There are a number of women who played sports in high school or in college who credit their participation in sports as one of the factors that led to their success in the professional world. There are a number of studies that agree with this sentiment, showing that women who play sports in youth have an increased chance of future success in their careers.
The sport that a person plays in youth doesn’t matter. Whether a person wears a lacrosse jersey, hockey skates, or a women MMA rash guard, it is participating in the sport that leads to the success.
One reason for this could be the way that participating in sports helps an athlete feel like they are part of something that is bigger than they are. This sense of group success coupled with individual drive is key for success in the professional world.
Many point to these studies when emphasizing how important it is for girls to have the opportunity to participate in athletics. Title IX was designed as a way to encourage gender equality in sports, be it in high school or college. Study after study shows that participation in sports can help women and men be more successful in life as they get older. There are a number of women in prominent positions today who feel that the lessons they learned while playing sports helped them and their ability to climb the ladder in the business world.
Sports Help Young Women Learn to Compete
Some women and men are born naturally competitive. But not everyone is. Competition is central to success in the business world. A report that was published in 2016 showed that 82 percent of women executives participated in elementary sports. More than two thirds of them said that they felt this gave them the competitive edge they needed in the business world.
Learning how to compete against others is an essential life skill that young women learn through youth sports. In addition to instilling a sense of competitiveness, participation in sports helps young women develop a personal work ethic. This is due in part to the fact that although the sport itself may be played by a group, the individual athlete has to put in the work to train and improve their personal performance with the goal of contributing to the whole.
Team sports or individual sports played in high school and college contribute to an individual’s ability to learn how to handle pressure and how to work under pressure. The ability to keep one’s cool and remember one’s training when under pressure are things that can set one apart from the pack in the business world.
Young women learn resilience from playing high school and college sports. Being forced to play through a game where you or your team are losing terribly, not being able to master the skill for some time but persevering at it, and finding it difficult to gel with teammates but sticking to it until a close bond is formed are all part of the benefits that playing sports brings.
Long-Term Life Lessons
The long-term life lessons that young women learn playing sports in high school and college produce tangible advantages. Many women in prominent roles in business today say that their participation in sports played a larger role in their future life success than other factors, such as education, family, and association.
This has led many female executives to prefer hiring other women who have played sports. They do this because they have seen the impact that playing sports has had on their ability to accept the challenges associated with having a professional career, and they believe that playing sports can be an indicator of a woman’s leadership potential.
Life lessons, including a good work ethic and adaptability that are garnered in sports, make women able to enter the workplace ready to win. They are not only ready to win, but they are motivated to demonstrate the abilities that they have with the goal of continuing to rise throughout their career.
Many successful women say that sports improved their motivational skills as well as their ability to be a team leader. Through sports they learned the value of seeing a project all the way through to its end. Further proof of the benefit that playing sports can have on women as they enter the business world is the fact that only three percent of C-suite women say that they have not played sports. Nine percent of women at other management levels say the same thing. Many see these results as proof of the importance of women’s participation in sports and having equal access to sports around the world.
Short-Term Payoff Versus Long-Term Benefits
Even though Title IX has been on the books for more than four decades, it has not produced the overreaching equality in high school and college sports that many had hoped for. Many believe that this is because of the limited short-term benefits compared to the noticeable long-term benefits of women’s sports.
Both men and women who excel at a particular sport have the possibility of going pro.
However, the financial payoff that men get from playing professional sports is a lot higher than what women get from playing the same sport. For many women, the payoff that engaging in sports provides happens later on in their professional career or throughout their lives.
Playing sports in youth better equips women to see themselves as equals, understand how to compete, and how to take risks, especially when they want something better. For men and women, sports participation makes them healthier individuals. It gives them the mental, emotional, and social resilience needed to make the most out of their lives.
Training day in and day out at 100 percent regardless of the outcome of the game sets one on a path to success in life. Even the injuries sustained during playing sports and the recovery that often requires fighting through excruciating pain and disappointment but usually leads to the athlete coming out on the other side makes them stronger, makes them better, and contributes to a life of success in the business world.