The Benefits of Playing a Team Sport
Team sport is any athletic activity where the fundamental nature of the game or the sport itself necessitates multiple individuals working together as a group and that it would be inherently impractical or impossible to perform the sport as an individual. Team sports include synchronized swimming, doubles tennis, and relay races, as well as more traditional team sports like football, baseball, basketball, and water polo.
Playing a team sport teaches kids commitment, training and setting goals. It also teaches them that there are few shortcuts in life, and that hard work pays off. Playing a team sport also teaches them how to deal with setbacks and how to handle failure in a positive and encouraging environment. It teaches them that every athlete experiences defeat, but they should not be a “sore loser” and can use it as an opportunity to learn how to improve their skills and become even better at their sport.
Lastly, playing a team sport teaches kids how to communicate with their teammates and coaches. This is a vital skill they will carry into their adult lives, from school to work and beyond. Whether it’s locker room discussions, nonverbal cues from their fellow players or strategy conversations during practice, the ability to express their concerns, hopes, successes and disappointments with their peers is a vital part of team functioning.
In addition, playing a team sport has been shown to increase long-term happiness in athletes. This may be because athletes feel a strong sense of belonging within the team, which leads to feelings of self-identity that can boost happiness.