We are on the cusp. Sports was such a huge emphasis in childhood. In some form or another, we were outside playing every single day.
But now – there are more distractions. More avenues to take. More technology to attract our attention. More options for play and free time.
And I wonder how much is lost in this shift.
Sports isn’t for everyone, but it can teach a few very valuable lessons for those growing up. Here are the 4 big takeaways I learned growing up.
1) The power of deliberate practice. This is increasingly hard to remember. We want everything so instantly, and we expect to do it all perfectly the first time. We want to absorb the knowledge and learn through osmosis rather than actually putting the work in in claiming that knowledge. But over time, with practice and effort, you can get better at anything.
2) The ability to be buoyant in the face of failure. Sports is all about failure. And quickly bouncing back up. You can’t dwell on the mistakes because you make them all the time. Sports can help you learn to deal with failure and help with developing a little armor for when it happens. You learn to use that failure as a way to learn and motivation for succeeding in the future. Michael Jordan was the best basketball player and one of the best athletes every, and he famously talks about all of the shots he missed – and attributing that to his success.
3) The importance of collaboration and teamwork. Success in team sports is highly dependent on those you surround yourself with. You have to learn to play nice, and encourage those around you to do better. Your success can typically hinder on the success of that weakest link, so there is a vested interest for everyone to pitch in and help out.
4) The different management styles. I had coaches that yelled, and I had coaches that were my best friend. Each a different approach, but each were successful in there own right. And looking back now, I realize that the best of the best tailored there style to fit the player. They didn’t yell at everyone and get through. They knew who they needed to push more, and they knew who they needed to ease off of a tad more. I see how relevant this is in management now. Everyone needs to be approached with a different management style because we all respond to criticism and encouragement in different ways.
I see these themes everywhere in business and in life. The lessons learned from playing childhood sports have helped develop a foundation for approaching life as an adult and parent. Or even as a leader in the business world.