Sports teach many lessons, on and off the mat

July 01, 2013, 9:38 a.m. (ET)
Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program.

Your young athlete has completed another wrestlingseason. The competition has come to an end - for now, at least.

And regardless of the level of offseason activity when it comes to training and practicing, everyone can take at least a few moments to sit back, relax, and take a deep breath. Or several deep breaths.

Yes, the season is over. But it's important to remember that there is no offseason when it comes to learning and growing - both as an athlete and as an individual.

What do sports teach us? The universal response - from coaches, parents and athletes alike - is always "life lessons". We often times champion sports for our children in the hopes that they will learn these valuable life lessons through their experience. But what lessons exactly do we hope they'll learn? What life lessons do you think your son or daughter learned this past wrestling season?

This month the team at Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports together with the experts from Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) take a closer look at the many life lessons that each season imparts to our young athletes - as well as us.

Life Lessons Checklist.
Here's a checklist for life lessons we hope your athlete have learned or will learn through their youth sports experience.

1.Practice Makes... Better: It's not about being perfect. It's about getting better and improving. One of the life lessons we hope our children learn through sports is that their effort will be rewarded.

2. Focus on what you can control: Youth sports should help kids learn that all they can do is focus on their effort, and not the outcome. Focus on what they can control, not what is out of their control.

3.Let go of mistakes: Successful athletes brush off mistakes. They acknowledge them, they learn from them and they then move past them. They put them in the past.

4.Keep learning: We're constantly learning - from our successes but also from our mistakes. Youth sports should help kids recognize that even the best players are constantly learning and working to get better. It's an approach to life that will serve us all well.

5.Being positive moves us further: PCA's "Emotional Tank" analogy to a car's gas tank is a good one. Just like a car's gas tank, when our Emotional Tanks are full, we can go further. In a Responsible Sports environment, while coaches and parents fill our young athletes' tanks, one life lesson for athletes to learn is the need for them to fill their teammates' tanks.

6.Celebrate Success: Sports teach us to celebrate success - large and small. We all know how to celebrate winning the match, but sports can also help us learn to celebrate the smaller goals we set for ourselves, and see "winning" in a whole new light.

7.Become a true team player: Sports should teach our children what we mean by a true team player - someone who contributes 100%, and at the same time cooperates and collaborates with teammates to help bring out their best, too. PCA talks about being a Triple-Impact Competitor®: making yourself better, making your teammates better, and making the match better. It's this lesson we hope our children bring to their adult relationships.

8.Win and Lose With Dignity: It's called Honoring The Game in sports. And we hope our young athletes learn to both win and lose while respecting themselves, their teammates, their opponents and the officials and organization that help make their sport experience possible. As an adult, how we define "match" changes, but we hope sports teaches us all to win and lose with dignity and respect.

Keep On Learning.

For more information on how you and your young athletes can keep learning and growing the Responsible Sports way, visit our Responsible Sports website at

Hope you are enjoying the off-season and getting ready for the upcoming season - from your friends at Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Responsible Sports program!