Character development is not something that can be gained or developed over night. Character development is the multiple life skills that an individual builds within themself throughout their lifespan. When a person develops good character in their early years of life, they will benefit in the long run because they used the life skills they gained and put them to use, becoming a successful individual in all aspects of life. There is one thing for certain in this world, everyone wants to accomplish something in life and we want to recognize our full potential. In order to do this we must have some skills, and in this case it’s life skills.
Life skills are a range of characteristics we express such as communication, commitment, hard work, setting goals, etc. If an individual wants to excel at a job, a sport or any discipline, that person must learn and master particular skills. Retaining life skills that you have developed allows an individual to deal with life’s difficulties and struggles more effectively. People do not realize this, but when a person develops essential life skills and are able to acquire them for their own uses when they want, that individual has more control over their life and are therefore are happier and more productive in life.
Participation in sports at a young age helps provide good character development within an individual. Sports are one of the most influential ways for a person to develop good character development because sports involve all aspects of character development. As a sports participant you will gain life skills, perseverance, and ethical decision-making skills. Perseverance is a characteristic that is important for any individual to gain and being active in a sport will help you develop the feeling of perseverance and understand its importance.
Perseverance a personal character development where an individual learns the importance of working hard until they reach their goal, and the feeling of success that individual experiences displays through perseverance is the importance of hard work; knowing that success doesn’t come easy. “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”. This famous quote may seem simple to figure out and its significance for an individual but don’t let the simple context of its meaning throw you off; this quote has a strong motivational meaning that relates to perseverance and is useful for any individual to be successful in life.
From my perspective, this quote reinforces the idea of not giving up on personal accomplishment. Whether your goal is as simple as making a base hit or something big as wanting to open up your own business; accomplishments in life aren’t handed to us. Some goals may come easier for others, they could try two times and obtain their goal or it may take up to 20 times; the important matter is how they handle their failures. In baseball/softball a player is allowed three strikes until they are called out. As a player, being called out at the plate is a tough call to mentally accept.
It’s essential for a player to develop the importance of not giving up because mentally it can change a player’s perspective on the importance of perseverance. Don’t let three strikes keep you from hitting the ball next time your up to bat; shake it off and tell yourself, “I’ll get it next time”, develop the feeling off determination. This strategy is relatable for anyone who has goals they want to accomplish. You never know when you will reach your goals in life. Things may not work out the first time you go after it but, it doesn’t mean you have completely failed, you must keep playing the game.
When an individual reaches their goal and becomes successful the feeling they will experience is unexplainable and different for everyone. It’s no wonder why this quote and the development of perseverance play such an important role in an individual’s life and when a person develops this part of character development at a young age, it helps them become successful at an earlier stage in their life. Ethical decision-making skills are important in our everyday lives because we are constantly making decisions on something, whether it’s deciding on what you will do on a day-to-day basis or if it’s dealing with a situation that must be resolved.
Having the ability to affectively make the best decision possible for any situation by gaining ethical decision skills and putting them to use are essential for everyone. When a person is involved with sports, they are constantly learning and practicing ethical decision-making skills because there are always decisions that must be made. Whether the situation is between two teammates or dealing with calls in game situations, there are always decisions being made. Being a participant in sports, an individual obtains personal and social values and behaviors.
This is where an individual builds close relationships through the experience of being apart of a team. Within the building of close relationships in sports, a person learns how to work effectively in-group settings. Individuals gain and learn the importance of handling different situations and viewing them in a strategic way when resolving a conflict. Other features of an individual having good character are honesty, integrity and ethical behavior. These characteristics are brought about through being a participant of a sport because when an athlete recognizes they are in the wrong during game play, they develop the importance of honesty. i. e.
In baseball/softball: a runner makes contact with the ball, the player runs to first base but realizes they didn’t touch the bag when the ump calls the player safe. That player is honest with the ump and says they missed the bag, then goes back to the dugout. ) This action of honesty a player displays transitions into ethical behavior because they knew they were in the wrong when the call on the play was made so they displayed ethical behavior by walking back to the dug out. It says a lot about a player if they are willing to risk the team an out/point by being honest and acting in an ethical manner.
Another ethical behavior that has developed is the notion of helping others. This is effective because a player learns to respect the opponent, and if an opponent is injured in the middle of a game they put those their ethical behavior by helping the opponent off the field or helping them back up from the ground. This action becomes important in an individuals life because it is one of the things that makes a person have good character. If they learn how to help their teammates or their opponents in a sports atmosphere, as they grow older they will use this characteristic in their everyday lives.
Another characteristic that falls into honesty and ethical behavior is integrity. In sports it’s always about teamwork and playing by the rules, and by practicing these ethical behaviors an individual develops the meaning of integrity and the importance it plays in our day-to-day lives. Over time an athlete has the experience of always having to follow the rules, and this will continue into the future when dealing with society. Developing integrity is not only limited to following rules but also is related to an individual’s academic success.
As a student athlete, in order for a player to participate in a sport, they are obligated to sign an academic integrity policy. This form requires an athlete must obtain, and keep, a certain grade point average that is set by the school or coach. This type of discipline is important because it demonstrates hard work, determination and maintaining to the responsibilities you agreed to. Academic integrity is a great tool for a person to obtain because it follows in with following the rules and if an individual wants to be successful in life they must follow the rules and maintain their obligations they agreed to.
From experience, academic integrity has impacted my academic success throughout my school years. I never have had the chance to slack on a homework assignment or get away with not studying. It is a simple concept; if I wanted to participate on a team I must keep my grades up or I simply would not be able to be apart of a team. I have been asked how I am able to do it and how do I go to school, work, and play softball. My answer is simple, I just got used to it and having the responsibility of keeping my grades up is helpful and has been a great discipline strategy for me.
A sports participant also is able to develop the concept of balancing different commitments such as school, work, and a sport. This is important because as we grow older we become busy with work and our family life. We must learn how to balance between our activities so we become responsible, successful individuals in all aspects of life. Integrity doesn’t stop there. It follows an individual for the rest of their lives. The impact of participation in sports and the influence it has on academics transitions into career outcomes.
If a young athlete grows up practicing academic integrity, they use their motivation and are able to visualize how important success is and are more likely to further their education beyond a high school degree. When I interviewed my coach from West Virginia, he said, “academic success is important to me and as a coach. I want my girls to be successful college athletes on and off the field. My hopes are that when each one leaves and moves on with their life that they use all the life skills they developed here to be successful wherever they go.
Softball is important for me but what’s more important is that my girls are staying on top of their schoolwork and getting good grades. Even though my girls are here on scholarship, they are also here for a college degree and I think it’s important the girls and myself don’t loose sight of what’s more important. I stick to my academic policy; each girl must have a grade point average of 3. 0 or higher. If anyone is struggling I make sure they regularly meet with a tutor even if it means they miss practice or a game.
If they fall under my expectations I must follow up with my word and as hard as it is I have to suspend the player until they improve their grades”. My coaches aspect on academics is what has helped me develop good academic skills and will be useful for me as I move towards graduating from college and start working in a field of my degree. I found it informative when my coach was knowledgeable on character values and how they are broken up into two parts. As participantion in sports an individual develops two types of character values: social and moral.
When an athlete gains social values, they are developing loyalty, dedication, sacrifice, teamwork and good citizenship, while moral values include the development of honesty, fairness, fair play, justice and responsibility. I wanted to research the two types of character values and understand them in a more in-depth understanding. There was an online article my coach referred me to that said, “Social values, which are highly esteemed in our society, are about the real world and how society views the importance of social character.
Moral values are first principles, meaning that they stand by themselves; if we violate any one of these, we violate people directly. Social values are positive assets but must be tempered by moral values. A person who has strong social character may have little or no moral character. An individual can be highly dedicated and loyal to an immoral cause. Because sport may foster social values, character development through sport should help athletes learn to weigh a social value against a moral value and then act on that moral value” (Beller, December).
All of these characteristics play an important aspect in a player’s character development, which become successful tools throughout life. Referring back to the development of perseverance, participating in a sport teaches you to reach for something higher that you have never imagined; helping you set life goals. This character development alone gives an individual the opportunity to be successful in life. When a person reaches their lifetime goal, they then use the other tools they developed in order to keep their lifetime goal successful. (i. e. n individual applies for a job and is hired.
This person uses their social and moral development skills along with other good character skills they developed to be a successful worker who makes a difference for the company. Having a well-rounded development of good character is what makes an individual stand out from others, especially in a work setting. ) As an athlete you learn the importance of “The six W’s: Work Will Win When Wishing Wont”. It takes hard work when achieving anything in life, nothing comes easy and it especially does not come by wishing for it.
As a participant in sports I learned the meaning of the six W’s through my experience of coaching and playing sports my entire life. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the involvement in athletics and the impact it has played throughout my life All of the different character development aspects I just discussed have contributed to the development of my individual character, academic success and achieving my personal goal. As a young girl, since the day I could walk, I have been committed in the involvement of sports. Dance and pee wee baseball were the first two activities I became involved with.
Throughout my middle and high school years I participated in dance, softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, track and cheerleading. As I progressed into my junior and senior year of high school, I decided it was time to start focusing more on my lifetime dream. I was in third grade when I went from playing peewee baseball to playing slow pitch softball, later advancing into fast pitch softball. This when I decided I wanted to be the pitcher on any softball team I will play for. My goal didn’t stop there though; I wanted to take my dream farther, my goal was that one-day I would get paid to play softball.
Third grade was when I decided that one day I was going to be the pitcher for a division one or division two college or university. For 15 years I dedicated myself to pitching, and what people do not realize is the fact that most pitchers, such as me, spend an hour at least four to five times a week outside of team practice working on our pitching skills. All year I practiced pitching whether it was my dad catching me or the brick wall, outside in the blazing sun or the pouring rain, inside a gym or on concrete, there was always a way to do drills and pitch; no excuses!
It was my freshman year when I got moved up to the varsity softball team, and it was my junior and senior year when I outstandingly succeeded. I’ll never forget beating Fort Hill High School, ending their undefeated record, all the no-hitters and one-hitters I threw, and all the recognition I got for throwing such excellent games. I was able to recognize the importance of teamwork, knowing I would not have been able to throw such excellent games if it were not for their excellent defense.
Just like the saying, “There’s No I In Team”. Throughout those years I developed all the essential life skills, knowing I wouldn’t have been able to develop these skills if it was not for my involvement in sports. My character development through sports did not stop with my senior year of high school. It was my senior year of high school when colleges were scouting me and I realized how much my hard work had paid off. A few division three universities in Pennsylvania wanted me to sign with them and be apart of their team.
Although that amazing opportunity was there, I wasn’t satisfied because my dream was to get paid and I was determined to reach that goal. I ended up visiting a few division two colleges where the coach’s final decision was not to recruit me. It became mentally difficult for me to accept without becoming discouraged and not wanting to give up on softball altogether. My pitching coach Staci and Wes who is the head coach of Frostburg State University, was one of the biggest impacts on my mental development when it came to perseverance.
They taught me the importance of hard work and the role of a pitcher on a team, which was a big part of my character development. It allowed me to not to let the denial of a few colleges stop me, so I decided to advance my goal a little farther and took into consideration the thought of playing out of state. It was May of 2008 when I signed my letter of intent to play division two softball for Potomac State College of West Virginia University. A DII softball team chose to recruit me and pay me to play softball for them.
Even though it was an unexplainable feeling, I want to focus on the development aspect of the experience itself. Within my two year contract with Potomac State we were the East and West Pennsylvania state champs both years, undefeated in our conference one year, had high winning records both years, and placed in the tournament we played in down south. These were all great achievements each player will remember for the rest of our lives, but it is the character development we learned that makes each and every one of us successful now and in our future.
After those two years I decided to move down to a division three college or university where I could focus more on my degree. After contemplating between a few, in fall 2010 I took the opportunity to play for Coach Caldwell at Penn State Altoona, where I would finish my last two years of softball. Unfortunately last spring in 2011, I was pitching a game when I got line drive straight back to my pitching hand, right on the bone. Luckily nothing was fractured but the doctors said there is a chance of permanent tightness or tendonitis that could develop.
Of course with my developed life skills of perseverance, hard work and determination, I was not going to let the injury keep me from playing softball. It was this past fall, 2011, when I started into my fourth year of college softball. I was determined to be able to pitch the same way I did back in high school; I felt fresh and ready to go. A few weeks went by before the end of the season when my mind was telling me one thing and by body another. It was a combination of overusing my arm, the wrist injury and school, which helped me realize that maybe it was time to end my softball career.
It was a tough decision but I think it was time to face the facts; if I keep pushing myself then eventually I will tear myself apart to the point I can not even coach. I do not plan on advancing to the pros and plus I had to view the biggest picture of it all; my goal was to get paid to play softball and I accomplished that part of my life. I figured it was okay to move on, advancing my life experience by putting my develop life skills and character development to use so I can live a successful and rewarding life.
The coming spring of 2013 will be the first time in 15 years that I won’t be participating in softball. I’m not sure what to expect, but I know it is going to be difficult for me but I think as long as I stay focused on the importance of my future and the positive impact sports has had on my life, I will be satisfied with my decision. It was not just the feeling of accomplishment that has helped me develop a positive character development, but all the experiences within each year that helped me gain a well-rounded development of good character and essential life skills.
All the developments I gained has made me successful in my work and school settings. My transition from involvement in sports at a young age to the college level gave me the skills and character development that lead to coaching young girls. Coaching is something I never imagined doing but when the opportunity came my way in 2009 I was speechless. For me, coaching is a personal reward because I am able to give back to what has been a positive part of my life. It is not something anyone can do, a coach must have the essential skills mentally and physically in order to be an effective coach.
When I got recognized I was specifically asked if I would be interested in giving personal pitching lessons for 20 dollars and hour. Today, I am still coaching young girls back home in the area and one day I plan to be apart of a high school or middle school softball team as their pitching coach. It is obvious to see the influence sports have on an individual’s character development. If a child starts participating at a young age and stays committed throughout high school, they are more likely to become successful in their future.
Altogether with the experience of my participation and having the opportunity to coach, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it was not for the essential life skills, ethical decision-making skills and character development I gained through being a sports participant. I will use my essential tools when dealing with a future situation that may deal with friends, family, a work setting or just my day-today activities. My communication, leadership and team building skills will allow me to work with others in any atmosphere.
The determination and hard work ethics will help me become successful one day when use my college degree to apply for a job. I will be able to successfully balance my life activities on a daily basis staying committed. My honesty and integrity development has made me an individual who is reliable and trustworthy. I have gained all aspects of character development, and I owe it all to the involvement of sports and the coaches who influenced these essential life skills that produced my good character development.
In conclusion, through my involvement in sports, my different observations through coaching, an interview with my coach and the surveys, youth sports have a positive impact on the development of good character. Sport programs have the influence to promote the development of sports-man-like behaviors, ethical decision-making skills, and an overall curriculum for moral character development. The experience of being apart of a team also provides an individual with a social environment to acquire personal and social values and behaviors contributing to good character and good citizenship that is used throughout an individual’s life.