A team sport is any sport where the fundamental nature of a game or match requires the cooperation and participation of multiple individuals working as a group. Examples of team sports are baseball, basketball, soccer, football and hockey. The term is used to distinguish these types of sports from individualistic sports like golf, tennis and shooting sports, in which the athlete competes against himself or herself. Athletes in team sports are generally substituted from the squad during competition matches to replace exhausted or injured players, and to make tactical changes to the game plan.
Kids learn to collaborate with teammates, developing communication skills that they can apply to work and social situations. They also develop the ability to listen to teammates’ perspectives and consider different points of view, which can help them to solve problems more efficiently. The more kids practice these strategies on the playing field, the better they become at applying them in game-time situations.
The Janssen Sports Leadership Center suggests that participating in a team sport can teach athletes to act in unselfish ways, respect their fellow competitors and contribute to the success of the group. Athletes who have played on a winning team also learn to appreciate each of their teammates’ strengths and how those talents can help them achieve the group’s goals.
Several different sports can be considered team sports, including track and field, soccer and basketball, rugby and cricket. There are many other examples, however, that can be argued as either individual or team sports. Kim Batten, a 1995 world champion in the 400m hurdles who has also competed at the elite level and is a current high school coach, believes that the team aspect of track is beneficial to non-elite athletes, particularly at the collegiate level. It allows kids to take part in a sport that might otherwise be out of their reach due to their talent levels, and it gives them the chance to experience the rewards of being on a winning team.
Likewise, children who participate in team sports can gain valuable life lessons about commitment and training. They learn that if they don’t have the speed or agility to make it into the finals of the open 400m race at the Olympics, they can still contribute to their team’s success by running a leg in a relay. They also learn the importance of accepting defeat and learning from it rather than becoming a “sour loser.” This can ultimately help them to succeed in their personal and professional lives. In addition, being on a team can also help them to understand how much their failure impacts the rest of the group and thus develop a healthy, self-confident attitude. They may even develop the ability to recognize the contributions made by their teammates, making them more understanding and forgiving in their own relationships. This can lead to a more fulfilling and productive life.