Millions of people across the world play or watch team sport, whether on a school sports team, local league or even at the Olympic Games. The obvious benefit is the physical fitness and healthy lifestyle that it brings. Less obvious are the life lessons that team sports teach children. These range from positively approaching setbacks to persevering relentlessly to achieve goals.
Team sports help kids develop a sense of belonging and loyalty, which can serve them well in other aspects of their lives such as work and family. They also teach the importance of communication, cooperation and collaboration as these are essential in achieving success in many aspects of one’s life. They learn to respect and appreciate other’s contributions to the team goal. This is a valuable lesson that can be applied in the classroom and at work.
They learn that everyone has something to contribute to the success of the team, and this helps them become more understanding and supportive of other people’s abilities, opinions, needs and concerns. They learn to share responsibility, be unselfish and make sacrifices for the good of the team. They learn the value of practice and hard work, the payoff from training and that generally there are no shortcuts to success. They also learn the importance of valuing their coaches and other mentors, as these are critical to their development as athletes and people.
In many team sports, there is a lot of verbal and nonverbal communication. From locker room discussions, to discussing strategy during a game, team players need to be able to communicate clearly with each other. This teaches them to be able to listen to others and express themselves effectively.
Another important skill that team sports teaches is the concept of competition. We live in a competitive world and team sports prepare kids to compete in school, in their chosen careers and in the real world. They will not get everything they want all the time, and learning how to be a good competitor early in life is invaluable. They learn to be able to stay composed when things are not going their way and that emotional outbursts do not get them anywhere.
While team sports are important in teaching the value of working together to achieve a common goal, they can be very dangerous as well. They often have a higher injury rate than individual sports, due to the amount of players moving around on the field or court at once. They may also encourage members to focus on competing to win rather than focusing on training and improving their skills. It is therefore important for parents to monitor their child’s participation in team sports. If necessary, they can seek guidance from professional sports psychologists who specialise in dealing with these issues. They can also discuss the issue with their child’s coach or other mentors. In the end, it is important to remember that most of all, team sports are meant to be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved.