What is the real benefit of sports on life?
Many people look at sports at their most basic level. It is entertainment or socialization, and when people look a little deeper the health benefits of it. What people miss are the truly deeper benefits, and especially when it comes to our children the life lessons it teaches and the basic human needs that they provide.
When you dig into sports, one of the biggest takeaways is the ability to challenge one’s self to be better. No matter what sport you are playing, the idea isn’t simply to win that game, it’s to improve. When you look at the greatest athletes in history, they never talked about winning A GAME (even Belichick and Brady’s “focus on next week” was a short-term strategy) they talk about becoming the best ever at their sport. When you truly engage in a sport and you push yourself to become better at it, you need to grow and improve, learn new things, become stronger, more agile, more flexible, and in doing so, you condition not only your body, but your mind to seek out ways to improve everything. The mindset you create from competition will bring you to a higher level in every area of your life.
We also learn tremendous life lessons in a controlled environment. We learn how far we can push ourselves, discover what our real limits are, and find out how far we can go. We learn the power of teamwork in group sports, or the benefits of working with a skilled coach or mentor. All of which are key to success in your family, your career and your life.
But one of the most important lessons we learn from sports is what happens when we lose. When we lose in a controlled environment such as sports, we learn what we need to improve upon to become better. We learn to lose with dignity and respect. We learn to acknowledge the hard work that the other team put in to beat us and learn from their successes. We can apply things they did to better us on this one day, and come back stronger and better next time.
One of the biggest things we tell our competition team at Inner Dragon is we never lose, we either Win or Learn! We need to understand that losing is not shameful and doesn’t mean we are less of a person, but it is an opportunity to get us to be our best. One of the most challenging things my generation has done as parents is removed the reward of competition from sports. With “everyone wins” or “everyone gets a trophy” (even worse the same trophy) we miss out on the opportunity for them to celebrate their true successes with humility and learn from their losses with respect and dignity. We have kidded ourselves believing that they don’t know the score (when I coached youth soccer, my 6 year olds could tell you who won or lost and who scored the most goals or made the most saves,) and that we protect them from hurt. The pain of hurt is what drives people. It is wired into our brains like touching a hot stove and getting burn makes sure we learn never to touch a hot stove.
Nothing drives human being to success faster than failure. Sports give you a safe, controlled environment to push yourself to new heights using skills that will transform every area of your life. And the best part it