1. Discipline: Sport teaches you discipline in a way nothing else can. Right from the way you dress to the time you arrive for your training and the way you train, it’s all about discipline. And the more disciplined you are, the better you will perform.
2. Hard Work and Perseverance: In the world of sport, nothing comes easy. It’s backbreaking work and this pushes you to keep improving to reach your true athletic potential. To achieve success in sport, you also need to be mentally sharp and attentive all the time.
3. Sacrifice: Life is not all fun and games. When you decide to cull out time from your busy schedule for a sport, you are talking of sacrificing your play time or study time for a new hobby. This also means that you will not be present for your friends’ birthdays, outings or family get-togethers. Though this might seem like a big sacrifice at the time, when you actually start winning accolades and reap the benefits of your training, you will be happy for the changes you have incorporated into your life.
4. Teamwork: Whether you are playing a single-person sport like tennis or a multi-person sport like football, you are always working with peers, trainers, nutritionists and others. This teaches you to work with other people, deal with different moods and temperaments, understand others’ point of view, compromise on your decisions and learn the basics of team work. A team is like a jigsaw puzzle—only if all the pieces fit together will the team benefit. Working with a team also teaches you that the success of a team comes before individual accomplishments.
5. Accepting Success and Failure: In a game, there has to be a winner and a loser. Being a loser doesn’t mean that you are not good or for that matter, a failure. It just means that someone else had a better day than you did. Losing should never get you down. In fact, it should motivate you to better your own skills. And when you win, you should be proud of your achievements, but without demeaning your opponents.
6. Setting Goals: No matter what you do, you need a goal. A goal helps you steer yourself on the right path. You may have short-term goals, long-term goals or even life-long goals. Such goals help you focus your efforts and attention on achieving something in life. Athletes set both individual and team goals, which help map their progress.
7. Overcoming Adversity: This, according to us, is one of the best lessons one can learn from sport. Life is full of change and one needs to constantly be on one’s toes to overcome the setbacks, adversities and temporary failures that block the path to success. Nothing prepares you better to deal with these situations, both mentally and physically, than sport.
8. Seek New Passions: No one is born with the ability to do everything. You grow over time. You discover, learn, understand, develop a passion and then start enjoying a specific skill. Sport is one such skill that needs a lot of hard work and effort, but in the end, it develops into a passion that has the potential to change your world. A passion is fuelled by the thirst for learning and adventure and helps you evolve into a happier, more fulfilled person.
9. Confidence: Knowing your capabilities helps build self-esteem, confidence and security. There is no better feeling than knowing that you are good at something and important to your team. Sport can give you the feeling that you can conquer anything!
10. Dealing with Authority: Each one of us has a different point of view, but in a team, what matters most is what your coach, trainer or captain decides to do. You may not think it’s the best option, but following your coach’s orders is something you have to do. Your coach may push you to get the best out of you, or you may have won a point but the referee may think otherwise. In both these cases, you will need to respect those in a position of power and deal with them appropriately. Sport teaches you how to deal with authority and this is something that will come in handy all your life.
11. Concentration and Focus: There is a theory that if you put 10,000 dedicated hours into any art, craft, sport or skill, you will learn it inside out. Focussed, single minded attention is what’s needed to achieve any long-term goal.
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