Sports have been proven to provide young kids and teens with a few essential benefits, ranging from improved academic performance to confidence. Apart from that, kids can pick up invaluable lessons from the playing field which they can use outside of it as well.
This is why parents should encourage their children to try different sports and participate in the ones they enjoy.
But which particular sport should your youngster engage in? One specific consideration to take into account is whether he should choose individual or team sports. Both types of sports offer benefits, though there are important differences that both of you should be aware of.
Team vs. individual sports: the benefits
In team sports, teamwork takes priority over individual performance. A team composed of talented individuals can face stiff competition from a group of competitors who may lack athletic gifts but know how to play off each other’s strengths.
That means that even if one player is having a tough time on the field, the others can take up the slack. In fact, studies show that the performance of individual members of a team is vastly improved when playing with a group.
In short, if you wish for your child the values of cooperation, communication, and teamwork, team sports may be the better route for him to take.
On the other hand, if you want your child to develop resilience, self-motivation, and mental toughness, individual sports is the way to go.
In individual sports, a competitor cannot hide behind the abilities of teammates; your child gets back what she puts in. If she embraces the grind of practice and training, she is more likely to emerge with a victory.
Beyond this, individual sports can offer competitors a sense of accomplishment and mastery of self. Furthermore, training and competing alone can imbue your child with a sense of independence.
Of course, there is nothing stopping you from registering your child for multiple sports to glean all of these benefits either.
Team vs. individual sports: challenges
Although individual talent and ability are usually subsumed by teamwork and cooperation in team sports, it can be frustrating for an individual to carry much of the group’s workload. This is evident in teams where the level of skill and work ethic vary vastly from one individual to another.
Chemistry can also be one challenge that you and your child need to be aware of. Simply put, your child will need to play with teammates, whether she likes them or not. Plus, it is not unusual for cliques to form from larger groups, often making some team members feel left out.
In individual sports, success and failure rely heavily on the individual athlete. And sometimes, for the novice athlete, a loss can be severely disheartening.
Training can also be monotonous or lonely in individual sports, though participating with a sports academy often provides teammates who may cheer you on to push further.
Other factors to consider
Aside from looking at the benefits and challenges of team and individual sports, there are a few factors that you need to take into account before enrolling your child for sports lessons.
First, you need to be aware of the physical demands of the sport that your child wants to try. Some types of sports have requirements based on physical attributes like height, strength, and endurance. Consult with a coach to know whether a particular sport matches your kid’s attributes.
Whether your child shows an inclination toward an individual or team sport, you need to take into account his level of emotional maturity. Apart from the actual demands of the sport, you also need to take into account the required emotional maturity for practice and competition.
Finally, make sure that your child’s physician gives you his approval, especially if your young one has a condition or disability.
After making a choice
Once your child has chosen a particular sport, check up on her from time to time. Specifically, ask her about practice and performance, and what she feels about her coaches and teammates.
Sometimes, kids may want to switch sports or quit altogether. Make sure that she knows you are behind her decision should she elect to discontinue the sport she is currently playing after exploring all possibilities.
Possessing more than two decades of experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, Tony Kouris joined Zayed Sports City as General Manager in January 2018. With extensive career experience, a value on interpersonal relationships, and strong negotiating experience, he is positioned to support Zayed Sports City’s strategic growth and continue to innovate the site as an internationally recognised sport and entertainment destination.