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Transferable skills – it is not just sports

There are various invaluable skills children learn through sports that can be pragmatic to other areas of life.

Athletes come across many notions during their sports career that help them build self-confidence, become more disciplined and take calculated risks. There is no doubt that sport develops life skills and it provides kids with opportunities that translate to many facets of life.

Let’s take football as an example.

Unlike various other activities, football prepares young children with experiences they face in adulthood but above all teaches them social skills that cannot be replicated in the same means outside the field of play.

Football instils a lifelong effect on those who practice it regularly. Many times, when I meet friends, former footballers, we rarely talk about the results accomplished on the pitch, the wins or losses.

But we often share stories on memories of team experiences, on the anecdotes we shared, on the sacrifices we used to make to become better or on the mutual respect we had for each other.

All these are examples of transferable skills taken from the football experiences that have shaped our characters along the years.

There are several skills being developed through sports. Just to mention a few, these include, discipline, focus, goal-setting, team work, respect and stress management.

All these skills could be easily transferred and become useful in future jobs, for example in an entrepreneur’s environment. This is what the term transferable skills mean.

Basically, the acquired skills from other experiences in life, such as sports, become essential in the careers we choose.

However, it is vital that coaches and sport administrators make sure to equally focus to develop young athletes not only athletically but also individually by promoting a holistic positive development management style.

As much as sports leaves a positive impact, it can be just as damaging to a child’s development if it does not offer a purposely structured and designed approach.

Let’s take a look at three examples of how these attained skills are transferred in other contexts.

Football is often considered by many as the greatest team sport ever created.

To the opposite of individual sports which is predominantly based on individual performances, football is a team sport based entirely on the principal of achieving a collectively outcome by working together in a team for a common cause.

This mindset is somehow a small-scale version of a business culture where individual skills and practices are clustered in a collaborative environment.

In today’s business world, this is what fundamentally human resources managers look for when recruiting people, the competence of how concurrently employees help the organisation grow while performing their individual working tasks and responsibilities.

In football it is exactly the same, a team is made up of players with different skills and abilities who work together to achieve and share success for their respective clubs.

Building a team with the consciousness that individual success is secondary to a team’s achievement is equivalent to a business organisation having a top sales executive.

A salesperson cannot perform well if the other departments fail to keep up the with the inventory and do not place orders on time.

On the contrary, when the logistics team elevate their efforts, the whole organisation succeeds.

A perfect example of this, but in football, is when a player is sent off during a game and his team-mates intensify their efforts and still collectively achieve a positive result. Football teaches that teamwork has a higher success percentage compared to a team where individuality wants to outperform the other.

Meritocracy in football

In football just as in life, opportunities are earned. Football players know that without sacrifice and hard training nothing is barely attained.

Generally, football coaches, adapt a pretty firm system that the best and in shape players on the day play.

In reality, life reflects the same philosophy.

In life we will not be given trophies or any certificates for participating and football teaches young children that they need to work hard to reach their set goals.

Not only but also teaches them to create other new goals once their set goals are reached because they will always find someone ready to show they are better and try to take the positions they have conquered.

This reality brings football more comparable to life because it communicates the importance of never giving up and to seize the opportunity when the time comes.

The football community is a large society, an exceptional networking world. Those involved in football invest in each other.

We often hear former football players relating to their team-mates and coaches as their family. A football coach recognises that by creating a family environment is teaching young children how to count on others while holding themselves accountable.

These family connections help coaches to push players past their limits. The bonds that are accumulated through shared adversity and mutual experience hold stronger than many that are created outside the football world.

For many, the relationships developed in football provide the foundation for other kinds of relationships players come across throughout their lives.

If coaches are asked to reflect on what they cherish most during their coaching career, indisputable the majority would highlight the coach-athlete relationship.

In my opinion, this is a simple approach which costs nothing but leads to higher performance and an inspiring sporting experience.

There are two lines of thought when we reflect on the transfer of life skills from sports. The approach applied by coaches and sport leaders to purposely teach young children how to transfer life skills.

This approach involves the participation and discussion of all involved explaining what transfer skills are and their importance to life.

Additionally, leading by example in demonstrating and facilitating life skills in sports and shift responsibility on the athletes to develop the skills in other contexts is another central approach.

These two approaches are considered to be effective on positive youth development.

However, it is imperative that whichever approach is taken, life skills are decisively taught and integrated into the sporting activity.

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