The top 5 transferable athletic skills

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Many skills can transfer from the playing field to real life. Here are the top five skills that can help your child on the road to success.

1. Goal setting: Athletes of all ages and skill levels regularly set goals for themselves, providing a roadmap to follow for success. When kids learn the importance of writing down specific, measurable, realistic goals, they learne a proven methodology that works not only in sports, but all aspects of life. Setting daily, short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals can help provide structure and ongoing feedback with which they can measure success.

2. Focus: Kids learn very early the importance of "keeping their head in the game" when it comes to sports, but this is a skill that also is important in other aspects of life. When kids learn how to block out the crowd, the last bad play, or even what they have to do after the game is over (while playing), they can then use this same skill to help with focusing successfully while studying or taking a test.

3. Being a great teammate: Sports are not the only place where you find teams. It's routinely seen in the classroom and in the business world. Being a good teammate means communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, and developing problem-solving strategies together as a group.

4. Motivation: In sports, the kids who work hard, do all the "little things," and continue to push themselves are the ones who are the most successful. The same is true in the real world as highly motivated individuals often over-achieve in life.

5. Bouncing back: Resiliency is perhaps the most important transferable athletic skill, as stress, frustration and failure are all a part of sports - and life. The quicker kids learn to get up and brush themselves off, the better prepared they become for the play; usually resulting in a better outcome. Obviously, the same is true in life, giving this skill even more importance as it pertains to life success.

Countless additional transferable skills could be included on this list. Be sure to talk about as many as you can with your child so that she can begin to use these skills in other aspects of her life. Far too many kids compartmentalize these great skills into only being "sports skills," when they are skills that help in life in so many different ways.

The more you reinforce these skills, the sooner your child will begin to call on them in critical times, like during a grueling test where she may be experiencing anxiety, or one day down the road during a job interview when the employer asks about her best traits. The more your child uses his transferable skills, the more his confidence will grow, enabling him to be in the best position for future success.

More resources

Read Dr. Stankovich's new book, Sports Success 360! The book gives coaches, parents and student athletes life strategies for performance and character development.

Dr. Chris Stankovich offers individual athletic counseling and team/league seminars. Read Dr. Stankovich's new book, Sports Success 360. The book gives coaches, parents and student athletes life strategies for performance and character development. Visit for more details.