The Relationship of Group Cohesion with the Antecedents for Soccer Teams

Article excerpt

Abstract:

The aim of the study was to examine the relationship of the cohesion and the antecedents, which Carron (1982) presents in the conceptual framework of group cohesion, on soccer. Cohesion is a very important psychological factor which is connected to the group and individual performance. Many studies showed the great relationship between the two variables (Carron, Bray, & Eys 2002; Chang & Bordia 2001; Kozub & Button 2000; Pain & Harwood 2007; etc). According to Carron, Brawley, and Widmeyer (1998), group cohesion is "a dynamic process that is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united in its pursuit of instrumental objectives and/or for the satisfaction of members' affective needs". Characteristics such as the age and the experience of the players seem to affect the cohesion and also the perceptions of players about their individual and team performance. The sample of the data were 403 male soccer players from amateur Greek leagues aged 13 to 38 years (M= 21,91). The number of the participants that answered all the items of the questionnaires to all loans was 173 players. Perceptions of group cohesion were assessed using the Greek version of the 18-item Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ: Carron et al., 1985; Aggelonidis, 1995). The other variables were measured with improvised scales. The MANOVA analysis showed that cohesion is related to the perceptions of soccer players about their individual and team performance. Descriptive statistics showed also differences but no significant among the players of different either age or experience.

Key words: cohesion, soccer, age, experience, performance.

Introduction

The most common question among the sports persons is how to build a successful team that would achieve their targets. However there are many soccer teams that have invested great amounts of money to buy either players or training staffwithout achieving their goals. But what makes the difference so as these expensive teams sometimes can't achieve the targets that less expensive teams achieve? Carmichael and Thomas (2005) answered this question through their study in which they analyzed the performance of the teams that participated in UEFA EURO 2004. The results showed that the team co-operation which the Greek national team presented was the main reason for winning the first place of the EURO cup. Greek national team beat teams with great history which are consisted of the most famous and expensive players around the world. The study revealed the existence of a factor which is often overlooked by the training staff, the group cohesion. Apart from technical, tactical and physical factors, the psychological factors are necessary to be developed during the season. Further, one of the most important factors that is related with both individual and team performance is the group cohesion. The positive relationship between cohesion and performance has been concluded in many studies (Carron, Bray, & Eys 2002; Carron, Colman, Wheeler, & Stevens 2002; Chang & Bordia 2001; Kozub & Button 2000; Mullen & Copper, 1994; Narimani & Ahari 2008; Pain & Harwood 2007; Tziner, Nicola, & Rizac, 2003 etc). According to the definition by Carron, Brawley, and Widmeyer (1998), group cohesion is "a dynamic process that is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united in its pursuit of instrumental objectives and/or for the satisfaction of members' affective needs". This definition incorporates two different kinds of cohesion, the instrumental objectives of the group members are connected to the task cohesion and the satisfaction that the members feel as part of the groups connected to the social cohesion. As we can observe from the definition cohesion is a dynamic process as it changes through the time because of a variety of variables. Carron (1982) developed the conceptual framework of group cohesion which is a linear model consisting of inputs, throughputs and outputs. …