Most young people who play sports never end up with sports as their careers. Instead that go on to pursue careers as politicians, astronauts, accountants and even entrepreneurs like former high school and college football star Jack Elway. Although they do not turn their sports activities into a career, the diverse and important skills they learn when playing sports benefits them in any career they eventually pursue. Here is what sports teaches that anyone can use in life.
Focusing on the Task at Hand
Life today we are told, is about multi-tasking: working on several different important projects at work, cooking dinner while you watch the kids, and working out while you perfect the speech you have to deliver tomorrow. What happens mostly because of multi-tasking is that we do each of the things at less of a quality level than is possible. We get the presentations out on time but they are filled with mistakes, we burn the dinner and do not see our 2 year old get the marker and write on a wall, we do a lousy workout and the words in the speech tomorrow. Sports teach us to focus only on the thing that you are engaged in at the moment. You learn to be in the moment in sports and as a result you accomplish things or are clear why you are not accomplishing what you set out to do. This ability to place your focus only on the current task is vital in every part of life and those who participate in sports take this skill and apply it liberally.
The ability to analyze information to establish whether it is truthful seems to be a dying art. In our world with fake news and fake newsmakers who are supported by real looking and sounding organizations, it is increasingly difficult to ascertain what is real. This is why this attribute is so important. Critical thinking provides the foundation and tools for discovering what is real. In sport, a part of each team’s strategy is to deceive the other team about their intentions. This allows a team to score points more easily or gain an advantage over the other team. Having critical thinking skills allows you to determine what is actually going on and the truth about your opponent’s actions. You put this to use in a game setting and as a result you learn how to discern which are facts, and which are feints. This development of critical thinking skills prepares you for life outside of sports and gives you a valuable tool to navigate society today.
Bouncing Back After Disappointments
A key part of sports is dealing with the losing that will undoubtedly occur. If you are going to play, you are going to lose. In fact, even as a professional chances are you will lose more than you win. So being able to deal with loses in a productive and helpful way, is a requirement when you play sports. The best players in professional baseball for instance fail more than 65% of the time. And they have to fight against those failures and be prepared every time, to have a chance to succeed. To do this they must be able to accept their failure, learn from it, appreciate that because it happened in the past does not mean it will happen again, and maintain that the next time they will have success. In business and in personal life this quality is extraordinarily valuable and sports teaches is to everyone who participates.
The lessons and skills gained from playing sorts are some of the most valuable you can receive anywhere. So it is a great thing for you and your kids to take up a sport.