Team sport is one of the most popular forms of physical activity among high school students in the United States. Four of the top five most popular sports (basketball, softball/baseball, soccer and volleyball) are team sports.
A team sports’ distinctive feature is that most activities are stipulated and controlled by the rules of the game. For example, only certain positions are allowed to advance the ball in football, use of hands is forbidden in soccer except by the goalkeeper and holding the ball is not allowed in volleyball.
Another distinguishing feature is the presence of simultaneous competition and cooperation in sport teams. This combination is particularly evident in team sports, where members of the team compete for starting status and playing time but also cooperate to coordinate their activities in pursuit of performance success.
Moreover, members of a team understand that they should report to practice sessions, follow instructions from the coaches and put in strenuous effort during all training and competition periods. This enables them to establish and adhere to a group norm that translates to their everyday activities outside of the practice and competition spheres as well.
Although there are many benefits to participation in team sports, they can also present challenging developmental situations if participants do not have the proper support and encouragement from their teammates. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that youth athletes are exposed to positive and supportive environments in which they can experience both social and sport-specific development.