My son just finished his last season of playing basketball. Next year, he will be away at university so it is unlikely that I will be able to watch him play his favourite sport again. It is also my favourite sport as well and I have loved watching him play and develop his skills during the past 10 years.
Reflecting back on hundreds of hours of practices and games, there are a few things that I have learned that relates to sports and life off the basketball court.
Here are a few insights:
1. You can’t pick your coach or teammates. You also can’t pick your boss or your colleagues so it is important to learn how to get along with many different personalities. Participating in team sports provides an opportunity to do this.
2. If you want to develop and improve a skill (and not just basketball skills), it requires hard work, hours of practice, and grit. I remember in the early years, the kids were always bunched up under the net with everyone fighting for the ball! It has been exciting to see how my son and his teammates have developed their coordination, confidence and basketball skills year after year.
3. Never underestimate the help of others when reaching your goals. We need to be able to work as part of a team not only to win basketball games but also to succeed in the workplace, and in life. I believe that is is easier to reach goals when we have a circle of support.
4. Always be a good sport. It is impossible to win every game so celebrate the experience, and the effort. (Unfortunately some of the most unpleasant and most embarrassing moments have been because of badly behaved coaches or parents. Luckily this has been rare). We may not get that promotion at work or the job we applied for but we have to persevere and be resilient.
5. Express gratitude to mentors and coaches. When was the last time you said “thank you” to your son or daughter’s coach? My son’s coach has two of his own children, and a very busy career as a high school teacher. Without these coaches, leagues wouldn’t run. If there is someone at your workplace who deserves a thank you, make it a point to do this next week. I wouldn't be the teacher I am today if it weren't for more experienced teachers who mentored me along the way. Expressing gratitude makes everyone feel good.
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