Watching sports is a great deal of fun, but playing them is often even more rewarding. There are many reasons to pursue a sport, and the motivation may differ by person. Picking up a new sport is a great way to stay fit, actively engage in a hobby, or learn a new skill you’ve always wanted to try. The options for which sport you can choose are plentiful, even if you don’t immediately gravitate toward one in mind. There may just be the untapped, perfect activity that caters to your abilities and strengths! Sports can actively help you develop skills that will be applicable across many avenues in life, as well as find a community and support network built on shared interests.
Here are some great benefits and character-building skills you can gain by participating in a sport of your choice:
Humans naturally feed off each other’s energy when in a team. Learning how to work with the weaknesses and strengths of others, or how to give fair play to teammates so they can develop themselves, is a skill exercised throughout a sport. Even if you play a solo sport, there may be opportunities to join a league or learn from a coach. Better yet, it gives you the opportunity to have your effort add to the overall success of a team (Olympics, anyone?). Practicing a sport--such as soccer or basketball--teaches one how to appreciate the differences every player brings to the table, to provide help and support when their teammates need it, and to work best with others. The ability to work effectively in a team setting will help you become an effective player off-field too.
Eventually, your team effort in a sport may grow into an opportunity for leadership. Learning how to direct, encourage, and help your players meet a mutual end goal for everyone’s benefit will help you in both your personal life and in the workplace. Becoming a leader within a team creates a level of self-confidence and understanding that is hard to find elsewhere. Leadership teaches you to express yourself, encourage others to fulfill their abilities, and make the team as strong as possible.
There is no greater feeling in the world when you meet others that share the same passions as you when it comes to sports. Some people’s best friends and networks are built around their hobbies, and since team sports like rugby or football fall within that bucket, you could create a lifelong network introduced to you by your favorite activity. You never know where else these connections can tap into as well!
4) Physical Health
It’s no surprise that playing a sport is often attributed to great physical shape. Sports are a great way to challenge yourself to build stamina and endurance. Bulk up, tone, strengthen, you name it - sports will help you reach your physical goals. Though each sport varies in its type of workout (HIIT, cardio, low-impact), you can find the best sport that suits your lifestyle. Consider how much energy you’d like to exert, any restrictions your body may have, and your areas of strength when picking the sport that works best for you.
5) Mental Wellness
Physical shape isn’t the only reason to opt into a sport. Give your mind a workout too by committing time to learning something new, which stimulates your brain and can energize your soul. Some sports involve an intense physical challenge, some may be related to focus and precision, and others may involve both. Either way, sports help fine-tune your mental fitness as well as your physical ability. Here are several positive ways sports and wellness are linked:
- Boosts self-esteem
- Relieves stress (catharsis)
- Boosts confidence and can-do attitude
- Trains your brain to focus
- Teaches nutrition for performance, which can also boost your brain
- Releases endorphins, making you happier throughout your day
Have you ever felt like giving up? If so, you’re not alone; we all have, and it’s easy to give up when we face rejection. Rejection or failure is a common obstacle in life, and it’s one we should never be afraid to face. Falling down teaches us the strongest lessons about how we can improve and get back up to make progress. Anything that doesn’t result in a win teaches patience, understanding and growth. Learning how to pursue a goal and being driven or determined despite failure teaches perseverance, which is a key ingredient to long-term success.
7) Time Management and Goal Setting
Aside from managing your time in a sports environment, you will need to manage your time both in a team and independently. This could leave you juggling multiple responsibilities at once. You’ll accomplish these things much more easily with prior experience spent managing your time in a sports setting. Two minutes left to shoot, one more chance to hit a home run, or thirty seconds left for the other team to score? Strategizing comes into play, the same way you’ll have deadlines for projects in work or school. By incorporating all the accomplishments you want to achieve into your schedule while maintaining balance, you will be able to measure how you can achieve goals within a competitive timeframe.
Need help deciding or picking up a new sport to take on? Find your sport here, and explore the options! Consider what type of a challenge you want. For example, if you want to focus on precision, a sport like archery is a great option. If you’re looking take cardio anywhere you go, then running may be for you. Don’t stop considering the options, and get going with our curated packs by our sports leaders! And if you're lucky enough to be in the San Francisco area, we'd love for you to join us in our groups and community events we're hosting - a great opportunity to try a new sport or meet other people who share the same passion!