sports teach life lessons

7 Teachable Moments On the Sports Field

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a sports junkie. I grew up watching and playing baseball, basketball, and football. As I grew older and matured, my time for watching and playing sports diminished, but I longed for the day when my kids would get to play sports. As a dad of four boys who’ve played baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, our family has learned much about life from playing, watching, and coaching their teams.

Sports teach life lessons. I’m going to assume your kids and mine will not continue as professional athletes. But here are the seven invaluable lessons I’ve learned through recreational sports.

1. Perspective:

I still remember the coach of the high school baseball team calling me when I was a senior to tell me that I didn’t make the team. From this ‘failure’, I learned life goes on, and sports aren’t everything. I know a day is coming when my kids will get similar phone calls. The earth still spins, and life moves on. The next opportunity is coming which you will also learn from.

2. Perseverance:

Don’t give up or live in despair. Get back up and fight again. The next game is right around the corner.A few weeks ago one of my sons missed a game-tying layup in the last second of his school’s basketball game. In the few moments after the game, he was sad, angry, and embarrassed. His reaction was appropriate in the moment, but how will he respond the next day? Don’t give up or live in despair. Get back up and fight again. The next game is right around the corner.

3. Teamwork:

The adage that there’s no “I” in team holds true. You win and lose as a team, not as an individual. Sports give us the opportunity to be selfless and to put the needs of others before our own. We can encourage others when someone makes a great play, celebrate the skills of a better athlete, or console a teammate after they mess up. Not much else will prepare you more for the reality of life and the fact that most of us will work on teams as adults.

4. Responsibility:

There are times in sports when our kids miss a tackle, drop a pass, or make mental errors. In those moments, they can either blame the ref, the sun, the other team, or they can take responsibility for making a mistake. We all make mistakes on the sports field. The question is whether you will take responsibility or pass on the blame.

5. Respect Authority:

My four boys have had some amazing coaches and a few not-so-amazing coaches. The best coaches develop their character by challenging and encouraging them on and off the field. They focus on the skills to play better in the game but even more so on the character qualities needed to thrive in life.

6. Teachability:

Not much frustrates me more than when my sons won’t receive instruction from the leaders in their life. When a coach instructs my boys on their shooting or catching techniques, I hope they’ll receive the feedback with humility and change the way they play. Sometimes our pride gets in the way, and we become unteachable.When our kids play sports, they get the opportunity to learn from others.

7. The value of FUN!

While practices and games should be hard work sometimes, the games should be fun. Sports give us the chance to laugh, encourage, and spend time with friends.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s your favorite sport and why?”