The reality is that very few athletes will go on to play college, much less professional sports, making the sport experience a very temporary life endeavor for the majority of young athletes (Sport Success 360). Still, there are countless skills that can be used beyond sports that can help with personal development, academic pursuits, relationship building, and career success. Unfortunately, far too many kids “bottle up” and compartmentalize their sport experiences, often distilling them down to fun childhood memories without ever identifying the utility of their sport skills beyond the baseball diamond, soccer field, or swimming pool.
Aside from the countless athletic transferable skills that can be used in every experience in life, youth sports also teaches kids how to work with others on a team, how to develop self-confidence and mental toughness, and how to win and lose with dignity and respect. In fact, it could be argued that participating in sports may be the best life “primer” when it comes to adequately preparing youngsters for many of the future challenges in life that they will inevitably face.
When young people cull from their sport experiences and apply what they have learned toward academic challenges, difficulties with interpersonal relationships, and various other life difficulties, they may be surprised to learn about the utility of their sport skills. In essence, the sport experience can serve as a vehicle for future life success.
Have fun this summer with youth sports, but don’t leave all the life lessons behind at the field after the game has ended. Sit down and process the sport experience with your child, and work together to come up with creative ways he or she can use the lessons learned in sports to become a more successful person, and not just a better athlete.
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