The benefits of playing a team sport are many and varied. They go well beyond the physical exercise, which boosts cardiovascular strength, builds muscle and bone density and improves blood glucose control. The social interaction that comes with team sports increases happiness, while the leadership skills learned in sports can translate into better grades at school and a stronger sense of self-identity. Athletes learn how to make lasting friendships, which can extend into their adult lives as they build careers and form families.
The importance of communication is a huge component of a successful team. From locker room discussions and non-verbal cues to strategy meetings, players communicate on a regular basis to keep the group on the same page. Team members also must learn to listen to each other and be able to work with people who have different styles of communicating.
Learning to deal with setbacks is another important life skill that team sports teach kids. Not everyone can be a star player and even the best athletes will experience defeat at some point in their career. This teaches children to accept disappointment and to continue working hard for what they believe in.
Kids in team sports also learn to manage their time. Athletes have to be able to juggle practice, games and other responsibilities, as well as spend time with friends, family and their schoolwork. Keeping track of all of these tasks requires a great deal of focus and discipline, which can benefit them in other areas of their life.
Problem-solving is also a big part of team sport. In team sports, the more a kid practices working with teammates to come up with solutions on the fly, the easier it becomes for them to do so in the heat of competition. They’ll learn to be more flexible and think on their feet, which will help them in other areas of their life as they start to build a career or raise a family.
Team sport also teaches kids to value each of their teammate’s abilities. This carries over into every aspect of their lives, as they become more supportive and understanding of each other. It also helps them to see that their role on the team may seem insignificant at times, but that it’s vital for the success of the entire group. This is a valuable lesson for all students to learn, as it can be applied to any work or social environment. A close team can put more pressure on each individual to perform well for the sake of their coworkers, which can motivate them to get the job done. They’ll also learn how to work with a variety of people, which is an invaluable skill in today’s world.