For every athlete at every level, there comes a time when your athletic career comes to an end. For some the end comes sooner rather than later. But for everyone that has had a passion for participating in competitive sports, they know the feelings we go through when it's over.
Several coaches told me that I would be able to use many of the lessons that I learned through athletics later in life in my career, but I didn't fully understand what they meant until I had my first job.
One of the great things about going into business is that the interpersonal skills you learned in sports transition really well into your career. This is why you see a lot of former athletes go into some field of business.
Playing competitive sports teaches you how to be a part of a team, how to handle criticism, leadership techniques, humility and, of course, work ethic. I am sure there are probably more but these are the skills that come to mind.
Textbooks and school are important but life experiences can be just as much, if not more important to your growth. In no way have I perfected these skills but they can play an important role in anyone's career.
Just as in any team sport, you have to be willing to be a part of a team. Just like in a basketball game when you have to play with a teammate that you might not get a long with you will have to do the same thing within the workplace. There are always going to be certain individuals that can make completing a team-oriented task difficult and learning how to deal with them is important.
On many occasions, I was "called-out" for not running a play correctly, turning the ball over, hitting the wrong club or not being a good leader. On top of those individual examples there were many times where our team did not win a game or tournament that we were supposed to. These examples taught me how to handle adversity. This might be one of the best skills you can transition from sports to business, "what do you do when you get knocked down?" How do you respond. There will never be a job where you do everything correctly but learning from your mistakes and overcoming adversity in an important characteristic.
You do not need to be named captain or be the best player on the team to learn this skill. In fact, a lot of great leaders are created by watching and listening for years, gaining knowledge and then when the time comes, implementing that knowledge in the position they are in. However, you can learn many great leadership and management skills in sports by leading by example in practice or by teaching other players the plays outside of practice so they don't forget them anymore.
We have all been in a situation where we wanted to tell everyone of our accomplishments. However, sports gives you a unique opportunity to learn how to be humble. No one likes a team or player that rubs a loss in the opposing teams face when the game is over just like no one likes a co-worker who brags about a new promotion.
People skills. In the business world you have be able to be personable with both your co-workers and your customer base. At the end of the day, if people do not feel comfortable talking to you, then they will have a hard time working with you in certain positions. Sports gives you an opportunity to learn these people skills that are important.
6. Work Ethic
Last, but certainly not least, in order to play a sport at a high level you have to have a strong work ethic. You need to be willing to put in the extra time and effort in the summers to get better. This transitions to the business world where you will need to put in the extra hours to get an important assignment done by a strict deadline.