The Social Benefits of Team Sport

Team sport is an activity that requires participants to work together to play a game with the goal of winning. This is a different experience to individual sports such as running, swimming, cycling, etc where the focus is on improving oneself as an athlete. However, in both cases, it is a social environment with interactions between teammates, coaches and competitors. As such, participation in team sport can offer fertile contexts for developing ‘life skills’ such as leadership (Smith, Mellano & Ullrich-French, 2019).

The unique characteristics of team sport that differentiate it from other conventional groups include a defined roster size specified by the rules of the game and/or league (e.g. 12 athletes on a volleyball team at any one time), a commitment to training sessions that are consistent throughout the season, and a regular home game schedule that is designed to promote place identification amongst members of a club (e.g., playing your best at home is important).

In addition to the obvious physical benefits of team sport, the social support systems resulting from these activities help young people develop a more positive attitude towards exercise and an increased awareness of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In particular, participation in team sports can foster a natural community of friends, classmates and family members, which can be particularly helpful to the development of social skills in children. These social relationships can also act as a source of motivation in team members to work harder and strive for success on the field and beyond.