Everything I Need to Know, I Learned Through Sports

February 27, 2021

Dear Friends,

I always loved the book, All I Really Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten. Written in 1986 by Robert Fulghum, its core tenants still resonate today. But, the old coach in me –who is constantly trying to help young coaches and parents see the value of sport on character development and social emotional learning — would love to see a sequel titled “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned Through Sports.” But so you don’t have to wait for it to be published, the following is what it would include:

  1. Be Generous– Don’t hog the ball, and be sure to celebrate the assist as much as you do the goal.
  2. Be Consistent– Instead of focusing on winning, focus on process and doing the little things (trust that winning will be a likely byproduct if you do so).
  3. Be Honest– Remember that the lines are not a suggestion (for more on this – here’s a link to a prior piece on the topic)
  4. Be Kind -Run to help your teammates up if they get knocked down – and know that it’s more than OK to help your opponent up as well!
  5. Be Determined – Don’t try hard because someone is making you…try hard because you can. Effort is always a choice.
  6. Be Brave – Don’t be afraid to take risks. Dive for loose balls. Take a charge. Block for your teammates. Call timeouts. Try new positions. Try new sports.
  7. Be Calm – Don’t scream at people. Most times yelling is scary and doesn’t really accomplish much. And breathe! Breathing is never a bad thing!!
  8. Be Grateful– Thank your coaches. Thank your teammates. Thank your parents. And Thank the referees. Gratitude is a gift to others – and to you.
  9. Be Humble -If you score a goal or touchdown don’t ever celebrate like it’s the first time you’ve ever done that.?
  10. Be Joyful -Above all else remember that sports (life) should be fun! Play with Joy!

So – whether you’re a new coach just starting out, or a veteran looking for a reminder of things to focus on this season – go ahead and take any/all of the above and apply it to your daily living. We are often a society who focuses on “giving up things” Don’t give up things – Do things! Be Better! Let’s face it – don’t you think the world would be a much better place if we were all a little more generous, consistent, honest, kind, determined, brave, calm, grateful, humble and joyful.

I hope that some of these resonated with you. I always love to hear from folks who read these pieces so if there’s one in particular that stood out or you want to let me know you will be focusing on this season, please do!

Steve Boyle (@steveboyle241 – twitter)


About Steve Boyle

Steve Boyle is a visionary leader and advocate for youth sports and physical literacy. As the Executive Director of 2-4-1 CARE, Inc. and Co-Founder/Director of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve stands at the forefront of the movement to transform the youth sports paradigm. His forward-thinking anti-specialization approach has garnered acclaim from esteemed institutions like the Aspen Institute. At the helm of 2-4-1, Steve has skillfully guided its expansion from its flagship location in West Hartford, Connecticut, to a range of locations across the U.S., Canada, and Africa. His leadership has not only scaled the program but also redefined the standards of youth sports Beyond the scope of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve’s influence extended to developing the National Association of Physical Literacy, where his insights as Advisory Board Chair were pivotal. His tenure as Global Lead on Physical Literacy and Athletics for Whittle School & Studios marked a significant contribution to the global community, shaping the athletic and physical education frameworks across campuses in Shenzhen and Washington, D.C. Steve is equally known for merging his expertise in counseling with his coaching acumen to create the TOP Self social-emotional learning platform. This innovative endeavor leverages sports to impart essential social-emotional learning skills, cementing Steve’s status as a national authority in physical literacy development.