The Villard family of Columbia is always on the go and can often be found rock climbing, mountain biking or competing in triathlons. Siblings Kai, 11, Brie, 8, and Tatum, 6, also participate in traditional team sports, but nothing matches the self-assurance they gain from sports they can do on their own.

“These kinds of sports help them problem solve,” says their mom, Erin. “They encourage them to be self-reliant and deal with their successes and failures — and help them get to know their strengths and weaknesses.”

Climbing Villiard Family WThe Villard family of Columbia after a climb.Though many kids love being a part of a team, some kids thrive on self-motivated sports they can do on their own. Indeed, experts agree that engaging in individual sports can build confidence and a sense of self.

“Athletes in these sports typically are ‘working off of their own report cards’ as opposed to handing evaluation off to someone else,” says renowned sports psychologist Caroline Silby, author of “Games Girls Play: Understanding and Guiding Young Female Athletes.” “These types of self-motivated sports are truly about figuring it out — what makes me tick, what makes me happy, what gets me engaged and challenged.”

Self-directed sports like mountain biking, climbing, parkour or running are great ways for kids to stay active while setting their own pace and personal goals. Whether it’s reaching a peak or competing in a 5K, these four sports show that sometimes your best teammate is yourself.

Click next below to learn more about how to get the kids into mountain biking, climbing, parkour and running.