4 Football Lessons That Apply to Everyone
1. There’s a season for everything
No one can go 100 percent all the time, in sports, a hobby, or work. Consider football’s off-season — time off prevents burnout and injury while providing a mental break.
Jonathan French, 13, has played football since he was 5. When you’ve spent more than half your life in an activity, you risk losing the fun. French’s parents let him play during the school year, but he takes summers off.
“There’s a time for sports, but you have to have some balance with some really good family time,” says Mace French, Jonathan’s dad.
2. Strategic effort pays off
The first few weeks of football season illuminate who’s ready to play. While an off-season is important for both physical and mental reasons, the choices players make in the off-season can help or hinder their goals. While players may not hit the field every day, they may still lift weights, try an endurance-building hike, and get quality sleep.
“We had kids throwing up that first week of conditioning because they’ve been sitting on the couch doing nothing all summer,” French shares. “Jon learned if he spent the summer running and doing some push-ups and sit-ups, he would stand out.” It works that way in school and careers, too — put a little well-placed energy in your game, whatever it is, and you’ll stand apart from the pack.
3. We all need each other
As humans, we rely on each other to survive and thrive. When we work together, we can accomplish more than we could on our own. Football teams that don’t trust each other don’t often get far, no matter how talented their individual players are. Being part of a team can also create wonderful bonds.
“When there are guys who are struggling with sprints, the whole team goes out and gathers and runs with them all the way back,” French tells. “It teaches empathy and caring.”
At some point, everyone is that person struggling. Showing compassion to those around us means that someday, we may get that compassion back when we most need it.
4. Failure is inevitable
Only one NFL team in history has achieved a perfect season: the 1972 Miami Dolphins. But they lost the next year. Even the best pros have downturns, which means life lessons in handling defeat with grace, and learning from what went wrong.
Every year that Jonathan’s team has played, they’ve lost in the playoffs. After that final game, the team has huddled in the end zone, consoling each other, discussing the season. Those conversations form strong bonds between the boys.
The next time failure looms, take some quiet time to decompress. With a moment to reflect, you might stumble upon insights you couldn’t have imagined before.
When you watch your favorite team this season, think about everything they’ve done to achieve their goals. Maybe you’ll never stand toe-to-toe with a 300-pound defensive tackle, but the lessons he’s learned on the gridiron can apply to you, too.
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