So there’s this kid. If there were a competition to find the most socially awkward human in history . . . this poor dear would be in the finals. So there’s his mom. If there was a competition to find the most annoying human in history . . . she wins.
I deal well with difficult people. It’s kinda my thing. But there was this one time I lost it. I lost it at church. This mom raised her hand and proudly announced to the group that her son was, “Not allowed to do sports. He just goes to school and church. I want to be responsible for what he is learning.”
At this point, I raised my hand and stated, “You don’t know anything and your son will learn nothing from you.” At least this is what I did in my head, Walter Mitty style. Real life I just let it fester and boil. And then this was born.
The top 6 lessons kids learn from playing sports
1. Leadership. Whether your kid is the team captain or a bench warmer…they will know what leadership looks like. They will see it and emulate it in the players/coaches that inspire others. They will realize the power of a positive attitude and strive to have it. Perhaps this explains why almost all US presidents were involved in athletics in their youth.
2. Confidence/ Positive Self Image. There is a level of confidence that comes from practicing the same skill over and over and then performing it in front of a crowd. Kids will begin defining themselves as someone who works hard and is not afraid to succeed. One day my college volleyball coach announced that we would be having intense conditioning at 4:30 AM. I had never in my life imagined myself awake at 4:30 AM and did not think I was capable of it. Turns out, I’m capable of lots of stuff I had never imagined.
3. Emotional Regulation. When kids play sports they fail. All the time. Over and over. They struggle with learning new skills. They lose games. Their teammates let them down, they let themselves down. Failure is ever-present in athletics. I submit there is nothing more powerful than watching a child finally succeed at something they have truly worked for. This is why Olympic commercials always make you feel something.
4. Teamwork. This goes deeper than working together for a common goal. Being part of a team means that you have learned how to not only be respectful to people that irritate you but also to succeed with them. This lesson seems to translate well into future roles such as employee/boss/spouse/parent . . or even sitting in Sunday school with the most annoying woman in history.
5. Coachablity. Having a coach means learning to follow directions. It means tuning your ears to one person in a crowd of thousands and executing their directive. Kids learn how to listen to people who know more than they do. People who see the big picture and ask you to do better than your best.
6. Positive Friends. Sports are an incredible built-in social circle. Kids who are part of a good team are surrounded by peers who are expected to do well in school, respect each other, avoid drugs and alcohol, keep their bodies physically fit, and work for more. Positive friends mean a positive and productive life.
I want my kids to be athletes. I want them to find a sport and excel at it. Not for me. Not because I want to live vicariously through them. Not so I can sit up in the stands and say, “Did you see my son dunking on your son?” No. That’s lame. I want my kids to be athletes because I KNOW there are things they will learn from being part of a team that I CAN’T teach them at home. I want to sit in the stands and be like, “Can you believe the lessons they’re learning!”
Head to the Family Room
PIN IT FOR LATER:
This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.