Many people think of sports as a way to exercise and stay healthy, but they can also be an excellent source of social development. Especially for children, the benefits of team sport are far-reaching and can impact their lives in many ways. Team sport teaches children about commitment, training and setting goals that are both challenging and rewarding. It can also help them to deal with loss and learn from it, rather than wallowing in defeat. The social skills they learn through their participation in team sport are invaluable, and can be transferred to the classroom, where a positive attitude towards setbacks can make all the difference.
A team sport is an athletic activity that requires the full cooperation of players organized into opposing teams and whose success depends on the collective performance of all members throughout the entire match or game. This includes games such as basketball, baseball, football and handball, in which the outcome of a competition match or championship relies on team dynamics. However, there are also sports that incorporate team ratings and formations but which do not entirely depend on team dynamics to achieve success, such as individual events in track and field or relay races.
Participation in team sports can improve health, and there is strong evidence that it also enhances psychological well-being. This is probably most true for those who are not professional athletes, but who play at a level that still allows them to feel a sense of accomplishment, and that teaches them to work as a member of a supportive group of individuals.
Having the support of friends and family through playing sports is important for mental health, and it helps to keep participants motivated during practice and when the going gets tough. Team sports teach players to communicate both verbally and non-verbally, from locker room discussion to strategy conversations, and they encourage players to express their hopes, fears and disappointments, as well as celebrate victories.
It teaches them to be more focused on the needs of others, rather than what they want for themselves, and it helps them to develop a sense of responsibility for their actions. It also teaches them the importance of fair play and unwavering determination. It can also teach them to be better at time management and to learn how to balance schoolwork, sporting activities, family life, friendships and other responsibilities.
Team sport also teaches them to value hard work, which is something that they will carry with them throughout their lives. It can help them to get a good job and to succeed in their careers, and it teaches them the value of keeping fit and looking after themselves physically, as well as mentally and emotionally. Lastly, it teaches them the importance of being a positive role model for younger children, and to lead a healthy lifestyle. They can use their experiences in team sport to influence the lifestyle choices of those around them, including their own children.