What I Learned about Learning from Sports

As we lead up to the championship game this weekend, I am reminded of the spirit of hard work, practice, competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, and a strong desire to succeed—all key competencies for a successful athlete. As an instructional designer, I am also reminded of how these competencies connect to learning. Whether for physical training, professional development, or personal growth, skills and abilities are best built with a growth mindset and in the spirit of these competencies. So, here are a few lessons I have learned from sports—as both a participant and fan—that reflect these competencies and apply to successfully. Growing Knowledge in our personal and professional lives. What would you add to this list?

Work ethic is more than just doing a good job. It is about determination and always striving to give your best.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

With practice and repetition, new skills become habits and will come to you more naturally.

“It’s not the will to win that matters— everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

Teamwork fosters creativity, builds shared knowledge, and increases productivity.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan

Healthy competition increases motivation, productivity, and opportunities for growth.

“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary

Sportsmanship is about integrity, demonstrating respect and humility, and learning from our defeats.

“I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.” – Tom Landry

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