Athletic transferable skills are invaluable skills learned through sports that can be applied to other areas of life — including the classroom and future careers. Unfortunately, most young athletes never identify their athletic transferable skills, or they compartmentalize the skills and only use them in their sport. In some cases, kids simply do not connect the value of the skills they use in sports to future life success, and in other examples kids erroneously assume that all kids, regardless of whether they are involved in sports or not, also have mastery over these skills. Athletic transferable skills help kids build self-confidence, as well as provide important tools to help with overall life success.
There are literally dozens of important life skills kids learn through sports that qualify as athletic transferable skills. Before you read some of my favorites listed below, take a few minutes today to talk with your kids about the skills they have learned in sports — and how they will use those skills for success in life experiences beyond sports.
Athletic transferable skills
Of all the athletic transferable skills that can be learned through sports, I especially like the following five:
1.) Goal setting. Athletes routinely set goals, and this same skill can be used in all areas of life. Set goals that are specific, measurable, and controllable — and keep track of goal progress by using a journal or similar recording system. Studies consistently show that people who set specific, measurable goals generally outperform similarly talented people who do not set goals — a very important message fall kids should learn.
2.) Focus. Athletes have to learn self-discipline and “block out” distractions while sharpening their focus on the things that are important and relevant. Learn how to let go of bad days and plays in life the same as you do in sports.
3.) Team building. Sports teams are not the only teams kids join, as they are often included in groups in school, and will likely be on work teams later in life. Learning how to co-exist with teammates — including the ones you don’t especially like — is an important life skill that helps bring out the collective best from a team.
4.) Motivation. Athletes know the importance of motivation, especially during off-season drills and conditioning. The same is true in life – some school and work projects aren’t fun, but they still need to be successfully completed.
5.) Resiliency. Perhaps the most important athletic transferable skill in sports is resiliency – or bouncing back from tough situations. Similar to sports, life throws us curve balls and tests our character all the time, and what we do with the stress and adversity we face in life directly impacts our success or failure. If your child is handling not getting much playing time successfully, can she also deal with other life challenges and struggles?
Why athletic transferable skills work
Have you ever wondered why some athletes are calm, cool, and collected on the field – yet when it comes to writing a paper or delivering a speech in front of a class the exact opposite occurs? For most athletes, making the connection between the confidence and composure needed for athletic success is the same confidence and composure needed for academic success often does not occur. Instead, most athletes use their athletic skills only for sport success and overlook the value of transferring sport skills to life. When you think of it, the same skills an athlete uses to prepare for an opponent or make important decisions on the field are the same skills needed to communicate with teachers or one day successfully complete a job interview. Athletic transferable skills help with overall human performance improvement, not just with winning games.
Make a point this summer to talk to your kids about the value of athletic transferable skills, and how they can use the skills they have learned through sports in all areas of life. While there may not be a chance to play youth sports, there will be countless problems, challenges, and hurdles your kids will face where athletic transferable skills can be used to help. Help your child identify his or her favorite skills, then provide specific examples of how those skills can be used in various life situations.