Many people around the world play team sports in order to escape their daily routine and join with others in comradery, exercise, and fun. The sport of choice varies as do the rules and equipment, but the common ground is that all participants are engaged in a team-oriented activity where a variety of interactions take place with teammates, coaches, parents, and opponents. As a result, team sport provides an important context for enhancing youth development (Smith, Mellano, & Ullrich-French, 2019).
Whether the athletes are competing in basketball, baseball, hockey or football, they learn to value each player’s ability and how each contributes to a winning goal. They also learn to deal with the disappointment of a loss and to celebrate the thrill of a victory.
This sense of community that team sports foster isn’t easy to create and requires a significant amount of time to develop. Coaches and fellow athletes have a huge impact on a child, potentially as much or more than the children’s parents. The constant interactions with different personalities and scenarios help kids to become adaptable, persistent and patient adults in life.
One disadvantage of team sports is that more injuries typically happen compared to individual or non-team sports. Kids can also become over-competitive and pushed to win at all costs, which may lead to mental health problems. They are also more likely to over-train, especially if they specialize at a young age, which may increase the risk of injury and burnout later in life.