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Athletic Transferable Skills for Success in Life!

By Dr. Chris Stankovich

Athletic transferable skills are skills that you learn in sports that are invaluable beyond sports – including the classroom, your future career, and life! Examples of athletic transferable skills include the ability to set and achieve goals, motivation, discipline, being a good ‘team player,’ making spontaneous decisions, and bouncing back from adversity (to name a few).

Surprisingly, athletic transferable skills often go unnoticed by athletes because they take these skills for granted and erroneously believe that other non-athlete students have learned the same skills. This oversight may be explained by how regularly athletes use their athletic transferable skills – and consequently, take them for granted!

When student athletes make the connection that athletic transferable skills are a) unique to sports, b) invaluable beyond sports, and c) can help in every aspect of life, only then will they realize that their sports career and the lessons learned while competing can pay huge dividends toward a lifetime of happiness, health, and peak productivity!

Why Athletic Transferable Skills Work

Have you ever wondered why some athletes are calm, cool, and collected on the field – yet when it comes to writing a paper or delivering a speech in front of a class the exact opposite occurs? For most athletes, making the connection between the confidence and composure needed for athletic success is the same confidence and composure needed for academic success often does not occur. Instead, most athletes compartmentalize their athletic skills – and forget about the “transferable” part of these skills!

More specifically, the same skills an athlete uses to prepare for an opponent or make important decisions in the clutch are the same skills needed to communicate with teachers or one day successfully complete a job interview. Isn’t it great to learn how invaluable athletic transferable skills really are?!

How to Use Athletic Transferable Skills

• Sit down and begin to draft a list of all the skills you have learned in sports. To help get you started, look back at the short list I started in the article you just read – but don’t stop there! Take time to write down as many skills as you can and be sure to include the small ones, too (i.e. regularly making it on time to practice).

• Next, review your list and begin to examine how well you are currently using the skills you identified in other areas of your life, including school and other activities. Try to look for ways to integrate your athletic transferable skills in better, more effective ways if you discover you are not using them at all.

• Talk to your coaches about athletic transferable skills and get their thoughts. You will likely discover even more athletic transferable skills you have probably overlooked when you listen to how they have used these skills to move ahead in their adult lives.

• Take time to tell your teammates about athletic transferable skills and how they can capitalize on them, too! Remember, most athletes take these skills for granted, so it is quite likely they will appreciate this new discovery!

Dr. Chris Stankovich is a national expert in the field of sport & performance psychology and has assisted thousands of athletes reach their full athletic potential. He is the Founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems, and is known as “The Sports Doc” for his weekly segment on Ohio News Network (ONN).

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