It's Gratitude Week at Soccer Parenting. The messaging, of course, is relevant across all sport and so I wanted to highlight the week to The Sideline Project Community and discuss some of the many benefits of gratitude when it comes to sport.
First - foundational to our work at The Sideline Project is trust and collaboration. We believe that collaborative relationships, with appropriate boundaries, between coaches and parents is in the best interest of player development. Developing these collaborative relationships requires a common understanding and appreciation for one another, and there's no better way to tangibly express this empathy than with gratitude.
Second - gratitude can improve athletic performance! Positivity can increase brain performance, broaden ideas and beliefs, improve team cohesion and lead to marked improvement in performance. I interviewed Dan Abrahams, global sport psychologists, as part of Gratitude Week (you can watch the hour long interview HERE) and he suggested that the mere act of expressing gratitude can reduce anxiety and shift the focus off the self and to a broader stimulus.
Third - gratitude builds community. I often talk about the need for an increased sense of community in youth sports and gratitude helps foster it. Research on Sense of Community Theory demonstrates that in order for someone to feel a sense of community they must have some agency, belonging, in the organization. When you express gratitude to someone in the sports organization, you tell them they are an important part of the community and that they belong.
We hope you will follow along on the Gratitude Week social postings and messaging and take a moment to express gratitude to coaches, referees, parents, club leaders and volunteers. Together, we will make youth sports better.
Gratitude Unites Us and Gratitude Matters.