When we talk about the benefits of competitive sports, we often think about the opportunities to earn scholarships to the best schools, earn a free education, and opportunities to compete on the largest collegiate stages. These are all true possibilities that participating in competitive sports can bring to your youth athlete. I also feel that this can be a bit short sided since the benefits of competitive sports for future success are almost endless. Here are 5 more reasons why:
#6. Healthy Lifestyle Habits
One of the best aspects of being an athlete is learning how to be in peak physical condition. This means developing the discipline of exercise such as cardiovascular fitness, and strength training. Of course learning how to eat comes with this as well. High performing competitive athletes understand that from a food standpoint their input will always match their output. Eating good correlates to good performance and combining that with consistent exercise and kids are learning how to build health habits for life.
#7 Work Ethic
Being a competitive athlete is a lifestyle. The dedication to win will always require a commitment to long grueling practices, film sessions, and sometimes private training lessons as well. This is only the sports side too, there’s still school work that needs to be done, family time, and other obligations that kids may have. To be a competitive athlete means developing a strong work ethic, learning how to juggle multiple tasks at once, and get things done. This is why many companies love hiring former athletes because they know their competitive spirit will push them to work harder than their peers and competitors.
#8 Self Discipline
The definition of self discipline is to control one’s feelings in order to overcome their weaknesses. This sounds a bit extreme but in order to accomplish anything worthwhile in life controlling emotions is a must. This is something that competitive athletes will need to learn almost immediately whether it be controlling their emotions against their opponents or even the emotions stirred as a result of the competitive environment. The pressure and stress of being a competitive athlete will make kids into more reliable and competent adults in the workforce.
#9 Social Skills
Having good social skills is a lot like the ability to communicate effectively except it also includes nonverbal communication. When I think about social skills in competitive sports the first and obvious form of nonverbal communication is body language. This is a crucial lesson that athletes will need to learn in sports because it can have a negative impact on their competitive experience and lead to a loss of opportunities. The same can be true as an adult, such as when peers or superiors feel that you are difficult or not easy to work with. Competitive sports help teach kids to be fluid in the interactions which can help them navigate relationships more effectively in the future.
#10 Develop Grit
This is probably one of the most beneficial skill sets that kids can develop from participating in competitive sports, and definitely my favorite. Grit is defined as a combination of passion and perseverance for long term goals. Now more than ever we need kids to have more grit. Sports helps kids become more gritty by helping them understand that the work they put in today, will pay off in the future. You can’t win championships, and become the best competitor you can be without having a level of grit. The same can be said for life, instant gratification is ultimately unheard of as an adult. To accomplish a goal you’ll need to put in inspired work today, and over a period of time in order to see results in the future. Grit is an invaluable skill that every successful person possesses, and this starts with competitive sports.
Owner, Boost Training Systems in Corona, CA
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance