All For One or One For All

Team Sports vs. Individual Sports

Individual sports (shown on the left) compared to team sports (shown on the right)

Individual sports (shown on the left) compared to team sports (shown on the right)

Nicole Stone, Reporter

        It is, oftentimes, a debate between whether or not kids should be put into team sports or individual sports from a young age. Both types have different benefits and different responses. Individual sports create more freedom and independence, while team sports deal with teamwork and social skills. 

        Individual sports are believed to have various benefits. Some of these individual sports include tennis, weightlifting, golf, swimming, running/track, bowling, cycling, badminton, etc. Individual sports require certain skills and abilities.Frequently, a higher level of fitness is needed in these sports. With individual sports, people are able to do more of their own thing. These individuals aren’t relying on anyone, only themselves, therefore, they must have a great deal of internal motivation. They can improve at their own rate and can practice as often or as infrequently as they want. Individual sports allow the athletes to have their own goals as well. It is believed that individuals “compete against themselves” in these sports because they must face their own challenges, both physically and mentally. According to Dr. Emily Pluhar, Assistant Professor of  Psychology in Adolescent / Young Adult Medicine at Harvard Medical School, when athletes practice alone, they can improve their ability to concentrate and improve mental strength. While individual sports often provide less social opportunity, they encourage responsibility and self-reliance”. In this way, individual athletes are helping themselves both mentally and physically. Even though they have no one to blame but themselves when they lose a game/match, they can also relish in the victory for themselves as well. 

        On the contrary, team sports involve two or more individuals that work together to achieve a common goal to win a game or match. Team sports involve cooperation and collaboration in order to perform and achieve great things at a team’s highest potential. Some of the most common team sports include football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and many others . These sports provide participants with a great deal of external motivation from teammates who are constantly reminding and challenging their teammates to perform to their highest potential. With team sports, there is also the external motivation of having to compete against their teammates for their starting position on the team. If a certain player gets lazy or begins to underperform, then they can very easily be replaced by another one of their teammates. For young children, playing a team sport is a great way to meet new friends, learn about patience, hard work and working with others. Physician researchers from the Department of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University, found that team sport participation promotes improved social and psychological health.  For teenagers, team sports are a great way to get them more active physically, socially, and to get them away from video games and their phones while having a great time with their peers. 

        Overall, individual and team sports both have their advantages and it is really up to the individual as to which type of sport they want to play. Sports teach kids skills like time management, good sportsmanship, accepting constructive criticism, the benefits of working hard and collaborating with others. Regardless of the sport, it is very important for kids to be involved in some type of sport so that they can stay in shape and live a more healthy, active lifestyle while at the same time having a good time!