BBJ Fitness Corner | The benefits of participating in team sports

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“GROWING up, I remember participating in various sports until I fell in love with basketball,” Gold’s Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz said in an interview with Variety. “I have two young daughters and I want them exposed to sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, football, paddling, swimming, karate, and mixed martial arts.”

Young hoopsters participate in this year’s two-day BBJ Athletics Basketball Skills and Character Building Clinic at the TSL Complex.  Contributed photo

Team sports offers not only physical benefits, it is also a great way to discover and learn lifelong skills, Diaz said. “There are many ways kids can benefit from team sports so it would be great to start them young,” he added.

Team sports can help improve one’s self-esteem. On a team, everyone has a mutual goal. This is an amazing way to build relationships with peers and coaches, Diaz said. An individual’s confidence increases as he or she helps the team achieve its goal. Being part of a team also allows individuals to provide and receive compliments.

In addition, being a part of a team helps build trust. After spending countless hours with teammates, individuals begin to build a bond with each other. They learn to count on each other.

And team sports teaches one valuable lesson: life isn’t always fair.

This is a tough lesson for all individuals at any age. Sometimes, referees make unfair calls and we don’t have the power to change them. So we complain which affects our performance during the game negatively. “For those unfortunate enough to experience this heartbreaking lesson, it can be demoralizing both physically and mentally. The only best approach is to move forward, follow the plan, and continue to work hard,” Diaz said.

Team sports also develops character and teamwork. Teamwork is a skill we will use our whole life so it’s important to learn the basics early. Playing team sports allows individuals to participate in social interactions, work together to achieve goals, and build character skills such as leadership. Being part of a team allows individuals to learn and experience their strengths and find areas for development.

Experience, moreover, teaches us to control our emotions. “Sports can be super frustrating, not only for players, but for parents and coaches too. We often experience games where we can’t perform based on our self-expectations or due to other uncontrolled factors, and all this leads to frustration. But eventually we can learn to control and channel it.”

Team sports allows individuals to reach a certain level of leadership and use leadership skills in real-life situations. In team sports, players are encouraged to step up, become more confident in themselves and lead others.

In addition, team sports teaches us mental and physical discipline. We learn self-restraint, and how to behave in an appropriate way during stressful situations. Diaz said.

As we all know, there is no “I” in team, and the team includes parents, he said. Team sports can teach parents how to support their children.

“Each person on the team has their own skill and characteristics,” Diaz said. “Coaches naturally put players in positions that support their ability. This teaches players how to collaborate as part of a group and work as a team. It also teaches them to work toward something that cannot be done alone.”

Individuals, especially kids, who participate in sports are less likely to get involved in alcohol or drugs, Diaz said. Sports helps them to maintain good health.

Lastly, team sports teach that hard work pays off.

“There are no shortcuts in sports,” Diaz said, “and athletes who are successful have one thing in common: they work hard and show consistent dedication. Talent definitely plays a role in the early years, but as individuals mature, it’s the hard workers that rise to the top.”

He added, “Practicing a skill you find difficult can be boring and tiresome, but mastering it can only be reached with intense focus and work. You can’t just set goals and hope they’ll come true. There is no clear path to success. Hard work creates self-confidence, which then creates results, which boosts self-esteem.”


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