As mothers, we always want what’s best for our children. This is why we do everything we can to equip them with the skills that we think they’ll need to not only get through life, but to thrive in the years to come.
However, when we think of skills, we usually prioritize things like reading comprehension and other technical abilities. These skills fall under what are known as hard skills. While hard skills are important, we must not forget that our children also need to learn skills that are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Unlike hard skills that can be taught in school, soft skills lie in the realm of emotions and behavior. This means they have more to do with how your child conducts his or herself, and interacts with other people. Luckily, one good and accessible way to help your child develop these skills is through sports.
Here’s a list of soft skills that your child can pick up through both team and individual sports:
Now, we’ve all been here before. Even as adults, trying new things is a difficult process. Learning, more often than not, always comes with failure early on. When our child starts off with a new sport, they will most likely not be very good at it — but failing, in this case, can lead to so much more.
Our resident Sports Mom Barbara hits the nail on the head when she says that failure is a learning opportunity, that life is a series of trial and error that your child needs to learn to commit to. Having a no-quit mindset in the face of failure is one of the best things sports can teach your child.
Sports create a bond between players that goes beyond winning and losing. In a story by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine on sports and empathy, they even go as far as proposing that kids play in more mixed gender teams. They say that doing this promotes empathy between children, as playing on the same team puts you all on the same level — making you all equal. While most sports are played by two opposing sides, both sides understand what it feels like to lose. This teaches our children to consider the feelings of others as they could have easily been in their position, had the situation been different.
It also helps that many team sports are involved with charity sporting events. This exposes your children to causes affecting people that, while physically distant from them, are of great importance. Save the Children points out how children’s rights and safety are still pressing issues even today, and you and your child can be a part of something bigger when you participate in charity sporting activities. All of this is made possible through simply being involved in sports.
If you think about it, sports require a high degree of problem-solving skills. The American Institute of Learning and Cognitive Development points out the link between problem-solving and sports, which they expound on by highlighting the cerebral aspect of sports. These activities present our children with different scenarios that they must overcome.
It is by prevailing over these problems through play where our children learn to adapt depending on the situation to address specific issues. Sports also allow young athletes to come up with solutions on their feet, and see the consequences of their actions unfold before them. This allows for creative and novel ways of solving problems that our rigid education system, for the most part, does not encourage.
What do you think? How do you help your young athletes develop their soft skills?
Barbara is the mom behind the blog. She began writing in 2012 as the creator of Hello Life, a craft & lifestyle blog. As life evolved, and her kids became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. Like many of today’s mamas, she loves being creative, cooking, and fashion, and when there are a few minutes to spare, a good book. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.