Children in Sports Develop Life Skills
Sport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often a competitive nature (Webster’s). Since the creation of man, sports have played a huge part in the way people live their lives. The world today is consumed by sports. What is it about the competition and the games that make us so drawn to something that consumes so much of our time? From the time we are born, until the time we die, most of us are in some way involved with competitive physical activity. Whether it was gym class in elementary school, varsity basketball in high school, or even professional baseball as a career, sports have an influential role in our everyday lives. Children are taught at a young age to love sports and that they are a necessary part of life. Why is it essential that children be placed in sporting activities? Other than the joy of participating in the sport itself, there are several valuable lessons learned by young athletes through the involvement of sports that make them better, well rounded, people in life. Lessons learned through the participation in sports include psychological skills, self-confidence, and motivation (Hardy). These lessons empower young athletes to be more successful as they are applied to their normal lives.
Whether the sport is gymnastics, golf, or even hockey, psychological skills become key in the development of a successful athlete. Not only do these skills play an important role in how an athlete performs in his game or routine, but they also help develop character, building skills off of the field. The first of the very important psychological skills learned is that of goal setting (Hardy and Jones, 19). In every sport it is vital to the athlete to learn how to set goals and accomplish them successfully. Goals should be difficult but realistic, important, and accepted by the athletes so that they will commit themselves to them. Every competitive athlete wants to win first place and in order for that goal to be met, he or she has to set that goal and make guidelines in order to obtain the prize. This may require hours and even years of practice to become the best athlete possible. Bonnie Blair, 1988 Olympic speed skater says, “Having that ultimate goal and knowing those steps are what you’ve got to take in order to get to that ultimate goal makes it easier to comprehend” (Mertzman, 300). It’s like child in school. If you wind up doing your homework, you are hopefully going to be able to get those good grades. For Blair, if she did those workouts and spent the countless hours on the ice, she would hopefully get the results that she wanted. Goal setting pertains to any athlete and any person in life who wants to achieve an ultimate goal.
Imagery and mental rehearsal is the second psychological skill learned in most sports that can be applied to everyday life. Imagery perspective refers to the basic distinction between “internal” and “external” imagery...