What is SEL?
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the educational process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible and ethical decisions.
Team sports are one of the best places to explicitly practice SEL skills. On a team, building long-lasting relationships, setting daily goals, supporting teammates, making ethical decisions, managing emotions in critical and tense situations can be practiced every day for an entire season.
SEL is not taught implicitly, without intentionality and awareness of what is being learned. In sports, we tout many character traits as lessons learned, such as teamwork, sportsmanship, putting team above self, resiliency and other attributes.
But how are those taught?
SEL is taught explicitly As an example:
“Today we are going to practice the different ways we can create a positive, safe and supportive environment.”