Athletes learn lessons through both team and individual sports

By J1 Reporter Elsa Jurrens

Through sports, kids are able to be physically active, build good character, feel a sense of accomplishment and community, learn to respect other players and coaches, and most importantly, build their confidence. 

       Sports can be categorized into two different sectors: individual and team. Team sports are the complete opposite. They focus on working with others and finding ways to succeed as a group relying on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Examples of team sports include basketball, volleyball, and softball. 

Individual sports focus on self dedication and training in order to succeed. The player only has themself to rely on. Some common individual sports are swimming, track, and tennis. 

      Junior Cecilia Regan has been playing on the Marian Varsity tennis team since she was a freshman. Though she has been playing competitive tennis for as long as she can remember, she has participated in a fair amount of other team sports growing up. For her, tennis is definitely an individual sport. “When I’m on the tennis court, there is nobody else out there pushing me but myself, whereas playing with a team, you have a coach and separate players pushing you to succeed,” Regan said.

  The self motivation of individual sports can be an advantage and a disadvantage. Being dependent on yourself means it’s up to the individual player whether they win or lose. “ Winning is like a high, knowing it was all and only you that won. Losing is the complete opposite, it feels as if you have hit rock bottom because you know it’s no one but your fault,”Regan said.

Carrying all the mental baggage of playing an individual sport can be mentally taxing for one person. “I know other girls that get so nervous before matches, that they puke and completely deconstruct themselves while they play,” Regan said. Players who participate in individual sports truly take the idea of mind over matter to a whole new level. 

In 2021, more than 60% of youth participated in a team sport. Junior Emma Humpal is part of this vast percentage. Humpal has grown up playing softball, and has been playing on Marian’s softball team since she was a freshman. “Softball is a team effort. Not only one person wins and loses the game for everyone,” Humpal said. Softball, like other team sports, teaches youth to put others before themselves. Kids who play team sports are more likely to be understanding and patient with one another.  

For most, especially high school students, team sports are simply more fun. Many teens enjoy playing with their friends. The vast number of people who play team sports can be a disadvantage though. Injuries are far more likely in a team sport. So many players moving around the field or court spikes up the chances of getting hurt. 

Players on team sports can also be pitted against each other. Members of a team can compete to earn awards or spots on the team. “Drama and competitiveness to be a top player is super apparent,” Humpal said. 

Overall, when it comes down to team versus individual sports, both sides win. Both types of sports teach kids valuable lessons that will help them succeed throughout life.

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