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A Pack of Wolves or Lone Wolf? : Insights into differences between Team & Individual Sports

Updated: 7 days ago

Ever wondered why some people prefer individual sports, and some gravitate towards a team sport? With that in mind, I decided to talk to “The Jungle MMA”’s intern, Valerie Kor who has an extensive history in participating in both team and individual sports. Val has, and is still playing a wide variety of sports, namely, Basketball, Hockey, Dragonboat, Muay Thai, Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ) & Boxing. With such a wide repertoire under her belt, I hoped that by speaking to her, I could gain some insight and understand the differences and characteristics of both sports.

Sports consist of 2 spectrums, namely team sports and individual sports. One key difference between those two would be the number of players involved. Team sports, on one hand, requires minimally 5 players whereas individual sports, consist of just the player up against another player.. The lone wolf versus another lone wolf.


Let’s look at basketball. Basketball for example, focuses on the cohesiveness of the team, and the coaches often highlight the importance of working together as one during matches. Valerie mentioned that team camaraderie is also strongly emphasized within her basketball team, and her coach would even encourage the team to eat together and stay together outside of training and game time, so as to build up the rapport within the team. Interestingly, although basketball is a team sport, it is heavily dependent on one or two star players. A majority of the team’s plays would be centered around the star players and more often than not, they are tasked with shouldering the bulk of the scoring burden for the team and leading the team on defense especially so as there is no dedicated “offence” and “defense” squad unlike American football.

Dragon Boat on the other hand, is a team sport that is not reliant on any star players or rowers. According to Valerie, what makes strong play is not how good each individual rowers are, but how well each individual seeks to sync in with the rest of their teammates. Like basketball, Valerie also attributed the cohesiveness and success of her team to team spirit and the fact that they spent a good amount of time with each other almost every day. Perhaps , this is the beauty and essence of team sports, to see it all come together and achieve things that are impossible individually when everyone works towards a common goal


Individual sports are defined as sports where you partake in alone and martial arts is one of the many classified under that genre. The benefits of picking up martial arts are multifold with self defence being the primary benefit. Martial Arts also provides individuals with an outlet to their anger when they are feeling unhappy about school, work or life. Participation in individual sports also allows you to have full autonomy of your time. You could skip a day’s training if you did not feel well (or simply did not feel up to it!) without having to worry about affecting your entire team, which becomes impractical when you are part of a team sport. Skipping training when you are in a team could adversely impact the team because they would not be able to practice certain game plays due to your absence. Individual sports also allow the participants to be fully in control of their movement and what they wish to do in a competition, which is not always possible in a team setting where you’re subjected to your teammates' movement. Valerie shared with me that boxing for example utilizes the boxer ability to read the opponent moves and counter with a move on their own. She also believed that this alone allowed participants to be more proactive in searching out for solutions on the field as they are less like to put their team at risk of being counter-attacked like in the case of team sports.

To sum it up, Team sports teaches and impart the value of teamwork to each and every individual through its cohesive nature whereas Individual sports allows you to engage in that activity without worrying about the availability of your teammates for training and such . It is also much easier to engage in individual sport due to the complete freedom to train as and when you desire without worrying about the availability of your teammates. That being said, each and every sport is fun and enjoyable. Most importantly, we ought to understand the varying benefits that sports bring about whether its team or individual sport. In today’s stressful living conditions where majority of the population are too caught up with building a career or getting good grades in school, sports provide us with an avenue to destress. Participation in sports releases endorphins which in turn allows us to destress and be happier. As the world becomes more digitalized, humans are becoming more sedentary. Taking time out of the electronics, immersing oneself in the joy of sports could bring about an improvement in fitness and health. With a healthier body and mind, work productivity could be raised! What are you waiting for? Pick up a sport now if you have not!

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