Playing sports teaches you much more than the game. Funny, how we tend to trivialize sports in school, but it is an important part of learning skills. When I played sports, I heard the phrase it was only a game. “Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games are created equal.” (George Will)
Games are a big part of our lives! We participate in them as children and the elite athletes participate on teams in college, the Olympics and some professionally. Some concepts just work better in sports. It is one of the reasons; employers like to hire people who played sports in school. You do not have to be the quarterback or even a captain to learn skills from sports. All you have to do is participate! Let’s start with practice and learning how to play the game.
Think back to the day you learned to play baseball, football, tennis, or basketball. Someone, perhaps a coach or friend taught you how to play the game. They explained the rules; you probably played the game a few times which some may call practice. You practiced by playing the game or performing certain plays and practiced until you understood it. Don’t you do the same things when you learn card or board games? It doesn’t stop at games either, it is how we learn!
“The key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around ten thousand (10,000) hours.” (Malcolm Gladwell) School teaches us to go to class, take notes, do homework and take tests. If you get good grades, you are a successful student. Many children have difficulty with academic performance, but they enjoy sports. You can learn the same skills in sports and enjoy the learning much more because it is a game.
We need people to find success somewhere or they will not reach their potential. If you cannot learn these skills in the classroom, you may learn them in sports. Most schools have rules that in order to play sports, you must achieve minimum grades. Many children who have difficulty with academic subjects get what they need to play sports. It is a way of schools making sports a reward for passing classes. We still want children to be educated so they can get a good job or career in order to support themselves.
Seven Financial Skills you learn from Sports
- More decisions, better judgment – Sports is mental, physical, psychological, spiritual and even superstitious. There are so many elements to any sport; you have more opportunities for success or failure. Most importantly, you have more opportunities to learn how to handle yourself. Making a lot of decisions or plays improves your skills and confidence.
- Practice, practice, practice – Practice helps you get better at sports, games or just about anything. If you were learning an instrument, you would have to practice every day for hours I order to become good at it. The ten thousand hours rule is still true for sports, games and anything else you need to practice your skills. Practice helps you get better at some endeavor whether it is sports, investing or your career. What you are learning through sports will help you in personal finance, career and life in general.
- Teamwork – Learning to work with other s on a team is invaluable with personal finance because you very rarely do anything completely alone. I formed a team of advisers when I started to invest in income property. They were made up of my attorney, banker and CPA. They all had to work together at times to help me achieve certain goals. I relied on my team to support my goals and they responded well. Teamwork is important for success.
- Time management – Sports takes time away from school, social life or family. You have to juggle your priorities in order to be successful academically as well as athletically. This is an important skill when it comes to personal finance. You have to do many tasks timely in order to meet your goals. Managing your time is necessary for success.
- Confidence – Confidence comes from success! You need confidence to try new things because it helps you through the ups and downs of any new venture. Everyone makes mistakes or fails, but confidence will help you to keep trying. Some may call it determination, but you believe you will succeed.
- Discipline – Sports require discipline and sacrifice. You probably wish you could get paid to play games. Especially since, the pay in the NFL, MLB or NBA I s so high. One of my ex students is a rookie for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was not drafted, but managed to get a three (3) year contract. He got his shot after years of practice in college, high school, etc. That took discipline to finish his education and juggle hours of practice and games for all those years. It is an important skill in personal finance.
- Good work ethic – Although they are playing games, they still have to work hard every day during the season. Not unlike a career or life in general. Some may feel it is attributed to luck, but it is hard work to practice all those hours especially after a loss or many losses. Good money skills require a consistent effort over time.
Do you think sports and financial skills go together? Working hard toward a goal, determination and discipline are just some of the skills that will help you succeed with your personal finances. These skills are helpful in other parts of your life too. The difference between the skills you learn in the classroom and sports is you have more fun playing sports. That does not mean that those skills are worth any less. Playing sports will teach you excellent personal finance skills.
Photo by: Flickr