One Surprising Key to Success that Can Help Your Kids Later on in Life

144530058_e1a56b2f6a_bDo the experiences kids have while playing sports have anything to do with shaping their success in the workplace as an adult? Many experts say, yes.

For me, playing sports as a kid started out as a way to make friends. After a few years, I developed a genuine passion for tennis and volleyball that was much more than an interest in the game. I developed a sense of teamwork, a common goal to succeed and the perseverance to perform at my best.

Reflecting on these experiences today as a business professional, I completely agree that the lessons learned in a sport environment have served me well in the work environment. Universal themes such as performance under pressure, work ethic and leadership can help both kids and adults on and off the court.

Many experts agree. In fact, the Women Athletes Business Network recently surveyed a sample of women senior managers and executives, and found that almost all of them had played sports at some level.

Locally in Michigan, sports psychologist Dr. Eddie O’Connor often hears from athletes who say the skills they learn help them in life beyond the game. He says sports offer many opportunities to learn and practice qualities that can contribute to success at work.

“Communication (with teammates and coworkers), working hard for success, persevering through adversity, controlling emotions, etc., are all core performance skills that can generalize from sport to life including school, relationships and work,” said Dr. O’Connor, who is a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provider at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids.

But there’s another side to the coin. Dr. O’Connor adds that though a positive sport environment can help create success in life, a negative sport environment may cause harm.

“Abusive coaches (bosses), an opportunity to give up, hyper-competitiveness and other non-desirable traits can also be experienced.”

His advice? Quality matters.

So finding the right sport environment for your child is important. Understand your child’s interests and work to find ways to help them turn those interests into life lessons through sports or other activities. For more advice on signing your child up for a sports league click here.

Do you think playing sports impacts a child’s success later in life? What life skills did you learn playing sports that have helped you in the workplace?

This blog post is part of #MIKidsCan, an initiative created by Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan to promote positive change in the health and well-being of Michigan youth. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan.

Photo credit: Wil C. Fry.

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