Sport isn’t just about winning or losing. For youth sports coaches, the focus is on teaching young boys fundamental skills – both sports-related and life lessons. As parents, we can reinforce the following eight life lessons every boy learns from sport.
It’s okay to make mistakes
Mistakes will occur on the training field and on game day. But that’s okay. Life is about making mistakes then learning from them. Parents and coaches can challenge players to evaluate their actions and then provide guidance on how to learn from them. The same applies to failure. Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “Anything I’ve ever attempted, I was always willing to fail … You can’t be paralysed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself.” In life, as in sport, you will never succeed if you are always worried about losing.
Be a leader and a follower
Boys have the opportunity to take on leadership roles in youth sports. This helps them develop confidence in their ability to make decisions and positively influence others. Equally, sport teaches boys how to be followers by taking instruction from the coach or captain, respectfully questioning authority, and learning to be patient with others.
Set and achieve your goals
Sport is a great setting to learn how to set goals and determine what constitutes success or failure. For a lot of coaches, youth sport isn’t about winning or losing – it’s about setting achievable goals that can be reached through factors within the boy’s control.
Win with humility, lose with grace
There is almost always a right and wrong way to win. Good sportsmanship is something that all coaches and parents should teach. For a guide on how to raise a good sport, read our blog on sportsmanship. This doesn’t just apply to winning, but also learning how to lose gracefully. In the short-term losing can hurt, but it’s important that we teach our boys to lose with dignity.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
A good coach helps players to identify their strengths and weaknesses so that they can contribute well to the team. Knowing their best traits can help boys work out what to do later in life. Likewise, knowing their weaknesses will guide them to know when to ask for help from others.
Learn to handle stress and emotions
Sport is frustrating no matter what age you are. For boys, this frustration can be magnified by the hormonal changes taking place in their body. To add to this, sports can be stressful. This is an opportunity for players to learn how to deal with the nerves and stress they feel from a young age. This will benefit boys later in life.
Life isn’t always fair
It’s a tough lesson to learn when you’re young but one that every boy learns at some stage. Injuries happen, referees make mistakes and winning is not guaranteed – sulking about it won’t change anything. Players have to learn to deal with setbacks and move on.
Develop good time-management
Most boys have a lot of things to keep them busy — sport, school, friends, homework, maybe even a part-time job. The best way to handle everything is to prioritise their time and stick to a schedule. Good time-management is something that you can help your son develop when he is young, so that it benefits him as a young adult.
Youth sport is a great environment for boys to learn important life lessons. Healthy competition is fine but it’s vital that parents teach their sons that there is more to life than winning and losing.
If sport is an interest of your son, why not register for an upcoming Information Morning at Scots and speak to some of our coaching staff.