Life Skills Your Child Will Gain With Sports Activities

In Articles by Jonathan Smith

What life skills would you like your child to gain? A life skill is a set of skills someone needs to deal with the challenges of life. For each person, their set of life skills is different. How someone acquires life skills is dependant upon their experiences and activities he or she engaged in throughout life. One activity that teaches many essential life skills is sports activities. Having your child participate in sports, may make teaching life skills to your child easier to prepare them for adulthood.

Life Skills Learned Through Sports Activities

Commitment

All sports activities take a certain amount of dedication to stay involved in. Commitment is something that comes from within. While you can drive your child to practices, ultimately it is your child who will strive to not only participate in the sport but also get better at it. This life skill is essential for all aspects of adult life including relationships, college, and work.

Communication

What sports activities lack in written communication, they make up for in verbal communication. Communication as a whole is a multifaceted life skill. It involves communication of verbal and nonverbal cues between one or more people.

For children who participate in sports activities like soccer, football, and more with multiple players on a field, children will experience multiple forms of communication like: 

  • A soccer player shouting a name to pass a ball to another player 
  • A coach shouting encouraging words from the bench to give players positive reinforcement 
  • Players and coaches coming together in a huddle to explain a game plan or strategy

These are all examples of common verbal communication. Nonverbal communication is displayed when a player on the field nods his/her head, points, or gives a thumbs up to a player or coach to signal a ball handoff or convey understanding.

Play, games and sports have many benefits and teach kids important life skills.

Decision making

Decision making is a regular part of daily life. According to Psychology Today, the average number of decisions an adult makes daily is an astounding 35,000! Making that many decisions as an adult takes practice starting at a young age. Thankfully, sports activities can help your child develop this life skill to be able to make thousands of decisions a day.

In a sport, children have to make quick decisions. A batter in the MLB has just 150 milliseconds to react to a 95-mile-an-hour fastball. While your child won’t be batting against 95-mile-an-hour fastballs, those quick reactions as an adult start first in youth sports activities. 

Teamwork

Any sport involves a certain degree of teamwork. Sports like swimming, bowling, track, and more rely heavily on individual performance. But an individual’s performance still contributes to a team’s overall performance against other teams. For a team to come together and perform well, a great amount of camaraderie needs to exist between teammates. 

This life skill learned through sports activities can help children in childhood to interact with their peers at school and siblings at home. But teamwork also becomes essential when entering the workforce because teamwork helps increase business efficiency while equally distributing the workload among employees.

Handling Criticism

No one goes through life doing everything perfectly. We’re all human and humans make mistakes. Therefore, there’s always room for improvement in every area of life. Children in sports will experience both failures and successes when it comes to both their skills and their team’s performance. 

Constructive criticism occurs frequently in sports. This type of criticism tells a child what improvements they need to make to be better at his/her sport of choice while still giving the child positive reinforcement through praise. Being able to handle constructive criticism shows a child’s emotional maturity which can better prepare them for more criticism later in life.

Resilience

Resilience is the ability for someone to face tragedy, adversity, or loss and be able to come back emotionally strong again. In sports, there’s a winner and there’s a loser. It’s part of the game. But depending on how well your child bounces back from that loss says a lot about their resilience.

This life skill is one that becomes better with time. Your child may take the first few losses hard. There may even be a few tears shed. But over time, your child will most likely develop resilience. After a loss, some children feel like quitting. However, if your child continues to return to practices and perfect his/her skill set, your child is building resilience.

Sports activities provide a child with a healthy emotional and physical outlet. But sports also help a child develop many life skills they will need to face the world when they enter adulthood. While we as parents would all like to see our children win in sports all the time, sometimes the learning begins once a loss is experienced. The more your child participates in sports activities the more he/she will gain life skills to prepare him/her for adulthood.

About the Author

Liz Talton is the contributing author for the Speech Blubs blog. After her son received an Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluation, she decided to do all she can to help her little one. She is a full-time blogger, and a creator of Pitter Patter of Baby Feet, a website dedicated to trying to conceive; fertility; pregnancy; mental health and anything related to motherhood. Before starting a family, she received a master’s degree in forensic psychology and mental health.