Team sport is a form of social play in which players interact directly and simultaneously with teammates to accomplish a goal. This often involves teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or other object by a set of rules to score points, as in football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, and hockey.
Team sports have several advantages over individual sports, and they can provide lifelong benefits for youth athletes (Smith, Mellano, & Ullrich-French, 2019; Fraser-Thomas, Cote, & Deakin, 2005). The social nature of team settings facilitates the development of important interpersonal skills that are essential to success in adulthood.
Athletes who participate in team sports are likely to benefit from mentoring and role models within their communities (Smith et al., 2019). In addition, athletes are often accompanied by coaches who can serve as mentors and positive role models throughout the life of the athlete.
Despite these positive impacts, the sport-based environment of team sports can also have negative consequences. Athletes are pressured to perform at a high level and may be punished for misbehavior. For example, if a player doesn’t meet the minimum performance standards for a sport, they may be asked to leave the team.
In contrast, individuals who display good team behavior tend to be rewarded through verbal appreciation and increased group acceptance. Conversely, members who act inappropriately are frequently criticized or subjected to ostracism by the other members of the group (Crosbie, 1975).
In addition to the mental and physical benefits of participating in team sports, youth athletes can also gain life skills that help them become more mature. These include the ability to work with others, accept responsibility for mistakes, and learn to handle failure. These skills are crucial to developing a healthy lifestyle and can be used beyond the sports field, rink, or court.