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3 –
Write a report on
how a coach could
improve the group
dynamics within a
sports team.
Every sporting team is lead, instructed and guided
by a coach. The coach is at the head of the
sporting performance and has a major impact on
how their players perform as a unit. How they
chose to carry out training and development
determines how a team performs, It is their role
and responsibility to ensure that their players are
working together as a team, they may list the most
talented and skilled performers within individuals
but if theses individuals can’t work as one they
become a failure as a unit. This is why it is so
vitally important that they do the best they can to
work within the team in order to achieve success.
Below I have tried to analyse how and why
different group dynamics affect performance.

Group Effectiveness.
Working as part of a team in sport has proved to
be extremely beneficial in many different aspects.
Being part of a team/group allows you to act and
perform as a unit. And so it is important that the
group you work within is effective in their ways and
processes in order for success to be achieved.
There are a Varity of different ways in which this
can be done…In the essay below there are some
different actions and procedures which can be
taken to try and accomplish this.
Group Development.

‘’A group is two or more persons who are

interacting with one another in such a manner that
each person influences and is influenced by each
other person’’. The above quote shared by (Shaw
M E 1976), gives us an approach on how a group
can be seen, group and team members need to
depend and rely on each other, offering support
and motivation in order to accomplish targets,
goals and objectives.

The development of a group is a vital part in the

making of a successful team. It is split into 4
different sections, each sporting team/group
normally passes through these following stages;

1. Forming
2. Storming
3. Norming
4. Performing

Forming is when the group members familiarise

themselves, make first impressions and a level of
formality is set. Strengths and weaknesses are
assessed and members start to weigh up role

Storming this is the stage at which conflicts

become common there is a level of tension where
the fight for status and recognitions forms. Leaders
begin to get questioned and members try to climb
up the influential ladder.
Norming tends to be where previous conflict is
replaced by a sense of co-ordination and solidarity,
the goals become a team outlook and objective
instead of individual achievements, certain rules
and regulations are set and it is here that
cohesion, satisfaction and respect all begin to
develop and the team becomes more of a unit.

Performing is the process where little supervision

and motivation from external sources are needed,
the group is more experienced and so more
knowledgeable in making their own actions and
decisions, overall the group matures to work as a
team successfully.


Cohesion is the extent to which members of a

group exhibit a desire to achieve common goals
and group identity. Common sense therefore
suggests that the more cohesive a team is, the
better they perform as a unit. Cohesion is a
popular subject for research studies in sport but
the results are equivocal. Some studies show that
high group cohesion leads to better performance.
Others suggest that good performances lead to
increased cohesion. Where as some show a
negative correlation between sporting performance
and cohesion.
In early research the effects of Cohesion were
assessed in terms of both interactive and coactive
groups. In interactive teams such as basketball,
netball, rugby, football etc… perceived cohesion
was thought to be important for success. In
contrast, team cohesion was seen as less vital for
coactive teams such as rowing, swimming and
relay where team members rely less on each other
and just concentrate on their own task as
Later research developed these two basic
assessments of cohesion into two further
categories, referring to them as;

-Task cohesion
-Social cohesion

Task cohesion relates to how well the team works

together to achieve common targets and goals.
The level of the teams desire to win and be the
best is directly linked to their level of group effort
and teamwork.

Social cohesion relates to how much the

members of a team enjoy each others company
and interaction, how well they integrate socially
whether they win or loose.

‘’A man named Albert Carron (1982) proposed a

conceptual model in order to highlight the many
pre-existing variables that could influence the
development of group cohesion. Carrons
framework highlighted four major categories of
antecedents that contribute to group cohesion. The
above quote was taken from’’ ( and
are explained further as of below;

• Situational/environmental elements e.g.-

group size, age, contrasts, geography.
• Personal elements e.g. similar/dissimilar,
gender, motivational reasons i.e. task,
affiliation, self.
• Team elements e.g. the desire for success,
shared team experiences.
• Leadership elements e.g. decision making,
participative style.

These four categories of antecedents were seen as

affecting both task and social cohesion in relation
to either the group or the individual. Whilst the
team’s objectives may be the same for all, the
individual motives for joining and maintaining the
group may be different. Below is a diagram to
explain the theory with regards to sport.

There are other factors which are associated with

Cohesion, below is a list of some factors that can
be commonly linked with cohesion with a few
suggestions as to how cohesion co-insides with
these factors.

-The longer a group stays together, with the same
members the more likely it is to develop
-Cohesion develops most quickly in small groups,
unless there are any disruptive members, who will
have a greater effect in small groups compared to
larger ones.

-Cohesive teams tend to have managers and
captains who provide support to play and who
encourage players to support each other. This
support occurs before, during and after
competition (task related support) and at other
times (personal and emotional support).

-Cohesion is associated with the extent to which
team members are pleased with each others
performance, behaviour and conformity to the
norms of the group. For example, cohesion can be
lessened if a player consistently lets the team


‘’Most successful teams have strong leaders and

the importance of this role is evident in all
categories of sport. The performance of a leader is
very clear in interactive games like hockey and
netball, where as a leaders contribution in co-
active team games such as swimming and athletics
is less obvious although still influential.’’ This
statement taken from the following book
(Advanced PE for OCR A2 Daniel Bonney et al.
2004) shows us just how important then presence
of a leader is in sport. Leaders can be referred to
the head of a sporting team and has a huge
influence on how the team performs. They help to
give instructions and direction on the sport and
have to have the respect of their fellow team
members in order to gain that sense of authority.
There are some clear characteristics that are
found within leaders of the sporting society, these
are qualities of personality which allow a leader
figure should hold in order to achieve maximum
success. A short list is as below;

- Communication – This is vitally important, it

allows the coaches to become more familiar with
players and breaks the barrier of

- Self Discipline – Coaches are looked up to by

their team players and athletes, it is key that they
set a bench mark in order to lead by example and
set the right impressions.

- Confidence – Being confident in their own

decisions ensures the team that they’re being lead
by someone who has full knowledge and
understanding, as well as this being able to show
confidence in others with regards to decisions and

- Intelligence – Being able to think of different

game tactics, strategies and plans is vital in
recorded the success and development of players
and moving forward as a team.

Styles of Leadership.
Different styles of leadership were identified as
early as 1939 by Lewin et al. In their investigations
of adult leadership styles on 10 year old boys
attending after school clubs Lewin used three basic

-Autocratic leaders.

This type of leader adopts a very authoritarian

style generally based on strong rule structures.
They tend to be very inflexible, make all the
decisions and rarely get involved on a personal
level with consideration to the team and group

-Democratic leaders.

This type of leader only makes decisions after

consulting the group. They are usually more
informal, relaxed and active within the group and
team community than the autocratic leader. In
addition, they show a keen interest in personal
group involvement and are prepared to help and
explain appropriate feedback and encouragement.


This type of leader leaves the group to get on by

themselves and generally pays a passive role.
They do not interfere, either by directing or co-
ordinating. Being generally unsure of the task they
tend no to make or give any positive/negative

The results put forward by Lewin et al were

specifically related to patterns of aggression and
co-operation. Those in the groups lead by an
autocratic leader tended to become aggressive
with one another, working independently and in
competition against each other. They also worker
hard when their leader was present and were
generally submissive to the leader.

Those boys with the democratic leader were more

consistent in their approach to work, although less
was done it was of a similar quality. They related
better to one another and were generally more
interested, cheerful and co-operative. Altogether
they continued to work well when left alone

The boys in the laissez-faire-led group were also

generally aggressive towards each other, being
restless and easily discouraged. They too produced
very little work.

Lewin et al’s study indicates that leadership style is

a more important factor than personality, i.e. that
democratic leaders are apparently most effective.
The fact that the third group hardly did any work
indicates that leadership of some sort and level is
incredibly important.

Theories of leadership.

Research often investigates into the leadership

styles of coaches, these investigations look at
personalities, behaviours, and other related factors
in an attempt to better understand and define
leadership. Below are some of the more
distinguished theories of leadership within the
sporting environment.

• Chelladurai’s multi-dimensional model.

There has been a great deal of research to try and

apply the many non-sporting contingency models
and theories to the sporting environment. The so
called unique characteristics of sporting teams with
a lack of specific support and application success,
suggested that a more sports-specific model of
leadership was needed. By bringing together the
many aspects of different research and
contingency model Chelladurai put forward his
sport specific multi-dimensional model in 1980.
Through this model he argued that the style
adopted by a leader in sport. And its relative
effectiveness, depended not only on the demands
and constrains of a situation together with the
characteristics of a leader, but also on the
characteristics and demands of the group, His
model suggests therefore that in order to achieve

-High performance levels

-Good group team satisfaction

A leader had to be even more dynamic and

changeable in relation to the characteristics of the
situation, leader and group. These types of
interdependent behaviour will help produce the
required outcomes.

1. Required behaviour – the type of behaviour

appropriate to or required by the situation or
task. E.g. teachers are expected to conform to
certain norms and express certain accepted
2. Preferred behaviour – the type of behaviour
preferred by the group or performer. Different
groups will demand different things from their
leaders. I.e. achievement of performance
levels by some for fun and enjoyment whereas
for others it could be competitive and serious.
3. Actual leader behaviour – the behaviour shown
by the teacher or coach in a specific situation.

• Differences between male and female leaders.

The below information is taken from Who have provided an
explanation on the topic of gender differences
within coaching leadership, This is extremely
interesting as it shows the preferences of genders
in terms of coaching styles and techniques and
allows us to explore whether gender does have an
impact on the coaching world of sport.

‘’Researchers provide contradicting evidence for

the differences between male and female leaders.
Freeman and Lanning (1989) demonstrated how
males and females are similar in social power
motivation (an element of leadership). Conversely,
Chelladurai and Saleh (1980) found that male
athletes preferred coaches to be more autocratic,
yet more supportive than did female athletes.
Following Chelladurai and Saleh's (1980) research
on preferred leadership behaviour, suggesting that
behaviour is dictated by member's preferences
(athlete's attitudes), it would follow that coaches of
males (typically male coaches) would be different
than coaches of females (typically female
coaches). Additionally, Lipman-Blumen (1992)
reported that gender differences exist in leadership
achievement styles.’’

• Trait Approach.

This theory argues that leaders are born with the

skills necessary to take charge and cannot be
‘made’ or ‘manufactured’ into being able to lead
effectively. They believe that the leadership traits
are part of a person’s personality (intelligence,
assertiveness and self –confidence) and so certain
members of society are born natural leaders.
However this theory has proved to be quite
controversial as explained in (Advanced PE for OCR
A2. Daniel Booney et al 2004) Who state ‘If this is
true a leader should be able to take control of any
situation. This is highly unlikely, an early trait
theory is the ‘great man theory’ which suggests
that the necessary qualities are inherited by sons
(not daughters) whose fathers have been
successful in this field.’’
From this I think it is clear to conclude that
although certain characteristics or traits are helpful
when it comes down to leadership, not all people
who hold these traits are guaranteed success in

• Sport and P.E - Kevin Wesson Nesta

Wiggins Graham Thompon and Sue

• Physical Education and the study of sport

- Rob Davis, Ros Bull, Jan Roscoe, Dennis
Roscoe. (1991)


• Advanced PE for OCR A2. Daniel Booney,

John Ireland, Claire Miller, Ken Mackreth,
Ina Thomas, Sarah van Wely. (2004)


• Classroom notes – Mrs Donald.

Olivia McCarthy.