Team sports and the impact on youngsters is astounding. A multitude of studies show that team players develop not just fitter bodies, but transferable social skills that set them up for life. For adults, playing team sports can be really valuable too, giving you much more than an enjoyable way to stay in shape.
Children who get involved in team sports have, according to an array of research projects, better nutrition as they grow older; are healthier and less likely to smoke or abuse drugs. Recent evidence presented by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center suggests teamwork in sports promotes leadership and empathy too, building on this idea that sports fosters life skills if instilled early enough. Evidence has also focused on the positive effects on self-esteem too.
Even where sports are competitive, teamwork encourages individuals to create internal benchmarks so that the focus in on your personal best, rather than comparisons with others. Aside from the physical, emotional and psychological benefits to kids, what can team sports bring to adults, whether they are part of a grown-up league or playing without any competitive edge?
- Exercising for fun – When you get carried away with a game it is easy to forget that you’re actually keeping fit at the same time. When you see people monotonously doing the same mundane exercises just for the sake of getting in shape, it can be a real fitness turn-off. Participating in a team sport is essentially a workout that doesn’t feel like work!
- Team building – Working as a team, where each person has to integrate and react quickly to one another, as well as formulate strategies, is a great way to learn about other people. This can help you work better in a team, whether in the workplace or among members of a community. Working in a team can also teach you when and how to interact with others. Shared experiences, bonding and aiming for the same goals during a game can produce astounding results in other areas of your life too.
- Stress relieving – Your work, family and social life can all play a part in creating not just joy, but stresses and strains too. What you need is balance, and this means exercise that is going to allow you to switch off from everyday responsibilities, anxieties and tensions, and dive into a relaxing and revitalizing regime. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and the challenges that team sports bring are exhilarating rather than draining.
- Learning new skills – Whatever sport you choose to participate in, and whatever position or role you play, you are going to be learning new skills. Sometimes certain exercises offer your body a workout but don’t challenge your skills set or teach you anything you didn’t already know.
- Social – You cannot beat the sense of camaraderie you get from team sports, and unlike a solitary workout, being part of a group gives you access to a totally different social scene. Through shared interests, you can meet like-minded, dynamic individuals that you might otherwise have never met.
- Interest in sports – Team sports sustain your interest levels because every game is a new challenge. This can inspire a love of sports that exceeds your involvement in the game, and if you’ve let sports slide since you were in school, this rekindling of interest can really make you feel full of life.
If you don’t want to do the same gym exercises, or want to expand beyond the usual exercise classes, then you can really improve your social skills and shape up with the success of a team sport.