When you were a youngster did you crave to become part of the sports team? Were you desperate to be part of a group? At school and college being part of a team seems to be more important than a lot of other things – but why?
Even now you may be the same. You may love going to your exercises classes instead of working out alone or joining certain sport and activity clubs to get a sense of belonging and acceptance.
From a psychological perspective, the benefits of playing in team sports are varied and have an enormous impact on our lives. From being part of a football team at school to swimming clubs, cheerleading and everything in-between we are going to delve into the interesting world of the ‘team’ in sports and psychology.
Let’s find out about the benefits of playing in team sports and why it’s so important to us.
Why do we join teams in the first place?
It’s important to uncover why, as humans we feel the need to join teams (especially sports teams) in the first place. All of the reasons below can also be considered benefits of joining teams too:
Sports teams provide members with the company of other people who have the same interest and passion for the sport. Usually this is an excellent way to gain good friends that you will retain.
Survival and security
Strength in numbers goes way back to the prehistoric ages. Our ancestors would partake in-group experiences for hunting and defence. Quite frankly you had a better chance of survival if you belonged to a hunting group as opposed to being on your own.
Affiliation and status
As humans, we enjoy a sense of ‘belonging’, our egos demand it from us that we portray a certain image and this can be on a deeper subconscious level.
Membership into various groups and sporting teams can provide individuals with certain social status, security or an enhanced reputation, especially if one is climbing the rankings.
Power and control
Power and control is actually a huge player to as why some people join sports or activity teams. Again, this is down to an evolutionary factor too.
With team sports comes the opportunity for leadership roles. Those individuals who feel they need and want to exert their power and opinions over others can have those experiences within team settings.
Being part of a team can give you more strength and power. The weaker members can be carried by the stronger members and team players have the capability to achieve more than individuals acting alone.
Being part of a team gives you support from other members of the group. Strengths can be played to and weaknesses can be accounted for. You can support each other in a team and divulge strategies to help to enhance your performance.
Are you part of a team sport? After reading the above psychological reasons do any of them ring true to you?
The 4 defining characteristics of the ‘team’
Having looked at the underlying psychological reasons and benefits of why we like to be part of sports teams it’s a good idea to also examine the characteristics of a team.
Sticking within the sports and psychology subject, the characteristics of the ‘team’ are crucial in understanding the benefits more and are usually universal to all teams and group activity clubs.
For a member of the sports or activity team, to some degree, they must rely on the outputs of other members of the team in order to achieve or fail. This can be a reason why people choose team sports over individual sports.
Team activity provides the perfect opportunity for plenty of social interaction. In order to accomplish the goal of team it will require some form of verbal or nonverbal communication.
This may involve before and during the team sport. Team sports are a great way to enhance your team playing and social skills.
Perception of a group
It might sound like it’s stating the obvious a little bit but your perception of your team matters too. You will all need to accept you are part of a group and this means not passing judgement on anyone else.
You are all in it to win it and have to work together.
Commonality of purpose
All the members of the team will come together to serve or attain a common goal. This may take lots of planning and strategy before, during and after the event.
Maybe you have always stuck with team sports or maybe you have always enjoyed the individual adventures within the sporting realm.
Either way, after reading the above hopefully it’s expanded your mind a little when it comes to team sports and psychology.
It’s a fascinating subject really and one, which can be traced right back to our ancestors and basic human instinct.