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The importance of humility in sports education

The importance of humility in sports education

November 27, 2021

The education of values ​​in the sporting context that we develop in the UPAD Psychology and Coaching usually always move for the same contents: respect, companionship, responsibility, effort, humility ... Most of these values ​​have such an intuitive name that even the youngers whom we instruct in them are able to give a improvised definition. However, there is one of them that represents the exception that confirms the rule, and is none other than that of humility.

And it is that, sometimes even adults do not know what humility is , and even more: why can it be important in sports or in life, because, as he said, "too much humility is not good?".


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What is humility in sports education?

Humility is defined as the knowledge of the scope of one's abilities, that is, know how good we are and how we can improve . This means that recognizing a personal merit in public is not a lack of humility (perhaps it is modest). In fact, an explicit denial of a great achievement can be interpreted, ironically, as a lack of humility.

But then, is it humility to go telling each person to cross the great dribble that I made the other day? Is it humility to celebrate a goal by dancing in front of everyone? Is it humility to compare a pal or a rival to your resume?


We can all quickly understand that, to do less than the merits of another athlete is not a sporting behavior and, although it may be related to humility, perhaps it is related to respect.

On the other hand, if we say that being humble is to be aware of successes as well as errors, it can be inferred that talking about such successes naturally can be related to humility, as long as we do not boast about them. But nevertheless, the line between boasting and naturalness will always be diffused , so this would be an ambiguous criterion that might be worth philosophizing in this small article, but not to educate, in this important value, our young athletes in training.

The criterion that resolves this hole in the definition, would be that knowledge of achievements and skills to improve, did not depend on the opinion of others. I can make a spectacular play, but if I have the need to validate it through my teammates, rivals or spectators, I will not be humble. If I need to make an exaggerated celebration to get more attention about my goal, I will not be humble. If a friend, a rival, a friend (or a journalist) asks me about that goal, and I express my sincere opinion about it, then I will be humble. If I celebrate the goal with my teammates, like any other I have scored, I will be humble.


That is why, in order to optimize the value of humility, it is important to generate and strengthen self-esteem , since, following the logic of our speech, that will be a consequence of the latter.

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The management of self-esteem

It is common that people who boast about their achievements, appearance or merit do so masking low self-esteem, as if it were overcompensation as a defense mechanism of it. And it is true that one of the sources of self-efficacy is the feedback we receive from others, so I can manipulate that feedback, or my perception of it, to protect my self-esteem.

However, the healthiest solution is to achieve a strong self-esteem, which does not need protection and, therefore, does not depend on others. Therefore, it is of vital importance to educate the people in training to obtain this self-esteem through objective data that speak for themselves of their merits, as well as be very conscientious with how we reinforce the obtaining of said merits .

In this way, if our self-esteem depends exclusively on the objectives we achieve and our margin for improvement, we will have a strong self-esteem that will not depend on the assessment of others and, in turn, we will not need to deploy behaviors contrary to humility to perceive said self-esteem Therefore, understanding humility in this way, I would say that not only too much humility is good, but it is, above all, healthy.


Coach Tony Bennett on the Power of Humility (November 2021).


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