asian men playing volleyball on a beach with a tanker in the background

You may prefer the solitude of a good run but there are social and health benefits to participating in a team sport. Playing together can help with your social and mental well-being while providing a powerful way to build your fitness level and reduce stress.

Team sports such as soccer, basketball, handball, or rugby allows individuals to come together to strategise towards a common objective. In many sports, the focus is not on the individual — regardless of his skill level — but the collaborative effort of the group.

Even Lionel Messi, whom some regard as the best footballer in the world, once said: “I’m lucky to be part of a team who help me look good, and they deserve as much of the credit for my success as I do for the hard work we have all put in on the training ground.”

When you join in group exercises such as aerobics, Pilates, yoga and boot camp, it provides added motivation for you to stay active, since you will think twice about hitting that snooze button if you’re accountable to your group mates.

Related: The A-Z Guide to an Active Lifestyle

Social Benefits

Social Benefits of Team Sports 

Participating in a team sport also lets you explore the team dynamics of co-operation and interaction, and to build your communication and social skills.

For three years, Liew Huey Fen, 36, has looked forward to a game of netball on Saturday mornings, where she plays alongside people from various walks of life.

These games organised by Netball Singapore has allowed her to participate in a sport that she has enjoyed since her school days. The game has turned strangers into friends, allowing her to form bonds with other players that extend beyond the game.

Today, the teammates she met on the netball court are now friends who she regularly meets for meals and watches netball matches with.

“A team sport like netball has exposed me to diversity and helped me to communicate better. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of friends who are fun and interesting. I always look forward to the next training session,” said Huey Fen.

“In a team, everyone has different skill levels and the senior players will teach the junior players different techniques, allowing our skills to improve all the time. The chance to learn and improve together has built a strong sense of teamwork and forged bonds of friendship.”

Huey Fen found that netball has also taught her to be patient and respect others for the role they play in a team, as each player is assigned a different role in a netball game. She has also learnt to identify her strengths and how this translates into the role she plays on the team.

Mental Benefits

Mental Benefits of Team Sports 

Exercise can do wonders for your mental health, it can reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body and trigger the release of brain chemicals like endorphins which will naturally lift your mood, to make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Team sports has been proven to help improve your mental health. A study found that women who participate in sports in a social setting like clubs enjoy better mental health and life satisfaction than women who exercise at a gym or walk alone[1].

For Huey Fen, playing netball has been a helpful stress reliever.

She said: “Playing netball has given me an outlet to reduce stress and it also recharges me to face fresh challenges in other areas of my life.”

In the midst of healthy sporty competition, you will learn to think on your feet, deal with disappointment and loss, and exercise your problem-solving skills. Team sports tend to involve some strategising of gameplay which helps build cognitive efficacy.

Undoubtedly playing team sports is rewarding and will leave you feeling stronger physically, emotionally and mentally. Remember, there are many choices of sport at different locations all over Singapore. It’s about finding the sport and level that suits you, and then watch how the benefits will spill over to the rest of your life.

Related: Keeping Physically and Mentally Fit with Exercise

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  1. Eime, R. M., Harvey, J. T., Brown, W. J., Payne, W.R. (2010, May). Does Sports Club Participation Contribute to Health-Related Quality of Life?. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42(5), p. 1022-1028.
    Retrieved September 2016 from