In school we participated weekly in group activities- mostly because of the group sizes and it making sense to plan each PE session as a group sport but actually group sports equips you with additional skills and challenges that you simply don’t get from an aerobics class or athletics. When we leave school, the only hope of continuing with some kind of physical activity (if of course your job doesn’t entail you to be frequently active) is to go it alone or sign up to a gym (handy if motivation is an issue), yet I think many of us neglect to continue in group sports we actually enjoyed in school, for whatever reason. So for this month’s’ fitness feature we want to encourage you to get back into it and we hope to entice you with the benefits of doing so.
One of the many benefits to participating in group sports is an opportunity to meet new and like minded individuals. Taking part in a team will automatically give you something in common and therefore an aspect to build relationships. As we get older, it is increasingly difficult to build and maintain friendships outside of work or established groups so if you’re looking to expand your horizons in this way, signing up to a club is a great way to meet new people. If you find it difficult to strike conversations with new people, the commonality of you participating in the same group provides an easy conversation starter- you can enquire as to how they got into the sport, how long they’ve been doing it etc.
Or perhaps you’ve got friends that you currently don’t spend enough time with and don’t seem to have the opportunity to see much anymore; which is increasingly challenging for everyone with careers, family life and doing your own thing day to day too. Encouraging your friends to sign up to a new club gives you the perfect opportunity to spend time together, provide that common ground that can be lost when our lives take us on different paths and it’ll also give you the chance to tick the box on physical activity too.
As highlighted, group sports can equip you and help develop some essential skills that can benefit you in your career and personal life. You can benefit from developing the following skills from participating in group sports:
- Communication skills– You can develop these skills by helping build up and motivate the team, console when needed to, help direct strategies and simply contribute to game play. In addition it’ll give you practice in speaking up if you find this quite challenging.
- Ability to work within a team-teamwork isn’t just about working together towards a mutual end goal but it helps you to be more social and involved which is always a plus point for career development.
- Build confidence– Whether it’s just taking part or winning, speaking up and contributing to the team as well as putting yourself out there, it is all incredibly rewarding
- Dedication– When you sign up to a team sport you make a commitment to the coach, team and fans to be there and try your best. That kind of dedication really shines
- Ability to perform under pressure-When in the throes of a game, even with some direction, you’ll be required to think on your feet and take charge of the situation
- Contribute to problem solving– In strategy talks, in the midst of the game, there will be times when you can and should contribute to the direction of the game.
- Develop leadership skills-even if the workplace isn’t offering you the opportunity to put your leadership skills to the test, taking part in a team certainly will; it may be during strategy meetings, planning social events and/or in the middle of the game when you need to change tactic.
All of these skills can be acquired and honed from participating in group sports and will benefit you in any walk of life. All of which can be added to your CV under skills and hobbies; potential employers are just as interested in what you do in your personal time as what you can contribute professionally. These skills may not easily present themselves in your work history but can be inserted here.
Team sports often entails participating in competitions either in practice with each other breaking into smaller groups or challenging another local team. We can, as we get older, shy away from competition but it comes with it’s own set of benefits and additional skills we can develop.
In ourselves we develop our sense of self confidence because we become integral to a coordinated effort to succeed; we become motivated on this fact because we feel a sense of kinship to our teammates to turn up to practice and the match to do the very best we can. With the competition on our mind and the win mindset we become more willing to take risks- another barrier in adulthood.
As for a group; we build on that sense comradery and win or lose you generally console or celebrate as a group. It’s a pretty empowering phenomenon. In addition, the sense of competition gives you a mutual goal to face and work towards and for those that thrive on competition it’s a whole other dimension of fun.
Unlike an aerobic or gym class where you have to push yourself to be there, when you participate in a team sport you can find motivation to get up and active in the fact the team is expectant on your being there.
In addition to motivation, as the majority of group sports will qualify as aerobic activity you can benefit from promoting a healthy heart by challenging your heart rate, cholesterol and blood pressure; give your lungs a rigorous workout dispelling phlegm and improving your breathing and you’ll expel additional toxins trapped in stagnant muscles and train them in the process too. You’ll also improve your brain function through coordination and tactical decision making which helps in preventing dementia and the confidence you’ll gain will help reduce stress and anxiety; the improvement in metabolic rate will also contribute to relieving stress and anxiety but also helps in weight management by burning calories and shedding body fat.
If you’re inspired, why not try something new or find passion again in something you enjoyed-
Find a new group:
- Water Polo
- Be inspired and look to the NHS Change for Life site for guidance.