How do Skills Learned in Sports Translate to the Workplace?
Playing sports as a child has both immediate and lifelong benefits, but did you know that the skills and habits that your child develops as a young athlete can carry over into their future career? Many successful employees played sports as kids, and the characteristics that they bring to the workplace can partly be attributed to their time as an athlete. Students at our sports school in Florida don’t just learn the skills they need to be successful in their careers while they are in the classroom, but they also pick those skills up while playing their respective sports.
They are Team Players
Kids who play team sports learn how to work with others, often while in high-pressure situations. This atmosphere teaches them to be understanding of others, to think about how their actions will affect those around them, and to share responsibilities, victories, and defeats. Once in the workplace, these same individuals will take others’ feelings and situations into account, think about the impact of their decisions on their coworkers, and delegate tasks. They also won’t take all of the blame or credit when it comes to a failure or a success that involved their entire team.
Adults who played sports as kids are less likely to try to do everything themselves. They will ask for assistance when they need it, and they will also volunteer to pitch in when they see that their coworker might be in need. A workplace team that contains adults who played sports as kids will also be proficient with identifying each other’s strengths and weaknesses and will delegate tasks accordingly.
They Communicate Well
Kids who play sports learn communication skills that may even be better than those of adults who didn’t play sports. They understand that everyone on their team is working towards the same goal and that effectively communicating with their teammates is the best way to achieve that goal. The same applies in the workplace. Whether it’s a specific project or just day-to-day operations, everyone is working towards similar goals or trying to accomplish similar tasks, and communicating with coworkers is the best way to complete those projects or tasks. By communicating well, everyone within a workplace will achieve success and do so with less stress and effort than they would without proper communication.
They Know How to Take Initiative
Kids who play sports learn that they sometimes need to make very fast, assured decisions in order for their team to be successful, and this trait carries over into the workplace as well. Many young adults who enter the workforce lack initiative because they have never been placed in situations where they are empowered to take it, but an adult who played sports as a child is likely to have a different attitude.
They are Self-Disciplined
In both team and individual sports, it is important for athletes to possess self-discipline in order to be successful. This trait could mean waking up early to practice, always putting in 100% effort during practices and competitions, or being mindful of sleep and diet and how they affect performance. This characteristic translates directly into the workplace when employees need to arrive at the office at a certain time, stay on task to complete a project, and take care of their overall health in order to be efficient and effective when they are at work.
They are Empowered Leaders
Kids who play sports develop a healthy understanding of the importance of leadership roles, and many of them take on leadership roles themselves within their teams. Being a leader is empowering and builds confidence - both of which are important in the workplace. An adult who played team sports as a kid will be respectful of those who are leading them, and they will be confident when opportunities arise for them to be a leader themselves. These adults are more likely to feel empowered to step up when they see a need for someone to take the lead, and they are also more likely to be cooperative when one of their coworkers takes initiative on a task.
Championship teams and successful businesses have several key things in common. A clear vision that is communicated from leadership; a commonality in purpose, which produces accountability between teammates and co-workers; and a commitment to consistency in playing their best, producing the best products or providing excellent customer service. It takes everyone in the organization to view their role and the roles of others as essential to the success of the team; from the C.E.O to the J .A .N. I. T. O .R . I know it is cliché’, but “teamwork really does make the dream work."
-Charles P. Gooch, Head of Leadership
They are Coachable
An employee who played sports as a kid is more likely to take constructive criticism as a benefit rather than a critique. Adults who didn’t experience coaching as children may interpret it as simply criticism. Adults who played sports will be open to their leaders’ suggestions on how they can improve their work and what they can do to grow professionally. Coachable employees may even see valuable rewards, such as a promotion, and they may eventually have an opportunity to be leaders in the workplace as well.
The benefits of playing sports as a child are long-lasting, even as those kids grow up and enter the workforce as young adults. At IMG Academy, student-athletes at our sports school in Florida learn the skills they will need to be successful in the workplace both in the classroom and on the field.