Why Do We Play Team Sports?

Many people play team sports informally: the occasional game of football or volleyball, for example. Others are members of an amateur or professional team that meets regularly to practise and to compete against other teams. Whatever level team sports are played at, they offer the motivation of being part of a team and the excitement of competition, as well as the health benefits of exercise.

A regular arrangement to play a team sport such as football provides an opportunity for the individual to benefit on physical, mental and social levels. Physical benefits can include improvements to aerobic fitness, muscle strength and co-ordination. At the same time, an individual can enjoy the sense of team spirit, loyalty and support that being part of a team confers.

Most people first take part in team sports while they are at school – such activities usually form an important part of the curriculum. It is also common for children to be members of teams that meet after school, or to join local sports clubs’ teams.

Team sports consist of two groups of three or more players competing against each other to win the highest number of points, ‘goals’ or ‘runs’ in a game.

Most teams, especially if they play and compete regularly, have a captain who is responsible for organizing and leading the team. The coach determines playing positions, tactics and game strategy and is also responsible for maximizing the team’s skills and overall fitness.

Participation in a team sport at any level brings numerous benefits in terms of overall physical and mental wellbeing. A weekly game of football, for example, can provide the participant with regular activity (in a sociable atmosphere) that incorporates aerobic and bone-building exercise and requires the player to develop coordination, precision, tactical thinking and teamwork.

Participation in a team sport makes various demands on the individual – for example, a commitment to train regularly in order to keep up with other team members. This aspect, as well as others such as age limits, health benefits and risks, should be taken into account when choosing which type of team sport to pursue.

Some team sports, such as football, hockey and netball, are invasion games. Others, such as baseball and cricket, are striking and fielding games. Net team games include volleyball, and target games include activities such as archery and bowls.

Health Benefits of Team Sports

There are many physical, psychological and social benefits of participating in team sports. Regular exercise, through training and competing, is generally beneficial for an individual’s overall health.

Playing with other people on the same team, means working in unison for the good of the team. In many team sports, such as football, each player has specific responsibilities, such as attacking or defending. The aim of a good team is to draw upon each member’s skills and strengths in order to function effectively as a whole. This promotes team spirit and a sense of loyalty that can make the individual feel needed and supported. Many people who regularly take part in team sports also enjoy the social aspect of such activities.

A training session or a match is an opportunity not only to hone skills or to revel in the excitement of competition, but to socialize with others who share a common interest.