Team spirit

Командный дух

In the article “Team Spirit” we will define the team, list and examine the components of a true team, and how they affect the outcome.

So often it happens, a non-great athlete, runner or biathlete becomes indispensable in a relay and without him the winning spirit of the whole team does not add up in any way. Or vice versa, a famous master, a born leader, a forward comes to a new team and gets lost behind his partners.

Specialists say, “Well, it’s not his team…”. What do they mean, incompatibility of tactical schemes or personal relationships on the team? And what is IMPORTANT for a professional, personal skill or teamwork?

Russian baseball team
Russian baseball team

In August 2001, the Russian national baseball team reached the finals of the European Championship. Until then, only two teams, Italy and the Netherlands, had competed for gold and silver medals. The others settled for bronze, at best. And now a sensation, not the most baseball country goes to the finals of the championship.

Team Russia in the championship demonstrated great skill, chemistry worthy of champions, perhaps that is the team spirit. But when and where does unity appear, on the court or in life, athletes must necessarily be friends?

During serious curling tournaments girls spend 4-6 hours on the ice every day. Without psychological stability and emotional support of each other it is impossible to withstand such intense competition. This is why the coaching staff very carefully controls the relationships within the team.

On the eve of each new season, the national team management faces the same question: “Should we keep the same lineup or should we change some players?”

President of the Curling Federation of Russia D.A. Svishchev:

“A team is like a human body. Everything works well, but the liver is acting up and it affects the whole body, even the color of your eyes. It’s the same in the team, if one of the organs starts to falter, it’s necessary to treat it”.

In the laboratories of Russia, scientists have repeatedly tried to find out the level and depth of mutual understanding in the team. And here is a brief conclusion:

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“Within a team, the level of mutual understanding can reach colossal values, but as long as communication does not go beyond sports. The unifying factor is sport, achievement and results. But when communication turns to personal themes, mutual understanding can turn into animosity. An example would be girlfriends who did not share a boyfriend”.

Head of the Laboratory of Social and Cognitive Psychology, Doctor of Medicine Vadim Gushchin:

“These are the stupid questions: “Did they want to win or did they not want to win? We wanted to… The question is what price one team wanted to win, and what price the other team wanted to win”.

Each team has its own rituals. Before the start of the competition, the athletes close the circle, leaving everything personal outside, concentrating on a common goal, victory. Victory by all means, for the glory of their club, their team.

In modern sports, the concept of the team has changed radically. Unlike in earlier times, athletes move easily and often from one club to another. Every year, almost completely renewed teams compete under the flag of the club. People of different nationalities and mentalities come together.

What can it lead to? To the fact that people actually interact not at a social level, but at a professional level. And this communication is incomplete, it is at the level of “fetch and give”. When this occurs, the team is not a unified organism, it can no longer interact effectively.

Leader in the team
Leader in the team

What is more important in the sports arena, individual skill or team support? Experiments suggest that team members coordinate well with one another at an intermediate level. However, when faced with complex tasks, team members are unable to quickly assign roles to one another. They lack one important component of team spirit – every team should have a leader.

Sports psychologists insist that every team must have a person who can take responsibility and make a choice at any given moment. His decisions must be unconditionally accepted by everyone on the court, because there is no time for discussion, everything is decided at the level of physiology.

Where does the matrix of team spirit reside, within the sports team or in the stands, among the loyal fans? It is sometimes said: “The fans drive their team forward,” is this really the case?”

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Cheerleader of the Russian team
Cheerleader of the Russian team

Russian scientists have been able to answer this question as well. They confirm that there is a correlation between the actions of athletes on the court, their emotional state and the energy of the fans. It turns out that “the stands drive you forward” is not a well-known image exploited by sports commentators, but this support needs to be earned.

It’s one thing to simply make noise for your own, but it’s quite another to empathize. A team and its fans, like a radio and a transmitting station, must be on the same wavelength.

So what is team spirit? Is it chemistry, psychological compatibility, subconscious mutual understanding? Many teams have this, but not all become champions.

The main factor is the idea. The idea should unite. Sometimes you see athletes give up their paychecks so that only the idea, not the economic part, is the unifying factor. If you are not willing to sacrifice your family, your time, your rest, your pain, your injuries, for the sake of the idea, then nothing will work out.

In order to win the finals, you have to become one. Those who have been through it also understand another thing: “A real team is not just a few people on the court“. That’s the mission of great sports – to show people their hidden potential. When, with equal playing skills and physical abilities, the result is determined by willpower and team spirit.

“To each other we grow tender as the fight grows fiercer”

Team spirit is mutual understanding and a sense of elbow, even relations between team members, the leading role of a leader on the sports field, a wise coach, excited and selflessly devoted stands. Team spirit is not only a means to an end, it is the goal itself.

We recommend watching an excerpt from the movie “Legend No. 17”, when the great and wise hockey coach Anatoly Tarasov explains to the team what a team is.

About team spirit

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