Players Within a Team: Understanding the Structure of Team Performance Through Individual Functions and Team Objectives

in International Sport Coaching Journal
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $41.00

1 year subscription

USD  $54.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $77.00

2 year subscription

USD  $101.00

Although systems thinking has been recently introduced as a means to model team performance, the most central and practically valuable question of this modeling tool is yet to be clearly addressed: how can the coaching team go from the level of team performance to the level of individual performance in order to select and evaluate players? In other words, if performance is a holistic phenomenon, how can the performance of individual players be conceptualized in relation to the whole? We appeal to the concepts of ‘objective’ and ‘function’ to show how team performance is linked to, and based on, the performance of individuals. We first describe team performance in relation to a set of objectives that are aimed to be achieved at different levels. Then we define the concept of function and break down this concept into three types, namely, positional, tactical, and interpreted function. We draw conceptual connections between different types of function and different levels of objectives. These connections show how each type of function links individual performance with team performance and how a team can be engineered as a coherent whole. We finish the paper by discussing some practical implications for coaches.

Sadjad Soltanzadeh is with the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Mitchell Mooney is with the Australian Institute of Sport, Bruce, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Sadjad Soltanzadeh at sadjad.soltanzadeh@anu.edu.au.
  • Ackoff, R. (1974). Redesigning the future: A systems approach to societal problems (1st ed., pp. 417438). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ackoff, R. (1994). Systems thinking and thinking systems. System Dynamics Review, 10(2–3), 175188. doi:10.1002/sdr.4260100206

  • Gianni D., D’Ambrogio A., & Tolk A. (Eds.). (2014). Modelling and simulation-based systems engineering handbook. London, UK: Taylor & Francis.

  • Gilovich, T., Vallone, R., & Tversky, A. (1985). The hot hand in basketball: On the misperception of random sequences. Cognitive Psychology, 17, 295314. doi:10.1016/0010-0285(85)90010-6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hulme, A., & Finch, C.F. (2015). From monocausality to systems thinking: A complementary and alternative conceptual approach for better understanding the development and prevention of sports injury. Injury Epidemiology, 2(1), 31. PubMed doi:10.1186/s40621-015-0064-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Latour, B. (1992). Where are the missing masses? Sociology of a few mundane artefacts. In W. Bijker & J. Law (Eds.), Shaping technology, Building society: Studies in sociotechnical change (pp. 225259). Cambridge, MA: MIT.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lemmer, H.H. (2013). Team selection after a short cricket series. European Journal of Sport Science, 13(2), 200206. doi:10.1080/17461391.2011.587895

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Makarov, I. (2014). Introduction to theoretical astrophysics. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

  • McLean, S., Salmon, P.M., Gorman, A.D., Read, G.J.M., & Solomon, C. (2017) What’s in a game? A systems approach to enhancing performance analysis in football. PLoS ONE, 12(2), 0172565. PubMed doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0172565

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mooney, M., Charlton, P., Soltanzadeh, S., & Drew, M. (2017). Who ‘owns’ the injury or illness? Who ‘owns’ performance? Applying systems thinking to integrate health and performance in elite sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51, 10541055. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096649

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sage, A., & Armstrong, J. (2000). Introduction to systems engineering. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  • Searle, J. (1990). Collective intentions and actions. In P. Cohen, J. Morgan, & M.E. Pollack, (Eds.), Intentions in Communication (pp. 401416). Cambridge, MA: MIT.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Soltanzadeh, S., & Mooney, M. (2016). Systems thinking and team performance analysis. International Sport Coaching Journal, 3(2), 184191. doi:10.1123/iscj.2015-0120

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 86 77 2
Full Text Views 4 3 0
PDF Downloads 3 3 0