The Value of Sports
Come Ready or Never Start
The Value of Organized Team Sports for Youth
I am a big believer that participating in organized athletics—especially team sports—can teach values and life lessons that youngsters can use in their teenage years and beyond. Noticed I said “can.” This cannot be an automatic assumption. Coaches and parents are key influencers when it comes to sport living up to its potential for building character. Too often, because of a lack of guidance and proper reinforcement from coaches and parents, sport ends up creating ‘characters’ instead of building character.
I have listed a few below.
Sports can teach a child discipline in a palatable way while they participate in an activity they deeply enjoy. They need discipline to learn the skills—the discipline to put in the time and preparation so they can maximize their performance. They learn that if they have the discipline to what it takes to improve and excel—performance rewards can follow. Often, they need discipline while participating in the sports themselves to maximize their chance of success. They learn the lesson quickly—without that discipline they do experience the joy of victory.
Sports teach young people that you need to work hard to improve and reach your true athletic potential. They learn that this mentality can make up for natural athletic talent when it comes to being an effective part of a team. They learn that you can extend your potential by just making up your mind to outwork the other kids. That’s part of the Come Ready or Never Start philosophy—Outwork the competition
Kids learn that it takes a certain sacrifice on their part to participate on a team and contribute to the squad’s performance. They may have to give up things (i.e. time playing video games; hanging out with friends; watching TV) in order to participate in the types of activities that will directly affect their sports skills and enjoyment of the sport.
When your child grows up there is an excellent chance that he or she will be participating in a shared, group working environment that will require teamwork to be a success. Team sports is a great model in which to learn the basics in meshing your efforts into a team format as one piece of the puzzle that must fit with the other pieces in order to create a environment of success. They learn how the importance of the team supersedes the recognition of individual accomplishments—that by working together as a part of a group with a common goal, things can be accomplished that otherwise would be out of the reach of individuals.
Dealing with Success and Failure
Kids can learn how to be proud of their successes without demeaning their opponents. They learn that accomplishments can be cherished so that the focus is on the pride that goes along with team success without letting an attitude of superiority drive their feelings toward their opponents.
Youngsters can also learn how to deal with failure—not winning the competition or accomplishing particular athletic goals. They can be taught that any failure is just a temporary setback from which lessons can be learned in order to improve and have a better chance of success the next time.
Setting and Striving for Goals
This is my favorite. Successful people are the ones who set short term and long term goals and focus their efforts on accomplishing these goals. Organized athletics lends itself to setting both individual and team goals and then striving for those goals. It does not matter the skill level of the young athlete or the level of accomplishment of the team. Goals can be set that mirror the improvement desired and then a plan of action can be mapped out to reach those goals. Likewise in life, youngsters will more likely succeed if they are setting goals in school and other areas of lives. They can transfer their athletic goal achieving lessons from athletics to other, more important areas of their lives.
Value of Practice and Preparation.
Come Ready or Never Start—that pretty much says it all when it comes to defining the importance of practice and preparation in succeeding in sports…or in life. Youngsters can learn the value of preparation and practice in order to allow them to reach their goals as an individual or team. They can experience the success that comes with the proper preparation…or the failure that comes when not enough focus is placed on putting the time in to practice and get better. It’s much the same scenario in their school careers.
This is another one of my favorites. Life isn’t fair and much of it involves overcoming setbacks and other adversity. Youngsters can learn how to overcome adversity and temporary failures through the many situations they face in athletics, both in their preparation and during the competitions. They can learn the mentality they need to both overcome and learn from adversity they face as they strive for their goals. The goal can be just winning the particular game…or attaining a particular athletic goal. Learning to overcome adversity is a mental skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.