Commitment is the glue that bonds you to your goals. Jill Koenig
Athletes with commitment issues are the ones who struggle to make it through a season without throwing in the towel. They are the ones who start out loving a sport, but by season’s end are ready to move on to another sport, someplace where the grass is greener, so to speak. They are the ones who want instant success or glory and when it doesn’t come, they are ready for the next shiny object.
This type of behavior is okay for small kids, but if your child is serious about playing a sport longterm, then having commitment issues is going to make it very hard for him to make significant progress.
It’s sad that commitment is a trait that is often downplayed in today’s culture. Neglecting it robs people of the satisfaction and joy that only comes from staying committed. Allow me to explain.
Today is my 35th wedding anniversary. Wow. How it is possible to remain committed to the same person for so long? It’s certainly not because we’re perfect or because we didn’t have hurdles. It’s because we were committed and I believe that the principles of commitment we’ve learned in our marriage are the same principles that your child can learn as she plays sports.
Why is commitment so important for your young athlete?
Although commitment to a marriage and commitment to working hard in sports have their differences, they also have a lot in common. They are important for these reasons:
Commitment gives deeper relationships.
The longer your child is committed, the deeper the friendships. Whether it’s on the same team or in the same league. When your child plays a sport for any length of time, she will undoubtably make friends in the community through travel ball, rec league, clinics, camps, etc. My kids are still friends with some of the people they met through elementary school and middle school sports.
Commitment teaches your child things about himself.
Staying with something when it gets hard is always an eye-opener for what’s inside of your child. He will learn things about himself–his strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, triggers. Athletes who run from team to team, from sport to sport, looking for what’s easy, what’s comfortable, miss that opportunity.
Commitment pushes your child to become less selfish.
When a person slugs through and stays committed, he shows that he is thinking about more than just what he wants. He’s thinking about the needs and desires of others. He learns that he can’t always have things the way he wants them.
Commitment always brings rewards.
Staying committed always brings rewards. The reward of seeing results. The reward of knowing that you didn’t cave in to pressure and walk away. Commitment pays off, plain and simple. The timeline may not be what you’d wished for, but sticking with something will satisfy in the end.
Commitment achieves big goals.
Professional athletes and Olympic champions will tell you that commitment was what got them to their goals. No wishy-washy, half-way committed athlete ever gets to the pros or Olympics, or even to college. If your child has big goals, she has to have big commitments.
Commitment brings strength of character like nothing else.
Commitment is hard and that’s why it produces strength of character like nothing else can. My daughter competes in crossfit and is doggedly committed to consistently working out and eating right. I know that some days it’s not fun for her, but dang, she’s become so strong, both mentally and physically, that it amazes me.
Author Neil Strauss says that, “Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it’s a relationship, a business, or a hobby.”
Steer your kids away from the shallow end of life by showing them and by talking to them about the value of commitment.