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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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.

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We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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It's Been A Year And I Still Miss It

The memories with my teammates and coaches are remembered everyday.

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Never thought I'd say it but here I am. I am happy to say I am proud to be where I am today but the thoughts of never playing a sport again linger in my mind. Those emotions of anticipation and excitement when it comes to playing a sport are long gone. Sad to say I will never have butterflies before running a race, floor burns all over my knees and sweat mixed with softball dirt all over me.

The little aspects that I took for granted are what I remember the most. I am who I am today because of my coaches and teammates. Each and every sport came with a support system to fall back on and friendships that would last a lifetime. My coaches and teammates taught me life long skills that I will carry with me forever. They taught me the true meaning of dedication, teamwork, perseverance and respect. Yes, I love the game but the connections and memories I have built have impacted me. Especially, the times I have created with my teammates and coaches on the bus rides, practices and game days.

Those are the moments I will never get back. I will never forget the times my volleyball teammates and I would run over to Perkins after a win. We would eat junkie, greasy food till our tummies were full but during those moments we were all owning the moment while being young and careless. Even during track season my teammates and I found time to have fun while running rigorous workouts. I will never forget the mid-dance parties during track meets to keep our mind off of the stress of performing to our best ability. Softball season always seemed to be on the road, which meant plenty of bus rides with my teammates. Those hours of traveling were the best from the never have I ever games to singing along to great hits.

I will never get the chance again to compete in front of a crowd. The cheers and the roars of the fans is such a surreal feeling. Running on the blue oval was something I will never forget. As much as I hated the queasy, uneasy feelings before running, I would go back for it one more time. Stepping foot on the blue oval meant a great athlete once took those same steps I did. The moment my teammates, coaches and I clinched the win to go to State for the first time in school history was unbelievable. It was an accomplishment for us seniors, for our coaches, for our families and fans, for our school and for the past softball players. We did something that was never done before in school history and all I can say is I'm proud to have done it with the group of girls that I did.

Getting to state and playing with the best of the best is remarkable but what seemed to be even better was getting a victory against a city rival. Everyone came out for those games from grandparents to students to alumni. Our best performances were amongst us when competing against city rivals. Particularly, through volleyball, my teammates and I seemed to be hungrier for a win whenever it was a city rival. I guess, the best moments happened when we beat a cross-town rival. You could say we got bragging rights for the year.

To all the athletes out there competing in their last game, last match or last race, relish in those last seconds because before you know it you will never pick up a ball again, race in a relay or dance after a victory.

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