The Four Benefits of Youth Sports Adversity
When my son was battling for the quarterback position on his varsity football team, my friend wisely reminded me that kids who never struggle in youth sports, and who instead have things come to them easily, miss out on a perfect opportunity to grow. I had to remind myself of this many times throughout 21 years of sports parenting. As I watch my three children — all now in their 20’s — deal with adversity as adults, I’m even more grateful for the youth sports difficulties they encountered. In fact, I feel sorry for the athletes that lack obstacles in the path of their journey or growing pains that he or she wishes were not there. It should go without saying, but without adversity, there would be no growth. Let’s take a closer look at how adversity shapes our young athletes:
Adversity Builds Emotional Strength
When your child learns to get through the toughest of obstacles that youth sports provide, normal everyday difficulties will not seem so daunting. The mountain that he or she once feared has become a mere molehill. The mountain that is gone takes with it your child’s doubt and lack of self-esteem. Then, he or she can now become a person that others look to for strength.
Adversity Grows Leaders
Would you feel confident under the leadership of someone who had never experienced adversity? Would you follow a person who had never faced the difficulties you’ve experienced? I doubt it. If your child wants to be a leader, then adversity is a stepping stone towards earning the credibility and respect to lead — even in a non-youth sports environment.
Adversity Reveals Strengths + Limitations
If your child does not face adversity in youth sports, he or she will never know the extent of what they can accomplish in life. In the face of obstacles and challenges, your child is pushed and stretched. Ultimately, your child will learn his or her weaknesses, strengths, and then how to apply this knowledge. Once aware of these qualities, your child will know where to focus his or her energy and skills.
Adversity is Groundwork for Greatness
Every influential person I’ve met has not only experienced great adversity, but they’ve then turned it into a strength. Remember, the hottest fire produces the strongest steel. Or, even better: the greatest pressure results in the most beautiful diamond. If your child has aspirations of athletic greatness, they must prepare to glean gold from the adversities that come his or her way in youth sports. It’s not enough to simply survive the challenge.