Team sport involves the movement of a ball or similar object in accordance with a set of rules, in order to score points. It typically requires teammates to interact directly and simultaneously in order to achieve this objective (e.g., volleyball, tennis, basketball, soccer).
Student-athletes in team sports often experience high levels of social interaction and achievement, which are important for youth development. These experiences can promote positive development through social interactions, goal setting and supportive relationships with peers and coaches (Bruner, Eys, & Turnnidge, 2013; Fraser-Thomas, Cote, & Deakin, 2005).
Students also develop skills that transfer to academic work. For example, the ability to communicate and cooperate with teammates can help in the classroom when dealing with group problems.
In addition, team athletes tend to build resilience and coping skills through participation in competition. This may allow them to handle stress and challenges in general life better.
Athletes who participate in team sports are more likely to graduate from high school and have higher GPAs than non-athletes. They are also less likely to be depressed.
However, the demands to compete while cooperating in team sports are greater than those in individual sports. This is because team athletes are more apt to compete for starting roles and to cooperate with teammates for success. Therefore, they might have to reconcile competition and cooperative behavior in a way that is less compatible with the cognitive representation of their sports affiliation than individual athletes.