Critical Skills to Play a Team Sport

See also: The Importance of Exercise

Playing team sports like soccer, basketball, and football can have many benefits. You can gain much-needed confidence, make friends, improve your mood, and enhance your physical health.

However, there’s no denying that joining a sports team can be daunting. If you’ve never played a team sport, you may not have the skills needed to thrive. Fortunately, not having these skills now doesn’t mean you never will. Now might be the right time to brush up on the following crucial team sports skills:

The back of a boys sports team.


Whether you’re interested in soccer for kids in Contra Costa County, CA, or an adult’s basketball game, communication is an essential skill for a successful game. You aren’t the only player on the team, which means you need to be able to communicate your actions and intentions to other players to guide your entire team to success. Communication can also be crucial in sports to avoid misunderstandings and process information.

Many children and adults refine their communication skills as they play, but there’s no harm in getting a headstart before a new sports season begins. You may be able to refine your or your children’s communication skills by:

  • Getting or providing feedback

  • Practicing active listening

  • Being clear and concise with what you want and need

  • Celebrating any communication successes

You can generally tell that communication skills have improved when you can speak up, advocate for yourself, enjoy fewer misunderstandings, and work toward a common goal with your team.


Teamwork describes a group’s collaborative effort to work toward a common goal. While you might assume that teamwork is a skill everyone possesses, that’s not always true. Some people can’t help but work independently and prioritize their own needs rather than the whole team’s. If you’re struggling with teamwork, you can take some of these steps:

  1. Set the common goals you want to achieve
  2. Communicate clearly
  3. Collaborate with your team
  4. Take initiative and responsibility
  5. Celebrate your achievements

If you’re involved in children’s sports and are struggling to encourage more teamwork, consider these approaches:

  • Encouraging a positive attitude

  • Teaching each player to play for each other, not by themselves

  • Using positive language

  • Providing clear roles and positions

  • Setting team goals

  • Creating team-building exercises


Discipline is a valuable skill in team sports. It involves maintaining a consistent training program and being dedicated to improving your skills. The more discipline you and your entire team have, the more successful you might be at your chosen sport. Disciplined athletes at the top of their game do many things well, like:

  1. Managing their emotions to stop them from affecting their game and teammates
  2. Committing to the improvement and performance process
  3. Aiming for regular improvement

Discipline is learned, so if you’re trying to enjoy a more disciplined sports team, try these tips:

  • Be firm and confident, but don’t yell

  • Get to know your team members by name for personalized discipline

  • Establish your authority

  • Avoid using repetitive corrective behaviors

  • Have a sense of humor

  • Be predictable

  • Be fair


Problem-solving skills are essential in all areas of life. Therefore, it won’t be surprising to learn they’re also invaluable in team sports. Problem-solving in sports is about making fast decisions, thinking on your feet, and solving problems alone and with others. Many people naturally possess such skills to help them on the sports field, but not everyone does. Fortunately, you may be able to refine your skills by:

  • Assessing your skills to learn your strengths and weaknesses

  • Learning from others who already have the necessary skills

  • Practice problem-solving regularly

  • Identifying the problem in your head and devising multiple solutions

  • Reviewing your choices and reflecting


Having leadership skills can serve us well in all areas of our lives. However, you may also find them particularly helpful if you’re the captain of your sports team. Being a leader is about making decisions, both tough and easy. It’s also about inspiring, motivating, and leading. If you’re a great leader, you can enjoy a great team. However, not having exceptional leadership skills today doesn’t mean you’ll never have them. You can refine your skills by taking note of these tips:

  • Understand your own vision and values

  • Lead by example

  • Learn from others

  • Be prepared to adapt and change

  • Develop your players

  • Communicate clearly

Time Management

Playing team sports can take up much of your free time. This can be challenging if you lead a busy life with work, school, and family commitments. You must dedicate enough time to all areas of your life.

Time management skills involve juggling your training sessions and games with other commitments. While many people have such skills, not everyone does. However, you can certainly improve them and enjoy a more stress-free life by:

  1. Making a plan for managing your time
  2. Creating a priority list
  3. Breaking down your regular tasks into smaller chunks
  4. Delegating time-consuming tasks

Being the master of time management may mean you’ve become adept at giving your team enough of your time for training and games while still managing commitments like family, study, and work.

Handling Pressure

Team sports can be stressful. You can find yourself in precarious situations with members of the opposite team and even face challenges with penalties and points. There can be a great deal of pressure throughout the average game.

However, how you handle it can often make all the difference to a game’s outcome. That’s why handling pressure is an important skill to have in team sports. You may see the value in having a clear and flexible game plan, using tried and true tactics, and focusing on what you can control. Being process-focused may also help you approach high-pressure situations.

If you’re in a leadership position within your team, get to know your players’ strengths and weaknesses. You may then be able to instruct your team members to take specific actions at short notice in the name of achieving positive game outcomes.

Team sports are about having fun, socializing, and maintaining physical health. However, your success can depend on whether your team has specific skills. Take the time to refine these skills above, and you may be surprised by your team’s triumphs.