Team Sport and Positive Life Prospects for Girls

A team sport is an activity in which individuals on the same team compete against each other, and where it is necessary to work together. For example, if someone plays tennis they will not be successful competing against a single opponent without the help of their teammates. These types of sports require a lot of teamwork and coordination to play, and many people enjoy participating in them.

There are a wide variety of team sports, from football and rugby to basketball and water polo. Each one offers its own unique set of pedagogical benefits for children, including confidence building, social skills development, cooperation and communication. Additionally, they all offer an excellent way for kids to burn off energy while having fun and improving their physical fitness.

Many schools encourage their students to participate in team sports as part of the curriculum. These sports have been linked to positive outcomes in life such as higher academic achievement, improved mental health and wellbeing, and reduced risk-taking behaviours such as substance abuse. In order to better understand what is involved in the positive effects of participation in team sports, researchers have been investigating how these benefits occur.

This systematic review examined the evidence on interventions which promote and evaluate team sport participation for secondary school girls in the UK. Electronic databases and grey literature were systematically searched, duplicates removed, and studies that reported, either in full or abstract, an intervention involving team sport were identified. Four studies met the inclusion criteria.

The main objective was to determine whether a relationship exists between participation in team sport and positive life prospects for young women. The findings of this review indicate that it is likely that the positive effects are due to a range of interrelated processes which may include the impact of the individual’s experiences and characteristics in their involvement with the sport, as well as the social, cultural and environmental context in which they participate.

It was found that in comparison with individual athletes, team athletes viewed cooperating and competing with teammates to be more important for their success at the sport. This is a consequence of the fact that team athletes are frequently situated in co-opetition, which requires them to cooperate and compete with their teammates while at the same time maintaining their own individual competitive edge. Furthermore, the results of two further studies indicated that team athletes who view cooperating with their teammates as a requirement for success at the sport perceive it to be more difficult to exclude cooperating from their mental representations of competition. This is because they believe that excluding cooperative experiences from their representations of competition could threaten the success of their team. The authors suggest that the findings of these studies have implications for promoting and evaluating the effectiveness of team sport as an intervention for girls in the UK. This includes considering the use of peer-leaders and friendship groups to facilitate participation in team sport, as well as incorporating the sport into the curriculum.