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(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for VH1)

By Lora Lewis

Lots of kids prefer gaming and social media to activities such as basketball, theater class or piano lessons.  Here’s the irony, putting down the console or phone can actually help sharpen their playing abilities today, and their future digital careers tomorrow!

The skills learned in sports, playing music, painting, or writing a play, can enhance the very qualities that help with gaming, coding, web design, virtual reality development, marketing and more – skills that don’t always come from a classroom.  A young creative thinker could find a rewarding career in the media industry, or in travel, banking and finance, human resources, marketing or sales.  All will require the critical skills learned through art, music and sports.

Want to work on hand-eye coordination for a favorite game?   Holding a paint brush or drawing pencil helps develop the fine motor skills needed to crush the competition.  Want to develop your own game someday?   Art bolsters the creativity and imagination needed to craft that new world.  Consider drama classes and play writing as game development.  You must flesh out characters, create storylines and write dialogue.  Poetry or verse teaches word choice and precision, highly desirable skills in technical writing or drafting marketing materials.

Interested in coding or software?  Polish the math and critical thinking skills needed through piano chords and composing.  Music is a mathematical problem that’s entertaining to solve.  Learning an instrument or mastering a fastball also teaches patience, self-awareness and dedication for later work projects.

Speaking of baseball, the tech industry relies on its great teams working together to create their products or innovations; people working and communicating with each other to solve problems and develop new concepts.  Nothing teaches teamwork better than sports! Learning to rely on others and learning how to match strengths and weaknesses to accomplish a win is a skill that applies to any team assignment.   Communication skills are quickly taught on a baseball diamond or basketball court.

So borrow a guitar, find a pick-up game or young writers class, that’s where a digital future begins!