Since I was able to walk, I participated in team sports. Soccer for 8 years, Basketball for 2, and now Lacrosse for about 9 years. Reflecting now on the experiences it gave me, I learned one thing: Exercising a sport you are passionate about with motivated teammates has a profound effect on you.
The commitment to two (or more) training sessions a week doesn’t sound too bad. But if you look into it – how many times have you skipped single workout sessions because you just didn’t feel like it?
With teammates that are oftentimes also your friends, it is way easier to motivate yourself. This is linked to the accountability you have towards your teammates. If you will not be there, you let down the team. While the team getting better, you are the one inhibiting the team to archive their goals because you are not. Also, lower numbers at practice mean your teammates have to run more. Do you want to be that asshole?
Communication is key. Not only in team sports but also in relationships, at work or for your business. Being able to convey what you intend to say is an art and team sport trains you hone it.
Challenging situations on the field, motivating others, explaining plays, teaching newer players – all this makes you a better communicator. In sports and life.
Deal with challenging individuals
Not everybody on the team will be your best friend. There might be rivalries or that one guy you just don’t like. But you will have to deal with that person because you are on the same team – (Hopefully) having the same goals.
This goes a long way. In university, work or other areas of life you will also be on teams with challenging individuals. But when you have been on various teams before, you will know better how to deal with them.
Stories for a lifetime
Whether it’s that one crazy game in the rain, where you scored that winning goal that you will always remember. Or that train ride back home after winning the cup. Or that bitter loss that the team and you had to go through. Or the friends you made playing the sport you love. Or the training camp where you went with the team into the public swimming pool at night.
One thing is for sure – team sports make for life-time stories. Compare that to just going to the gym alone – will you remember that one time you pressed 100kg? I doubt it.
If you are new on a team, chances are your teammates are better than you. This will result in you being judged. In Lacrosse, for example, it is very obvious if someone is not on the team level yet, because he drops many passes. While most of your teammates will understand, there will be some who will judge you.
If that happens you can do one of two things – either just accept the judgment and do nothing or use that as fuel to work on your skills.
At the beginning of 2013, my coach at that time asked me to participate in the first team practice of the Hamburg Warriors. I was surprised by the increase in speed in the practice session. Consequently, I experienced the judgment for dropping balls because it slows down the speed of drills. Yet, it motivated me to work on my stick skills consistently. Result: In 2016 we won the German Championship together.
Hope this motivates you to try out or being more committed towards a team sport 🙂