How to raise your sports IQ | Youth1

How to raise your sports IQ

Every athlete is looking for an edge. Upping your sports IQ doesn't involve weights or long runs. Per

There is a new term that is coming up when describing athletes performances. It’s called, SPORT I.Q.

Background of the term I.Q.

The “I” stands for “Intelligence” and the “Q” is “Quotient.”
Basically, I.Q. is supposed to be a measurement of a type of intelligence.

Here’s the definition of intelligence by the man who first coined the term I.Q:
“Intelligence is a general capacity of an individual consciously to adjust his thinking to new requirements: it is general mental adaptability to new problems and conditions of life.” [Stern, “The Psychological Methods of Testing Intelligence,” 1914]

What does this have to do with developing confidence in sports?

Well, the way the term  is used in athletics is to mean how a competitor deals with changing conditions and adapts to dynamic situations during play.  Decision-making is a huge part of that.
Some examples of where sport I.Q. might show up in some sports include:

1. In Football 
A quarterback making split-second decisions as to what to do with the ball as a called play breaks down.

2. In Baseball
A player’s ability to choose which pitches to swing at which to pass on.

3. In Soccer
A player on an offensive attack deciding whether to pass off or shoot when given a marginal opportunity to score.

4. In Basketball
A player consistently being at the right place and the right time to get open or get a rebound.

5. In Volleyball
A  player seeing, with her peripheral vision, an opponent move into a position for a block and at the last second, sets the ball away from that opponent.

You get the idea. Some call it natural instinct and some think it just comes with lots of experience and/or training.  Many believe this term refers more to anathlete’s knowledge of the sport.   All of that is true but there is one most effective way for all athletes to increase their sport I.Q beyond all of that and here it is:

Eliminate The Fear Of Failure

Let’s take one of the above examples to illustrate what I mean – the soccer player on an  offensive attack with the ball in her possession.THE SCENARIO:

Stacy was running toward the goal dribbling the ball and scanning ahead for the position and movement of the defender.  She sees a teammate behind and on her left as she makes a move to get by the defender.  With an excellent fake, she barely gets around the defender with just enough space to put a strong kick on the ball for a shot on goal, but she passes off to her teammate who is unable to do anything with it.


After the game the coach asks Stacy why she didn’t take the shot and all she can say is “I don’t know.”  The truth is, she took a shot in last week’s game that was not as good of an opening to score and she sailed it over the goal as the team lost by 1.

At a team meeting that week, the whole team watched video of that play and it was obvious to all that another teammate was in a perfect position to score if Stacy would have passed it to her instead of taken the shot.

Can you see from this simple example how Stacy’s soccer I.Q. was interfered with by the fear of failure she developed from the past game’s mistake?

Stacy could be the hardest-working player on the team and have all the knowledge in the world about soccer strategy but it all goes out the window in that moment of split-second decision-making truth.


1. Yes, be a student of the sport you play to improve your sport I.Q.

2. Yes, get as much playing experience as you can once you decide to specialize in one sport.

3. Yes, quiz and train and test in pressured situations to develop your quick-thinking abilities.

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