Paul has been passionately involved in sports such as tennis, badminton, and rugby for many years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.
I'm been playing sports as an amateur for over forty years.
For sure, I've experienced many social, mental and physical health benefits from participating in tennis, soccer, rugby, badminton, and other competitive activities over that period. However, I thought it might be interesting, fun, and informative to list the negatives in an article.
Below are my 10 disadvantages of playing sports.
The 10 Main Downsides of Playing Sports
- Sore Losers
- Weather Problems
- Time Commitment
- Stress and Sleep Issues
I explain each disadvantage below in more detail.
Unfortunately, injuries go with the territory when you play sports. They can run anywhere from minor muscle pulls and strains right through to broken bones and worse. Sometimes an injury just won't go away and keeps recurring, whatever health treatments you go through.
As you get older, your recovery time becomes longer too, so even if you are not injured, you can find yourself nursing aches and pains after playing that go on for several days at a time.
2. Sore Losers
Amateur sports are supposed to be about having fun, but try telling that to a sore loser. Sore losers suck all the joy out of playing. Coping with their fragile egos, bad tempers, and antisocial behavior is a challenge. Even if you beat them fair and square, they will imply that you cheated, or make up some excuse to try and take away any sense of achievement that you may feel.
It's not just a young person thing either, if anything, middle-aged men can be the worst sore losers around.
There can be lots of hidden expenses when participating in sports. Clothing, club fees, coaching costs, and equipment can all drain your finances over time. Tournaments and competitions out of town can result in large transport and hotel costs.
I once had to fly to Arizona from Florida for a weekend because my amateur tennis team made it through to the USTA Nationals. It was a wonderful experience, but certainly not cheap.
There's always some show off who has to let you know about how they have all the best equipment, the most expensive clothing, and how they undertake all the most prestigious coaching. I've met them in every sport. It's worst when you are young, but the phenomenon exists at all ages in my experience.
Some sports clubs are warm, welcoming, and inclusive, but there are others that are a social nightmare. Sometimes the clubs have had the same leadership and membership for years, with set roles and their own way of doing things.
Alternatively, the club or team is made up of a very narrow social, economic, or age group. As a newbie, you struggle to fit in socially, and no matter how well that you play, it's difficult to get picked for the team, or feel accepted.
Unfortunately, the art of following a narrow and literal interpretation of the rules, while completely disobeying the spirit of them, typically by employing all sorts of dubious ploys and tactics to gain advantage, is alive and well in amateur sports.
For those of us who desire the fun or a fair contest, this is a sad state of affairs. I've seen more than enough bad behavior by individual players, captains, and teams over the years and the effects are always negative for sport and its appreciation.
7. Weather Problems
If you play an outdoors sport, then you are completely reliant on the weather to be in your favor. I've had countless experiences where I've planned my entire weekend around playing sports, only for the team practice or match to be moved or cancelled due to bad weather.
When I lived in England, it was usually the rain and cold that caused the worst problems. Here in Florida, the extreme heat and humidity can be very challenging for much of the year, effectively meaning that it's only comfortable to play outdoor sports in the mornings (or to a lesser extent, the evenings) when it's coolest. Thunderstorms and torrential rain are also common here.
8. Time Commitment
Practices, coaching sessions, matches, and tournaments can eat up a lot of your time, especially if there is traveling involved. Then there are the social events to attend with the team, time spent buying and replacing clothes or equipment, and time spent seeking help and treatment for injuries.
If you captain or coach a team, then the time commitments increase exponentially compared to being a player, and you can find yourself texting, emailing, and organizing almost non-stop.
9. Stress and Sleep Issues
I like to see myself as level-headed and philosophical person, but I have to admit that there have been times when sport has ruined my entire day or evening, usually because I've lost and I can't help thinking about all the mistakes that I made during the match. Other players can suffer crippling nerves or anxiety in the period leading up to big matches.
It's also my experience that when I play sport in the evenings, sometimes I have trouble going to sleep afterwards because my body and mind are still buzzing. I don't deny that playing sports might be good overall for sleep patterns and relaxing, but it can certainly cause problems too.
It's happened to me a number of times: I join a club or team and gradually over time I begin to get fed up with the sameness of everything. Often you are going to the same place to play the same game against the same people.
It's a particular problem if you play the sport all year round, rather than just for a summer or winter season. In essence, the problem is boredom through lack of variety. The solution is often to switch clubs, or even switch sports and learn something new.
5 Disadvantages of Playing Multiple Sports
There are some negatives that relate specifically to playing multiple sports. I've listed 5 of them below.
- You won't get really good at anything. Specializing in a single sport enables a player to achieve their maximum potential. Playing multiple sports can mean that someone may become reasonably good at several sports, but exceptional at none of them.
- There isn't enough time. Playing multiple sports is time-consuming. As well as limiting your opportunities for non-sporting pursuits, the sports themselves often conflict with each other and organizing your calendar around all the various matches and practices can get very complicated.
- More expense. Paying for all the equipment, coaching, club fees, and travel for just a single sport can be difficult. Incurring the same expenses for additional sports can soon get very pricey.
- Weaker social bonds. Playing a single sport can help build strong and deep bonds between players at a club, especially in a team game. Playing multiple sports can often mean weaker and shallower social depth.
- Worse Coaching. Specializing in a single sport often means that your coach gets to know the ins and outs of your personality, as well as physical strengths and weaknesses. If you play multiple sports, the coaches often don't have the time to identify and give you the personalized training that you need.
5 Negatives of Playing Team Sports
There are certain downsides to playing sports that are specifically associated with being part of a team. I've listed five of them below.
- Skill gaps - Playing in a team of variable quality can present challenges. If you are playing with a group who are considerably better and more experienced than yourself, you can feel inadequate. Likewise, it can be frustrating if your personal game is higher in standard than others in a team. Ideally, it's good to play with people of a similar standard, but that's not always possible.
- Personality clashes - Unfortunately, sport can be a place where egos clash. Being in a team where there are lots of tensions and politics can suck all the joy out of playing, regardless of whether you personally are directly involved in the squabble. It's not something that you really have to deal with in an individual sport.
- Lack of Control - When you play an individual sport, you make most of the decisions. In a team, you generally have to go along with what the captain, coach, or team wants. You may not even be picked for the team sometimes, or be put in a role that isn't your first choice. You also have to adapt your game and approach to the needs and wants of others.
- Group responsibility - Sometimes it's good to have the responsibilities shared around. Other times though, it can be frustrating when you play well and others in the team don't, or when others blame you for your mistakes. When you play an individual sport, it can be good to bear sole responsibility, whatever happens.
- Organization - Teams can be a nightmare to organize. It can take a lot texts, emails, and phone calls just to arrange a practice or a match. If something unexpected happens, such as a turn for the worse with the weather or an injury, it gets even more intense. Organization is almost always much easier when it's an individual sport.
5 Downsides of Individual Sports
Here are five disadvantages associated with playing an individual sport:
- Stressful - Solo sports can often be much more psychologically intense than participating as part of a team. There is little or no emotional support, no sharing of accountability, and a self-reliant personality is therefore essential.
- Losing can be a particularly difficult experience - You have sole responsibility for what happened and nobody to share the loss with. It can easily drain self-confidence and lead to a sense of isolation.
- No sharing the joy of a win with a team - A victory celebration is far more fun when there's a group of winners. It's simply not the same when it's purely a solo achievement.
- No interdependency - There's a sense of contributing to something bigger when you're in a team. The members usually have different strengths and weaknesses, and they perform different roles. In an individual sport, there's just you.
- Less social - The participants in a functioning team will tend to bond with each other emotionally. The social element is not there in individual sports. It's a big reason why many people prefer to play team sports.
Questions & Answers
Question: What are the disadvantages of playing sports?
Answer: The disadvantages include acquiring injuries, the expense of buying equipment and joining clubs, the time used up practicing and traveling to matches or competitions, as well as dealing with antisocial opponents, such as bad losers.
Question: What are the advantages of playing sports?
Answer: The benefits of playing sports can include: a healthier heart, reduced stress and anxiety, richer social life, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, reduced body fat, and improved sleep.
© 2019 Paul Goodman
Usman on September 17, 2020:
HELLO on August 15, 2020:
NOTHING MY BOI
. on August 02, 2020:
Interesting but do you have any good things for a speech..?
Good very interest lines on June 05, 2020:
Very interesting line
Liz Westwood from UK on January 09, 2019:
We are encouraged so much these days to take up sport for our health and physical fitness. It is good to read an article putting another viewpoint. Injuries would be top of my list too.