As one year ends and another begins in full swing, I have taken a lot of time to self reflect. I have been looking back on my accomplishments, my failures, my goals, my motivations, and what brings me joy. I have been thinking about how I can be a better person and a positive influence in other people’s lives, whether that be my family members, friends, clients, or the girls I coach for. I also have reflected quite a bit on what makes me the person I am today. What experiences have I gone through and what guidance have I had that has made me, me. Aside from my absolutely amazing parents as role models, playing sports has shaped who I am today.
It is quite clear that our families/support systems play a major role in who we are as individuals and what values we hold. However, experiences and our peers can also shape us as well. At age four, I was placed on my first soccer team, fell in love with the sport and never looked back. I played all through my four years at St. Bonaventure University and then began coaching, once my college soccer career had ended. I am now in my third season of coaching and I absolutely love it.
I believe playing soccer truly made me the person I am today. It has taught me discipline, dedication, sacrifice, teamwork, sportsmanship, and it taught me how to handle stress and communicate with others. Being on a team makes you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. With that said, I think sports has the ability to teach us lifelong lessons that go way beyond the court or field.
So why am I telling you all of this?
You might be toying with the idea of putting your son or daughter on a team OR you might be interest in joining a sports team yourself. You might be struggling to find motivation to exercise on your own. You might be looking for something new to get involved with and you’re unsure of what that might be. Whatever your reason may be, I have listed the many benefits of being on a team in hopes that this inspires you to get out of your comfort zone, sign up, and go for it!
Being on a sports team or joining a small gym can give you a sense of belonging and allows you to create friendships with like-minded people. If you are looking for motivation to exercise, joining a close-knit gym can hold you accountable to your workouts and give you the push you need to stay committed to reaching your goals. As a member of a team, you are required to attend practices and games so there is a level of commitment that must be upheld.
Sports require a high level of dedication and commitment. The countless hours of practice, travel time, financial requirements, and day-to-day lifestyle commitments are a big part of being on a sports team. Sports can teach us that if we work hard and devote ourselves to something, we can be rewarded with results and success. This translates into our adult lives as we look to get a job, promotion, or start our own business. The skills developed through playing sports can benefit us greatly throughout our lives.
Sports can boost our self-esteem because we receive positive reinforcement for our effort. Simple high-fives from teammates/coaches, pats on the back, or cheering can make us feel good and make us more likely to work even harder the next time.
Sports teach us how to deal with adversity and be resilient. Whether it is a grueling practice or the final minute in a double overtime game, as players we are taught to fight hard until the end and push through pain. Learning that your body is physically capable of more than what your mind tells you sometimes is a huge lesson to be learned. Sports require mental toughness. They require you to push past the limit when things start to feel uncomfortable. Sports also teach us how to deal with losses and to learn from our mistakes so we can come back better the next time. This can be a metaphor for life, teaching us to keep going when situations get tough, rather than quitting.
Lastly, it’s all about having fun and doing something you love! Playing sports and exercising causes your body to release chemicals, called endorphins. These endorphins can diminish the feeling of pain, reduce depression and anxiety, AND boost energy!
I hope this article shed a little light about the amazing benefits of sports and being on a team. From someone whose entire life was revolved around sports, I can tell you how positively it has influenced me. I know someday I will be putting my child on a team and I look forward to see how it will influence their life as well.