Unbalanced logo

Lessons That Can Be Learned From The Game of Football

These are just a few of the many important lessons that can be learned from the game of football.

By Joseph D. N. KendrickPublished 5 years ago 7 min read
Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash

Whether you're on the team for one season or your entire student career, playing football is a life-changing experience. Football requires immense dedication and sacrifice from its players, but there are many valuable life lessons that football provides. These lessons are valuable on the field, but they can also be carried with you after your football career ends and remain helpful throughout the rest of your life. So if you're wondering if you should let your kid play football from a young age, here are some of the most important lessons that can be learned from the game of football.

How To Be a Team Player

Photo by Riley McCullough on Unsplash

Football is a team sport (obviously), and the importance of working as part of a team is one of the most important life lessons that can be learned from the game of football. Whether you're playing flag football or are a shutdown cornerback in the NFL, being a team player is about understanding that you are part of something bigger than yourself, and that you must work with your teammates to serve the greater good. This carries over into all aspects of life: whether it's your friends, your family, or your coworkers, you are on a team with many people in your life at one time or another. Working as a collective group means that others are relying on you to carry your share of the load as long as they carry theirs.

How To Push Your Limits

Photo by Chris Moore on Unsplash

An important lesson that you learn in football is that you must strive every day to take yourself one step further than you did yesterday. In order to grow as a player, you must constantly be pushing your personal limits by taking yourself out of your comfort zone. In addition to the game of football and other athletic endeavors, this mindset translates into the business world and other realms that you will encounter in the real world. If you stop pushing yourself, you risk becoming complacent. Unless you truly made it and have it all, complacency is a fast route to regret. This isn’t to say you should never be content with what you have, but it is possible to be content while still striving to become ever better than you were before.

The Importance Of Sacrifice

Photo by João Victor Xavier on Unsplash

One of the hardest and most important lessons that can be learned from the game of football is the value of sacrifice. The sheer number of hours that are required of an athlete in order to have any degree of success mean that football has to take priority over a lot of other aspects of life, especially when it comes to your social life. When you're spending hours every day just to stay in shape on top of all the work you have to finish to keep up with your studies, there's not a whole lot of room left to hang out with friends or go on dates. Yes, we must all strive for a balance of everything, but whether it's for your football team or, later in life, for your job or your family, we must all make sacrifices in some form or another.

How To Earn Grit

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Grit is a word that gets tossed around a lot. Generally speaking, grit means courage or tenacity, but I'm talking about something deeper than that. Playing the game of football teaches you to develop an intrinsic sense of perseverance, dedication, and passion to reach your goals in the long term. When you go to practice on Monday afternoon, you're not just aiming toward the season opener on Friday night. You're aiming at the the last game of the season, whether that's a playoff game or the championship itself.

You Can't Win 'Em All

Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

When the clock runs down at the end of the fourth quarter, there's nothing quite like the feeling of making that final play to pull ahead and secure victory for your team. But it doesn't always happen that way. One of the more unfortunate lessons that can be learned from the game of football is how to accept—and overcome—loss. In life there are small losses (like an early season game) as well as big losses (like a playoff game), but just like in the game of football, you must learn to accept your losses when you're playing the game of life. Each loss, from minor to tragic, presents an opportunity for personal growth. It's up to you to seize that opportunity.

The Importance Of Persistence and Hard Work

Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

Natural skill and talent can only go so far. In fact, US president Calvin Coolidge was once quoted about the unparalleled importance of persistence in those who strive for success. Coolidge discussed how commonly talent goes unrewarded, and that persistence alone is the only thing that can help you ultimately succeed in your goals. If you weren’t familiar will this quote from Calvin Coolidge, the importance of persistence is also one of the most unheralded lessons that can be learned from the game of football. You don’t get to become a successful football player just by being naturally athletic. Innate talent can give you a huge advantage, but this advantage can be easily squandered if you neglect to put in the hours that football requires every day.

How To Balance Your Time

Photo by Keith Johnston on Unsplash

Most football players are student athletes, which means you aren’t just dedicating yourself to the rigors of football practice. In addition to excelling in the game of football, you’re expected to be just as successful and diligent in your academic studies. And that’s not even accounting for the other aspects as your life such as other hobbies and your family or social life. After four, eight, 12, or more years of balancing your academics alongside your practice, you become an expert at time management. This is an extremely vital skill in the real world because as you grow older, you come to find that your time only becomes more and more limited. Playing football teaches you to become an expert at balancing your time, which only becomes more precious.

The Value Of Regular Practice

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

You may be familiar with the “10,000 hours” study. The core idea behind this study was that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to become a master at any craft. It should go without saying, however that you can’t exactly knock out those 10,000 hours all in one sitting. The only way to reach 10,000 hours is to knock out a few hours a day, every day, for several years. If you’re on a high school or university football team, you’ll be practicing at least five or six days a week for several hours at a time. In life, the game of football may not be the craft you intend to master, but the experience of regular, often daily practice helps you learn to build a routine. This lesson of commitment applies to any skill you wish to work at later in life, whether it’s painting, web design, or any other passions and careers.

How To Win Gracefully

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

Just like every football team strives for victory on the field, every person, young or old, strives for success in their daily life. While you don’t necessarily always have to be humble (there’s rarely room for humility on the football field), you must strive for a certain grace in victory. Football isn’t always a friendly competition, and there are definitely many unfriendly competitions in the real world. But just because you manage to claim victory in the face of unsavory foes or unfair circumstances, there’s no need to sully your win by getting nasty about it. In life, just as in football, there is only one person whose actions you can control: you.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

For most of us, our days of playing football end by the time we finish high school or college, but it leaves us with one final lesson: all good things have to come to an end. One of the hardest lessons I learned when I was a football player is that there comes a time when the game of football can no longer be part of your life. It is one of the tougher but necessary life lessons to learn, as nothing lasts forever. There's a bittersweet catharsis that comes at the end of every significant period in your life. You can keep the memories (such as your favorite football moments), but it's time to move on to the next game.


About the Creator

Joseph D. N. Kendrick

Writer of words. Haver of cats. joeykendrick.com

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.