Life Lessons From Sports

Playing some form of organized sports is like a right of passage for many of us.  I grew up in a large family where every boy played football.  All of my brothers, and boy cousins played football at some point in their life.  Most of my girl cousins played basketball and softball in school, but they also played football on Sunday afternoons at my Grandma’s house.  These games were brutal with heavy hitting, tackling, blocking and running.  We all got cuts, bumps, bruises, stitches and a few broken bones at some point in our childhood and teenage life.  Through these injuries and tough hits, we learned things about life that later propelled us to become productive adults, parents and friends.

Learning life skills is an important part of the process of growing up and as a coach and teacher one of main focus points is to teach my kids the valuable life skills that can help them lead a good life.  A life that allows them to work, live, play and do what they want to do.  A life that is an example to others around them.  Life skills are defined as having the ability for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal with the daily stress and demands of everyday life.  

Coaches, leaders, parents, mentors, pastors, family leaders and others want their people to learn these top ten life skills that will help them be great in life and give them the tools to empower others around them.  These are learned over time, through experiences and develop as we get older and make good decisions and bad ones along the way.  Sports teaches these life skills to people if they are focused on the right concepts and keep in mind the end goal of making our young men and women the best possible adults we can.  We want to produce student athletes and children that become good parents that will in turn continue the line of successful adults by teaching their kids life skills.

1- Self Awareness- Teach self awareness and how important it is to know who you are and be an individual.

2- Empathy- As a nation we are much less empathetic than we once were.  Empathy is needed so you know how others feel when things are bad or not going so well.

3- Critical Thinking- Being able to critically think is very important.  Too many people are growing up on google now and do not know how to look at things from a critical stand point and make a good logical decision using that information.

4- Creative Thinking- Can a person use creativity in situations at home, work and play.  Working in a professional job often requires someone to be creative even if they are not artistic.  Some of the best inventions of all time came from someone using creative thinking in their garage or basement.

5- Decision Making- Being able to make a valid decision and using information and data is important in life.  We make some huge decisions like buying homes, cars, investments, having children and others that impact our current and future life.  

6- Problem Solving- Can you solve a problem when you have to.  Coaches and parents are constantly solving problems.  We fix one and another comes up.  Being effective at problem solving is a needed skill to avoid frustration and stress associated with it.

7- Effective Communication- Are they effective at communicating their needs, wants and desires in a professional and educated way.  Learning time and place is important in this process.  I tell my students there is always a time and place for different types of communication.  They will not be able to speak slang or street lingo at a job or in an office.  Save that for hanging out with friends and know when and where to use it.

8- Emotional Management- You might say what is this?  It is being able to manage feelings, emotions, reactions, behavior and actions when dealing with people.  It is also about limiting emotional baggage which is one of the biggest things that destroys relationships and job potential.  Otherwise known as being “Cray Cray”.  

There are all kinds of life skills needed to be a mature, productive adult that lives a great life.  Work on developing these skills and use them to your advantage.  Then teach them to your children so we continue to produce good people that will love other people and make the world a better place.


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