The Life Lessons Learned From Team Sports

Child Softball Photo

Me a long time ago

Team sports…how important are they to the development of children? I happen to think that they are crucial. Many kids play sports for the love of the game – my brothers both played football and basketball for many years while they were growing up, and they are still both fans of both sports. Some kids play as a way to learn the sport or to make friends. Others, are not at all interested in playing sports, but their parents kind of force them into it. That was the case with me when I was a kid.

I’ll admit – I thought it would be fun to play softball. I don’t remember how old I was, but I’m guessing maybe around 8 or 9. I could catch and throw the ball, and remember telling my mom it might be fun to be on a team. The next thing I knew, I was on a team even though I cried before every practice because I was so unsure of myself and didn’t want to look stupid if I struck out or missed a ball.

I loathed practices, didn’t make any new friends (most of the girls had been playing together for many years…I was the newbie), and was afraid to play any of the bases because I didn’t want to miss the ball and have the team not like me.

No.Self.Confidence. At all. But I kept going to practices, kept running around the bases and trying different positions on the field. And what I realized was that I was better than I thought – I wasn’t the worst on the team. In fact, the team was better because I was on it. I could play several different positions, but spent a lot of time on first base or as catcher.

I learned to trust myself; believe in myself. I learned to trust others to have my back, and that I needed to have theirs. I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. How to work with girls who didn’t like me, understanding we were still part of the team. I learned discipline, pride, that practice is the only way to get better. That there was always a leader or two and lots of followers, and that a team couldn’t work without each of them.

What life lessons do kids learn from team sports?

I learned all of those things because of playing softball. Those are things I wouldn’t have learned at school, that nobody can really explain to you. They are life lessons that you have to experience for yourself. All of those things are crucial to a child learning self confidence, trust, teamwork, and passion.

All of those things are so important. And why am I mentioning all of this? Because I believe in supporting good causes, like SUBWAY’s Baseball DeSIGNS auction on ebay. Through its partnership with Little League Baseball and Softball, SUBWAY has created the third annual SUBWAY Baseball DeSIGNS tour.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS. The opinions and text are all mine. The $500 Gift Certificate Giveaway Contest runs from August 19 – 28, 2011. A random winner will be announced by September 1, 2011. Official Contest Rules.


  1. I love this! I believe there is so much value in sports and I would be lying if I didn't say that I hope that my kids find their way to the field or the court the same way I did. Some of my best memories are from sports. So, also, were some of my biggest disappointments. But really, i learned so, so much.
  2. I like that team sports teach my children that not everybody wins all the time. Seems to me that in school as well as in a lot of parenting circles, there's an "up with people," "everybody's a winner," "you participated, so you get a cookie" mentality. But in life? Not everybody wins. In a game, there is a victor and a loser. To lose gracefully and congratulate the opponent on a job well done are skills that I feel that team sports are teaching my children. Thanks for the food for thought!
  3. I think team sports are so beneficial for children growing up! I can't wait to get my son involved if for nothing more than exercise, some discipline and social interaction. Growing up I always did individual sports like dance and gymnastics and while they were great and taught me a lot, I feel like I missed out on having a "team" experience!
  4. This post is fantastic! There are so many life lessons that can only be learned when we have to work for the greater good this way. I will be sending people to this post for a long time.