Benefits of Sports
Sport is a winning combination!
Sport is physical exercise which is good for mind, body and spirit and it is good for learning accountability, dedication, and leadership, discipline and so much more which makes it a winning combination.
All children who play sports would not grow up to be professional sports people, but the lessons and skills that they acquire while playing youth sports are invaluable life lessons.
Here are some really important lessons that children can get from playing sports.
1. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes - There will be times when players make mistakes during games or practice, but it’s okay to make these mistakes because they are learning experiences. The coach will challenge the players to evaluate the mistake themselves to see what they could have done differently to get a better outcome and this teaches them to use mistakes to do better each time.
2. How to be a Leader
At times during training, players get the opportunity to lead or to be in charge. This could be responsibility for warm-ups before practice, or for equipment. Players will develop a good level of responsibility and leadership skills when such responsibility is placed on them.
3. How to be a Follower
Throughout life we must follow at some time and it is important that children learn how to be lead by others and who to follow. In training and during games, players are given instructions by their coaches which they are expected to follow even if they disagree. This teaches them how to take instructions, how to respectfully question authority, and even patience if they disagree.
4. Body Language And controlling Emotions
Body language says a lot about how a person is feeling and what they are thinking. Players learn that if they display any negative body langauage because something went wrong, it can be considered bad sportsmanship and can result in losing their place on the team or be over looked for awards or even scholarships.
There are times when players think that they have been given a ‘bad decisions” by the referee and this can cause emotions to rise. When this happens, players learn that getting angry or frustrated does not help the situation and inevitably impacts performance, so they learn to stay calm, to accept poor calls and to get on with the game.
5. Success Requires Hard Work And Sacrifice
Players learn that the best players are usually the players that have worked the hardest on improving their game. While talent definitely plays its role early on, sooner or later it is the hardest workers that rise to the top. There are no short cuts, just dedication and hard work.
Players will also learn that they cannot do it all and they have to get their priorities in order. They will also realise that if they’re determined to put in the work to be a great player as well as keep up with their studies, then they won’t be able to attend every party with friends. This is a very important life lesson.
6. How to Win Or Lose With Class
At some point most players feel the glory of a victory and the pain and humiliation of defeat, but how they handle it is very important.
They will learn to be proud of their achievements without putting down their opponents. This often involves shaking hands after the game with the opposite side and giving positive comments to each player such as ‘good game’ or ‘you played a great game’.
In the same way, they will learn that although there are several emotions and feelings that come from failure and defeat, such must be accepted with dignity and they response to the winning team must be the same. Good coaches will teach that losing is another learning experience and to use the loss to evaluate their game and to improve on what caused them to fail.
7. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and players are encouraged to figure out their strong areas and their weakenesses as this helps them to understand how they can best contribute to their team during games. It is also a skill that can be used in their studies.
8. Being Healthy Is Important
Players will have a far greater chance of staying fit and healthy later in life if they play youth sports at a young age. This is because they develop skills and movements that will carry-over to other sports and they also develop an appreciation for good nutrition, exercise and rest.
9. You Must Discipline Yourself
Improving your skills means having the self-discipline to dedicate the time and effort needed to get the results that you are seeking. After all the hard work and players see results, it motivates them and they learn that success calls for discipline.
10. You Are Responsible For Yourself
Players learn that they are responsible for their actions and for their own improvement. They learn that they have to remember their gear, they have to get to training and games on time and they must make schedules to accommodate homework and other responsibilities.
Players quickly learn that if they want to improve their game that it is up to them to make it happen as no one can do it for them.
11. Life Isn’t Always Fair
One of the toughest lessons in sport is the fact that life is not always fair and players learn this from many experiences, some more painful than others.
Players will learn that after all the hard work in training and reaching a peak in their game, injuries can happen and side line them. There will be bad calls, parents might miss your final game or a racket can break. Life is not always fair.
Players have to learn to accept what comes their way and move on because most of the time, sulking about it is not going to change anything.
12. Together Everyone Achieves More
Players learn that a team will always be more successful if everyone is on the same page and the players are all focused on achieving the same goal.
One single player that deviates from this and only cares about their own points or other statistic is enough to derail a team. They quickly learn that their best chance of success will be through cooperation with their teammates and that this is the same on the court, in the classroom, or professionally.
They’ll learn how to deal with conflicts between teammates, how to interact with a number of different personality types, and even how to get along with people they don’t like.
13. Focus on What You Can Control
Coaches must make it clear that there are only two things that players can control at all times, their own effort and their own attitude.
There is simply no point sulking over things that you have no control over. So if a player thinks that he/she is not as good as another team mate, they will learn that the only way to improve is to work on their game and stop worrying about the other person’s game.
In the same way, if you think that you had a bad call or that the referee did not call something there is no point complaining. Focus on what you can control and get on with the game.
The valuable lessons here is that in life one only has control over themselves and your reaction to anything is what you can control and what will determine the result of many situations.
14. To Appreciate Cultures and People
One of the greatest benefits of sport must be the opportunity that athletes have to meet people from various cultures with similar interest.
This happens when they compete in games that invite overseas players or when they travel to compete in overseas games. This experience is not only educational, but it allows young people to meet and make new friends from around the world and to understand and appreciate different cultures which is a very valuable life lesson.
Nkosi Dunwoody- a national swimmer- gained a scholarship
Danielle Titus - National Swimmer - gained a scholarship.
Deandra Small - National volley baller - gained an athletic scholarship.
Ashley Weekes - National swimmer and track athlete- gained scholarship
Akeel Oxley National Volleyball player - gained scholarship.
Gabriel Leslie - National Women's Tennis Champion at 16 years old.
Abiola Grant earned a football contract in Hungary .
Ocean Gittens - National Junior Surfer - sponsored internationally
Twin brothers Darius and Daniel Joseph - National Youth cricketers - gained scholarships to spend a semester in England.