The Benefits of Team Sport for Girls
Team sport involves a group of individuals playing against another team of individuals according to a set of rules. The nature of these games often makes it impossible or impractical for the individual participants to execute them without one another’s support (Gould & Voelker, 2019). The vast majority of youth and adults who engage in recreational team sport do so because they believe that it will contribute to their overall well-being by fostering the development of specific skills, including leadership.
Aside from the obvious social elements of team sport, it also promotes the development of “life skills” – qualities that are transferable across a variety of environments, including school, home and the workforce (Wolfe, 2009). These include: communication; confidence; connections; character; and care (also known as the Five Cs).
Teams are able to foster good sportsmanship and put winning into perspective by sharing the burden of failure and success with their teammates. This teaches them to appreciate the contribution that each person can make and help the team succeed. It also enables them to be more understanding, forgiving and upbeat when faced with defeat.
Participation in team sport has also been linked to higher life satisfaction, better coping with stress, higher grades at school and lower risk-taking behaviours such as drug abuse (Smith et al., 2014). However, studies have shown that there are barriers to girls’ participation in team sport, such as gender-based factors and lack of intervention strategies.