Youth Sports are a Cheat Code for Life for many reasons, the most prominent of them being discussed throughout this article
Life Lessons From Youth Sports
Playing organized sports gives the youth a taste of the real world with a team to problem solve with. Starting early is best, but at any level it is super important. Having a passion for sports & participating from a young age can open tons of doors later on in life. There are too many benefits to list so here's 10 lessons & experiences that make youth sports a cheat code for life.
In school, they give group projects to let kids practice group problem solving. Youth sports also helps kids work with a team. These skills are so important & translate directly to the real world later in life. No matter where you’re working or what you’re working on, you gotta be able to work with a team & make things happen.
Youth sports also allows kids to build relationships with people from many different backgrounds. It’s one of, if not the best way for kids to interact with other kids in all kinds of different situations; positive & negative.
Along the way, most youth athletes find a coach who coaches life. This is a true cheat code for life. First of all, shoutout to these people. They sign up to coach their daughter’s 3rd grade travel soccer team & end up being mentors and lifelong friends & supporters of these kids, as most of them continue to coach the same team as they get older.
I have coaches I can still talk to & it’s always great to run into them. You don’t think about it growing up, but as you get older & wiser, you start to realize how important these special people were in your life. You start to realize how many life lessons they taught you. Having a great coach for youth sports is a cheat code for life because they will effectively become a life coach, or mentor, if you will.
Another positive that comes from having a great youth sports coach is kids learn how to be coachable. It’s an important trait to take with you throughout life. The most successful people are eager to learn, but even more importantly, they are capable of learning. You have to be willing to be taught, & nothing helps more with that than having a great coach or mentor.
I know people who had never played organized sports growing up & some of them tend to have trouble taking criticism or even advice. Having coaches who tell you the absolute truth about yourself every time they speak to you makes you tougher. It makes you better too, if you listen. This goes for on the field/court/etc lessons as well as off the field life lessons.
Those coaches are gonna be holding you accountable too. This teaches us discipline. Without discipline, it’s hard to achieve anything in life. In youth sports, coaches will have certain expectations & they want them met. There’s also a practice & game schedule that kids can’t/shouldn’t miss, so they learn how to be prompt & consistent. You have to be disciplined in your hard work in order to get the most of your athletic ability.
Hard Work Works
From practice to the weight room to games to the classroom, youth sports athletes need to work hard. It’s an obvious cheat code for life because having drive & acting on it puts a person ahead of a good amount of their competition. Youth sports athletes learn how to find motivation, work through hardships, strive to be at their greatest form & much more. All of it, all of life, takes hard work to be successful. Youth athletes get a head start on a very valuable real world life lesson.
Hard work pays off. Youth athletes learn this early. Sometimes, when it pays off, the motivation drops a little bit. Success makes some people lazy. Some people stop working as hard & it ends up hurting them, in sports or in life in general. Also, it can be dangerous when the hard work isn’t paying off yet. In playing youth sports, kids learn to keep working hard despite not seeing immediate success or results. Learning these concepts at a young age trains the minds of youth athletes to keep working hard even after starting the season 7-0 because the ultimate goal hasn’t been reached yet & keep working hard even after starting the season 0-7 because they want to compete & be the best they can be regardless.
We compete for everything in life. Being a good competitor sets people apart from the general population. When you’re trying to get a job, get your crush’s number, win a debate, etc; you’re competing. Team Sports is a good way to learn this concept because in most of them, there is direct competition with another team. You can easily identify the opponent & you have to be better than them on the day you match up. As you get into the real world, this becomes more complex. Applying for jobs, for example, requires you to compete with any amount of opponents all at once.
Of course, you don’t always win the game & you don’t always get the job. This is another super valuable life lesson from youth sports. There’s always another game or season to look forward to & there’s always another job to go after. Learn how to take L’s, brush 'em off & move forward. Sports teaches athletes how to fight through adversity, make something out of nothing, always keep their head held high & look forward instead of backwards. It’s one of the most valuable cheat codes for life youth sports has to offer. It’s important to learn how to win but it’s also important to learn how to lose.
Life is 10% what happens to you & 90% how you react to it- Charles R. Swindoll
Part of learning how to lose is learning sportsmanship. It doesn’t matter if you’re mad, sad, disappointed with yourself, etc. Reacting negatively to situations doesn’t help in life & youth sports teaches that from a young age. You argue with a ref; tech. You get involved in a fight; ejection. You taunt too much; flag on the play. Every decision comes with consequences & youth sports does a great job teaching that lesson.
Being active as a kid is so important, especially these days. Kids have their video games, iPads & phones, Tik Tok & more so youth sports feels even more necessary now than ever before. If nothing more, youth sports is a way to get the kids out of the house & get them exercising. Active kids tend to be active adults, especially if they continue playing sports throughout high school & college. They are able to see the health benefits that come with it & that’s all the motivation most people need to stay active. Plus, if you like the sport you’re more likely to continue playing it for fun later in life.
There are so many benefits to developing leadership skills at a young age. A kid can be a leader on the field or off the field; vocally or leading by example. Either way, there’s a few skills they’ll develop. A kid who takes on a direct leadership role such as team captain or quarterback in football learns all about being accountable & not just for their own actions.
A kid doesn’t have to take on a direct leadership role in order to be a leader & learn leadership. Some of the best leaders a team can have are the ones who lead by example. These kids just show up. They are great at everything that’s been discussed leading to this & don’t take any credit for it, but the team follows them & everyone is better for it.
In order to be a good leader, you need to be a master of everything that’s been mentioned thus far. Being a leader on a sports team is like a crash course on problem solving, relationship building, self awareness, communicating, working hard & so much more. It is youth sports’ ultimate cheat code for life. In life, they say you should be a leader not a follower. If you want to do big things in life, you need to be a leader. If you want to improve yourself, you need to be a leader amongst your peers because as they say; you are the company you keep. Youth sports allows kids to learn how to master this responsibility of leadership at a young age & develop it throughout the rest of their lives, giving them a head start on most of their future competition in the real world.