This is the Benefit of Individual Sports. When sports parents, coaches, and league leaders talk about “youth sports”, they usually refer to team sports such as baseball, soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, and so on. Obviously, one of the greatest benefits of participating in a team sport is that a youth athlete learns to be part of a team.
Some sports parents and coaches might argue that the benefit is lost if a child gets involved in individual sports (karate, tennis, golf, swimming, etc.). But if your child is more interested in an individual sport than a team sport, don’t despair! Team sports aren’t for everyone, and there are plenty of great things individual sports can teach young athletes!4 Positive Benefits of Individual Sports
1. Learn to be self-reliant.
While it’s great to have a team behind you to pick you up/help you, it’s also important to learn how to stand alone for two weeks. In an individual sport, a youth athlete’s ultimate success comes down to them and them alone. If something goes wrong, they can’t put the blame on a teammate, but on the other hand, they get all the credit if they win. Individual sports teach young players that they are solely responsible for their actions.
2. Feel comfortable being in the spotlight.
During a singles tennis match, all eyes are on the two players. Like it or not, everyone is watching you and it’s hard to hide in the background when you’re the only one around! Not everyone is born with a love for the spotlight, but individual sports can teach young athletes how to feel comfortable being the center of attention. This skill comes in handy during school and (distant) business presentations!4 Positive Benefits of Individual Sports
3. Motivation must come from within.
Obviously, individual athletes still have a coach and eager parents, but ultimately those youth athletes have to be the ones pushing themselves to perform. There is no teammate with you on the field/field whose energy you can feed, who can make you excited and pumped to go – it all has to come from within. Intrinsic motivation has often proven to be more powerful than an external push, and when it comes to individual sports, it’s all about internal motivation!
4. It’s okay to learn at your own pace.
Individual sports allow athletes to compete at their own pace, removing some of the pressure to “catch up.” For example, let’s say your 12-year-old wants to play hockey. Chances are, most of the other 12-year-olds in the league have been skating since they were really little. Your athlete will fall behind on the skill level of their teammates, which can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, especially if they want to impress their friends. But suppose the same 12-year-old wants to play golf — he’ll compete against people based on skill level, not necessarily age. There is much less pressure to perform right out of the gate.
Whatever sport your child wants to practice, be it a team sport or individual, we say: give it a chance! Every sport has many advantages.