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Youth Development Expert Says Life Lessons Don't Just Happen

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Jennifer Agans (@circusjen) is a doctoral student in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Macalester College (2010; Phi Beta Kappa), and a master's degree in Child Development at Tufts University (2012). Jen currently works as a graduate research assistant on a project entitled "Evaluating the Positive Coaching Alliance Model: Developing Competitors of Character" within the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development.

Jen recommends that coaches be intentional in talking with their youth athletes about the ways in which character traits and life lessons learned through sports can translate into areas beyond sports. For example, if an athlete exhibits grit in acquiring a new skill, the coach should explain that the same approach can help with learning math or music or any other life skill.