As adults, we comprehend how frustrating it can be professionally to have a fellow team member who is anything but interested in working together as a cohesive team. While we can try our best to explain teamwork to our kids, it’s a skill that must be developed from firsthand experience. What better way to do that than by participating in team sports?
Everyone Has a Role to Play
Being part of a team sport doesn’t require you to be the star player, because every team member is a valuable piece of the puzzle. If one piece is missing, the picture just doesn’t look right. Even if your student plays a solo sport, they still learn team building skills along the way. For example, seemingly independent racecar drivers require a skilled pit crew to ensure they stay in the running. While the pit crew might not be driving the laps, no laps would be made without their invaluable skillset. Or gymnasts might compete solo, but they also have teammates all around. This means that one minute they are competing against someone from their gym, and the next — they are teammates. In other words, your student athlete need not be first string or an all-star to learn to function as part of a team.
While there are team-building opportunities in the classroom, most group projects require working together for only a day, week or, at most, a month. Even in PE, your teams are day-to-day. By participating in athletics, you become part of a group that works together for an entire season. This requires an initial phase, in which everyone gets to know one another and how to work together. Eventually, you learn one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and you build trust that your team will have your back.
Leadership Skills Can Be Developed From Within a Team
Coaches and student captains lead athletic teams. However, practice will require students to alternate running drills, leading stretches or assisting the coach as directed. A good coach will alternate leadership responsibilities during practice. While some students won’t be comfortable leading, others will rise to the occasion — and it’s not just the star players who make great leaders. Everyone has a valuable spot on the team.
The Downside of Hogging the Spotlight
Another life lesson that is best learned firsthand is the downside of hogging the spotlight. As student athletes excel, some will struggle to remain humble. We’ve all seen a movie where a star basketball player hogs the ball and upsets the rest of the team. Before they know it, their team falls apart and they have no one to back them up when they make a play. This is a tough lesson to learn and a difficult one for a proud parent to watch — but an invaluable learning opportunity.
At Competitive Edge we are dedicated to providing students with a balanced athletic experience. We personalize training while developing team-building skills. To learn more about our supportive approach to athletics, reach out to us today!