Millions of children and adults participate in team sports. While the most obvious benefit of team sports is physical fitness, they can also have a profound effect on the lives of those involved. Team sports teach the importance of collaboration and teamwork, as well as the value of perseverance and commitment to a goal. Coaches and teammates are often in a position to influence a child’s life as much, or even more than teachers or parents. According to the Janssen Sports Leadership Center, collaborating with teammates teaches athletes the importance of continued focus, delayed gratifications and working hard toward an end goal.
Generally speaking, team sports involve teammates helping to facilitate the movement of a ball or another object in accordance with a set of rules in order to score points. A few exceptions to this definition exist, however. Individual sports, like golf, for example, have a different objective than team sports and do not depend on teammates to help advance the ball or other object. The definition of a “team sport” has come under scrutiny in recent years, particularly because some games and activities have different goals or rules than traditional team sports.
The unique aspect of sport teams is that they are externally regulated to a greater degree than other groups, such as social or work groups. For example, a league may stipulate how many players are permitted to be on a specific team and when that team can begin practicing or playing in competitions. The team’s roster may be modified during a competition to add or remove exhausted, injured or otherwise unavailable members.
In addition, a sport team is also required to follow a specific set of standards and etiquette that are generally accepted by the sport community as a whole (Carron, 1988). The adherence to group norms teaches athletes a sense of what is considered acceptable or unacceptable behavior in various contexts relevant to their involvement with a sports team.
Lastly, participating in team sports helps develop problem-solving skills. Whether it is analyzing which teammates are open for a pass, observing an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses or altering a play to take advantage of weather conditions, kids will use the same kind of creative thinking that they would in the classroom when attempting to solve a difficult problem on the field.
All of these are great reasons to encourage your children to participate in team sports. Not only are they fun, but they can help them learn valuable lessons about collaborating with others, taking risks and facing failure head-on. As your kids gain the confidence to become better athletes, they will grow as people and be able to use these skills outside of their sporting endeavors. Ultimately, the biggest lesson learned from team sports is that there is no substitute for hard work and dedication toward a goal. This is a lesson that can be applied to all areas of life. Thank you for reading!