The Benefits of a Team Sport

Whether it’s running to pick up the ball, working with teammates during practice or cheering your team on at the big game, team sport is all about collaboration. Team sports teach athletes about the importance of putting the needs of others ahead of their own, and can help them develop important life skills that will benefit them in the long run.

The unique characteristics of a team sport make it distinct from conventional groups, such as work teams. For example, a team’s internal processes are heavily regulated by the rules of the game and/or the league to which it belongs (e.g., the maximum number of players allowed on a team, the duration of training sessions, and the number of games per season). In addition, coaches can use tracking systems to analyze performance in real-time during or after sporting events.

Interestingly, a growing body of research shows that people who participate in team sports tend to be better at managing conflict and displaying cooperating behavior than those who do not play these types of sports. This is thought to be because team athletes regularly experience the simultaneous demands of competing and cooperating with same others (i.e., the same teammates).

In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers found that when people engage in team sports, they learn to reconcile competing and cooperating with same others. In contrast, participants engaged in individual sports (such as swimming) do not need to cooperate with their support team during competition because aggregated performances do not contribute to a final team score.