Kleinert, J., Ohlert, J., Carron, B., Eys, M., Feltz, D., Harwood, C., & Sulprizio, M. (2012). Group dynamics in sports: an overview and recommendations on diagnostic and intervention. Sport Psychologist, 26(3), 412.
by Rachel Webb
This particular article is unique in nature because it uprooting all the different aspects that we think of when discussing group dynamics, but haven’t quite studied enough to be able to manipulate one aspect and affect the behavior of many. In Group Dynamics in Sports: An Overview and Recommendations on Diagnostic and Intervention, research is brought together to be reviewed by a board of individuals in the attempt to create a more collective ground work to move forward from. Within this consensus conference experts present first a rationale and full overview for using team-focused interventions. The second aspect is in support of how sport psychologists can enhance the interpersonal skills of a team, team climate, and the coach athlete relationship. Third, the “how” facets of sport psychologists building upon their rapport and trust with the team to accomplish the goals of the team. The final aspect is dedicated to the future of team-focused interventions and the efforts needed to bring a more theory-driven, ecologically valid treatment to the table (Kleinert, Ohlert, Carron, Eys, Feltz, Harwood, & Sulprizio, 2012).
Pulling from each of the four concentrations of this article, we can look at a couple of items that highlight the premise of each. Under the umbrella of “team” there are both youth and elite players and the task of understanding the psychosocial development needs that both groups must obtain at that level of competition to be successful. In sport it is recognized that there is an impact, both negative and positive, on interpersonal processes that occur within a team. Also determined within the literature was the most to least successful interventions, which focused on team goal setting (most), interpersonal relationships, adventure experiences, and broad development of group structure of role identification or cooperation (least). The correlations of these intervention on the team produced a small but positive effect on social cohesion and a large positive effect on performance a well as enhanced perceptions of individual satisfaction (Kleinert et al, 2012).
One of the most influential characters in the dynamic of a team is the coach. Facilitating an optimal coaching environment, grasping a coaching the coach position to cultivate this psychological development and motivational climate that will best suite the athletes is a long-term goal as a sport psychologist. The importance of educating and empowering the coaches’ knowledge base given the gaps, needs, and strengths of the team is essentially what the third aspect of this article confronts. This would be one area of focus for fostering success within a team. Different approaches for improving the quality of the coach athlete relationship are also discussed in the attempt to understand the perceptions of both the athlete and coach to underpin many group processes such as goal setting or role responsibility. For a sport psychologist, the “how” is detrimental to reaching the team or the coaching staff, so provided in this article is model of the situational components broken down that ultimately determine the procedure, approach, and trust-building tactics to maintain a relationship with the team (Kleinert et al, 2012). All four components of this article promote the importance of team-focused interventions and encourage the continued research on an area that has a direct correlational effect on both athlete and overall team performance.