Many of our programs, such as BAM, PLAYS, and the Athlete Ambassador Program, focus on youth development through sports mentoring, but what is a sports mentor? Why is sports mentorship important?
Here’s a list of 5 things you probably didn’t know about sports mentoring:
1. Most successful people have had the guidance of a mentor
Most people attribute a large portion of their success in life to having someone who helped guide them along the way. It is believed that having a positive role model such as a mentor helps in developing interpersonal skills, increasing self-confidence, and community involvement, and teaches valuable skills such as goal-setting and decision-making which improve academic and career performance.
A Big Brothers Big Sisters study found that kids who participated in mentorship programs were:
- 52% less likely than their peers to skip school
- 46% less likely to start using drugs
- and 27% less likely to begin drinking alcohol
2. Mentors do not take the place of a parent
Mentoring relationships take place outside of the home environment generally between youth and an adult role model who can give a perspective that may be missing. While parents are ultimately responsible for the well-being of their kids, they may not have the availability or the resources to provide all the guidance a young person may need.
3. Mentors teach more than standard tasks
One of the key purposes of having a mentor is being able to experience life lessons that can’t be taught from only books or lectures. The point is that whenever the purpose of the mentorship ends, the mentees will be prepared with the tools for life outside of the sport, classroom, etc.
If something is bothering an athlete in their private life, it will distract from their athletic performance. This is why more and more sports coaches tend to focus on every aspect of their athletes’ lives rather than just their skill set.
Participants of a Canadian study on athletic mentorship made it “evident that the role of the expert coach entails more than teaching individuals how to shoot correctly or how to dribble a ball around cones.”
4. Coaches are the most identified mentors
Athletes receive mentoring more frequently than non-athletes which can be attributed to the role of a coach. As sports coaches tend to interact with their athletes every day through practices, games, work-outs, etc, they become one of the strongest adult role models young people come in contact with. Most successful athletes attribute their success to their relationship with their coaches.
5. Mentorship is a two-way street
Many mentors learn new lessons with each mentoring relationship and even look to their own mentors for further growth. By sharing advice, information, and experiences with their mentees, mentors in turn are able to reflect and improve upon their own techniques and find new satisfaction in the process.
Sports mentorship programs have the ability to make a huge impact on the development of young athletes. Learn more about our programs or find out how to become a mentor today.