Team sport helps kids develop social skills, leadership and resilience.
Research suggests that kids who participate in team sports are better able to deal with stress, anxiety and depression than those who play individual sports. It’s not entirely clear why that is.
Students who participate in team sports are also more likely to be athletically healthy and physically active, said Dr. Erin Moix Grieb, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Stanford Children’s Health in California.
They’re also more likely to be involved with mentorship opportunities, such as playing with older athletes and coaches, she says. These mentors help kids learn to work together, accept and respect one another’s differences, and handle challenges constructively, she explained.
It’s important to note, though, that not all team sports are the same. There are some that have a different objective than traditional team sports, such as mountaineering, which doesn’t require teammates to pass or assist each other in moving a piece of equipment (like a rock or a rucksack) through a set of rules in order to score points.
In general, though, team sports demand more cooperation than do individual sports. Often, team athletes compete to get a starting position on the field or court and are expected to cooperate in coordinating their activities for performance success.