We all know the benefits of team sports: increased self-esteem, improved coordination, and more. But there are a handful of very important social and mental benefits that often go unnoticed. This article will talk about what those specific additional benefits are, as well as show how team sports can help teach valuable life skills to our youth.
So whether you’re preparing for your first pick-up game or just want to reminisce about your high school days when you were part of a winning football or basketball squad, take a deep breath and prepare your muscles for the upcoming match! You’ll be on one heck of a winning streak in no time!
Benefits of Team Sports
So, what are these extra benefits? I’ll start with the most obvious:
1) Improved Social Skills
One of the key benefits of team sports is improving social skills. Group sports help teach social skills that are necessary for life. The first of these is leadership. We all know the cliché of the star player on the team who believes he is invincible and has to do everything himself. Nothing could be further from the truth, and this is a great example of why there is so much more to the game than gold stars on a scoreboard.
Leadership involves teamwork, which is extremely important for children. The key to leadership is communication, but sometimes it can be difficult to get certain players involved. The key is persistence and plenty of encouragement.
And while we are on the subject of encouragement, let’s talk about something that happens a lot in sports: instances of good sportsmanship. Whether it be a play that ends up a little too rough or even just an instance where someone misses the ball; still being able to keep your cool in these situations is key. The same goes for how you carry yourself both inside and outside of the game.
2) Improved Mental Skills
A common misconception is that sports are only about physical prowess. While this is certainly a part of most games, mental skills are just as important, and often more so. One of the best examples of mental skills being more important than physical skills is in the game chess.
And when we look at team sports, it is pretty much the same. For example, tennis, which is a game of strategy, requires immense mental stamina and flexibility. And this is especially true if you’re playing doubles!
Similar to chess and tennis, there is no time for mistakes in sports. It doesn’t matter how physically fit you are if you can’t make split-second decisions or don’t know the rules of the game.
3) Increased Physical Fitness
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you aren’t physically fit, then your whole team will be at a disadvantage from the start and it has been known to lead to some crushing defeats.
But team sports aren’t just about fitness in the traditional sense. Many are played to improve personal fitness and test how far people will push themselves physically and mentally in order to stay competitive.
For example, one sport that comes to mind is ice hockey. This game requires you to skate for hours on end, making it great for cardiovascular endurance. But it is also one of the most dangerous of all major sports in America. This shows how important it is to have a strong sense of self-awareness and control over your body before taking part in such a demanding game.
There are also many health benefits of exercising, check the article below:
4) Gives Kids a Chance to Unwind
I’m sure a lot of you adults out there know that having an outlet to let off some steam is probably the best option for youth. Extracurricular activities are truly beneficial, especially for those with a competitive edge. But it’s also important to remember that sports should be fun, and they should be something that cements the bond between teammates, rather than divides them.
In fact, sometimes the most successful team sports are the ones where players are not ranked or judged; but rather just encouraged and made aware of their potential. Many times these kids go on to have better relationships and a greater skill set in life because they saw their teammates as equals rather than competitors.
5) Builds Up Self-Esteem
This is something that unfortunately many kids don’t have. There was a documentary about teenagers who were part of the junior gymnastic team. While these kids grow up, it was very impressive how strong their self-esteem was despite all the ridicule they had to endure.
All that mattered to them was how they were judged by others and not how they were judging themselves. We believe this is a huge reason why many sports are so popular as an extracurricular activity in school: by learning to compete, you’re actually developing an important life skill for when you start working and going outside of school.
6) Teaches Time Management
It’s of course important for children to learn how to manage their time, but it’s also important for them to learn how to use this time effectively. And, again, sports are great for this. Focusing on any one sport gives kids a means of managing their time to the best of their ability.
One great example is basketball and its team-oriented style. In basketball, the hours spent practicing and the many hours spent in front of a TV watching games can easily be written off as wasted time in the parent’s eyes. But from an adult’s perspective, it allows your child an opportunity to really focus and hone his skills under strict guidance; something that will serve him well in life no matter what career he chooses.
7) Critical Thinking
This is an important part of sports for many reasons, one of which we’ve already mentioned. Decisions have to be made quickly and in some cases, without much information at all.
Plus, sometimes it’s just a matter of knowing the rules. You can’t win any game if you don’t know the rules! There are many other examples though, such as knowing how to react in specific situations and understanding the basic principles of gameplay. And this can make or break your team.
And lastly…a lot of sports involve making quick decisions under pressure.
Toughness is something that is valuable in sports, but that needs to be taught. Children need to be used to being pushed and forced beyond their comfort zone in order to reach the next level of development.
Very few people would admit it, but a lot of adults also secretly wish they had more patience and resilience when they were younger! In sports, this is a really good thing because it allows you to continue pushing yourself past your physical limits.
Discipline is an important trait to develop and one of the best benefits of team sports. Many people would like to think they’re disciplined, but deep down they know that it’s something that is easily broken by distraction. But in order to develop discipline, you have to be pushed to break it!
In sports, this can be done by keeping your eyes on the prize: a growing skillset and a stronger will. Many parenting practices can actually deter children from becoming more disciplined; such as rewarding every small victory to avoid their inevitable failures.
Despite the fact that the above reasons are not always enough to get your child to actually participate, it’s important to bear in mind that choosing a team sport is an important decision and shouldn’t be made rashly.
If you choose a sport too soon, then your child may get bored or resent you for forcing them into something they don’t want to do. In some extreme cases, they may even give up completely on sports and feel like something is wrong with them.
But even if your children do go on to play sports later on in life, it will still benefit them no matter what profession they choose as an adult! By choosing a team sport can help them achieve the skill set that will serve them well in their careers.
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