How to Remain Interested in Team Sports
Team sports are incredibly different compared to individual sports. You rely on each other’s skills in order to succeed. The mental side of sports is important in this because every player brings different abilities to the team and needs to be able to focus on said abilities to win games. There has been more emphasis on the idea of a “group of individuals” regarding team sports. This idea is meant to show the importance of focusing on yourself, with the purpose of helping your team win. For example, when you get benched, you should not just be cheering for your teammates, you should be working hard to improve in order to get your starting position back. Playing a team sport means playing to the best of your ability whilst encouraging your teammates to do the same.
There has been research into how your mental state can affect the rest of the team when playing. If you give up before the game is finished, it can make the rest of your team feel like there is no point trying anymore. It is important to approach each game with the mindset of winning. It can be tough for any athlete when they feel like everyone is better than they are, but this is when it pays off to have a mindset of persevering.
Being able to focus on yourself and detect your areas for improvement will ultimately make you a better player. The less you focus on everyone else, the more time you can spend on yourself and your play. The point is, playing on a team means every player is needed to win, and thinking about your own game will make you a better player and keep your interest and love for team sports alive.
For example, Tess has been playing lacrosse for years and has enjoyed it. But, after seeing her teammates and opponents play, she no longer feels good enough and is starting to lose interest in playing altogether. It is important for Tess to focus on herself and the way she plays instead of everyone else. It could also be beneficial for Tess to remember why she began playing lacrosse in the first place, as she must have enjoyed the team aspect of it at some point.
This is called self-efficacy and it is one’s belief in their ability to succeed in a specific situation. It is very useful in sports and how you approach the game mentally. People who have low self-efficacy tend to lose confidence in personal abilities quickly, focus on failures and believe they cannot complete challenging tasks. To improve your self-efficacy, you should believe in your abilities and this in turn will help you to continue improving.
Reflecting on your areas for improvement and actively working on them will help you become a better player. If you choose to focus on yourself, then you will realise that playing in a team is enjoyable—just like it was when you first started.
Anyone who has played sports for a while would experience setbacks and difficulties, from coaches, teammates and even yourself. Reflecting on your weaknesses and what you can do to improve will be much more beneficial than thinking about the ability of those around you, whether they are your teammates or opponents.
Believe Perform. (2014, June 12). The “Me” in team. BelievePerform - the UK’s Leading Sports Psychology Website. https://believeperform.com/the-me-in-team/
Bandura, A. (1995). Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge University Press.
Cherry, K. (2020). How Self Efficacy Helps You Achieve Your Goals. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-efficacy-2795954#citation-2