When considering whether team-based vs. individual sports is better for you in high school, you have to consider a few factors as well as the scenario you are in.
You’re a stellar athlete and have demonstrated the capability to perform within a team dynamic as well as the lone star in a sport without any teammates.
Are you a team player or do you prefer to go solo?
You’ve experienced the shared highs and lows of success and failure that comes with playing for example basketball, football, hockey, volleyball, baseball or soccer.
Alternatively, you have known the agony of defeat with no shoulder to cry on while also tasting the sweet taste of victory holding your own within a sport like track and field, swimming, golf, tennis, or martial arts/wrestling.
Of course, then there are those who play team sports and are just the ball hogging, “I came to get mine”, self-centered types. We will write about you all another time.
Outside of your athletic, academic and social life challenges, at the onset of a new school year or season, the question of whether participating in team-based sports or individual sports is of personal opinion and preference.
So how can you decide which one is better for you?
Your Love & Passion For The Game
Do you remember the last time you played a particular sport and barring all the challenges you have as a high school athlete, it made you feel like a kid again?
How about the last time you enjoyed playing so much that time came and went so fast like your 9pm curfew?
With your mom calling down your cell phone, dinner time couldn’t get you off the field, the court, the ice or the field of play.
At the end of the day, the choice in sports you play shouldn’t necessarily always be dictated by how many of your friends play it or how good you think you are at it vs. how good you actually are at it. Your number one goal in playing any sport of choice is to measure how much fun you are having at it.
For everyone, the amount of fun differs from sport to sport. However, aside from the passion and shear fun exhibited when playing the game you love, ensure that your precious time consumed with any sport is not due to social pressures or by having to prove yourself in any way.
Your Personality & Temperament
Sometimes who you are is who you are, no matter what game is at hand.
In the case of individual sports, some of you would rather glory in your own victories knowing that no teammate provided any assistance. Consequently, you are still able to handle defeat and have it land square on your shoulders without your peers by your side.
Heck, you may even prefer more of a customizable approach where your coach only trains you while giving you all the attention you deserve to maximize your performance output.
Yes, you acknowledge the social skills that can be gained through team-based sports, but you are willing to forgo that for something more personal.
In the case of team-based sports, those who see teamwork being the most important trait beyond all else may see the above as selfish behavior. You would rather have others bare witness to your greatness while still benefiting from the support system provided in bitter defeat. Sport to you is considered within a social dynamic and a sense of pride comes from belonging to a community.
But those who value individual initiative, personal freedom and exclusivity will think the opposite. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
You Been There and Done That
Sometimes many of us learn what is best for us by trying it out and determining from there if it is for them, no matter the social consequence or reward.
And at times, desiring to try something different is enough of a reason to move forward with a change of heart.
- Maybe you tried team-based sports and figured you weren’t cut out for it because you didn’t fit in (physically, socially, or from an amusement perspective)
- Perhaps out of rejection (i.e. not fitting in, not making the team, etc) you turned against team-based sports and sought to cut out your own path in individual sports
- It may be that you miss the shared experiences and team dynamic only experienced through team sports
- Or lastly, you figure the skills developed in one sport are easily transferable to another sport, which should improve your chances for success
For whatever the reason, one can rule out what doesn’t work for them by simply trying something out and making the necessary adjustments that suit their new and confirmed tastes.
Who’s Your Competition?
In team-based sports, merely by looking at the other opponent, it is clear who your competition is. Although you have individual statistics married with team statistics, the element of “I” in team is meaningless in team-based sports and what matters most is simply adding another capital “W” in your win column.
Even once you are at the top, there is no real opportunity to compete against yourself because you are already the best.
Depending on how you look at it, this is not the case with some individual sports where personal records hold more value than your bloated stats sheet at the end of a game for a team-based sport. In individual sports, you are valuing yourself based on your performance against someone else, which is more of a direct comparison.
And even if you do win or finish in first place, you can still aim to beat you’re personal best and gain more satisfaction with this accomplishment.
Think Michael Phelps, the Olympian swimmer who not only won the Gold medal countless times but has made efforts to conquer his personal best times, which eventually lead to breaking the world record.
Accessibility and Budget
A key consideration for any young athlete has to be how accessible the sport is and whether they can afford to play and continue playing the sport.
Let’s face it, when factoring in travel, equipment and other related fees, some team-based sports are expensive. And what’s worst, to play a pickup game of your favorite team-based sport, you may have to coordinate everything in order for everyone to show up as if you were an executive assistant for a Fortune 500 company.
In saying this, although it may be relatively easier to take yourself to the sporting arena/environment for an individual sport, depending on your level of competitiveness, the coaching and development costs associated with such sports can be even higher.
Other considerations include:
- You or your star player on the team-based sport you play has moved away to a new town or different, making the transition to an individual sport much easier.
- Budget cuts in overall sports over the last 5 years have been rampant, so maybe your favorite coach can’t afford to volunteer his time anymore causing a shift in the sport you choose to play.
Team-Based vs. Individual Sports
At the end of the day, chose a sport that you have fun with first and foremost, that suits your personality type naturally along with what makes you feel the most rewarded and is easily accessible while affordable.
This will ensure that you maximize your ability both on and off the field of play as a high school student athlete.
So if you are a high school student athlete, know of someone who is or are a parent or teacher, sign up as a member for our website beta launch, which will provide the following benefits:
- Classlete Sports Card – Customize your own personalized online Classlete Sports Card that highlights your academic, athletic and community service accomplishments, which you can upload and share with your friends on social media.
- User Profile – Create your own User Profile with your pictures, videos and stats while showcasing your academic, athletic and community service accomplishments.
- Track Your Accomplishments – Track your athletic, academic and community service accomplishments by recording your Stats, GPA and Volunteer Community Hours and sharing them within the Classlete community.
- Exclusive Content – Access to our Classlete Podcast, latest video interviews along with our blogs for advice on recruitment, academic help, nutrition, training, fashion, video games and more.
- Get Connected – Connect or follow your friends and teammates while keeping an eye on your high school rival.
- Earn Classlete Points and Badges – Be rewarded with our Classlete Points and Badges for completing key tasks on Classlete.com with a chance to later win prizes and other membership perks.
- Save and Work Smart With Our Resources Page – Take advantage of the best apps, tools, products and services that will help you as a high school athlete be above your class both on and off the field of play.
Join us on this journey as we are committed to supporting and helping high school athletes become the top of their class both on and off the field.
-The Classlete Team