I'm very privileged to spend most of my spare time volunteering for a sports club I founded many years ago. The club focuses on sports development for children and adults and more importantly on the education of building life skills that will form a cohesive part of their DNA for many years to come.
I believe that we must get it right in the early stages of life. We have a responsibility as adults, coaches and mentors to help foster good, positive ideologies and develop a framework above and beyond physical skills that becomes the building blocks to a more fulfilling life. We often hear stories about children growing up with bad habits and we blame their peers; the people who have played an integral part of their life. It can become a vicious cycle - spiralling out of control from generation to generation.
One of the fundamental keys to improving life skills is the willingness to learn. If you can embrace this you can start to open up endless possibilities to living a more fulfilled life.
The children I coach range in ages from 4 years upwards; while I put them through various physical activities during my sessions. I will encourage the children to think about how their actions can have positive and negative impact on others. I will ask them to think of ways they can encourage their team mates. Introducing themselves to new beginners in a class with a handshake can make others feel welcome (plus it's also great foundations for networking when they're older). How to conduct themselves under pressure; especially in a competitive environment where the kids are immersed in highly pressurised situation; such as performing in front of the class or promotion test or even a tournament. This level of pressure forms a great bedrock for later life experiences; job interviews and dealing with difficult situations. They'll have tasks set each week, for example; on how they have helped to encourage someone at school. How they have helped their grown-ups, from a simple thank you and saying positive words that make the rest of their family feel all warm and fuzzy. Holding doors open for people passing through. Learning to be compassionate for others. Understanding the effort others contribute to their to their life and up-bringing and showing gratitude.
There's a much bigger picture to just getting the kids running around the class, doing press ups, kicking paddles and breaking boards. The principals of developing life skills and building character runs through the entire syllabus.
My goal is to get them a black belt in these life skills and help foster positive changes in lifestyle and attitude from an early age through sport. This is my contribution and our legacy. What difference can you make?
Des Day Founder of KMA Sports Academy