Millions of people participate in team sports, from children to adults. These activities not only improve the body, but also teach a variety of skills and values that have a lasting impact in both personal and professional life. From learning to work as part of a team, developing critical-thinking and observational skills, fostering selflessness, empathy, respect, and more. They also learn to value practice, hard work, and winning and losing.
In many cases, participating in a team sport requires a significant time commitment and can be expensive, depending on the level of participation. However, the rewards can be great. Aside from the physical health benefits, there are a number of psychological and social advantages to playing team sports, including increased confidence and better relationships with friends and family members.
Generally, team sports require a high level of coordination and communication between teammates, coaches, and referees. They also provide an opportunity for young people to develop a wide range of competencies, such as leadership, interpersonal and intercultural skills, communication, and strategic thinking. These competencies are important in the growth and development of young people and can contribute to positive outcomes later in their lives (see Chapter 14).
Participation in a team sport also teaches children the importance of training and working hard toward a goal. It also demonstrates the importance of dedication and delayed gratification, as well as helping children build self-discipline and focus. This can help them achieve success in school and later in their careers.
Team sports also teach a valuable lesson about loss. Every athlete experiences losses at some point, and being able to understand that it is normal and expected is an invaluable life skill. Rather than dwelling on defeat, children can learn to use it as an opportunity to analyze the situation and make necessary adjustments.
Playing a team sport requires a high level of physical fitness, and most participants will become more active as a result. This can have a positive effect on their overall health and wellbeing, and may lead to improved nutrition and sleep habits. In addition, being on a team can be a fun way to meet new people and establish lifelong friendships.
Team sports involve both spoken and unspoken communication. This can take the form of locker room pep talks, picking up nonverbal cues from fellow players or strategies discussions during a game. In addition, players should be able to express their concerns, hopes, and disappointments and seek feedback from both coaches and teammates. This helps develop communication skills that will benefit them in both academic and social pursuits throughout their lifetime.