From an early age, most kids show an interest in tossing a ball around or engaging in some kind of game. Sports have an incredible power in our lives, and from their earliest days on the court or the field, many kids show traits that will one day serve them well in adult roles. So the value of sports extends far beyond the tried-and-true benefits of good health and teamwork. The fact is, the sports kids play–and especially the positions where they excel–have a strong correlation with their personal development in ways that will benefit them throughout life.
The Risk Taker
Certain sports positions are not for the faint of heart. It takes a different personality to strap on a bunch of padding and squat down into the line of fire of a 70-mph baseball pitch. The same is true of hockey goalies, football’s kick returners, and of course, bull fighters.
But the people in the mask have done more than get a cool airbrushed helmet or shop catcher’s mitts from Homerun Monkey. They’re also a key part of the on-field strategy for baseball in particular, suggesting and acknowledging pitches from the mound. So good catchers have more than just nerves of steel, they have brains and communication skills as well. If your child feels at home behind the plate or in front of the goal, expect a tough leader to develop.
The Speed Merchant
Other positions in sports require little more than speed, or at least, it seems that way. Football running backs, baseball outfielders, and almost any basketball player (but guards in particular) appear on paper to be best positions for really fast athletes. The truth is, it takes much more than that. It also requires great decision-making skills. If your daughter feels at home zeroing in on a high fly ball that’s lifting toward the warning track, she not only has physical speed in getting there but also great spatial sense to avoid a collision with the wall.
What kind of adult do those skills yield? Well, most of us don’t need to do a lot of running in our daily lives, but plenty of careers require fast decisions and the ability to build judgement with experience. And confidence is a priceless commodity for anyone.
The Field General
Every sport has coaches off the field. Likewise, they have leaders on the field as well. Football quarterbacks, baseball pitchers and catchers, and basketball point guards do more than simply execute plays. They are the eyes and ears of the coaching staff. They read what the opponent is doing and relay that information back to the bench for advice. Sometimes they must make decisions themselves because there’s no time for these consultations.
The youth athletes who take on those roles effectively and enthusiastically are born leaders. They have a strong ability to process information and turn that knowledge into meaningful decisions that benefit a mission. Skills like these are critical in jobs from medicine to the military.
Not every child participates in sports, of course. And plenty of those who do not will still end up as high achievers in many career fields. But for those who do take an interest in a sport, it not only indicates but develops their distinctive personality traits and reveals much of what their future can hold.