Very good question. A tough one at that. But if I had to chose one, I think it would have to be the values like integrity, commitment, teamwork, hard work and discipline. I feel that if a young person has those, he/she is almost destined to succeed in the other categories you listed.
The unique thing about the sport of football is that it teaches values that will carry a young man to success in life. As parents and coaches we can and should preach the values, but until a young man lives them in a situation that will push them we are just another adult ramblin' on about old-fogey stuff. The teaching of the game with an eye towards giving them a fundamental base for the next level and how to compete gives them a chance to win, but it is the striving to win that the kids begin to live the values will lead them success in life.
Talent is a must. Technique is a must. But even with an abundance of talent and technqiue, in an evenly matched compeitition you cannot win without an expression of integrity, commitment, teamwork, hard work and sportsmanship. We may not always win, but it is in the striving to win that those values learned. Every once in awhile some well-intentioned person who has never dealt with tough, physical efforts that have no pre-determined outcome will pop out of the woodwork and espouse that everyone is a winner, and no one should be singled out as better than the others. Hogwash. The crucible of competition is the means by which we pass those values onto the next generation in the expectation that they will be winners in life. Win or lose, it is the commitment to win that embeds those basic values of success in those who will lead in the future.
"The quality of a man's life is in direct proportion to his pursuit of excellence." - Vince Lombardi
Hey Guys: I agree with Coach4Life. All of the above can be taught easily inside of football. Basic/fundamental skills to prepare them for higher levels of competition, teamwork and integrity, and competition/being the best you can be. Wasn't there 4? Anyway, fundamentals and integrity/teamwork can be taught while encouraging and rewarding those who excel. Afterall, those of us who weren't that good (only started for 1-1/2 years) aim at being as good and getting the same attention the really good atheletes get. Like was stated earlier character is only taught well under some pressure. Grace Alone, Greg
Sorry about not using the quick reply properly. Coach4Life. I am moving to Powhatan. Home phone 897-6914 (in a week or two) or where I am staying presently is 379-5386. Love to talk to you about volunteer opp in Powhatan/Chesterfield that you may know of. Greg Bailey email@example.com