Things I Learned from a Lifetime of Sports, Part I

Have you seen this ad from Nike?

I LOVE this! And it got me thinking about some things I’ve learned from participating in a lot of different sports throughout my life. I think some of these are reflected in the video and some are just things that I have been able to use in other parts of my life. I have more, but I’ll save those for part II. (-:

So, what are some things I’ve learned from sports?

Talent is important, but without effort and heart, you will not succeed. I made more than one team in my life because I showed up every day, shut my mouth, and worked as hard as I could at whatever the coach demanded. Good coaches take note of who is working hard. So do good bosses. Just sayin’.

Winning really isn’t everything. It sounds trite but it is true. Losing sucks, don’t get me wrong, but you have to learn to deal with that suckage and figure out what to do to improve. More lessons are learned from losses than wins.

You don’t need a trophy. Really, can we just stop the whole trophy for showing up thing already? There is actually a lot of personal pride and internal motivation that comes from knowing you’ve worked your hardest and done your best. I won my first trophy playing volleyball when I was 14. Yes, it took me 14 years to get a trophy and I treasured it (and still have it somewhere around here). And, if a coach notices how well you are doing and says something to you about your play or your effort? That is so much better than any trophy that will collect dust on your shelf. Trust me.

There is no “I” in team. Another overused saying, but for a reason. Even in sports where you may compete individually (like track or swimming or gymnastics), you are still part of a team and your effort does matter. You need to know that you can rely on others and that they can count on you. Trust and accountability – two concepts that will get you far in life.

You are mentally tougher than you think. Working out hurts sometimes. Actually, it can hurt a lot of the time. But, if your heart is in it, you can push through and get to that finish line, whatever that might look like. And when you do push through, there is satisfaction and happiness (maybe from endorphins, but I’ll take it however it comes) waiting on the other side. Develop that mental toughness – another great tool to have in your life toolbox.

As I said, I have more that I’ll get to later. I would love to know some of the things you’ve learned – please share!

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