Sports teach life lessons. That’s really the whole thing, especially for youth sports. Yes, the kids get exercise, they make new friends, they learn new skills. As coaches, we have a unique opportunity to teach. Young athletes view us in a way that even teachers and parents don’t enjoy, as the leader of their team. It is a tremendous responsibility. So how do you use it?
Some coaches view winning as the goal. They’ll sacrifice a lot to make sure that happens – sportsmanship, fun, and even a few of the kids who don’t start life as good at football as others. But, if you are coaching children right, the whole point is to use the sport’s lessons to make these kids into better adults.
Youth Sports Lessons Translated Into Life Lessons
On the flag football field, there are lessons to be learned about teamwork, about sportsmanship, about the results of good preparation. Perhaps my favorite lesson is about the best way to run the ball. We’ve all seen young athletes, even pros sometimes, get the ball and run in circles. They are so worried about being tackled that they juke and run back and forth and sometimes even run backwards. How many times have we seen a kid run 100 yards between the sidelines all for a loss of two on the play? The fast kids and the slow kids all do it at first. Or worse, they stop in their tracks and get tackled from behind. The reality is, of course, if you run hard, run straight, and don’t stop, your chances of getting to that goal line are much greater, no matter what is in your way.
That translates well to life. Figure out where you want to go and work hard to get there as quickly as you can. If there is something in your way, don’t get sidetracked. Never go the wrong way, making bad decisions out of fear or wrong thinking. And never ever stop, because that ends the effort. In this article by Nicole Radziszewski 3 athletes reflect on the wisdom they gained from their respective sports.
Most importantly, take the time to teach some kids things that are way more important than how to win children’s games. Teach them how to be better people.