COHESION AND PERFORMANCE IN A COACTING SPORT
Williams, J. M., & Widmeyer, W. N. (1991). The cohesion-performance outcome relationship in a coacting sport. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 13, 364-371.
Cohesion (i.e., togetherness, team spirit, closeness, teamwork, team unity) is supposed to be positive in interacting teams (e.g., football, basketball) but negative in coacting teams (e.g., golf, bowling). In interacting sports, success depends upon appropriately combining each player's diverse skills in an interdependent pattern of teamwork. In coacting sports, players independently perform the same skills, and team success is determined by the sum of individual performances.
Female NCAA golfers (N = 83) were tested using the Group Environment Questionnaire at a 54-hole tournament. COHESION significantly predicted performance outcome, communication, and motivation as assessed by commitment to the team goal. Communication and motivation accounted for only 5% of performance variance with motivation being the only significant predictor. These relationships are minor.
Implication. These variables are minor factors in any association between psychology and performance in golfers. It is not known whether cohesiveness leads to successful performance or if success makes a team more cohesive.
Despite a lack of association with performance, cohesiveness might facilitate better training climates and group organization/function which, in a tangential way, could promote a better platform for more important variables and psychological factors.
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