The Benefits of Sports in the Workplace

Jan 30, 2015

Sports have always been a big part of my life. I was a student athlete both at Rocky Hill High School and Springfield College, and now I am the Head Junior Varsity and Assistant Varsity Girls Volleyball Coach at Rocky Hill High School. Not only have I participated in sports my entire life, but I also enjoy watching it both in person and on television.

With Super Bowl XLIX right around the corner, I have been thinking about how my sports background has helped me in the workplace. I read an article, "The Benefits of Sports in the Workplace" that had a some good ideas on how the two are similar.

1. Working with others in a collaborative manner
Being on a sports team you learn to depend on your teammates. The team creates a drive for a common goal of winning. Every individuals decision affects the team in a positive or negative way. In volleyball, the setter controls the game. They listen to their hitters and give the ball to the player who is communicating with them the best. If the setter stops listening and decides to give the ball away to whomever they want, than the teams play is no longer effective and they will suffer. The same holds true in the workplace. It's a common practice that people work in group projects at work, they are a team in that instance. If their is hostility in the group and one person ventures off on their own to work individually, it could cause chaos and failure. Being able to work together in a collaborative manner is a skill that we carry with us throughout our lives both in and out of the office.

2. Overcoming differences
Understanding and overcoming differences plays a major role in being able to work together productively. We are always going to encounter people who we do not see eye to eye with, and we will be forced to work with them to produce positive results. I learned at a young age how to deal with others I didn't care for. When I was in  high school there was this one girl who I was ALWAYS competing with, she was also on my volleyball team. Off the court we were battling each other, but on the court we always had each others back. We were teammates and were forced to overcome our differences for the common good of the team. We do the same at work. Our boss may ask us to work with someone who professionally we share similar knowledge, but personally we may struggle to get along with. In order to work efficiently and effectively we overcome differences and do the best work that we can do for the good of the company.

3. Trust
On a sport team or in the workplace, there aren't many victories without trust. Being able to collaborate effectively and overcoming differences revolves around trusting one another. Without trust, there is always a chance of failure. When I attended Springfield College, one of our team building exercises was performing trust falls. Every girl on the team would have to put their trust in a teammate to catch them. You see the person there to catch you, but there is still fear that you will fall. It was a great exercise of learning to trust in your teammates. Trust is also needed during group projects at work. We need to be able to know that our teammates are going to finish their portion of the work to the best of their ability in order to complete the project. Without trust, a group can fall apart and ultimately cause conflict amongst one another.

What other ways can sports relate to the workplace? Comment below with your ideas!

1 Comment

  1. 1 James Moher 31 Jan
    Great article!

    Completely agree that sports gives individuals not only the tools to succeed in the workplace but can bring people in the workplace closer together. 

    We recently started Grit 'N Wit a 5k obstacle course featuring mental and physical challenges. Many individuals sign up on teams and we believe that an event like this, or another sporting endeavor, builds a sense of camaraderie amongst employees on the field which then carries itself into the office.

    Thanks for sharing the article.
    James 

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