4 Traits Developed Through Sports

4 Traits Developed Through Sports

Participation in sports can be a fulfilling experience for student-athletes.

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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 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 sports.

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School sports are a valuable platform for packaging important lessons into comprehensible, practical ideas. Interscholastic athletics are 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.

Listening

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Young athletes can learn how to develop their listening abilities within 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. 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 information they previously thought of as mundane. The student-athlete's 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

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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 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.

Teamwork

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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.

Dignity

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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

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.

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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