Sport and youth leadership- can sport and young people create a perfect synergy for mutual benefits?

Leadership is an important characteristic every individual should learn about. Leaders are expected to perform at their best in every field of life as a whole group is attached to them and they will be affected by their performance. There are many examples of successful leaders who have acknowledged how sport has played an important part in their upbringing. Over the years, research has shown that sports and leadership skills in youth have a significant connection. Here are some key leadership skills that can be developed in young people as a result of being involved in sports.











1. Communication skills

Being able to communicate well is probably the most important of all life skills. At a tennis club, there will be different people to communicate with and different styles of communication. Good communication can help to develop and maintain solid relationships with peers at all levels. You may also have come across many sports leaders who have used communication skills as a way of persuading others. Communication is one necessary skill if you want to become a successful leader and you want others to follow you. By the same token, in a sports environment like Hylands you need to put the benefits of others before you. If you can clearly deliver your message positively, you will be able to build trust and inspire others to support your proposals. In a tennis club you will need to choose your media formats carefully to keep everyone involved and always remember that communication is a two way process which also implies listening actively and showing empathy.

 2. Organisational skills

If you have great communication skills, they will not work until and unless you can use strategic ways to solve the problem. If we talk about tennis, it also involves several strategies that need to be used one time or another. For example, you may have to balance many tasks efficiently as well as effectively. Being organised can help you save time and reduce stress induced by last minute actions. For example, you may have to organise a competition or social event and assess what resources and logistics are available to you so that you can plan ahead to make sure your event runs smoothly. Some people are born with an innate ability to think and act in an organised fashion. For others, these skills can be acquired through training and experience. At Hylands tennis leaders are offered regular opportunities to develop their organisational skills by running recreational events.

 3. Teamwork

This may be the most obvious skill set that a leader should have but it is often overlooked. A team that works well together will know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. It is one thing to join a team but quite another to work effectively as a team. Team members need to consider the needs of each other and they have to work in a productive way to achieve their goals. Put simply teams do not work well without teamwork. Where a team can work with enthusiasm and share common interests and responsibilities they can develop the glue that will hold the team together. In a club teamwork is essential when supporting initiatives and activities. When tasks are successfully completed, teamwork can promote a sense of achievement. Not all teams are made up of friends. Nonetheless, teamwork has the potential to foster a fulfilling and meaningful way of working with one another.

 4. Discipline 

We all know that we cannot achieve anything without discipline. We need to have it in our life and sport provides the perfect opportunity that teaches us how to learn and maintain discipline. It can be argued that discipline is a way of life. It is not limited to those who have much or those who have little. It is more of a personal orientation towards life. It is a habit and not an adaptation in life and as such it can be practised to achieve a better life. Regular attendance in sport naturally develops a sense of discipline. It can also assist to remain focused and develop more self control. Being disciplined can also help to develop regular habits over exercising, eating patterns, waking and sleeping. Studies have revealed that parents who are plugged in the lives of their children are often instrumental with proper guidance and self discipline techniques.

All of the above are crucial elements to develop leadership skills in a young person. A regular involvement in sport provides an ideal exposure that helps in this creation process. At Hylands, completing a Tennis Leader Awards course provides an ideal entry at foundation level to develop one or more of the above skill set. 

Are you 13 to 18 and keen to know how to become a Tennis Leader at Hylands and support the coaching team, club officials and volunteers in widening access to tennis? Then contact the club’s administrator for more details.

Adriano Giordano

Hylands Volunteers Involvement Programme 

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