Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Four Activities to Teach Young Athletes Perseverance

While perseverance may sound like a serious skill, it can be made fun and engaging for young athletes. Teaching them to persist through tough challenges can be turned into playful activities that promote conversation, experimentation, and play. In this article, we will explore activities for different age groups that spark conversations around perseverance while encouraging children to try and make small changes to improve their performance. Remember, perseverance is not just about doing the same thing over and over; it’s about making small tweaks and eventually pivoting if needed.

Elementary School

Elementary school students still find non-sport-related games enjoyable and challenging. One activity that promotes perseverance is experimenting with non-dominant practice. Ask the athletes to do something they may not excel at, such as using their non-dominant hand for fine motor skills. For example, have them write something in cursive with their non-dominant hand repeatedly until they can legibly reproduce the sentence. This activity shows them that practicing skills and making small changes lead to success.

Middle School

Middle school athletes are at a delicate age where they may feel patronized or struggle with perseverance. However, there are activities that can help them develop this skill while being mindful of their emotional well-being. The string experiment is an excellent team-building exercise that also teaches perseverance. Divide the athletes into groups and have them work together to move a pencil into an empty water bottle using strings tied around their waists. You can make it harder by having them switch positions or by adding communication restrictions.

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Another effective way to promote perseverance in middle schoolers is to ensure everyone goes through the same training, regardless of their skill level. This equal treatment helps build perseverance and creates a positive social experience.

High School

For high school athletes, brain-oriented activities are more suitable for promoting perseverance. One activity is to have each athlete find a role model who exemplifies perseverance. This person should not be a famous athlete but someone from a different domain, such as a YouTuber or a social justice warrior. Athletes can research and present their findings to the team, highlighting examples of the person’s perseverance in their pursuit of success.


While encouraging athletes to persevere in practice and competition is essential, it’s also crucial to help them develop this skill in a fun and playful environment. Teaching perseverance through engaging activities will not only benefit their sports performance but also equip them with a valuable life skill. Remember that incorporating elements of play and learning into practice sessions is beneficial at any age.

About TrueSport:
TrueSport is a movement powered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that aims to inspire athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators to promote positive values and life lessons through youth sports. TrueSport encourages a culture of sportsmanship, character-building, and clean and healthy performance while creating leaders in communities through sports.