What Kids Can Learn from Competition
A Parent’s Guide to Sport
Sports can be key in helping kids unlock their best selves. Youth basketball coach Matt Mazarei shares three lessons that he teaches his young athletes to help them excel—in basketball and beyond.
- Facing difficulty fuels confidence.
Matt knows that playing sports means a lot of trial and error. “Kids experience a lot of barriers and need to quickly figure out how to achieve the best possible outcome,” he says. It’s an attainable challenge that gives kids the chance to find what works and develop confidence through consistency.
- Defeating self-doubt is part of the game.
A lack of confidence in kids is common, especially with things like height, voice, and shyness. To combat self-doubt, Matt tells his kids they can be anyone they want to be on the court—as long as they bring the positivity. He believes that's how they develop confidence over time. “You’re not going to be shy outside the court anymore. You’re not going to be quiet. You’re not going to doubt yourself. You’ll use the tools from the court and apply them to your life.”
- Being an athlete goes far beyond sports.
Even if a kid doesn’t play sports into adulthood, being an athlete has a lasting impact. “We prepare our youth for life and help shape them for the better,” says Matt, who sees his players build awareness, respect, dedication, teamwork, and leadership—traits they carry into the future. “A lot of alumni message me to say thanks for everything I’ve taught them, and share how it helped propel them beyond their peers and into the professional world.”
“Through basketball, I was able to see firsthand all the skills and traits you attain: collaboration, leadership, dedication, punctuality, and commitment to something you love. And it taught me that if I’m able to use these traits and skills on the court, then I can relate them to anything I decide to do in life.”
Youth Basketball Coach