Working with teams and training groups is a common and major challenge for applied sport psychologists. This document is a position statement on the rationales, methods, and procedures of team-focused approaches in the practice of sport psychology. Furthermore, practice recommendations and research desiderata are discussed. To develop the paper, a consensus conference with nine experts from North America and Europe was held in Spring 2010. First, the paper presents the rationale for team-focused interventions and addresses the concepts of team cohesion, team efficacy, team potency, and a task involving leadership style. Second, the contributions of sport psychologists to enhancing group functioning are discussed, including methods for enhancing interpersonal skills, team climate, and coach athlete relationships. Third, determinants of how sport psychologists decide procedure and build trust in working with teams are articulated. Finally, the consensus group recommends an intensified effort to examine the effects and practice applicability of theory-driven, ecologically valid interventions.
Jens Kleinert, Jeannine Ohlert, Bert Carron, Mark Eys, Deborah Feltz, Chris Harwood, Lother Linz, Roland Seiler, and Marion Sulprizio
Mark Eys, M. Blair Evans, Luc J. Martin, Jeannine Ohlert, Svenja A. Wolf, Michael Van Bussel, and Charlotte Steins
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.