What Team Sports Can Teach Your Child

e all want the best for our children. We want them to be strong and healthy, achieve their full potential and above all be happy and contended with their lives. But life isn’t always perfect and our children need to develop resources to enable them to cope with the knocks that life will send their way.

Let’s look at the important lessons team sports can teach your child:

– Commitment. Many teams will only pick players who commit to regular training. They need players to be dedicated, train regularly and turn up when and wherever required. Commitment means being loyal and demonstrating that being a member of the team is important.

– Competitive spirit. Firstly, with other team members in order to gain a place on the squad and secondly against the opposing team, through showing effort and determination to win the match.

– Compromise. Sometimes passing the ball to another child and giving them the opportunity to achieve glory is necessary; an appreciation that being part of a team means compromising self-interest and allowing another player who is better placed to take the shot. It is an important lesson in understanding the bigger picture, not just individual success.

– Rejection. Coping with not being picked, with others being chosen on occasion. The skill is in not taking rejection personally but instead becoming confident enough to persevere. Use rejection as a way to obtain feedback and improve rather than become de-motivated and give up.

– Learn to lose with a good grace. Not everyone can be a winner and doing ones best, competing to the best of ones ability whilst still losing happens at times. Being able to appreciate how well the other team has performed and congratulate them with genuine good humour or even on occasion deal with bad decisions is a valuable lesson for later life.

– Observe how adults handle themselves in competitive situations. Children look to their parents as role models, examples of how adults behave. Witnessing first hand how their parents behave, their manners, levels of restraint and general demeanour at sports events is a valuable experience.

Passion and enthusiasm, love of sport and winning are all important aspects of life. But so too is enjoying the game, the joy of doing ones best, the buzz from playing well, even if the result is not what was hoped. That and learning to cooperate and co-exist with others are all valuable skills learned from participating in team sports.

Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist

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