Do Good, Be Great

That is one of my catch phrases for this blog. (please don’t steal it!)

An interesting story from Canada highlights a research study that gives some credence to the idea of complementing one’s training with community service efforts. A larger sample size is probably needed to validate the theory but the general idea certainly seems to make sense.

You can find the full article by Alison Korn from the Toronto Sun at, with an excerpt below.

Just causes on their plate; New study shows it’s a boon to an athlete’s performance to get involved in social issues


Last Updated: 2nd October 2009, 1:43am

Olympic hockey champion Hayley Wickenheiser’s appearance at a Calgary school this week didn’t hurt her on-ice performance — and in fact, such involvement may even help her achieve more in sport.

That’s according to new research that suggests athletes who are involved in causes they care about — outside of their own sporting performances — enjoy better results in their athletic careers.

“There are tons of requests and demands on your time,” said Wickenheiser. “Everybody wants a piece, and if it works and I can accommodate it in my schedule, I try to do as many as I can, but if I can’t, I just don’t. I never compromise the rest or the training.”

In recent years, more and more athletes have taken on responsibilities beyond the playing field or ice. Over the last decade there has been a rise of athlete advocacy organizations such as Right To Play, Team Darfur and Play It Cool.

A cultural shift is underway, says former national team cyclist Erin Carter, who retired from the sport in 2006. For two years, Carter researched athlete social responsibility — a phrase she coined — and in July finished her masters of communication thesis on the topic. What Carter found was fascinating. After interviewing 14 athletes, Carter concluded that those with a passionate involvement in a cause that’s bigger than themselves do not suffer from distraction, but end up performing better in their sports.

“I think what surprised me was how similar the stories were,” said Carter. “In the beginning, a lot of the athletes talked about the play, and the fun and the social. Then they made a choice to pursue the one sport, made sacrifices, gained skills, but a lot of them talked about how sport became meaningless on its own over time.

“There was a key moment in their careers where there was a catalyst experience, where they realized their sense of responsibility as an athlete.”

(The article continues at