As your children head to school for the first time (or back to school), they'll be bombarded with the huge range of extra-curricular sports from which to pick. There'll be basketball to tennis, swimming to soccer, softball to athletics and everything in between; it can be a little overwhelming for you and for them when trying to make a choice—especially between team and individual sports.
So how do you help choose the right one for your kids? Today, we take a closer look at what you can discuss when you sit down with them and decide.
Solo vs team sports for kids – Understanding individual sports
Solo sports are one of the best ways to educate your child about responsibility, persistence and the benefits of hard work. They can undertake training when it suits them, without the sometimes tricky task of gathering an entire team. This type of sport is very black and white; your child can easily track their improvement and are valuing themselves based on their personal performance against a competitor.
However, this can also lead to a greater sense of failure when they experience a loss. The ability to pick themselves back up and keep trying after a knock is an important character trait, and one that you can successfully instilled through an individual sport. If your child is competitive and keen to improve upon their own natural abilities, suggest a solo sport to them.Example – Trampolining
- Trampolining is a form of gymnastics on a springy trampoline base, which encourages flexibility, coordination and strength.
- Individual competitors must dedicate themselves to learning various acrobatic manoeuvres in a safe and technically correct fashion.
- This sport is an exercise in technical perfection, and instills a strong sense of work ethic and persistence in its competitors
- Trampolining is a perfect option for children who enjoy learning tricks, increasing their flexibility and who aren’t afraid of consistent individual practise.
Solo vs team sports for kids – Understanding team sports
Unlike individual sports, the ‘me’ in a team sport means much less. You are one of many, and individual glory is much less important than the team’s success as a whole. Team sports encourage a greater sense of belonging and community, a fantastic way to make your child feel a part of something special. One of the upsides of a team sport is that if one player is having an off day, the team will not necessarily fail because of it. Working as part of a team encourages children to quickly move on from their individual mistakes.
However, the actions of others can—in some cases—affect the team as a whole. This can be particularly frustrating if your child is attending all training sessions, showing up to games on time, and other team members aren’t showing the same commitment. Team sports are an exercise in cooperation and social skills, and can be equally beneficial for children who are introverted or lack experience working within a group or those who thrive in that environment.Example – Soccer
- Soccer is a field sport which involves two teams, a soccer ball and two sets of goals.
- Members of a soccer team mustn’t be egotistical, as team work and a constant sharing of the ball is necessary for success. Consistent training as a group is also a necessity.
- Soccer is an exercise in skill, strategy and the utilisation of each individual’s strengths, which teaches players the importance of working as team.
- Soccer is a great option for children who enjoy socialising and are committed to being a valuable member of a community.
Which sports will your child or children be undertaking this year? Are they drawn to individual sports, or are they insistent on being part of a team?