How often do you encounter people who believe that sports are useless or that your sport ambitions are a waste of time? People who have not spent a lot of time out on the course or on a field will likely not understand how sports can really help people grow, especially kids.
Photo Credit: City of Mandurah
1. DO THE WORK
Many people will take the easiest path to get to anywhere. The quickest distance between two points is a straight line, right? While that may be true in math, it certainly isn’t in sports, or, for that matter, in life. Kids who spend time in sports come to understand quickly that you don’t get to be a professional from sitting on the couch.
Disc golf teaches youth that they need to build strength through constant practice. Throwing the perfect putt is more than swinging your arm. Time and dedication, though not unique to disc golf, means you’ll get better, but there’s always room to improve.
2. HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Easily one of the most difficult parts of sports to master, having a good attitude is essential for communication in the real world. Kids who grow up with a “losing” attitude will give up for before they reach their potentials, which is equally devastating for any parent.
Disc golf’s adaptability for individual and team play makes it the perfect sport for building a good attitude. When your kid throws a complete dud, it’s easy for young children to fly off the handle. Enough practice and love for the sport, however, develops a child’s tolerance for failure. If your kid makes an excellent throw and gloats, that is an excellent opportunity to make him or her understand the meaning of sportsmanship.
3. ACCEPT FAILURE
In life, people fail all the time. If this is something new to you, you might want to get off the couch. Kids who learn early on failure is a part of life are more likely to accept a dignified defeat in the future. Sports teach kids to brush off the dirt and get in the saddle again.
According to Ernest Hemingway, “Courage is grace under fire.” While it might not seem like a fitting quote for disc golf, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Disc golf requires an even temper. Competing takes a lot of concentration and practice, so understanding the lesson in failure is essential for competing in the big leagues.
4. DO YOUR JOB
But what job is yours when playing disc golf? If you’re not on a team, it may seem like your only job is to play the game. But what about other people on the course? Disc golf has a tight-knit community, which means that anyone on the field would be happy to enjoy the game with you. Though this may not seem like much, it builds cooperation in a child, making it easier for them to transition from “all about me” to “all about the team.”
5. PLAY FOR YOUR TEAM
Photo Credit: City of Mandurah
Even if your kids are not on a team, when you play disc golf, you play with everyone in your community. Feel like you don’t have a community around you? Online groups and organizations constantly help out newbie and seasoned players. Kids who spend time in a disc golf community learn to stay consistent in life.
Life involves people. It’s unavoidable. Kids who learn early that they live for the benefit of others learn great lessons in compassion. When people help your kids with any activity, that child will expect to help others in the future.
6. BE HUMBLE
What is humility anyway? Humility is basically a measure of teachability. In life, if your kid grows up believing he or she is better than anyone else, it’s going to take quite some time for them to learn anything.
Disc golf takes a lot of learning and quite a bit of trial and error. This teaches kids that they have to learn from others to grow. What better way is there to learn than from a game they love?
7. FIND THE MIDDLE GROUND
The only way to advance is to find a player that knows more than you. If your kid feels like he or she is the best at what they do, they have a hard lesson to learn. There is always someone better. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Disc golf’s community is special in its consideration of the new generation of players. Kids learn to accept advice from those who know more than them and use it to their advantage.
8. SHOW INTEGRITY
Disc golf is unique in its structure because it requires individual scoring. There are no referees telling you your shot was incorrect or you marked too few points. Kids pick these things up quickly, which means that when you show integrity out on the course, so will your kid.
9. TAKE THE BLAME
How often in life have you felt like you were the scapegoat for a deal or activity gone wrong? Many people learn that, if they can take the blame off of themselves, they won’t have to feel guilty about making a wrong choice. Sports teach kids to take the blame for a mistake made, and—almost more importantly—that they won’t be shouted down when they try to admit the truth.
Team sports especially teach this lesson. When you’re playing on a disc golf team, it’s essential to admit you might be wrong. Taking the blame helps kids learn responsibility within a safe environment, a disc golf provides a unique platform that allows them to take the lessons they make it teams to their personal play.
10. NOT TAKING LOSS PERSONALLY
One of life’s most certain outcomes is failure. During a game of disc golf, if someone tends to beat you, it’s best to support the winner, not give up in a fit of rage. Kids learn sportsmanship and to not take a single loss personally. One of life’s greatest experiences is learning something.
11. MASTER THE DETAILS
Coach Vince Lombardi supposedly started every game with a lecture about putting on socks. Though this may seem small, he explains, “You see, if there are wrinkles in your socks or your shoes aren’t tied properly, you will develop blisters. With blisters, you’ll miss practice. If you miss practice, you don’t play. And if you don’t play, we cannot win.”
Disc golf can change rapidly with the slightest of flicks of the wrist. Small details like the change in wind can hugely impact any throw. Mastering the smallest details is difficult, but, in life, mastering details leads to success.
12. SET GOALS
This is a great rule for everyone, and a lot of these life lessons are easily learned through disc golf. To succeed at disc golf, you have to set goals. Tournaments for disc golf require skill, and that is only developed through practice. Individual effort on individual throws is necessary for true mastery.
Developing goals for disc golf easily translate into life. Goals are essential for academic achievement, and developing them lead to greater realization of potential. Setting goals for obstacles that seem hard or impossible makes them attainable, developing a skill that will take your kid above and beyond the average.
13. WALK SLOWLY
We don’t mean that literally, but, if you’re having a hard time hobbling around, you may want to slow up a bit. Take small steps in your goals. A goal for an accomplishment years in advance is nice, but there are steps that lead you there.
Disc golf is often taken slowly by everyone, even the professionals. They were once in your kid’s shoes, taking one step at a time to get to that trophy. Since disc golf is fun, it’s easier for a kid to stay committed, which will teach them to take the slow road to victory in any field.
14. LOSE YOURSELF
In this generation, many kids feel that it’s all about number 1. But is that the attitude you want your kid to have for the rest of his or her life? Likely not. The shirt that says, “There is no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’ but there is a ‘ME’” is somewhat agitating, but is common to see on famous teams with individual players.
Disc golf, however, is different. Letting go of the “I” craze is freeing, and gives more support to your teammates, teaching kids to appreciate the games of teammates and enjoying the ride along the way.
15. FOCUS ON THE MENTAL SCORE
Life is not just about making yourself seem better than others, it’s also about the alliances you make and the friendships you experience. Disc golf provides mental and emotional support, not to mention the physical benefits of the game. It’s all about how high your kids can lift themselves and others.
16. SUCCESS DEMANDS SACRIFICE
All success comes through sacrifice, or suffering, or both. The famous sports movies show blood, sweat, and tears to get to win the championship. There are millions of examples of people who sacrificed to attain a dream. This is necessary to get anywhere in life.
Disc golf takes a lot of time and effort to be the best, which teaches kids that life is not full of “participation awards.” It’s only through constant effort that the greatest satisfaction is attained.
17. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF
The only way to achieve success is through constant dedication and discipline. Think back to the time you went through school or your first job. Did you wait until someone else had done the work before you got off your break? If so, you may have learned pretty quickly that getting fired is amazingly easy to accomplish.
Disc golf provides the opportunity for kids to learn how time and energy are translated to success. If you spend your time out on the course halfheartedly throwing your disc at pigeons, you’ll never accomplish your goals successfully. Spending time on life does not guarantee progress.
18. MANAGE TIME
Like we’ve said before, discipline is easily developed through disc golf. But what about time management? Since neither you nor your kid can do everything at once, time management is essential to life. But how does disc golf help? Scheduling time for visits to the course provides a structured agenda for the future.
19. MANAGE PRESSURE AND STRESS
Pressure and stress are components of life that just keep cropping up whether you like it or not. Anxiety is common in our world today. In fact, it might surprise you to know that one in fourteen aged 4-17 have experienced an anxiety disorder in their lifetimes. That means that millions of kids experience anxiety every year!
Disc golf provides a safe environment for kids to experience these feelings while enjoying the experience. Disc golf welcomes people of all backgrounds, including the blind, deaf, and handicapped. Feelings of depression are improved through Vitamin D and outdoor recreation. Also, kids who feel alone will have the backup of fellow kids to make them feel loved and appreciated.
20. FOCUS ON INDIVIDUAL CONTROL
Many times, kids get bogged down with worries about what they can and cannot control. Worrying about the future is common, and you do have some control in that arena, but bad things happen, making life impossible to pin down completely.
Disc golf provides an avenue for control. Is your putt not powerful enough? Practice throwing the disc at varying strength and build your upper body strength. Does your aim cause birds to scatter? Practice throwing the disc into a garbage can in your back yard. Playing disc golf helps kids differentiate between areas they can and cannot control.
21. HAVE FUN
We saved the best for last. It’s possible (and encouraged!) to have fun in a competition. Teaching kids it’s not all about the trophy surely develops a sense of humor, which we all need. Kids can learn from disc golf that they can have fun without feelings of anxiety or depression. All they have to do is spend the time and enjoy the ride.
Photo Credit: City of Mandurah
There are a million reasons why disc golf is perfect for your kids, but learning life skills is probably at the top of your list for the most important activities. Disc golf not only teaches your kids to be independent, but other equally tremendous attributes. So, what are you waiting for? Get out on the course!
Mikaela Ashcroft is no stranger to sports, from training horses to earning her black belt degree. Her favorite activities are biking, martial arts, giving horse lessons, and going on adventures with her husband and blue heeler. She is currently a part-time writer and a graduate student studying physics in upstate New York.