5 Reasons Why Sports is More Than a Game
As a coach and former basketball player, I have learned that sports can help develop a teenager in multiple ways. I have always leaned on the principle that every experience and situation has a lesson embedded within. What a teen learns in sports can be utilized in the real world, as well. I realize that parents worry that sports may become a distraction, consume too much time, and be too expensive. In response, I have compiled a list of five priority life skills that demonstrate how sports is more than a game and can be used for good in a teen’s life. Hopefully, these will encourage and inform parents of the benefits of furthering their teen’s engagement in sports.
As adults (or even parents), we usually have an individual in our life who holds us accountable. In sports, a teen learns that they are not just in it for themselves. They have a team depending on them. An individual must be mindful that others rely on them to do their best, regardless of what is occurring. For example, when we as adults have a family, our family holds us accountable to be the best.
As adults, we struggle to be consistent. How many of us have started a diet, only to give up eventually (we will figure it out one day)?
Consistency in sports allows a teen to develop a routine and structure that encourages them to become a stronger player. When individuals engage in the same habits each day, they turn their weaknesses into strengths. When you shy away from an established routine, you must restart from the beginning. Sports teaches consistency, which is a benefit that will carry over into adulthood.
3. FAILURE IS NOT FATAL
We have all failed at some point in our life. Most players think coaches get upset because they lose a game. In reality, losing a game is sometimes the best lesson. When you lose a game, it allows a player to reflect on mishaps of the game and allows coaches to correct mistakes. Mistakes are okay because it provides the opportunity to work towards winning.
4. HARD WORK PAYS OFF
Working hard is tiresome, both in sports and in life, but it pays off in the end. Sports is tiresome because not only does an athlete endure difficult physical challenges, but they also must remain dedicated to improving and leading their team. Juggling school, sports, and other obligations is hard, but it teaches perseverance and commitment. Finishing strong is a key lesson in sports—and life. Hard work is a critical component of that success.
5. DEALING WITH ADVERSITY
Sports provide regular exposure to adversity. Almost every practice and every game present an opportunity to overcome a difficult challenge or circumstance.
There have been times as a coach when my team was behind by 15 points, the referees were not in our favor, and we were losing hope. Some teams would want to give up and throw the ball in, but my coaching style compels me to instill an “I won’t give up” mentality. My players and I know that despite the score and the circumstances, we must fight. Many times, we succeed and win the game. After the game, I always say, “fellas, way to fight, way to figure it out, and way to not give up. In life, you will face adversity, and you will have to figure out how you will overcome that situation mentally. Remember this moment.”
Parenting is hard—especially in today’s world. Pursuing a career, managing school, and family priorities, and carving out time for everything else often seems overwhelming. Sports can seem like one more activity trying to drain your family’s time and pocketbook. However, before you throw in the towel on sports, take time to consider the benefits I have outlined here, the reasons why sports is more than a game. What will be the most important takeaways when you look back on this time ten years from now? Will you treasure the memories and the lessons learned? I think those benefits far outweigh any costs.
TJ Miller is from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently is the Assistant Basketball Coach and Head Freshman Coach at Page High School in Franklin, Tennessee. He has been coaching and training for over four years.
For more on sports and parenting, check out our posts below.
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FOR THE ATHLETE
FOR THE PARENT
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