Last year the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games were held in my hometown, London. It was a really inspirational time seeing sportspeople from all over the world pushing themselves to the limit to be the best in their events.
Now, I know not everyone likes sports. But as language learners, there are some important things we can learn from top athletes.
Practice, practice and practice some more. Knowledge is important but for speaking and writing, actually doing it is more important. There are lots of inactive men who drink beer and watch football in the pub down my street. They know a lot about football, but they aren’t good at playing it because they don’t actually do it. Likewise, even if you read every English textbook in the world, you wouldn’t be able to speak without practicing.
There will be tough times along the way. Even if you do your best to make learning a language or practicing a sport fun, there will be times when it’s really hard work or difficult to find motivation. During these times, it’s important to think of your overall goal (like winning a gold medal for running, or delivering an important speech in English) as well as the smaller goals you have along the way (such as running half a second faster or mastering the present perfect).
All of your hard work will be worth it in the end. Becoming amazing at a sport takes a long time and hard work. It’s the same with learning a language: success is not instant but when you reach your goals the rewards are great. Being able to communicate fluently, do business or lead your daily life in more than one language is a special thing and worth all the hard work.
So, how about you? Who is your sporting hero and what are you doing to become more like him or her?