The practice of team sport engages youth in a wide range of interactions with coaches, teammates, parents, and other competitors. It is widely believed that this rich context provides an ideal context for youth to learn a variety of social skills that will enhance their success in the community and at school (Fraser-Thomas, Cote, & Deakin, 2005). These soft skills become personal attributes that allow young people to develop positive relationships throughout their lives.
Although team sports involve competition, they also require cooperation. For example, a basketball team requires its members to compete for starting positions and playing time while cooperating to coordinate their activities in order to achieve team success. These competing and cooperating elements are what distinguish team sports from other conventional groups such as family, work, or friendships.
Moreover, a sports team differs from other traditional groups in that it requires participants to comply with clear standards of effort and performance. For instance, all members of a sports team must attend practice sessions on a regular basis, follow the instructions of the coach, and work hard during each session in order to meet the team’s expectations. It is also a common belief that all members of a sport team should strive to perform their best during competitions in order to win the game.
In addition, a sports team is usually more successful on its home field than in other locations. This is because the athletes are familiar with the idiosyncrasies of their home field, they are accustomed to the weather and lighting conditions, and they can be supported by local fans. Therefore, the athletes can be motivated by the desire to perform at a high level in front of their supporters and in the comfort of their home environment.
As a result, the athletes are less likely to experience fatigue and can devote their full attention to the competition. It is therefore not surprising that sports teams spend much of their time and resources in an attempt to create a competitive advantage at their home ground.
In fact, it is even possible that the economics of team sports could be determined by the desire to gain a home field advantage in order to maximize revenue and fan loyalty. The unique features of the economics of team sports have spawned an entire academic discipline focused on understanding the complex interplay between social, cognitive, and organizational factors that influence the financial outcomes of professional team sports.