Most students do not continue their athletic careers to a college or even professional level and may ponder the point of playing high school sports. The purpose of participating in lower level athletics is not solely about perfecting the skills inherent in playing, but also acquiring the values and lessons that are gained from the process of improving those skills. Each of these two aspects of team sports depend on each other, and student athletes must apply these concepts in order to realize its full benefits. These ideas are pertinent in all aspects of life, including school, work, and personal relationships and their importance needs to be stressed along with the individual skills during games and practices.
“The skills that athletes learn from team sports are discipline, communication, and hard work. They need to put in their fullest for themselves and for their teammates, as well as listen to their coaches’ advice,” swimming coach Ms. Elinor Charlton said. “These are important for all people and the greatest and most successful ones can overcome great adversity by using these abilities rather than blaming themselves.”
Concepts such as accountability, determination and communication are hard to apply because they require a high level of maturity and responsibility. They are even more difficult to implement if students fail to grasp how the ideas manifest into tangible actions.
In sports, accountability requires the athlete to attend practices and take responsibility for their actions during gameplay. This is a parallel to attending class and turning in quality assignments in a timely manner. Similarly, determination entails setting goals and doing everything in a person’s power to carry out their plans, from playing to win during competitions to putting in a full effort to completing a task at work environment. In almost all situations, communication is the key to resolving problems, whether in the heat of gameplay or strengthening a relationship.
“Athletes can learn and build their character by picking themselves up after a failure, whether it’s with a game, a rejection letter from a college, or a layoff at a job. By persevering and continuing on, you learn patience, self reliance, and perspective,” water polo head coach Michael Gonzales said. “At the core of everything is working to be a good person by sticking up for your teammates and showing empathy and compassion.”
Students’ lack of application of these fundamental skills to non-athletic circumstances can be partially attributed to the constant repetition of words and without the demonstration of actual concepts. Parents, teachers, and coaches alike need to offer more guidance to students in order to help them to strengthen their abilities and tackle life’s problems. Though it is often reiterated that athletes need to apply skills earned by participating in sports, they need to realize the significance of their actions and actually take these crucial ideas to heart. As students move on to different stages in life, these concepts will arise in different contexts and the abilities they acquire will drive their successes.