Super Bowl LIV is just around the corner. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Fransisco 49ers will be facing off this Sunday at 5:30 CST. Which team are you rooting for, the Chiefs or the 49ers? Which state do you think will dominate in Super Bowl LIV? Does your household incorporate any Super Bowl traditions? Do you involve your kids in the love of the game? Finally, what lessons can we take from competitive sports?
Playing competitive sports teaches invaluable life lessons that, as a result, can profoundly impact the life of developing youth. The most beneficial lessons learned from sports are easily applied to any stage of life. Above all, these lessons can sustain an individual through many of life’s obstacles. Mike McCann from USA Football shares with us valuable life lessons he learned in football that has helped him navigate the challenges life has offered. Any competitive sports experience can’t teach us these lessons.
Sports teach youth about the ‘how’ of competition and forces you to know yourself.
“There are two types of competition: competition with others, and yourself. (Competitive sports) teach both.”1 When competing against other teams, you collectively research and plan strategies and execute them on the field. Feedback from this strategy is asessed at the moment. Moreover, this kind of real-life planning and execution is not seen in many other areas of a youth’s educational experience. “Individually, you must improve your body to become a better player. If you don’t learn to compete with yourself and improve every day, you’ll be the weakest link in the chain.” 1 Competitive sport implicitly requires you to continually asses your weaknesses, reinforce your strengths, and continuously try and improve upon both.
Sports teach youth about discipline and hard work.
Every aspect of a sport, on or off the field, is shrouded in discipline and hard work. From training to attendance at games and drills to commitment on and off the field to your team, competitive sports are 100% dedicated discipline. Discipline is one of the most valuable lessons one can learn, as it is what takes you to the next level. An individual can have all the skills desired, but will achieve nothing without discipline. Discipline is the driving force behind success and is a precursor to hard work. Discipline is what pushes one to work harder after they fall.
Sports teach youth about accountability and teamwork.
“Individuals don’t win games. Teams do. To be on a team, you must learn to be accountable to the people around you.”1 One wrong or selfish decision can affect the outcome of the game. Consequently, bad choices can affect the entire season for the team. The same goes for off the field, “in life, if you don’t carry your weight, your whole organization can potentially be punished.” 1
Sports teach youth the value of practice and sacrifice.
Competitive sports require practice and sacrifice. Practice and sacrifice are the vehicles for success. In sports, “we lift weights, (analyze) film, run sprints, and practice until our legs wobble. And because of that practice, we improve. Many people have goals in life but don’t know how to reach them. They search for quick answers and try to avoid the part where they pay their dues. (Competitive sports show) how to put in the time and learn to improve skills incrementally.” 1
Sports teach youth how to stand for something.
Most importantly, sports can teach youth to have love and pride in something bigger than themselves. “We take pride in what the decal on our “jersey” stands for. By playing, we learn what it means to make an unwavering commitment to something” and learn to take part in something bigger than ourselves. Love for your team teaches you that you are a small part of something grand, similar to love for your nation, love for humanity and, love for the earth.
Sports bring people together, be it that you are playing on the field, standing on the sidelines or watching on TV. Because of sports, we celebrate together, and we cry together. The hard work and persistence of a few can have an impact way beyond the boundaries of the game itself, such as uniting a nation this Sunday, to watch Super Bowl LIV. Have fun everyone!
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- 15 life lessons from football that shouldn’t be overlooked. https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/631/15-life-lessons-from-football-that-should-not-be-overlooked