Anyone who plays or watches sports knows the value of a strong sense of teamwork, and instilling this quality in their children may be one of the top reasons why parents want to involve them in team sports. In addition to getting kids physically active, there are many other benefits to playing on a team.
The friendships that are formed when one plays on a team, like those formed in elementary school or summer camp, can sometimes last a lifetime. The shared experience of a particular season, with its many practices, games or meets along the way, builds a strong sense of camaraderie among teammates. This social aspect of team sports can be especially good if a child is homeschooled, but is beneficial for all children in teaching how to work with others and treat them with respect.
Playing on a team provides a great example of putting the good of others before yourself. A good teammate quickly learns that, even though you might not like a particular player off the field, you have to put your differences aside to raise each other up during a game or during practice so that the team can achieve its goals. It is through this cooperation that children can also learn leadership skills or develop their ability to manage members of a group, both valuable skills that translate well into their regular life off the field.
Often, the word “competitive” can have a negative connotation, referring to someone who is only concerned with winning or coming out on top without any concern as to who gets left behind. However, competition can actually be a good thing. It can drive young players to do their best and allows them to see the payoff to their commitment, their hours of practice and dedication to their team. This quality translates into school life, where children can then see the value of putting a good effort into a school project or studying for a test.
Being a part of a team is a great way to build up confidence, for boys and girls alike. Research has shown that children who play sports are more likely to have a positive body image than those who don’t. Additionally, receiving constructive feedback or compliments on their performance can boost self-esteem.