Athletics are much more than physical competition. Whether intended or not, they can be an important source of lessons applicable to many areas of life. In particular, much of the work necessary for success on the football field is pertinent to success in the vast majority of endeavors one may undertake.
Football is one of the most physically and mentally demanding sports. This becomes more evident as the athlete progresses in age. Players must learn a wide variety of offensive and defensive plays. They require the ability to think quickly on their feet. There is mere seconds from when they play is called to line up, survey the opposing team, and ensure you know the assignment that must be carried out. As mental as the game can be, it is just as physical. It is a game that warrants hours of dedication year-round to ensure one has the necessary strength, speed, and endurance to perform at the highest level.
Both mental and physical preparations require a great deal of time. This commitment increases as the athlete progresses in skill level. By high school they experience practice twice a day in the summer, and in addition to class commitments, they must make time for strength and conditioning, film, practice, and games. With nearly 20 hours missing from their schedule each week, a student-athlete must balance success on the field, success in the classroom, and a social life. This can be a daunting task.
The ability to excel in multiple challenges by balancing the appropriate level of commitment for each is probably the single most important skill an athlete can take away from their sport. This skill may be subconscious at first, but as life moves forward athletes will be better served to navigate school, careers, family life etc.
3 Tips for Effective Time Management:
(See Also): Youth Football Practice Planning
Football teams are by far the largest. Collegiate teams have around 100 athletes. 100 individuals, 100 different egos, 100 different journeys that have led them to the same place. Each athlete must learn to work with others on and off the field. On the field, they have to trust that the player next to them will do their share. Off the field, they represent the same organization and must do so with class.
Inevitably, one will encounter another person that they may not particularly care for. Football provides the opportunity to work through these differences and unite for a common cause regardless of the circumstances.
Victory and Defeat
Another vital lesson football teaches is how to win and lose graciously. Competition is an important experience to encounter, as it helps provide the intrinsic drive necessary for success in a multitude of endeavors.
Everything will not go your way in life. Anger, disappointment, sadness are all natural feeling. Football provides a venue in which these emotions will be encountered. The important lesson is learning how to appropriately share these feelings, as well as how to learn to better your chances next time around. In the same manner, winning a football game, big or small, allows for an opportunity during celebration to perhaps reflect on how you felt when you weren’t on the victorious team. This teaches empathy.
(See Also): Handling Sudden Change, Having Resilience
What I Have Learned
Football has taught me how to appropriately mange my time to maximize success in anything I take on. It has helped me build confidence. It has become the measuring stick to which I compare all endeavors. I truly believe my experiences in football made my time in medical school easier.
I have to work with a team every single day. My team at work is much smaller than my college football team. I consider myself fortunate to have learned about personal accountability, camaraderie, listening to others opinions, and teamwork long before I started working.
Lastly, I am proud of what I have accomplished in my life thus far, but the ride has not always been smooth. Football has taught me that I cannot win every time, and more importantly, how to bounce back when I face adversity.
These lessons are an inherent part of football and will be encountered no matter what level in which one participates. I can certainly attest that no matter what your path is, these tools will prove useful.