Millions of people play team sports around the world. It’s not just a fun pastime, though; it has a profound impact on the lives of its participants. From teaching kids how to work with a diverse group of teammates, to encouraging them to exercise regularly, the positive effects of playing sports extend far beyond the physical fitness they promote.
The most obvious benefit of team sport is that it teaches children the importance of working together to achieve a common goal. They learn to respect one another’s talents and abilities, and to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team. They also learn to celebrate wins and grieve losses as a unit.
As the Janssen Sports Leadership Center explains, team sports can also teach athletes about “group norms.” These are behaviors that have become accepted among members of the group. For example, team athletes typically abide by certain rules and standards for behavior during games, such as maintaining appropriate distance from other players and refraining from rough play. These norms are established in part by the coaches and teammates who participate in the sport.
Moreover, team sports teach kids that success requires hard work and dedication. They also learn that there are no shortcuts, and that every failure is an opportunity to get better. This lesson will serve them well in the long run, when they will be confronted with obstacles in their careers and personal lives.