Not every child will play team sports. I didn’t and I think I still turned out okay. 🙂
However, we really enjoyed seeing our older daughter get involved with her school’s JV girls’ basketball team this year. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is already planning to try out for the team again next season.
While our daughter learned more about the game of basketball and how to run drills and execute plays, she also learned at least seven lessons that will benefit her as she goes through life.
1. Teamwork. This one is obvious, but don’t we need to employ teamwork in every aspect of life? On the job, at church, in our family, we all want to work together toward common goals. On a team, you learn to cheer for and encourage fellow players and blend each other’s strengths and weaknesses to accomplish what’s best for the group as a whole.
2. Empathy. When you see a teammate on the free throw line with a chance to make the game winning shot, you can feel for her – her nervousness, or perhaps her confidence. If she misses, you feel the letdown, knowing that might be you in another game. If she makes it, you celebrate her success together.
3. How to handle disappointment. Our daughter’s team lost their first end-of-the-season tournament game, which meant they were done for the weekend. I could tell from her one-word text (“Lost”) that she was disappointed. Yet learning how to handle that on the court can prepare her to handle life’s disappointments in the future.
4. Good sportsmanship. You win some, you lose some. Being on both sides of the equation and learning to win and lose with grace is good experience.
5. Overcoming difficulties. Play through; keep working even when your team is the underdog or behind on the scoreboard. Maybe you got a bad call from the ref, maybe you don’t feel well, maybe you had a fight with a friend right before the game. Focus on what you have to do in the moment and do your best to succeed in spite of the circumstances.
6. Proper response to authority. Whether or not you agree with his call, the referee is the ultimate authority in the game of basketball.
7. The joy of winning. Yes, she needs to learn to lose gracefully, but there’s nothing like playing hard and winning, especially when it’s been a close, competitive game. Celebrating wins is a good habit throughout life!
What other lessons do you think team sports can teach our children?