10 reasons why girls who play sports become women who lead

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There’s a profound link between girls who engage in sports and women who become leaders.

Isn’t it intriguing how the discipline, teamwork, and resilience taught on the field can shape a young girl’s future?

Playing sports isn’t just about staying fit or having fun, it’s a training ground for future leaders. It’s where girls learn to think on their feet, work in sync with others, and develop a never-give-up attitude.

In this article, we’ll explore ten compelling reasons why girls who play sports often grow up to be women who lead. Whether it’s in the boardroom, the community, or the political arena, these women stand out from the crowd.

Let’s dive in and uncover how sports can be a catalyst for leadership.

1) Learning to work as a team

Sports, by their very nature, require teamwork.

Whether it’s passing the ball in basketball, coordinating a play in soccer, or supporting each other in a relay race, girls who play sports quickly understand the value of working together.

This is not just about achieving a common goal on the field. It’s also about learning how to communicate effectively, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your teammates, and realizing that success is a collective effort.

These lessons are invaluable when these girls grow up and step into leadership roles. Being a good leader is not just about being in charge. It’s about guiding a team towards a common goal, while ensuring that each member feels valued and understood.

Girls who play sports learn early on what it takes to lead a team – and these skills often translate into effective leadership in adulthood.

2) Embracing failure as a stepping stone

I remember my early days of playing volleyball in high school. I was determined to make the school team, but despite my best efforts, I didn’t make the cut in the first tryouts.

Initially, I was devastated. But my coach sat me down and explained that failure was not a dead end, but rather a stepping stone to success.

He told me that every top athlete, from Michael Jordan to Serena Williams, had faced setbacks in their careers. But instead of giving up, they used these failures as motivation to work harder and improve.

So, I took his advice and kept practicing. I worked on my serves, improved my technique and built up my stamina. A year later, I made the team and eventually became the captain.

Playing sports taught me to view failure not as a setback, but as an opportunity for growth. This lesson has been invaluable throughout my life and career.

As a leader, you’re bound to face challenges and setbacks. But having the ability to embrace failure and learn from it is what sets successful leaders apart from the rest. And this is one of the key leadership skills that girls learn from playing sports.

3) Developing discipline and perseverance

Playing a sport requires a significant amount of discipline. Regular practice, adhering to training schedules, maintaining physical fitness – it’s not always easy or fun. But the more you stick with it, the better you become.

Here’s something to ponder on: A study from Ernst & Young found that 94% of women in executive positions had played sports during their education. This isn’t just a coincidence. The discipline and perseverance learned through sports are key drivers in rising through the ranks in any profession.

These qualities, instilled in young athletes, often carry over into their professional lives. They understand the importance of consistency, hard work, and persistence in achieving their goals. And these are the qualities that make for strong leaders.

4) Building confidence and self-esteem

There’s something incredibly empowering about mastering a sport. It’s not just about the physical strength or skills you acquire. It’s about the confidence and self-esteem that come with it.

Imagine a young girl scoring her first goal, making her first successful serve, or crossing the finishing line ahead of her competitors. These moments are not just victories in the game, they’re victories for her self-belief.

As she grows older, this confidence translates into other areas of her life. She begins to trust her abilities and isn’t afraid to take on challenging tasks. She’s not afraid to voice her opinions and stand up for what she believes in.

In essence, sports equip girls with the confidence to lead – to make decisions, take risks, and inspire others. And these are the qualities that make for effective leadership.

5) Learning to handle pressure

Every athlete, regardless of age or level, experiences pressure. It could be the pressure of performing in a crucial game, the pressure of living up to expectations, or the pressure of bouncing back from a defeat.

But here’s the beauty of it – sports teach girls how to cope with this pressure. They learn that it’s a part of life and that it can actually push them to perform better.

They learn to stay focused despite the noise around them. They learn to make split-second decisions under stressful conditions. They learn to remain calm and composed, even when the odds are against them.

These are essential skills for leadership. Whether it’s meeting a tight deadline, making an important decision, or dealing with a crisis, leaders often face high-pressure situations. And having the ability to handle this pressure effectively is what sets successful leaders apart.

6) Fostering a love for challenges

There’s something unique about the spirit of a sportswoman. It’s a spirit that thrives on challenges and competition, that relishes the thrill of overcoming an opponent, or breaking a personal record.

When a girl takes up a sport, she isn’t just signing up for physical activity. She’s signing up for a journey filled with obstacles, tests, and trials. And yet, she embraces these challenges because she knows that they’ll make her stronger, better.

This love for challenges doesn’t just disappear when she hangs up her sports shoes. It continues to drive her in her personal and professional life. She isn’t afraid to take on difficult projects, to step out of her comfort zone, to push her boundaries.

This mindset is invaluable in leadership. Leaders are often faced with challenges and uncertainties. But instead of being deterred by them, successful leaders see these as opportunities for growth and innovation. And this is something that sports instill in girls from a young age.

7) Teaching resilience

I can still recall one basketball match during my high school years. We were trailing by a significant margin, and with every passing minute, our chances of winning seemed to diminish.

I remember feeling disheartened, almost ready to accept defeat. But then, our coach called a timeout and reminded us that the game wasn’t over until the final whistle blew. He told us to keep fighting, to keep pushing, no matter what.

So we did. We dug deep and gave it our all. Unfortunately, we didn’t win that day, but we didn’t give up either.

That day, I learned a vital lesson – resilience. Sports taught me that setbacks are temporary and giving up is never an option.

In life and leadership, resilience is crucial. There will be times of failure and disappointment. But it’s the ability to bounce back from these setbacks that defines true leaders. And this is a lesson that sports teach girls early on.

8) Understanding the power of vulnerability

In sports, just as in life, not every moment is a victorious one. There are times when you miss the goal, drop the catch, or finish last in the race. These moments expose our vulnerabilities and sometimes, they can be tough to accept.

But here’s an interesting twist. It’s in these moments of vulnerability that girls learn some of their most valuable lessons. They learn that it’s okay not to be perfect. They learn that admitting their mistakes doesn’t make them weak, but rather it opens up opportunities for growth and improvement.

As leaders, this understanding is invaluable. A good leader doesn’t pretend to be invincible. Instead, she admits her shortcomings and learns from them. By doing so, she builds trust and fosters a culture of learning and openness within her team. And all this starts on the playing field – with a missed goal, a dropped catch or a lost race.

9) Encouraging risk-taking

In sports, taking risks is often rewarded. Whether it’s attempting a challenging move, trying a new strategy, or going for that difficult shot, athletes know that risks can lead to rewards.

Girls who play sports learn this early on. They understand that to win, sometimes, you have to take chances. They learn not to fear failure, but to see it as a part of the process.

This mindset is crucial in leadership. Leaders need to be bold and innovative. They need to make decisions that involve risks. And it’s the ability to take calculated risks, without fear of failure, that often leads to success.

So, girls who play sports are not just learning how to play a game. They’re learning how to take chances and make bold decisions – skills that are essential for future leaders.

10) Instilling a sense of responsibility

Sports isn’t just about winning games or breaking records. It’s about understanding that your actions have consequences, not just for you, but for your team as well.

When a girl plays a sport, she learns that her performance can impact the outcome of the game. She realizes that her actions can either help her team succeed or let them down.

This sense of responsibility is a crucial aspect of leadership. A leader is responsible for the success and well-being of her team. She makes decisions that can affect the lives of others.

So, in essence, sports teach girls to be accountable for their actions. It instills in them a sense of responsibility that often translates into effective leadership later in life.

Final lap: The undeniable power of sports

The impact of sports on girls goes far beyond the field or the court. It seeps into their character, shaping their future in ways we can only begin to comprehend.

Who would have thought that the lessons learned while dribbling a ball, swinging a bat, or running a race could be so transformative? That they could foster qualities of leadership, resilience, and confidence?

But it’s not just about the skills. It’s about the values sports instill – teamwork, discipline, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. These aren’t just attributes of a great athlete; they’re the hallmarks of effective leaders.

So, every time a girl steps onto a playing field, she’s not just playing a game. She’s preparing for life. She’s learning to lead.

The next time you see a girl in her sports gear, remember this – she might be the next great leader in the making. Because there’s no denying it – girls who play sports become women who lead.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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