Why failing at sports doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing

Once upon a time there was a girl. She tried many sports, but felt awkward and clumsy in doing all of them. All of the sports she tried just didn’t seem to fit her. Catching balls, dancing, it just wasn’t working. Wondering who that girl is? Yep, that girl is me.

I cannot emphasize enough that I am not the most athletic person in the world. I am clumsy, awkward, and uncomfortable when it comes to working out and this already started at an early age.

Failing at sports

When I was still a little tiny girl, I thought it would be fun to join the local gymnastics team because I liked the graceful bodies of the gymnasts I saw during the olympics on the telly. And so, full of confidence, I showed up at my first gymnastics class ever…

How could I have ever been so wrong, it was terrible! I was too afraid to do all of the exercises. I thought it was scary to be that high up. I didn’t like to do backflips or swirl around the air like Epke Zonderland (best male gymnast in the Netherlands). After a couple of lessons I quit. My mom and dad agreed, because it didn’t really help that their daughter wouldn’t dare to do anything except for watching the people who did have enough courage to do the gymnastic exercises.

Eventually, I grew older and got into dancing. I loved the people on the television moving smoothly to the music. I wanted to learn this as well! Together with my sister, we decided that we wanted to be a streetdancer. Little did we know that streetdance moves are fast and quite difficult. And so, we couldn’t keep up :’). When the group moved right, we were still moving to the left. You can imagine what that must have looked like ;). After a while, I think even the teacher got tired of us, because we couldn’t keep up. Even girls who were younger than us managed to do the steps. Eventually, we quit because it wasn’t fun anymore and everyone was mad at us. Oh well..

After streetdance, there was a period in my life I played tennis. I did this for 5 years and I really enjoyed it. But, again, I wasn’t really good at it, what a surprise! Eventually, my sister was so good that she was approached by a team selector. So at least, one of us succeeded. You can imagine that after this, I didn’t do any sports for a really long time, because I just wasn’t good at it. However, I have to say that tennis was one step into the right direction.

The turning point

During university, I started exercising again: zumba. For the first time, I didn’t care how I looked. And although it looked ridiculous, I loved to do it.

Btw, you wouldn’t believe it, but I also picked up running. No matter how slow I run, I am still running. I have not yet fell, I am not scared to do it, and it doesn’t involve any balls. So I’m happy.

Eventually, the point that I am trying to make is that although you can be failing at sports, you will find something that fits you. See it as a journey. You can be clumsy, awkward, or have motorial disabled skills, just like me. But there is always something that suits you and that you will enjoy. Just try out a lot of different sports and if it doesn’t suit you, laugh about it, find some hilarious GIF’s of other people that fail at it too, and move on to the next sport. 🙂 


Leave a Comment


  1. Marijne

    omg you sound just like me! I have also found my sport: badminton! I think it’s really fun and although I don’t move very smoothly when I am playing I did get one of the best of our club! soo yaay! ( & my trainer also said I look really odd when I move, but I don’t care.)

    • Nathalie

      I love badminton as well!!! <3 Nice to hear that I am not the only one haha

  2. Debby Verhagen

    HAHA Nathalie toen ik de titel zag, wist ik al dat jij het geschreven had! Heel leuk stukje!

    • Nathalie

      hahaha Debby :’) Is het zo overduidelijk? xD Maar dankjewel!!

  3. Inez

    I kind of have this haha. I do dancing for ten years now and I see that I am not doing as good as other girls who dance. But I don’t care and I just go on with dancing, I’ve done Jazz for ten years and now I’m switching to dancehall and hiphop. And I hope I’m going to enjoy it because I will be in a better group. And I play fieldhockey for nine years, first I was really bad at it but then I got better and I was pretty good at it. Last year I’ve had a coach that sucked and het totally brought my confidence to level 0. Now I don’t have him as a coach anymore and I hope that I will be better. But I actually discovered my sport last year when I went skiing in France with my dad and my brother and sister. I was way better than my brother and sister and I wasn’t scared to fall or break something or make mistakes. And now I really like it and I want to do it again. Unfortunately, my parents don’t have enough many to go skiing every year but I can’t wait until I can go skiing again because I like it so much and I just want to do it every day!!!

    • Nathalie

      That’s awesome Inez! Kind of sounds the same as my story haha. We just have to try out a lot of different sports in order to find the one that we are good at! Hopefully you can go skiing again very soon! It’s nice to have a sport that you can totally rock 😀

  4. Eva

    Oh wow this is so true. Why doesn’t anyone tell you it’s ok to fail when you’re younger? I used to hate high school gym classes, because they involved lots of team sport, and I was always the most fanatic and simultaneously the worst at any team sport. So I’d be screaming at everyone and then do it all wrong myself, I felt terrible. This lead me to thinking I was just generally bad at sports, and my self-esteem dropped really hard, until, finally, my sister got me to go with her to a BodyPump class and I’ve been hooked ever since! So yessss this is so trueee! Thank you for sharing 🙂