As the weather turns warm, football seems to be everywhere you look. But did you know that playing team sports can help you in your career?
Whether you’re at a job interview or want to look good in front of your manager, drawing on skills you developed playing sport can give you a real boost.
So what kinds of skills does playing weekend football give you?
Perhaps the most obvious skill, but an important one nonetheless. Playing a team sport can help you contribute better to a team at work. Team sport requires communication, trust and compromise – all skills that are useful in professional situations. Applying these skills in the office can make you a better player in your department.
Taking charge of a project can be hard, but it’s not so different from captaining a team. Being a leader on the field or in the office requires many of the same skills. You have to know everyone’s strengths so you can assign them to the position where they can make the best contribution. You also have to know when to delegate and let someone else score the goal so you can all share the glory.
Whether it’s helping a teammate improve their free kicks or training a new colleague, you need to know how to be a good coach. Showing that you can be patient and give constructive feedback without being patronising will certainly get any manager’s attention.
We’ve previously noted the importance of the STAR technique in job interviews – identifying and analysing the situation, task, action and result – and how you can discuss examples from your experience both at work and at play. What better way to show you’re a team player than to talk about your sports team? Describing a time you helped your team win a game or tournament will certainly make for an attention-grabbing story.
Every project has its obstacles, just as every football team has a story about the time it came from behind to win. It takes the same mental skills to remain motivated when you’re trailing by three goals as it does to push ahead when you come up against a major setback in a project. Playing sport can teach you how to focus on the goal and keep your teammates motivated.
Team spirit is one of those intangible qualities that’s nearly impossible to talk about – unless you can offer examples from your sports team. Cheering your teammates on can demonstrate your capacity for enthusing and encouraging your colleagues. Celebrating wins is also important, so make sure you take the time to acknowledge success on and off the pitch.