Competition. Team Work. Facing Adversity. Leadership. Willingness to follow a leader. These are values of Sport. These characteristics in my opinion are essential to success in sports and life out side of sports. In Life, you will often compete for jobs with other applicants, overcome obstacles, have to work on team projects. You may have to lead those projects, and have the willingness to follow a co-worker’s lead. These characteristics can be learned beginning in youth sports.
However, playing sport does not guarantee that youth will learn any of these principles. Coaches often do not teach them any more. We are in an age where athletes are given participation Trophies. At a certain age, I believe that idea of participation trophies should be eliminated. However, Coaches should encourage the athlete to set a goal and push towards that goal. Youth athletes should be taught to not settle at just participating but should be taught to compete and face adversity to achieve that goal.
Athletes and even the entire culture of sports have developed a “me, myself, & I” mentality; a mentality that will prevent someone from being a great leader or loyal follower. Basketball is a great example of this. there is less teamwork involved in the game plan. Often plays are ran through isolation plays with the teams star player, thus reducing the role of everybody else on the team. This Star player doesn’t lead, he showboats with flashy moves and does not involve the assistance of his team. Some coaches will encourage this type of attitude.
I have coached high school football for 3 years. In my time, I witnessed failure in every characteristic previously stated. The head coach had his favorites and those favorites developed a selfish attitude. The team team did not learn from their losses. Know true leaders emerged and the boys were unwilling to follow. I have witnessed this during my playing years as well.
Sports are not just game and a source of fun. They are environments and experience for learning and growth. However, social development has to properly guided by the coaches. The integrity of sports ,as a whole, relies on the principles coaches teach there athletes and how those principles (or values) are taught.