Maybe the closest involvement you have in a team sport is getting everyone over to watch the AFL Grand Final or the Australian cricket team thrash the English team in the Ashes and spicing things up by having a bet on the outcome. Some adults resist participating in team sports because they associate them with bad memories from their school days or think of it as something only school kids or professional sports players do.
Of course, there are some solo sports where you need an opponent to play. For example, racket sports like tennis and badminton can only be played against someone else. If you choose to play doubles, these sports also have a team element to them and in a way they can be a happy medium, giving you that taste of team spirit but allowing you to focus on your own personal fitness goals.
The pros and cons of exercising alone or as part of a team
- If you exercise by yourself, then there’s no need to fit around anyone else’s schedule. If you want to go for a run at 6am, it’s not going to impact on anyone else and there’s no-one you need to co-ordinate with. And when you feel like a swim session after a busy day at work – all you need is to check the local swimming pool opening times, and not who else is available to join you.
- One big advantage in playing team sports is that by deciding to take part, you commit yourself to going to practice and turning up for matches. And when you lack self-discipline, this commitment to other people when you play sport can be very useful. Whereas you might not bother going to the gym as bailing is only going to affect you, if you feel like you’re letting team-mates down by not showing up at practice, then you’ll probably honour the commitment.
- Some people prefer to set their own targets and limits when it comes to exercise and often, with a team sport, you’re less in control. Maybe you’re not keen on doing what a coach tells you to – perhaps they’d want to push you out of your comfort zone. Other people might respond really well to external influences like pleasing the coach and contributing to a team’s overall success. It really depends on your personality and what you want to get out of your sport.
- Of course, there’s a big social side to playing a team sport. Joining a hockey, basketball or soccer team can lead to all kinds of social events that take place when the practice or match is over; and it can be a great way to meet new people.
At the end of the day, how you get your exercise is unimportant, as long as you do something active on a regular basis, and you enjoy whatever you do.