Participation in interscholastic sports can be a fulfilling experience for student-athletes. It offers the opportunity to learn about competition and build skills during some of the most impressionable years. Therefore, it’s important for athletic programs to promote and nurture positive, healthy coaching. Coaches and athletic staff are influential figures to student-athletes, especially in their capacity to teach those in their charge pertinent life lessons.
Student-athletes may find playing interscholastic sports is a valuable way to learn. Students attain knowledge through different methods: visual stimuli, auditory cues, and active participation. Furthermore, the skills and traits that student-athletes hone on the field can usually transfer into other aspects of life. Participating in competition and practice, and being part of a team, can give student-athletes the tools necessary for success in and outside of interscholastic sports.
School sports are a valuable platform for packaging important lessons into comprehensible, practical ideas. Interscholastic athletics is more than just a fun way to exercise and compete; they are a springboard for developing universal traits that can lead to life success. The following are four of those traits, along with information on how they can be utilized outside of athletics.
Young athletes can learn how to develop their listening abilities within interscholastic sports. Comprehending what others say is crucial to learning success. During practice or a game, players must listen intently to the coach’s instructions and fully understand what is being conveyed. Additionally, they must listen to their teammates to coordinate better, and at the same time be able to hear an official’s whistle or call.
Listening is more than just hearing; it is the ability to understand and utilize critical information. Listening, in reality, conveys respect for the individual who is communicating. The athletic competition emphasizes the importance of listening in a way that is different than in a school classroom. Outside of competition, a student-athlete’s comprehensive listening abilities and focused attention can translate successfully to situations in the real world.
Due to their competitive experiences, student-athletes may find it easier to understand instructions or listen to the information they previously thought of as mundane. The student-athletes listening ability is a critical trait that will most likely benefit their career. For example, being able to fully listen to a customer’s desires, or to an employer’s needs, can set an employee apart and lead to further career growth.
Resilience to Failure
How athletes respond to loss is just as important as their response to victory. Failure is a natural part of life that requires resilience. When a loss or something negative occurs, it can devastate an athlete’s confidence and create uncertainty. While these are natural responses, some athletes can let their doubts or negative thoughts consume them, sometimes to the point where all they see is a failure. Athletes who work through failure don’t let it affect them or their future performance. They become resilient and rise above.
Coaches can help student-athletes build resilience by being an example of resilience themselves, and by defining other aspects of success. By providing positive feedback and identifying lessons learned through failure, coaches can build positive attitudes in their players. Similar to a defeat on the field, life has its rough moments. In a professional setting, an individual may face the loss of a job or experience failure for not meeting business goals.
Resiliency assists and prepares athletes to push past life challenges when and if they are encountered. In the real world, the resilient student-athlete will be able to handle rejection and failure, learn from them, and continue to pursue their goals.
Cooperation is an invaluable trait that can be built through teamwork in athletics. It’s an important quality that will reap benefits during a career and in family life. Collaboration isn’t always easy. Learning early on how to master it can deliver immediate advantages.
In athletics, players work together to pursue a common goal. That means they must communicate openly, compromise occasionally, and respect their teammates. Individually, they must be dedicated and focused so they can play at peak performance. When student-athletes enter the professional world, they will find being a team player has major benefits. In their career, they will most likely work on teams where collaboration is key. In family, working with a spouse to align values and strategies can lead to a strong bond. Without teamwork, goals will be more difficult to achieve and progress more difficult to accomplish in any aspect of work or life.
How athletes react to victory or defeat will create the foundation for future reactions. Student-athletes who learn how to win or lose with dignity are building a mindset of respect and a positive self-image.
How others perceive you—and by inference, how they perceive your true nature—is a major aspect of life that shouldn’t be ignored. How athletes are perceived on the field, and later as a professional, can lead to the gain or loss of opportunities. Treating others with respect and being humble after a victory conveys a dignified attitude. Dignity is a trait found in leaders, and in those who seek to make a positive impact on the world.
The Far-Reaching Impact of Interscholastic Sports
Interscholastic sports as a whole can only be as helpful, dignified, respectful, and life building as the athletic staff that is in charge. Student-athletes learn valuable life traits directly from dedicated coaches and other staff who grow to be looked on as role models. For those considering becoming an athletic administrator or similar professional, the career offers many rewards. You are able to mold young lives by setting an example, by teaching important life lessons, and by cultivating useful traits that can carry the student-athlete far beyond school. Interscholastic sports have the ability to reach—and to change—students on a personal, teachable level.
Ohio University Online Master of Athletic Administration program specializes in developing interscholastic Athletic Directors, building on the students’ passion for serving young student-athletes and running a highly-successful athletic department. Ohio University is a pioneer in sports education. By establishing the first academic program in the field of sports administration, this online program is recognized today as the premier professional training program for candidates seeking careers in the sports industry.
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