In the past 14 years, I’ve been lucky enough to experience the wonders of both individual and team sports. I’ve reaped the benefits of both and I would recommend for everyone to have a shot at both. But first, we have to look at the differences between the two- because there are plenty of them and they’re obvious. That being said, don’t be alarmed if you’ve only ever participated in individual sports and vice versa. You can apply your skills from one into the other, whilst also opening yourself up to learning new things.
Individual sports offer the opportunity to learn about independence and being self-reliant. They also teach you a certain type of focus that can easily be applied to other areas of life like work and academics. Generally when you’re studying you’re usually doing so on your own therefore you need a specific type of focus in order to achieve your goals for that session or that exam or test. Additionally, individual sports help you focus on yourself and only yourself without feeling the pressure of the results of the people on your own team. Your performances affect you and you alone. There’s less pressure to be up to standards with everyone else or praying you don’t make a mistake that could cost the team a game. Sure, sometimes your individual results add up points for the team, however you’re still competing on your own. You often train together as a team, but you compete as individuals and in that sense, the lines are blurred between team and individual sports. In individual sports, you play for yourself at the end of the day. You don’t have to worry about your teammates around you. You can make decisions on your own and the results primarily only affect you.
Types of individual sports: Karate and other forms of martial arts, tennis, swimming, athletics, cycling, surfing, snowboarding
In team sports, you learn how to communicate and how to work as a team. Communication is something I didn’t really need to do much of in karate. It was just me on the mat as I competed, so I didn’t exactly need to call out to my teammate asking for them to pass me the ball or that I had a particular player. Naturally, it has become something I need to work on in rugby as I’m not used to yelling around in a game. Another difference is that it’s a much more sociable environment. Usually with karate, you did a lot of things on your own. Unless you were close with other competitors or your coaches, you generally just went to training, trained and then went home. In team sports, you often spend time hanging out with your teammates, catching up on the latest gossip, having a good laugh and then having a bite to eat after training for some team bonding. Eventually, you’re not just a team, you’re a family. You have people that have your back and you help each other out. You also have the opportunity to learn from other people, and not just in the sense of the game. When you’re playing a team sport, you’re doing something that’s much bigger than yourself. Every decision you make doesn’t just affect you, it affects the whole team. Sometimes it’ll be a good result, other times it’ll be costly. But that’s just the beauty of sport, you win some, you lose some and you learn. It’s one big learning experience that can help shape the person you can become.
Types of team sports: Rugby, basketball, AFL, football, cricket, baseball, netball, hockey