Youth sports begin when parents decide it is a good time to meet other kids and have exposure to organized activities. Sports like baseball and soccer encourage peer interaction while swimming lessons are a life skill, teaching basic water safety. Very few stick with all the sports they are exposed to, but development and personality help a child find a deliberate focus. Regardless of the sport, athletics teaches us more than being the best hitter, fastest runner, or the highest jumper. It teaches us life skills that eventually become instrumental in our personalities.
Life Lessons We Learn From Sports:
A Healthy Lifestyle: A healthy body is a productive body. There is evidence that a lifestyle of health and fitness contributes to low blood pressure, healthy weight , and stress management. Knowledge of foods for fueling vs. nutrition is significant as we age and the continuation of an active lifestyle is instrumental to longevity.
Sportsmanship: In every sport there is a winner and a loser. That’s what competition is. Sportsmanship is an extension of the event because it is how you conduct your self before, during, and after the event. True character is recognized by, not only congratulating the losers of a match, but also those who beat you. I guess as an adult we call this character building, the ability to give credit where credit is due and stay humble in the process. Sometimes…..
Work Ethic: Hard work beats talent, when talent does work hard. This one sells itself. No one gets a freebie. There are rewards for working hard and that includes time management. In school that meant preparing for practices, getting to school on time, completing homework, and repeat. Organization is key to successful academics and athletic talent. Later in life these same attributes becomes even more important when seeking a work-family balance.
Dedication and Commitment: You can’t show up unprepared. Those who excel are prepared to succeed and their performance is evidence of exactly that. If they start something, they finish it. In sports it might translate to completing a season, in life it could translate to completing work projects or personal home management.
Being Better: You’ll never be the best, just better, and what a great attribute to walk away with. There is pride and understanding of a personal record (PR) and knowledge and acceptance that sometimes you lose. It doesn’t mean you have failed, it only gives you feedback about how to handle the better part. It is here where we learn to step up to the plate. Life is full of mistakes and what feels like failures, but there is always a second chance, and a third. This is where we also find perseverance.
Social Skills: There is no I in team. Even independent sports have a team effort because of placement and the camaraderie of training. Companies have discovered that people who have played sports naturally understand what it is like to be a team player and it naturally morphs into the work environment .
Optimism: Competition is fierce. You can work hard, train hard, and play hard, but as soon as you use the words “I can’t“ you have given up and might as well walk away. Gaining confidence through self talk and an “I can” attitude meets adversity head on. A project in the work place can be approached with the same philosophy. “I can’t” can be quickly be met instead with “how can I?” So… yes, you will tackle the job interview, you can get that job you want, you can be a great cook, and you can lose those few extra pounds.
There is only one rule. Keep moving forward. The uphills make the downhills so much nicer.