The Importance of Team Sport

Millions of people participate in team sports and these athletes learn a wealth of lessons during their childhood and adolescence that can carry through into adulthood. Whether it’s learning to play well with others or how to keep fit, the skills learned through playing team sports can benefit the participants far beyond the court, rink or field.

Team sport is any sport in which the fundamental nature of the game or sport requires teammates interacting to achieve a common objective. These objectives generally involve teammates facilitating the movement of a ball or similar object in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points. Examples of such sports include baseball, basketball, soccer, football and ice hockey. Other examples of team sports are synchronized swimming and doubles tennis, both of which require collaboration and coordination.

For example, members of a basketball team will be expected to attend regular practice sessions and follow the coaching instructions of their coaches. They will also be expected to put in their best effort during competitions, irrespective of the outcome. These norms, which can be socially sanctioned (such as verbal appreciation or greater prestige in the group) and/or behaviorally enforced (such as ostracism or physical abuse), contribute to the sense of groupness that characterizes a sport team.

In addition to fostering communication skills, team sports can teach the importance of self-discipline and a willingness to work hard toward an end goal. For example, the commitment to a season of football can teach children and teens to focus on something for an extended period of time despite the discomfort and pain that may be involved. This can also translate into learning to balance school and other extracurricular activities with their athletic pursuits.