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The Impact of Early Sports Participation on Business Success

Published: 2023-07-11
The Impact of Early Sports Participation on Business Success
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The connection between athletic participation and business success is undeniable. People who start playing organized sports at a young age are more likely to reach their goals in their professional careers for many reasons. Let’s explore why early sports participation has such a huge impact on people’s success later in life.


The Sports to Business Pipeline — By the Numbers

Before you explore the reasons behind the sports-to-business pipeline, it’s important to know the statistics. Many studies have shown that people who play sports as children have more positive life outcomes than those who do not. You can find this trend from elementary school through college. Student-athletes generally fare better than their non-athletic counterparts.

The Benefits of Youth Sports Survey conducted by the National Youth Sports Strategy in 2020 had many interesting findings to support the sports-to-business pipeline. Regardless of the child’s background, playing sports has many long-term benefits:


  • 73% of parents believed that sports improved their children’s mental health.
  • 88% of parents believed that sports improved their children’s physical health.
  • 80% of parents believed that sports helped their children develop discipline, dedication, and the ability to work well with others.
  • 55% of parents believed that sports helped their children perform better in the classroom and improve their career prospects.
  • Adolescents who play sports are eight times more likely to remain physically active during adulthood, which can significantly help with their business success.
  • Playing sports has contributed to a collective reduction of $28 billion in healthcare costs, creating a stronger labor force with more opportunities to succeed.


The benefits of early sports participation might vary from person to person, but the overall message is loud and clear — playing sports during childhood increases your chances of finding success during adulthood. Now, let’s explore the main reasons behind this positive trend.


Why Does Early Sports Participation Lead to Business Success?

Playing sports has many physical, mental, and social benefits for children. Organized athletics provides the ideal environment for kids to develop into well-rounded young adults. Although signing your children up for sports won’t guarantee their success, you’ll be doing them a huge favor in the long run. Here’s why.




1.    Unlocks Competitive Spirit

Increasing competitiveness is the greatest impact of early sports participation on business success. After all, business is just one big competition. You’re competing with co-workers to get promotions and higher wages. You’re competing with other businesses to attract customers and make a greater profit. You’re competing with yourself to become a better employee.

Organized sports puts children in the same competitive environment that requires constant improvement. Kids develop strong self-discipline and the determination to overcome adversity. In fact, researchers from Ohio State University found that student-athletes possess higher levels of “grit” than other children, which is an important trait linked to success in adulthood.


Kids learn many difficult but necessary lessons from playing sports, such as:


  • How to gracefully accept defeat and learn from their mistakes.
  • How to respond to struggles and failures in a productive way.
  • How to face their fears head-on instead of running away.


All of these obstacles unlock their competitive spirit and drive them to succeed.


2.    Develops Soft Skills

Playing sports — specifically team sports — also helps children develop their soft skills. They learn how to communicate, cooperate and control their actions in a stressful and emotional environment. All of these skills are crucial in a business environment. They will also encounter a wide range of personalities, which prepares them for real-world interactions.

Sports also expose children to the difficult parts of being on a team. They learn how to take criticism from peers. They learn how to compromise and delegate responsibilities. Most importantly, they develop humility and learn how to sacrifice their personal interests for the team’s success. Adults must learn to do the same thing in their professional careers.

Employees with fully developed soft skills are valuable assets to any company. They play key roles in building a tight-knit company culture and keeping their co-workers engaged, which directly leads to more business success. An engaged office culture shows 21% more productivity than a disengaged culture.




3.    Connects Children With Role Models

Sports participation connects children with many role models, including coaches, trainers, referees and athletes at higher levels. These people can provide valuable lessons and experiences that stick with young athletes for the rest of their lives. With a solid foundation of adult role models, kids can do anything they set their minds to.

The best coaches know how to cater to children’s learning styles and create an ideal practice environment for their teams. Kids who are lucky enough to have such a mentor are much more likely to succeed in adulthood than kids without a positive mentor.


4.    Opens Doors to Career Opportunities

Lastly, early sports participation can open many doors. Children from underprivileged backgrounds can receive athletic scholarships to attend college. Not only do they get a quality education, but they can also make connections with prominent individuals in their chosen fields.

Thanks to the introduction of Name Image and Likeness (NIL), thousands of student-athletes in high school and college have been able to earn money from their sports and completely change their long-term financial situations. These athletes now have the money to fund their educations and business endeavors.

Getting kids involved in sports at an early age maximizes their chances of getting scholarships, career opportunities, and monetary rewards through NIL. A star athlete in high school or college is no longer an amateur, but an entrepreneur. They might not become professional athletes, but their business prospects are significantly better thanks to playing sports.


Early Sports Participation Goes Beyond the Field

Research has clearly shown that the benefits of early sports participation go far beyond the playing field. Signing kids up for organized sports is an effective way to develop their physical, mental, and social skills, turning them into well-rounded young adults. These skills stick with them throughout their adult lives, no matter what field of business they pursue.