What a Group is:There are many psychological factors that are important in leading sports activities.
Group Dynamics is the way in which individuals in a group interact with each other to
produce results. A group is an interaction between individuals.
Communication is key in a group.
The main features of a group should include:• Getting on with each other
• Shared goals and targets
• Treating each other the same and equal
• Norms and Values
• Achieve these goals collectively
• The “Forming” stage begins when new team members are first brought
together. Usually objects are established.
• Then there is the “Storming” stage. At this stage team members become clear about
their roles and what is expected of them. Conflicts arise more often during this stage.
Questions could be asked about the leader at this stage.
• Next is the “Norming” stage, Step back and help the team take responsibility for
progress towards the goal. Lastly is the “Performing” stage. The team has a solid
understanding of the processes and project framework that have been put into place
and follow them efficiently.
Steiner proposed that the results of team effort are based on the following formula:Actual productivity = Potential productivity – losses due to Faulty processes
Actual productivity - this is how the team performs, meaning the results and level of
the performance they put in.
Potential productivity is the perfect performance the team could produce based on
the individual skill and ability level of each athlete in the team and resources available.
E.G: A big rugby team should beat a small rugby team.
• However these “faulty processes” are the things which make the outcome go pearshaped. The groups performance in the activity usually falls well below its
potential, its hard to get a perfect performance.
• The key to this success is to minimise these “faulty processes” which can include
coordination, motivational problems etc.
The Ringelmann Effect
The Ringelmann effect is the tendency for individual members of a group to become
increasingly less productive as the size of their group increases, for instance tug of war.
Coordination losses involves bad timing and poor strategies, such as a football team not
being able to get there striker the ball to score.
Activities that require interaction, such as basketball are more prone to coordination
Coactive and individual sports suffer less from coordination problems.
• A coactive sport – played by a team of two, badminton doubles. In
an individual sport, the performer operates alone.
• Excessive competition – In sport this can reduce the enjoyment
and lead to a lack of coordination.
• Motivational problems – including the idea of ‘social loafing’ and
the Ringlemann effect.
Social loafing describes the tendency of individuals to put forth less effort when they
are part of a group.
This is due to all the members of the group are producing all their effort to achieve a
common goal, each member of the group contributes less than they would if they
were individually responsible.
• This is normally brought on by low arousal/motivation, low confidence, negative
attitude, poor leadership, perceived low ability, lack on reinforcement from others,
a perception that others aren't trying so why should they or as a team you wont
change the result.
• This can be prevented by highlighting individual performances, rewarding,
promoting cohesion within the team, specific roles etc.
• Cohesion is the degree in which in the members of a
group exhibit the desire to achieve a common goal.
• Good group cohesion will ensure all members are
united in achieving the common goal – winning a
• Social cohesion is the degree to which members of a
group like each other and get on with mutual trust.
• When sports performers develop into groups, they
can be affected by each other. When a group forms,
a leader must ensure there is a strong bond, to
share goal and objectives, this makes them aware of
each other's roles in the team.
• Personality is defined as the sum total of an individuals characteristics that make
them unique. Another definition is that personality represents characteristics of a
person that account for consistent patterns of behaviour.
This theory states that we have certain personality characteristics that we were born
with and which influence the way in which we balance in the situations, whether sport
or everyday life.
Social Learning Theory
The influence of others on a person’s behaviour. We observe and imitate role models
but only those that are important to us. E.G: when a captain judges a situation to have
been handled well by an experienced leader, the method will be remembered and
copied. This theory suggests that all behaviour is learned through interaction with the
environment and that inherited factors don’t not influence our personality.
• Stable means calm, predictable, even-tempered, controlled, doesn’t swing from
one emotion to another.
• Neurotic means anxious, moody, unpredictable, illogical.
• Introvert means shy, nervous and unsociable.
• Extrovert means sociable, confident, lively, outgoing.
These four characteristics are combined for example ‘stable extrovert’ is used to
describe a personality that is consistently loud and bright. These types of behaviour
depends normally on your situation or environment, introverts may mean shyness but
loud and aggressive when playing sport. Mario Balotelli can be labelled as a neurotic
extrovert in his sport.
• This theory states that both the trait and social learning theories are combined
• It suggests to us that we base our behaviour on inborn traits that was adapt to
the situation we are in.
• These behaviour changes normally within a sporting activity for example if a
games player may be loud, extrovert and dominant in a game because this is the
way to succeed.
• But meanwhile he is quite and focused in training to develop and improve
techniques for the sport.
Motivation is the drive to fulfil a target or need. From a quote from ‘sage’ he
referred motivation to the internal mechanisms and external stimulus that arouse
and direct our behaviour.
Extrinsic and Intrinsic
Extrinsic motivation – this is where motivation is involved through influences
externally to the performer. This could mean the need to please others. The
performers will gain tangible prizes such as medals, certificates, prizes, money
etc. They could also gain intangible prizes such as winning the league or even
praise from parents, others.
Intrinsic motivation – this is the motivation through your own internal drive to
perform well. For example – enjoyment, satisfaction, fun. If you enjoy a sport you
will be more motivated to do well and improve/develop.
Personality characteristics and the intrinsic and extrinsic motives to participate and
achieve in sport are linked – the type of personality you have may determine how
motivated you actually are.
Atkinson related achievement motivation to personality and said that who is
motivated by the need to achieve, or NACH will:
Be persistent, quick and efficient
Welcome feedback and try harder after failure
A person that is motivated by need to avoid failure or NAF will:
• Avoid responsibility
• Take the easy option
• Give up after failure
Stress is a process where by an individual perceives a threat and responds with a sense of
psychological or physiological change indulging increased arousal and experience anxiety.
Symptoms of these stress can be from –
Physiological – Injury, tightness, shaking, hair falling out, decrease in weight, being sick,
increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, increase of adrenaline, increase in
perspiration and increase in blood sugar levels.
Psychological – Depression, sleep deprivation, negative thoughts, worry/apprehension,
irritable, inability to concentrate, harder to make decisions, difficulty in making decisions,
aggression, increased rate of speech.
This stress can come from multiple sources • Competition – constantly being judged/evaluated by others, coaches, spectators etc.
• Conflicts – can be caused by mistakes, refs decisions, injury.
• Frustration- other players, croud, coaches.
• Environment – climate uncomfortable – i.e. hot/cold, pitch unfamiliar.
Anxiety is a negative emotional state which is caused by a situation that is seen as
Meanwhile, Competitive Anxiety is feeling anxious just before a sport is being taken
place. To measure this anxiety there is a range of theories that take place to understand
the condition of the performer. The catastrophe theory suggests that anxiety and stress
will influence performance.
Arousal is where a performer is at the correct level to play in his comfort.
The Drive Theory suggests there is a relationship between arousal and performance, i.e.
The higher the arousal, the better the performance of the skilled players. However if the
performer is less skilful that the performance is not improved with high arousal, also if
the performer is less skilful then the performance will not improve with high arousal.
The Inverted U Theory is a generally more accepted theory that states as arousal level
increases as does the performance until it reaches an optimal level. Anything above this
then the performance starts to decline.