look inside, and find the gifts that keep on giving.



  1. Michelle,

    I was an athlete too. Gymnastics and cheerleading. (I know some would disagree on the latter as a sport but I’m willing to debate.) I agree with the points you’ve listed. I need to remember the point on discipline, I tend to be shaky on that one at times.

    Nice blog:)

    • Thanks Aaliyah! And I do understand the crossover of gymnastics to cheerleading. Nice to see you at the blog. Come for a visit anytime!


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