There are many of us who might think we’re crazy about sport. We love watching the football, we can’t wait for Wimbledon to come around again and we’re already counting down to Rio’s Olympics in 2016.
However, there’s a big difference between loving sport and loving taking part in sport. While you might be really into the Premier League, and you might get passionate about Andy Murray’s chances of winning another Grand Slam (he is 11/1 in the betting for the French Open at the time of writing), it’s not quite the same as playing sport yourself.
For many people who like to spectate rather than participate, the stumbling block is the fact that they don’t enjoy exercising by themselves. One easy way to get around this hurdle is to choose to play a team sport, and there are plenty of good reasons for taking up a team sport at any stage of life.
Meet some new faces
If you’ve just moved to a new town, or simply want to widen your social circle, then playing a team sport is a great way to meet people. There’s always a strong sense of camaraderie in a team and it’s likely that you’ll meet people who have similar interests to you – you have sport in common for a start! Lots of social occasions are centred around practice times and match fixtures, so there’ll be opportunities to enjoy the team’s company from the sports pitch, too.
— B52 | _CharlieSwift (@Bristol52) February 28, 2015
Get in your weekly exercise quota
Government advice in the UK currently suggests that we should all do at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. The easiest way to do this is to exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week. While it might be a tall order to motivate yourself to do that alone, if you play a team sport such as netball, football or hockey, a couple of practice sessions and a game a week could mean that while you’re doing something you enjoy you could easily cover the majority of that recommended exercise time.
A chance to de-stress
If you have high stress levels, then exercise can help you reduce them. Competitive team sports help to encourage your body to shed excess amounts of adrenaline that you have in your system from stressful encounters during the day at work where there’s no outlet for it. Releasing adrenaline can make you feel more relaxed and calm. Added to this, when you engage in vigorous physical activity, your body releases endorphins which are mood-enhancing hormones that lift your spirits.
Enhanced communication skills
When you’re playing a sport as a member of a team, you need to be able to communicate well with other players in order for the team to be successful. This can have knock-on effects in the world of work. Indeed, you may find that your communication skills improve when you take up a team sport. However, the language you use on the pitch may not be appropriate in a work situation!
You may also find that you have to take some constructive criticism from your coach when playing a team sport. As it’s usually an informal environment, you may find it easier to accept helpful feedback on a sports field than you do at work or from your family. And you’ll also probably be able to use the feedback in other areas of your life.
An incentive to increase your fitness levels
While you might be keen to take up football or another team sport, you may not feel ‘match fit’ right now. But don’t let that stop you signing up to play as part of a team. On the days that you’re not playing with the team or working on skills together, make use of the time to increase your fitness through other exercise like swimming, gym sessions or taking part in a cardio fitness class. Improved physical fitness will mean you become an even better team player.