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Me, Join a Team, Why?

Me, Join a Team, Why?

Me, Join a Team, Why?

Ross Johnston

Evidence that sport has overwhelmingly positive benefits in the prevention of premature death and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis is overwhelming (Warburton et al. 2006). Moreover, participation in sport provides emotional, physical, and social benefits that reward you for many years (Eime et al. 2013; Bailey et al. 2015). However most research centers around individuals as individuals and few consider the team aspect (McEwan & Beauchamp 2014). This raises the question: Where does team participation sit in the sporting benefit landscape?
If you are in a team then you will reap all the benefits afforded the individual athlete and more. In particular team participation further enhances emotional and social benefits through shared experiences, can improve fitness via competitive interactions among team members, help individuals learn more about themselves (Torres 2015), and expand your social networks. Members of long-term teams form a bond that adds to their social and support networks but those that team up for the first time also experience a kind of ‘idioculture’; a similar spirit of enthusiasm and engagement, awesome team spirit, and a shared mentality that pervades team sports  (Halldorssona et al. 2017).

Should I consider joining a team?DSC_0005

Studies from the 1970s/80s indicated that team performance was not strongly related to team cohesiveness (Martens & Peterson 1971, Carron 1980, Gill 1986) which suggests formation of scratch teams for multidiscipline sporting events is just as likely to produce a successful team as selecting a group of close friends to compete as a team. Extensive meta-analysis has subsequently identified a weak positive relationship between team cohesion and performance for team sports but multidisciplinary events such as Adventurethons and Triathlons were not included (Carron et al. 2002). Similarly, it is not sporting ability that guarantees a successful team, it is cooperation and coordination among team members that counts (Halldorssona et al. 2017) so yes, why not consider a team option?
It is often difficult to find enough time to train for a single sporting discipline let alone several. Consequently, most people settle on one sport and ignore, or at best ‘dabble’ in others. When it comes to multidiscipline events like an Adventurethon or Triathlons they feel unable to attempt more than their primary discipline, so they miss the opportunity to participate. Such a situation provides the ideal opportunity to compete in a team.
Gather friends who can take on the disciplines you are uncomfortable with and form a team. You will have much more fun than competing as an individual and become far more engaged with the additional disciplines. You never know, you might even be persuaded to try something new and gain a different perspective on life. Yes, we have all heard the stories about bad team mates. Yes, it can happen, but you shouldn’t let other people’s experiences and problems dictate your life. Dysfunctional teams are rare, and you are under no obligation to team up with the same people afterwards. The great experience of being part of a team far outweighs any risks, and you can always convince friends that they are an indispensable component of your plan.
Don’t miss out on any fun, start organising your team now and get training!
Bailey R, Cope E, Parnell D (2015) Realising the Benefits of Sports and Physical Activity: The Human Capital Model. Retos 28:147–154
Carron A (1980) Social psychology of sport. Ithaca, NY:Mouvement
Carron A, Coleman M, Wheeler J (2002) Cohesion and Performance in Sport: A Meta-Analysis. J Sport Exerc Psychol 24:168–188
Gill D (1986) Psychological dynamics of sport. Champiagn, IL
Halldorssona V, Thorlindssona T, Katovichb M (2017) Teamwork in sport: a sociological analysis. Sport Soc http://dx.:1–16
Martens R, Peterson J (1971) Group cohesiveness as a determinant of success and member satisfaction in team performance. Int Rev Sport Sociol 6:49–71
McEwan D, Beauchamp MR (2014) Teamwork in sport: a theoretical and integrative review. Int Rev Sport Exerc Psychol
Torres CR (2015) The role of teamwork in organized youth sport. J Philos Sport 42:63–69
Warburton D, Nicol C, Bredin S (2006) Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. Can Med Assoc J 174:801–809

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