Team Sports vs. Solo Sports

In the modern world, there are a number of activities that kids can take part in in order to stay fit and healthy as well as help them build character and social networks. That being said, it’s often a question as to which sports they should join and, specifically, whether they should be involved in an organized team sport or if they should do something that can be pursued solo. There are pros and cons to each, and it takes just a little work to figure out which one will be best for your kids.

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Pros of Team Sports

Team sports can be great for a kid for a number of reasons.

Perhaps the most obvious one is that it is an easy way to help them make new friends. For many kids, they make their friends at school, but for kids who don’t do well in large groups like a school environment, are home schooled, or attend a school far from their home that makes getting together with friends impractical, being involved in team sports can provide a great setting to build lasting relationships with other kids.

Team sports also focus on group-oriented lessons, the most common being the benefits of teamwork. They can build ones sense of obligation to do their job for the benefit of everybody and teach them how to support people who need it and trust that they will receive the same treatment when its their turn.

Cons of Team Sports

While team sports can be fantastic outlets for kids, there are a number of issues that make some parents consider other options.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that you can’t control the other adults. While you may be reasonable and looking to make sure your child has fun, there are far too many parents and coaches who are obsessed with winning and can become belligerent. It’s often bad enough that these people yell at their own children, but some will yell at the entire team, and even if they don’t it’s fairly common for kids to feel bad because they didn’t prevent a teammate’s parent from being upset.

Related to this issue is that its fairly common for team sports to foster an unhealthy sense of competition. Without careful coaching and parental involvement, kids may not understand that it’s just a game because a bad attitude can feed on itself and affect everyone.

Pros of Solo Sports

Solo sports are also a great option for a lot of kids. Despite the name, there are usually plenty of other people involved and they can help grow a sense of self-reliance in a child from an early age.

For example, when performing a solo sport, there is generally no measure of success other than your own ability. Kids learn very quickly that they don’t have to beat any other person’s example: they only need to improve their own skills. It’s much harder in team sports to teach kids not to compare themselves to others.

Similarly, they learn resourcefulness and find ways of getting better that doesn’t rely on other people having to train and guide them. Solo sports can be trained and worked on without having to have an organized effort.

Cons of Solo Sports

Perhaps the biggest issue with solo sports is that it takes away the comradery aspect of sporting. While they may become close with other kids who do the same thing, it’s not the same level of connection that they get from working together toward a common goal and having to rely on one another.

Further, solo sports often require a larger investment in equipment than team ones. While a football team probably has footballs available to play with, fencing rarely provides loaner swords that one can use consistently.

Which is Best?

The fact of the matter is, there is no better or worse type of sport. The trick is to listen to your child and find out the kind of sport that they want to do. Accept that they will probably change their mind a couple of times and try to find other outlets so they can learn the lessons they might otherwise miss.

Rick Mason