Sport is a great vehicle for teaching many life and leadership skills. Here’s a short list of lessons learned and examples of the cross-pollination between sport and

1. Cheering for the team, not for yourself


Remember that at the core, everyone on the team has the same objectives. When it comes to sports teams, at one level we are competing with each other for the starting spot, but whoever is performing the best will always have the starting spot on the court and in the spirit of sportsmanship, the second in line should be right there cheering that person on because it is the team’s goals that are the overarching driver. Teammates should know that when they are not performing as well as others, they ought to be doing a better job at helping them reach their goals. It motivates to step up even more, to kick one’s performance into higher gear.


2. Building High Performing Sports Teams = Building High Performing Teams in Business

In team sport, everyone knows that at a certain level, you usually specialize and really hone your skills in your chosen ‘position’ because its where you are your strongest and perform your best, especially under pressure. In business teams, if everyone else ‘does what you do’, what is the differentiator each person brings that can really take your team from just performing to excelling? It is unique strengths. To discover these it is highly recommended that teams do the Strength Finder Test. It identifies top 5 strengths and provides you with examples of how to best use them. They also reveal why people love and excel at certain aspects of their work, while disliking other parts – so they can reallocate resources, time and energy on your team.


3. Analyzing yourself and your opponent

While you may not sit and watch video of your team in business, it is equally important to reflect or debrief on your decisions and results, both good and bad, and the process you took to get there.


4. Respecting a better performing opponent through emotional intelligence and self-control.

Respect for your opponent, especially when you are being out-performed, is a great lesson learned from sport. You learn the most from your poor performances when you are not angry at the opponent or what they are doing but instead direct your attention onto yourself. What they do is out of your control so instead focus on what you can control, your performance and reactions. The beauty of doing this is that it helps keep your attention broad so that key information can come in at the right time to trigger a shift to your advantage.


5. It isn’t over, till it’s over

Anything can happen at any time – look at the last 19 seconds of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup! The same thing can happen in business, the game can shift at a moments notice and being agile to these changes is key.



Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) targets you would like to get to: __________
2) to fight against someone (e.g. during a sports game): __________
3) people who form a group with you: __________
4) something that helps tell the difference between things: __________
5) to be very good at something: __________
6) one of a kind: __________
7) a rival: __________
8) to think deeply about something: __________
9) to carefully review and examine: ___________
10)defeated: __________
11)a connection between two things: __________
12)to practice your skills: __________
13)to be the beginning of something: __________


Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) a starting driver
2) overarching your skills
3) to reach one’s resources
4) to motivate spot
5) to kick in the game
6) to hone your performance into a higher gear
7) to perform to step up
8) to reallocate attention broad
9) to keep one’s under pressure
10)a shift goals


Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) cele
2) wyróżnik
3) przeanalizować
4) współzależność / wzajemne oddziaływanie
5) doskonalić
6) zoptymalizować wykorzystanie zasobów
7) wspólny dla całego zespołu czynnik motywujący
8) zapoczątkować
9) kluczowy / główny
10)zrealizować cele
11)metafora (również jako spółka, np. spółka celowa)

Grammar corner…

It isn’t over, till it’s over – the text says. What is the function of till (or until) in this sentence? It provides a condition that has to be met for the first half of the
sentence to be true. Such sentences are called CONDITIONALS or CONDITIONAL CLAUSES. They usually include the word if which introduced the condition that was discussed above

In business grammar conditionals are often used for negotiations. There are also many other ways of introducing the condition apart from IF. They include: till/
untill (i.e. when the time comes), as long as / provided that / on condition that (i.e. when a certain condition is satisfied), unless (i.e. if not), supposing / assuming that (i.e. what if), given that (i.e. with the information that we have).


Exercise 4

Complete the sentences with a correct alternative to IF:

1) We will extend a line of credit as ________________________ your company is honest about its financial situation.
2) ________________________ our rivals went out of business, what would the market look like?
3) The prices will not go down, ________________________ the exchange rate gets worse.
4) The government agreed to bail out the national airline, on ________________________ that they sell the controlling share package.
5) ________________________ you have paid off you credit card, you can’t make other purchases.
6) You’re hired, ________________________ that you agree to work on commission.
7) We’ll go bankrupt ________________________ we find a way to be innovative.
8) ________________________ you were made CEO, which direction would you go?
9) Steve Jobs was considered a lunatic, ________________________ he actually succeeded.
10)________________________ that I don’t know anything about stocks, can I still invest on the stock market?



exchange rates – kursy walut
to bail somebody out – udzielić pomocy (szczególnie ze środków budżetowych)
to extend a line of credit – udzielić kredytu
on commission – w systemie prowizyjnym
controlling share package – kontrolny pakiet akcji
to debrief – dogłębnie przeanalizować
starting spot – pozycja wyjściowa (np. firmy na rynku)
to reallocate resources – zoptymalizować wykorzystanie zasobów
to hone skills – doskonalić umiejętności
to keep attention broad – myśleć przekrojowo
to be outperformed – zostać pokonanym
to trigger – zapoczątkować
a differentiator – wyróżnik
cross-pollination – współzależność / wzajemne oddziaływanie
to perform under pressure – działać pod presją
a shift in the game – zmiana sytuacji (np. na rynku)
to reach one’s goals – osiągnąć cele
to cheer – wspierać / kibicować
key – kluczowy
core (core business) – centrum (czegoś) (przedmiot działalności gospodarczej).
vehicle – metafora (w tekście) (czasem: special purpose vehicle – spółka celowa)



download lesson (pdf)




Ex. 1
1) objectives
2) to compete
3) teammates
4) a differentiator
5) to excel at something
6) unique
7) an opponent
8) to reflect
9) to debrief
10)to be outperformed
11)cross pollination
12)to hone
13)to trigger

Ex. 2
1) a starting spot
2) overarching driver
3) to reach one’s goals
4) to motivate to step up
5) to kick your performance into a higher gear
6) to hone your skills
7) to perform under pressure
8) to reallocate resources
9) to keep one’s attention broad
10)a shift in the game
Centrum Języków Obcych Archibald poziom B1/B2

Ex. 3
1) objectives
2) differentiator
3) debrief
4) cross pollination
5) hone
6) reallocate resources
7) overarching driver
8) trigger
9) key
10)reach goals

Ex. 4
1) long as
2) supposing / assuming
3) unless
4) condition
5) until / unless
6) provided
7) unless
8) supposing / assuming
9) until