Athlete, Avoid Distractions


Athlete, Avoid Distractions

Jonathan Van Horn

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Have you ever been distracted? Sure, we all have. Distractions come at us all the time, every day. No matter how hard we try to ignore them, they’re a part of life. 

So what can we do? We know that distractions can hold us back, limit our success, destroy careers, and infect relationships. Athletes especially are surrounded with distractions that are often heightened — pressures from the media, fans, coaches, teammates, family and the list goes on.

Even good things can pose a distraction and prevent you from achieving success in any area: sports, faith, relationships, academics, etc. So how can you limit the impact of distractions, maintaining a healthy and successful trajectory?


You see, athlete, focus allows you to stay the course when those shiny lights come flashing. Focus gives you the strength to say no when “everyone else is doing it.” Focus helps to narrow your gaze and keep your eyes on the prize!

In Philippians 3, Paul urges the church in Philippi to keep their eyes on the prize, staying focused on what truly matters most. This “prize” that Paul is referring to is Jesus. Paul states, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).

Psychologist and author Harry A. Overstreet said, “The immature mind hops from one thing to another, the mature mind seeks to follow through.”

Athlete, stop hopping from one thing to the next, stay focused! Don’t allow the shiny distractions of life to keep you from the main thing. 

Keep your eyes on the prize of Christ!

Jonathan Van Horn is author of “SHIFT: The Athlete’s Playbook 5 Proven Steps to Life After Sport.” He assists athletes through successful transitions in sport and life. You can hear stories and learn more about SHIFT on The SHIFT Podcast on iTunes and Spotify as well as online at


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