Critical Life Lessons We’ve Learned From Sports by Coach Tiffany Gant

Now that we live in a world where participating in sports has been interrupted, what lesson can we learn from the times when we did play? The answers to this question may just better prepare us for when we're back at it.

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Playing sports as a child, and even as an adult, teaches us important lessons that we can apply to all aspects of our lives. In the current climate, we can appreciate all that sports have given us from life lessons to pure entertainment. Although life is often full of challenges, sports teach us that we can work hard and persevere anyway. They teach us how to work interdependently with others, doing our part but never fully relying on ourselves. They also teach us the power of fear and failure, as well as the importance of fun. 

Here is more on how these critical life lessons can be learned in sports. 

  • Work hard and be persistent

Playing a sport teaches you the importance of working hard and persevering, even when it’s hard. Athletes show up to practice multiple times per week, knowing that’s what it takes to succeed when game time comes. With good coaching (and good attitudes), they can also learn to move past distractions and failures and not allow themselves to be derailed.

  • Learn to work with others

Sports always teach athletes how to work well with others. Sports like volleyball are entirely dependent upon the team working together. Even the most talented players must learn to rely on their teammates. If every member of the team doesn’t learn to work together as one unit, no one wins. 

  • Failure can make you better

Athletes also learn that failure is a stepping stone to success. Everyone loses at some point, and those losses become lessons. Failure teaches us about our weaknesses and helps us to improve. Losing in sports also teaches you that losing is a part of life. It’s how you react to it that counts. 

  • Don’t let fear stop you 

One of my favorite things to witness as a coach is a student-athlete overcoming their fear. I often say “Do it afraid!” Many people don’t realize that fear doesn’t go away until you face it. An athlete might be terrified about stepping out on the court (or a field, ring, etc.), but the fear only subsides when they do it anyway. Fear is an energy that can be harnessed for good, so do it afraid!

  • How to have fun! 

Sports also teach us how to have fun. Enjoying the game is part of the experience. If an athlete doesn’t enjoy their sport, there is little hope that they will excel at it. Fun must come first. When we get too wrapped up in winning or losing, coaches can draw us back to the basics — play because it’s fun. Sports can help us overcome overthinking, and remind us to find the joy in this game called life.

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