Whatever type of sport your child has expressed interest in or shown talent in, consider it a blessing that they want to play sports. Why you ask? Sports help kids acquire lifelong valuable skills. Playing sports presents them with a challenge and really puts their character to the test. The nature of these activities end up teaching them priceless lessons that truly impact them in positive ways that no other extracurricular activity can. Sure, sports are a way to keep them entertained, a possible way to get scholarships to college and sometimes, even a career path for them. But even if your kids don’t end up making the sport they play their life plan, they will still gain so much life experience and valuable lessons from playing them.
Here are 5 important life lessons that your kids will learn from playing sports:
Working Hard to Have an Edge - Competition
At the end of the day, we all know that living in this world means competing against others. Whether it’s for a job or a role in a play or anything else, we often have to prove ourselves to earn the places we want to be in life. Sports teaches your kids the spirit of competition and makes them want to work hard to be able to rise to the challenge. It will push them to want to work hard so they can come out on top.
How to Lose Gracefully
While the goal is always to win, sports also teach you the opposite. “You win some, you lose some” is a common saying and it's very true. It’s important for your child to understand that it’s okay to lose sometimes. It’s easy to feel boasty when you win; but it takes true character to handle a loss with poise. Kids need to understand that when they do lose, they should be learning from their mistakes and putting in the work to bounce back better than ever the next time. Even if they do feel down after losing a game, most sports put an emphasis on bowing out gracefully, paying respects to the opponent for a game well played and understanding that while you lost in the moment, the next attempt could easily be a win. Sports teach you resilience, tenacity and perseverance - all traits that some of the world’s most successful people possess.
How to Work in a Team
Pretty much any career or life situation is going to involve other people. Some of the most amazing feats in this world have been accomplished through work in a team. When a group of people can communicate effectively and work together towards a common goal with high levels of focus and dedication, there’s no limit to what they can do. Sports teach kids many valuable lessons about pulling your weight on a team, communicating, pulling each other up when one of you is down and knowing when to fall back and let someone else take that winning shot for the good of the team. They’ll learn to put the team’s common goal above their own personal agendas - a highly valuable trait to have in this world that could get your child far.
The Importance of Hard Work and Seeing Things Through
It can be easy to do something when you’re first starting out and when you’re excited about it. But it takes a lot of discipline to push through when those drills feel tedious, that workout is challenging and when you just don’t feel like doing anything. Learning to play sports and being a good player and teammate take a tremendous amount of work that involves constantly challenging yourself. You also won’t see the results unless you push beyond the moments when you’re weary. Sports are a great way to instill that spirit of seeing it through in your child - another highly valuable personality trait that will help them navigate life in a great way.
Having a Positive Attitude
One very overrated trait but one that has boundless payoffs is a positive attitude. We all go through challenges and hardships at some point or another, but what matters is how we take it all in stride. No one wants to play with someone with a horrible attitude, no matter how great their talent or skill. Playing a tough game of football on a hot day or competing in a gymnastics competition and practicing again and again - even when your child is dog tired - to ensure they do their absolute best for their teammates - is an experience that will stay with them forever and teach them that attitude is everything.
If you have the option to support your child in a sport - whether it’s soccer, baseball, volleyball or cheerleading or gymnastics, encourage them to pursue it. Go out and get them those soccer cleats, those gymnastics leggings or activewear, those pom-poms or whatever they need on the field and tell them to get ready for practice!