Building Team Dynamics
What are Team Dynamics?
Team Dynamics are unconscious influences on or within a group of people that have a common purpose (football team/Badminton doubles pairing). These dynamics are created by personalities, relationships, roles within the team and the environment the team has. These can have both positive and negative impacts on the team.Positive – each individual brings strengths in personality and performance to the team.Negative – clashes in personality and division within the team can lead to demotivation and poor in cohesive performance.

Programme of Work
The development of a group normally goes through the following stages:Forming - the group gets together and a level of formality is commonStorming- heightened tension associated with competition for status and influenceNorming - rules and standards of behaviour are agreedPerforming - group matures to a point where it is able to work together as a teamThere are many different forms of interaction in a group. We have social interaction (formation of friends) and task interaction (the way the members co-operate to achieve goals)Coaches can facilitate the development of social cohesion within their teams by:
  • Opening communication channels between themselves and their charges and between team members.
  • Seek input when making decisions and address conflict when it arises.
  • Develop pride and a collective identity by setting realistic goals with the team and gain their commitment by involving them in the process.
  • Develop common expectations of behavior (e.g., arriving on time or early to training).
  • Acknowledge personal contributions by stressing the importance of each individual’s role. This acknowledgment will also enhance the individual’s motivation and commitment.
  • Conduct periodic meetings at which team members can air their grievances and resolve conflict.
  • Use senior members to help implement change where necessary.
  • Discuss the positive aspect of a performance before the negatives.
  • Reinforce distinctiveness by training in a common uniform and interacting socially as well as at training.
  • Avoid early failures where possible.
  • Avoid excess team substitutions.
  • Avoid clique formation (negative alliances) by randomly assigning individuals to groups for off-field training.

Organise a ‘team-challenge’ day. Athletes are organised into small teams and must work together to complete various physical activities (unrelated to their sport). Examples can include: Group Ski Walk, canoeing, canyoning, capture the flag, orienteering, human knot, minefield, blind fold assault course and various other team building activities. After
 Use all team members to perform various roles off the pitch
 Get team to revise individual and team goals regularly.
The subsequent effect will be to improve cohesion and develop positive group dynamics.
 Posses a common Identity
 Shared goals and objectives
 Play and understand roles in specific structures
 Effective communication
 Feel a belonging to team.

ConclusionFor a group to perform at its highest level of performance, methods and strategies need to be applied which will improve group productivity. The subsequent effect will be to improve cohesion and develop positive group dynamics.

Partner/ Group Work
We can use this approach to develop social factors such as co-operating, supporting/building relationships & contributing to a team group.Examples of Partner/Group work are-i) Conditioned games. In basketball a condition may be put on the game that every team member must touch the ball prior to a shot at the basket. This ensures that all are involved and contributing to the team. Another condition may be that players must communicate verbally/ non verbally before receiving the ball by calling for the pass, clapping or signal where they want the ball. This encourages everyone within the team to cooperate and build relationships.ii) Team meetings/presentations. This may or may not be based in a classroom session. Team member’s use this time to self & peer assess team members’ qualities and areas of development and then present to the rest of the class. This approach encourages pupils’ positive interdependence, cooperation and ensures they are all contributing to the team.iii) Working in groups with individuals taking responsibility on a shared basis. Team members take it in turns to lead specific parts of training sessions such as warm –ups or skill development practices. This technique builds responsibility, mutual respect and helps pupils develop their social skills.

Role Models and Use of Role Models
Definition- a person whose character and behaviour is imitated by others who would like to be in the same or a similar position or situation. True role models are those who possess the qualities that we would like to have, and those who have affected us in a way that makes us want to be better people. The term "role model" is credited to sociologist Robert K. Merton, who coined the phrase during his career. Merton hypothesised that individuals compare themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires.As an approach Role Models or the Use of Role Models, as identified in MESP Approaches document, can be used to address a number of Factors (features) Impacting on Performance. Role Models may come from the activity the pupil is focusing on or be selected from another sport, as they display qualities that the student is trying to develop as a weakness identified in their data. Over the course of a training programme the use of Role Models could work in isolation but would probably work best along side Fitness/ Skills/ Tactics programme within Physical. A student may wish to read articles about their role model, his/ her biography or watch footage for their performance or interviews. Regardless of the source the student should be looking to identify and develop upon the following characteristics. -Passion-Ability to inspire-Clear set of values; respect, morality, hard work, sincerity, humility. -Commitment to their community and doing positive things within and out with their sport. -Selflessness and acceptance of others-Ability to overcome obstacles; tenacity, perseverance, optimistic, open minded, commitment.

Andy Murray's relaxed demeanor off the court but die-hard attitude on the court makes him an excellent role model.Murray displays mental strength by never giving up in matches and not letting losses in previous games affect his performances in the next tournament. He works extremely hard to keep himself in supreme physical shape which gives him an edge over his opponents. Off the court he is well known to be a quiet living, down to earth person who values his personal and family time. Jessica Ennis displays similar characteristics to Murray. She has worked extremely hard to gain her success, working through serious injury and coping with massive public expectation to win gold at the London Olympics.

Defining Roles
Defining the roles, understanding the role responsibilities, and agreeing on who will handle that role is an essential part of every teams progress. Clearly defining roles is vital to team efficiency and success. Your position or role within a team/individual activity can be determined by your body shape, height, fitness, skill level and past experience.Socially it also can be determined by your life style in terms of what you eat and drink prior to a game or how much you have slept the night before. This would determine if you took part in a game.Your role in Rugby for example would be determined by a number of Physical factors (Speed, Strength, Power, agility, co-ordination), but also would take into consideration a number of mental and emotional factors such as determination, mental toughness, and resilience.Socially a team manager would want to pick a player who follows codes of conduct and is likely to apply him or herself in a positive and respectful manner during a game without the likelihood of being sent off. A captain is selected based on leadership, communication and cooperation strengths.Tactically before a game the manager would want to define what a player is responsible for. i.e. zonal marking or man marking.When team members understand their roles, they will be more productive and have a greater chance of fulfilling their role within the team. Role definition is particularly important in teams for example, a point guard’s role in Basketball is specifically to bring the ball up the court or the setter’s role in Volleyball is to set the ball up for wider players to spike rather than play the ball over themselves.
How to develop When: Coaches should predetermine each team role and responsibility prior to selecting the team member to fill that position. They should take time to assign roles and tasks to each member.How: Avoid assuming team members understand how to carry out their role. Take time to clearly communicate expectations, boundaries, responsibilities and goals to each team member. Ensure time is given to check understanding.Why: Understanding the boundaries and expectations of a role provides __support__ and __accountability__ for team members in performing their tasks. Pre-defined roles also help to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings between team members ensuring all are aware of expectations within their roles. Allocating each player a role gives responsibility and ownership to fulfill their role and feel part of the team which gives a greater sense of motivation and team cohesiveness. Suggested strategies
  • Using a sport education approach to allow all pupils experience of having to define roles in a chosen activity for example, all pupils given the chance to become team coach and allow them to use their own knowledge and understanding to select players accordingly depending on strengths and weaknesses.
  • Using a conditioned game, allocate zones within the playing area to help understand where players should be within their roles for example in Basketball mark out wide areas where the forwards must move to when possession is gained. They must remain in this area until ¾ court where they can then cut to the basket.

Peer Groupings
DescriptionPeer groupings can be used to develop performance. This is carried out by working in groups when you are improving your performance. Within the group, you can focus on a specific sub-factor within the social factor (e.g. codes of conduct, etiquette, fair play, relationships etc.). The peer group can be within your class or within a specific team within the class- it will be dependent on what your focus in.AdvantagesThe advantages of using peer grouping to develop the social factor include:
  • the whole group can develop the factor at the same time;
  • you can work with the peers who you will be performing with over and over again with or within your single performance;
  • improving the ability to work with others will have a positive impact on your whole performance.
DisadvantagesThe disadvantages of using peer grouping to develop the social factor include:
  • the approach will only work if everyone in the peer group applies themselves;
  • some people in the group may refuse to cooperative with each other resulting in a negative experience for all;
  • if one person in the group struggles to improve, this will result in a negative experience for all members.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques
We can use this approach to develop social factors such as respect for self and others and self-conduct and inclusion.Examples of Positive reinforcement techniques are-i) Sports Ed model – Rotating roles within the team to ensure pupils undertake the responsibility of being a coach. The emphasis of this would be for pupils to adopt a positive attitude and praise/ encourage members of their team highlighting success within their performance.ii) Group vote/ Awards – At various points throughout a block teacher’s can facilitate a class vote where they nominate team mates for awards such as MVP, Most Improved Player, Play of the Day etc. This is aimed at building relationships and a positive ethos within the team. Also builds mutual respect.iii) Training Diary/ Record of progress – Encourages positive self-evaluation and tracking of personal development within the activity. Many elite athletics have a coach or manager who they work alongside to achieve their goals. A coach can enhance the athletic experience and performance of a player by recognizing and adhering to one of the oldest learning principles in psychology: positive reinforcement. Rewarding appropriate behaviour, or catching people doing things right, is much more effective than punishing negative behaviour, or being predominantly critical. When a player does something right, a coach will frequently reinforce the behaviour by giving the player rewards that she or he values. Since each player finds different things rewarding, you have to know your players and have a good understanding of their personalities. Positive behaviour shouldn’t be rewarded every time, as this may undermine the effect of the reward. Psychological studies show that people produce greater effort and persistence for occasional positive reinforcement than for continuous reinforcement. For example, in tennis, players would probably see positive comments and praise that are given about half the time after good behaviours as greater rewards than if praise were given automatically every time. However, positive approaches to behavioural change are highly motivating and enjoyable for players. Researchers in sport psychology suggest that 80% to 90% of reinforcement from the coach be positive.

Active Listening
DefinitionActive listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice. However, active listening can be difficult to master and will, therefore, take time and patience. 'Active listening' means, as its name suggests, actively listening. That is fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue. By providing this 'feedback' the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly. Listening is the most fundamental component of interpersonal communication skills. Listening is not something that just happens (that is hearing), listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker. Listeners should remain neutral and non-judgmental, this means trying not to take sides or form opinions, especially early in the conversation. Active listening is also about patience - pauses and short periods of silence should be accepted. Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.Active listening not only means focusing fully on the speaker but also actively showing verbal and non-verbal signs of listening. Generally speakers want listeners to demonstrate ‘active listening’ by responding appropriately to what they are saying. Appropriate responses to listening can be both verbal and non-verbal.How to developWhen: Set yourself a routine before active listening e.g. count to 10 to prepare yourself and focus. Build up to limiting this time creating efficiency of focusHow: Self-evaluate what you have heard e.g. answer a set of questions or write a summaryWhy: Check if you have been successful in active listeningCheck for understandingSuggested strategies
  • Debate on controversial area in sports e.g. goal line technology in football
  • Discussion in practical setting on why lost goal/basket within a game
  1. Stop Talking“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain.Don't talk, listen. When somebody else is talking listen to what they are saying, do not interrupt, talk over them or finish their sentences for them. Stop, just listen. When the other person has finished talking you may need to clarify to ensure you have received their message accurately.2. Prepare Yourself to ListenFocus on the speaker. Put other things out of mind. The human mind is easily distracted by other thoughts – what’s for lunch, what time do I need to leave to catch my train, is it going to rain – try to put other thoughts out of mind and concentrate on the messages that are being communicated.3. Put the Speaker at EaseHelp the speaker to feel free to speak. Remember their needs and concerns. Nod or use other gestures or words to encourage them to continue. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare – show you are listening and understanding what is being said.4. Remove DistractionsFocus on what is being said. Avoid unnecessary interruptions. These behaviours disrupt the listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted.5. EmpathiseTry to understand the other person’s point of view. Look at issues from their perspective. Let go of preconceived ideas. By having an open mind we can more fully empathise with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others. 6. Be PatientA pause, even a long pause, does not necessarily mean that the speaker has finished. Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time, sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it. Never interrupt or finish a sentence for someone.7. Avoid Personal PrejudiceTry to be impartial. Don't become irritated and don't let the person’s habits or mannerisms distract you from what they are really saying. Everybody has a different way of speaking - some people are for example more nervous or shy than others, some have regional accents or make excessive arm movements, some people like to pace whilst talking - others like to sit still. Focus on what is being said and try to ignore styles of delivery. 8. Listen to the ToneVolume and tone both add to what someone is saying. A good speaker will use both volume and tone to their advantage to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said. 9. Listen for Ideas – Not Just WordsYou need to get the whole picture, not just isolated bits and pieces. Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. With proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus this becomes easier.10. Wait and Watch for Non-Verbal CommunicationGestures, facial expressions, and eye-movements can all be important. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes – watch and pick up the additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication.

Restorative Practices

Restorative approaches can offer a powerful approach to promoting harmonious relationships in schools and can lead to the successful resolution of conflict and harm.
The fundamental unifying hypothesis of restorative practices is that "human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behaviour when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.
The aim of restorative practices is to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships.
Restorative practices may have many potential uses in sport. These practises can be used to create an environment where common goals are agreed, discussed and achieved by team mates or by coaches and athletes through building a sense of community and empowerment.
Restorative practices may also help in situations where team harmony or coach/ performer relations have been damaged by the actions of one party. Restorative approaches would mean the individual taking responsibility for their actions and initiating a process aiming to repair damage done and solve any problems caused, so the group can move forward together.