Better to play sports together

Brad and Jacinta Blundell with their children Chloe, 15, and Jadyn, 13. The family play beach volleyball together as a team.
Brad and Jacinta Blundell with their children Chloe, 15, and Jadyn, 13. The family play beach volleyball together as a team. Brett Wortman

SPORTS bring out the competitive side in even the best of us, especially when competing with someone we know.

Most partners fight over who cleans the kitchen, what to watch on TV, and who will turn off the light before going to bed, but does this competitive drive help or hinder us on the court? Is playing together good for staying together?

University of the Sunshine Coast psychology lecturer Raechel Sharman said playing as a couple could be beneficial depending on the nature of the sport.

"When we talk about couples playing sports together, and whether there are any advantages, it depends on whether the couple is on the same team, or whether they are competing against each other," she said.

"If the couple is playing together and supporting each other in a common goal, then we can see advantages in terms of fitness as a couple and it can work quite well."

Couples competing against each other, however, could have a negative effect on the relationship, Dr Sharman said.

"If you are playing against your partner, then it is obviously going to cause that competitive nature in each partner to come through," she said.

"In a relationship, it is natural to be kinder to your partner than you necessarily would be to other people, but if you compete against them, you might actually end up hurting them."

Sunshine Coast Indoor Sport Centre co-owner Shaun Blackman sees quite a few couples coming in to play sport together.

Shaun - Sunshine Coast Fire Football Club forward and former captain - said the centre saw about 30-40 couples gearing up to compete in a variety of sports including indoor soccer and netball, dodgeball and volleyball, and matches could get very competitive.

"The partner may make the same mistake as someone else on the team, but they will probably bear more of the blame from their partner than anyone else on the team," he said.

"Partners definitely take it out on each other if the team isn't doing so well."

Jacinta Blundell, 37, of Chancellor Park, started playing mixed beach volleyball games with her husband, Brad, 38, seven years ago.

She said that she and her husband could get quite competitive on the field, and playing at 100% was a must.

"It's an unwritten rule that you both have to be playing you're 'A' game," she said.

"We get very competitive, and if the other person's game isn't up to scratch, then there definitely will be some funny sideways looks."

The two started playing volleyball as they were looking for something active to do together.

"We both work full-time and have kids," she said.

"Our children are now teenagers, and we play as a family."

Dr Sharman said that couples could benefit from doing any activity together, not just sport.

"Couples participating in activities together can provide support to their partner," she said.

"Any activity or common interest which is shared between a couple can be seen to be a good thing for the relationship, which in the case of sport, can be good for each partner's physical health."



  1. Canoeing/Kayaking: If you and your partner are feeling landlocked, then it's time to take your relationship offshore. Canoeing requires both partners to work together in unison instead of competing against one another.
  2. Tennis: Tennis can't be played alone.
  3. Cycling: There's nothing quite like having the wind in your hair and your favourite person alongside.
  4. Golf: A round of golf with your loved one can be as leisurely or competitive as you like.
  5. Running: Running with your partner is a way to push yourself to achieve more than you could on your own.

Topics:  family relationships sports

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