• May 25th, 2020

My weekly take away - Youth sports teaches more than just how to kick a ball

Let’s be honest, in Namibia, players have a very slim chance of playing professional sports. I don’t say this to be harsh or pessimistic, but to emphasise the importance of focusing on how parents and coaches can help every single player, and make a difference in their lives long-term by helping them learn the important life lessons. 

Listed below are the skills that I believe all kids learn through youth sports:
Respect everyone: Through their youth sports journey players will learn the importance of respecting those around them. Not just their coaches and the referees, but also their teammates, the opposition, and everyone else involved. How to be a leader: Throughout a youth sports season all players should have the opportunity to be a leader on their team. Making different players responsible for warm-ups before each practice and rotating the captain of each game.

How to be a follower: Having a coach is in a lot of ways similar to having a boss. The coach is an authority figure that will be giving instruction, praise, and criticism to the player. By experiencing how to follow, players will learn how to take instructions, how to respectfully question authority, and even patience if they disagree.
How to control emotions: Experiencing feelings of frustration and anger and learning how to control them will help players in all aspects of their lives.

Setting and achieving goals: Players will learn that setting goals gives you a target to reach for and adds motivation while on the journey to achieving them.

Success requires ward work: This will show them that if they want to become great at anything, whether that be the guitar, learning a foreign language, then it’s going to take hard work. And a lot of it.
How to win/succeed with respect:  Good coaches will teach their players how to be proud of their achievements without putting down their opponents. This often involves shaking hands after the game with the referees and opposition players and giving positive comments to each players such as ‘good game’ or ‘nice shooting’.

How to lose/fail with dignity: Youth sport is the ultimate environment for players to experience the emotions and feelings that come from failure and defeat since there are no long-term consequences of losing. This can be after losing a grand finale, being cut from a team they really wanted to make, or missing a game-winning shot.

Without taking away from the competitiveness of the sport, coaches must understand that the life lessons learned by players on their youth sports journey are much more important than the final score of a game. As coaches,  it’s your duty to do your best to instill as many of these life lessons in your players. 

*Stefan Ngolo is a sports enthusiast and sports education scholar. He can be reached at ngoloset@gmail.com.

Staff Reporter
2020-04-29 09:49:24 | 26 days ago

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