Why I’m Glad My Kids Played Sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 12/11/2019

Over 25 years ago, my oldest child began her adventure in sports. It began with gymnastics, moved on to softball, and over the years included several others. She played softball through four years of college.

The story is similar for my other two; my son began tee ball at 4 and played sports all the way through college, where he played football. For my youngest daughter, the journey also began very early and ended in college volleyball.

There was a lot of time, money, travel, and emotional drama in those years of watching my kids take the youth sports journey. But I do not regret any of it. Oh, perhaps I regret some of my behaviors, but I learned from my mistakes and pressed on.

I’m so grateful that my kids had the chance to learn some very valuable lessons as they played: lessons that are still bearing fruit in their young adult lives. Lessons like…

Learning how to work with difficult teammates. They used to face them on the team, now they face them in jobs.

Learning to work under pressure. My daughter was a catcher, my son was a quarterback, and my other daughters was a libero—all three positions provided plenty of opportunities to perform under pressure. The pressures they face now in their job may be different, but because of sports, they have some experience in handling it.

Learning to not give up on a goal, even when it feels hopeless. Since graduating from college, all three have faced challenges and suffered setbacks, but they persevere.

Learning to ignore naysayers. If your kids learn to ignore the negative voices in sports, they will be ready to do the same in life.

Learning how to understand their boss, the coach. All three of my kids had coaches who they struggled to read. They learned the importance of seeking to understand and strive to practice it every day in their jobs.

Learning to communicate what’s on their mind. We always encouraged our kids to confront the coach when they had questions. Learning to express their concerns to a person of authority or to any adult has made them confident communicators.

Learning to be patient. In youth sports, they learned to help teammates who struggled. As adults, they know to encourage coworkers, friends or neighbors who are trying to keep up.

Learning to respect the strengths of others. The ability to appreciate a teammate’s skills makes for a great team player, in the game, in the office and in the home.

Learning they are defined by who they are, not by what they do. When integrity, honesty and hard work becomes the true measure of a champion, and not just stats, trophies and accolades, then your kids won’t base their self-esteem on performance–in the game or in life–but on who they know themselves to be on the inside.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.