As adults, it’s easy to look past the impact of wearing sports socks and a jersey as a child. The memory of the high that you used to get when gearing up for big games probably becomes more distant every day.
That’s not the case for your young athlete and team. They’re experiencing the same emotions you used to back when you hit your first home run or scored your first goal. The feeling of pure joy when looking into the crowd and seeing the pride in teammates and family members is as real as it will ever be for your child right now.
Even if a youth sports game only lasts for an hour or two, that small amount of time has an enormous impact on your child’s character and emotional intelligence. Here are 24 life lessons your athlete learns from wearing sports socks and a jersey:
We all know that patience is a virtue, and to this day, you may know a few people who still lack this virtue. What is a great way to instill this virtue in your children? Youth sports. Learning that it takes time to develop the skills necessary for playing time is just as, if not more important, than the memories stemming from the glamor and excitement of game time.
Even parents and coaches learn a little patience from the game in dealing with referees, other adults and kids.
So, whether it’s the patience that you parents have while waiting for your children to get dressed in their jersey and sports socks or the patience the players learn from waiting for their turn up to bat, patience is a key skill that is developed.
One of your first memories from youth sports probably includes the feeling you got when you put on your jersey and sports socks for the first time. You owned the number on your back, and it was your job to make sure that you wore it proudly. Your unique position on the court or field was yours and your coach entrusted you to be the best at that spot.
All these factors helped you build the confidence and courage to help you feel like you belong on the team. Your child is experiencing that every time they take their position and every play they make only builds their confidence.
Trust is one of those things that takes time to enhance. Players must build trust in each other to make the plays on the field. Without trust, plays do not run successfully, and even safety can be brought into question. For example, in football, the quarterback needs to trust the offensive line to make sure he doesn’t get injured when trying to pass to his receivers.
On top of trusting their teammates, players need to trust their uniforms, including their sports socks to perform as well as they can. Attire that doesn’t hold its shape and sports socks that wear holes every other game simply will not cut it out on the court. Trust in your athletic attire is essential to your athlete’s game.
The value of self-worth is an incredibly important life lesson for a child to learn. The confidence instilled at a young age can translate to school projects, new opportunities, and how they carry themselves on a daily basis.
When children play youth recreation sports, the object of the game isn’t always to win. It could be learning a new skill, breaking a personal record or even scoring a goal for the first time. If they achieve what they have been working towards, that builds a foundation of confidence for them, and that should be a win in your book.
We’re going to take you down memory lane again and bring you back to your time as a youth sports star. Remember all the team huddles where coaches would discuss the next play and it was up to you to execute? Usually, one team member was in charge of making sure the rest of the team was on the same page.
This is one of the best examples of collaboration between peers on the team. They are taught from day one that if collaboration does not happen, plays cannot be executed successfully.
Not to mention the collaboration that needs to happen between you and your child. When is team picture day? What uniform is needed for next weeks game? Do they have enough clean sports socks to last them the next week?
These are all important questions that need to be communicated. And if they are not, your child will soon learn how important collaboration is needed when they show up in their soccer jersey to their basketball game.
Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” It would be difficult to do a better job of defining resiliency.
Failing is part of life and one of the biggest life lessons that a child can learn is that success doesn’t come easily. The countless practices, different drills and hard work put into improving one’s athletic ability helps teach resiliency. Eventually, watching all that practice pay off when it comes to game time solidifies a resilient mindset.
In youth sports, kids start to let go of their parents’ hands and are able to participate in activities that give them more independence. With this independence comes responsibility.
Throughout the season, each player should have the opportunity to lead warm-ups, drills or even what jersey and sports socks the team is going to wear the following week and take charge of the team. These opportunities to lead help develop confidence in young athletes and are skills that most other kids do not have the chance to learn at such a young age.
8. How to Lose
Whether we like it or not, losing is part of any sport (including your child losing the new pair of sports socks you just washed for them). It’s inevitable. That being said, an important part of the game is learning how to lose with dignity.
Losing, in many cases, is a learning opportunity. Having the maturity to take a step back and evaluate what skills need to be worked on in the next practice is a high-level asset than any child can apply to other aspects in life, like school.
9. How to Win
Just as it’s important to learn how to lose with dignity, it’s equally important to learn how to win with dignity. Sportsmanship should be emphasized from day one, and being a good sport is a high priority.
This includes shaking the other teams’ hands after the games, congratulating others on their accomplishments and thanking the referees regardless of the calls they make or the outcome of the game.
10. Hard Work
Tim Notke once said, “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” This attitude amongst a team is both encouraging and motivational.
Kids learn that success requires hard work. Once they start to see their effort pay off and produce results, it reinforces their work ethic. And we all know a good work ethic is something they will thank you for later in life.
11. How to Follow Rules
In sports, the referees are there to protect the integrity of the game with an unbiased opinion. Youth sports teach children to respect authority, learn how to take instructions and to respectfully disagree.
Being able to follow rules also helps them understand why the rules are there in the first place, how to take instructions and how to respectfully disagree if there is a call they don’t agree with.
The bonds a team forms are like no other. Kids spend time together in their lows and their highs which builds friendships faster than in a school setting.
Whether it’s carpools to practice or deciding to match their favorite sports socks during practice, the relationships that are built during sports are some of the strongest they will make during their young lives.
Youth sports comes along with many highs but also many lows. They experience success when they score or make a good play, but also failure if they are in a dry spell. Being able to recognize these feelings allows them to empathize with their fellow athletes.
Learning dedication will stem from the atmosphere of the team. Coaches want their players to succeed and meet their personal goals. They are there to support the players to their best ability, including encouraging them and being critical when needed.
The dedication of parents, kids and coaches all builds a strong team dynamic and creates a fun environment.
15. How to be Healthy
Being a part of sports at a young age develops skills and athletic ability that will carry over later in life. Kids who do not learn this often lack the confidence in their physical ability to become active later on.
Athletic ability is just the start of setting them up for success later in life. They also need to learn about proper eating habits and know to wear athletic attire that will help support them when they work out to prevent injury. This includes proper shoes, athletic wear and sports socks.
Though this may not be a skill that is apparent to them in their youth, it is a skill they will be forever grateful for their entire life.
16. How to Capitalize on Your Strengths
The skill of self-evaluating is important throughout an individual’s life. Your child understanding their strengths and weaknesses is a valuable tool that is applicable in any situation. They develop the ability to understand how they can best contribute to the team and work on areas where they can improve.
17. A Sense of Style
This may not be the first skill that comes to your mind when you think of ‘youth sports’ but it is important. Self-expression makes its way on to the court or the field in some way or another, whether it’s wearing their favorite sports superstar’s jersey on the weekend or choosing crazy sports socks to show off in practice. This is where your child’s sense of individuality comes out on the field. They are part of a team, but their uniqueness is also a large part of the game.
18. Practice Makes Perfect
It’s almost impossible to master something on your first try. Your athletes will soon realize that the ones who work the hardest during practice see the best results in the game. Understanding that practice will produce results is both motivating and rewarding.
19. Time Management
Think of all the mornings spent nagging your kids to get out of bed and get ready for school or the times where they forgot to do their homework until just before bedtime: this is a time management issue
Time-management isn’t a skill that comes easily to some people. That’s why learning it at a young age is very valuable. Through sports, kids learn that they need to allocate an appropriate amount of time to get prepared for a game, whether it be packing up their sports bag or taking the extra time to pick the perfect pair of sports socks to match their uniform and make it to their game with enough time to warm up.
Focus is not an innate ability that children are born with. In fact, most children struggle with focus. That’s why practicing focus as much as possible will help build other important life skills.
Sports teach them two types of focus. The first is being able to concentrate time and energy on one thing. The second type is focusing on what they can control versus what they can’t, like effort and attitude rather than height and the calls a referee makes. Both are crucial for success.
21. How to be Supportive
A huge part of the game is supporting your teammates. High-fives, words of encouragement, and celebrating wins are all part of the game. Kids learn to be happy for their teammates when they succeed, especially with great coaches who encourage that type of behavior.
It takes a lot of self-control and self-discipline to stay focused on improving skills out on the field or the court. It can be easy to focus on the fun aspects of the game but even more rewarding to focus on the difficult parts.
Self-discipline will help your athletes grasp the concept of choosing what is best for the long term, rather than instant gratification (even if it starts with just waiting for their favorite pair of sports socks to come out clean from the laundry).
23. How to Work Towards Goals
Goal-setting is a large part of all aspects of life. It’s an applicable skill that will remain relevant to a very old age. In youth sports, your athlete will learn about giving themselves a target to reach for while adding motivation to achieving the goal. Breaking down goals into smaller checkpoints helps encourage children and helps them see that their goals are attainable.
24. How to Have Fun
Yes, this one is cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason. Team camaraderie is an essential part of the game which includes friendships between players, friendships between parents and coach/player relationships. Kids learn how to have fun while working towards the team and personal goals.
And at the end of the day, if it’s not fun, why involve yourself?
As a parent, it’s your job to set your child up for success for when they no longer depend on you and youth sports prepares your child for so much more than catching and throwing a ball.
Honestly, you deserve a pat on the back yourself for engaging them in these life lessons so early. It’s not easy keeping up. Between coordinating post-game snack schedules, organizing your child’s uniform (including sports socks, jersey and equipment), and dropping them off at their practices and games on time, you are a superstar.
Just remember that next time you watch your child’s face light up in excitement when it comes time to throw on their jersey and pair of sports socks for the big game, facilitate that enthusiasm. These moments won’t last forever but their memories will. Help prepare them for the big game with the best sports socks and accessories from MadSportsStuff and watch your athlete flourish on and off the field.