by David Venkatesan, Fundraising and Grant Writing Intern at The Buddy Fund.
“Sports are definitely important” is probably one of the biggest understatements of the year: Exercising, working out, playing sports are great ways to help stay a healthy and fit lifestyle. However, aside from the obvious physical benefits in playing sports, such as a healthy heart, playing sports can also build critical life skills that translate to success in other areas of life, professionally and academically. Here are the top life skills that you could gain just from playing sports that can translate into a professional working environment:
Being a great athlete doesn’t happen overnight. Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles did not just wake up one day and all of a sudden, became the best at their sport. It took years of commitment, dedication, and hard work to hone their craft and develop those skills over time. Similar to a professional work environment, you make a commitment and you have to execute to meet deadlines and goals.
Sometimes, you can practice all you want, but you may not be learning the right skills to get better. You have to learn the fundamentals before moving onto other skills. Discipline is sticking to a routine & staying true to your goals without flaking on your responsibilities amidst distractions. There will be times in your life where you are at a fork in the road and you have to decide whether you want to stay in and complete an important deadline or project or hang out with friends.
You will lose. If you play a sport long enough or if you are just getting started, you will lose. Losing is a natural part of sports and life as well. In the face of a loss, you can do one of two things: you can let the loss affect you to the point where you would want to quit the sport, or you could take the loss as a stepping stone and learn from it for the next time you play.
You cannot have a huge ego. Especially in a professional environment, you have to be able to internalize feedback and apply it to the next cycle. Listening to others and being willing to learn and be receptive to feedback is so critical to team development and growth.
No matter where you go, you have to work with others at some point, whether it is a large-scale or small-scale project. Finding a compromise, listening to others’ perspectives and feedback, and utilizing each other’s strengths are foundational skills to help accelerate the process and streamline the operations to get the job done and exceed expectations.
The Buddy Fund is a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota that introduces inner-city, disadvantaged children to sports by providing a safe facility with sports equipment to teach them the importance of teamwork, hard work, and other valuable life skills.