The main difference between individual sports and team sports is that in individual sports, athletes compete by themselves, whereas in team sports, athletes compete cooperatively in a group of at least two people. By their nature, individual and team sports emphasize different values.
Individual sports tend to breed athletes who are self-reliant, whereas team sports teach people the value of working together. In individual sports, an athlete can measure his progress against his own record, which may help boost self-esteem. Team sports may encourage a sense of belonging among its participants.
Some sports blur the line between the two types. For example, individual bowling scores can be added up to count as a team's performance. Other sports that can be practiced similarly include track, swimming or wrestling. On the other hand, team sports are still a collection of individual performance. One person's actions can be considered part of a group effort, but each performance can be assessed on an individual basis as well.
Many people engage in both types of sports, but some prefer one type over the other. Background, age and honest preference are some of the factors that play roles in whether an athlete decides to practice individual or team sports, or a combination of the two.