Cohesion and Performance for Female and Male Sport Teams

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Wilfrid Laurier University
  • | 2 University of Lethbridge
  • | 3 German Sport University Cologne
  • | 4 Fanshawe College
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A previous meta-analysis examining the relationship between cohesion and performance (Carron, Colman, Wheeler, & Stevens, 2002) revealed that this relationship was significantly stronger for female teams as compared with male teams. The purpose of the current study was to explore perceptions of the cohesion-performance relationship by coaches who have led teams of both genders. Semistructured interviews were employed with Canadian and German coaches with previous experience leading both male and female sport teams. The information obtained through the interviews yielded a number of categories pertaining to potential similarities and differences within female and male sport teams including: (a) the nature of cohesion (e.g., direction of the cohesion-performance relationship), (b) antecedents of cohesion (e.g., approaches to conflict), and (c) the management of cohesion (e.g., developing social cohesion). Overall, the results offer testable propositions regarding gender differences and group involvement in a sport context as well as informing best practices such that teams can attain optimal performance.

Eys is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, and Evans is with the Dept. of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada. Ohlert, Wolf, and Steins are with the Institute of Psychology, German Sport University Cologne, Köln, Germany. Martin is with the Dept, of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Van Bussel is with the School of Language and Liberal Studies, Fanshawe College, Ontario, Canada. Address author correspondence to Mark Eys at