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Understanding the Importance of Teamwork

Karlene Sugarman explains how you can assess and develop a cohesive team.

The concept of teamwork is essential to the success of any team. All coaches talk about working as one unit, as a unified team. Teamwork and unselfishness create the backbone of a great team. Without them, a team cannot realistically compete. You can have a group of superstars, but if they do not work well as one unit, chances are they are not going to be as successful as you would think. The team working as one cohesive unit is going to be the key to their success.

What to look for

Here are some things to take into consideration when you are looking at your team:

  1. Does your team have agreed-upon goals they created as a team?
  2. Do the players openly encourage and support one another?
  3. Do they have open communication with one another, as well as the coaching staff?
  4. Does each player know what their role on the team is?
  5. Is there mutual respect among the players and coaching staff?
  6. Do players use statements such as "we" when referring to the team, or is it more of an "every man for himself" mentality?
  7. Have they created a positive team image for themselves?
  8. Are the individual contributions of each player recognised (regardless of whether he/she is a starter or not a starter)?
  9. Is the team as a whole committed to improving performance?
  10. Does each member consider themselves as a "team player?"

A productive team has players that share common goals, a shared vision, and some level of interdependence that requires both verbal and physical interaction. Teams come into existence through shared attitudes about a particular sport. They may come together for several different reasons, but their goals are the same - to achieve peak performance and experience success. The ends may differ, but how one gets there is the same - teamwork. Every member of the team is accountable when it comes to teamwork.


To succeed at the task at hand, everyone involved needs to combine their efforts. If everyone does their job well, then it increases what the team can accomplish. This teamwork has to be recognised by everyone and knows that great things can happen if individuals master the fundamentals and work together as one unit. Everyone has a unique role, but each person's position must be recognised and appreciated.

Teamwork is something that must be a high priority and given constant attention. Every player needs to understand how important it is for them to work smoothly together if they want to be successful. Each player must be dedicated to the whole team and be willing to act unselfishly. When challenges arise (as they always do), the team needs to have the resources, accountability, and commitment to deal with them constructively and positively. A sense of teamwork will play an integral part in this.

Just remember T.E.A.M. - Together Everyone Achieves More!

About the Author

Karlene is a Mental Training Consultant in California and works with athletes and teams teaching mental training techniques and team-building strategies. She works with athletes in various sports and has worked with the University of San Diego baseball team since 2000. She is a Professor in the Sport Psychology program at John F. Kennedy University.

Karlene is the author of the book, Winning the Mental Way: A practical guide to team building and mental training. She is a member of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and a member of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association. She is also on the Board of Directors for the First Base Foundation.

Article Reference

This article first appeared in:

  • SUGARMAN, K. (2004) Understanding the Importance of Teamwork. Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 13 / June), p. 4

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • SUGARMAN, K. (2004) Understanding the Importance of Teamwork [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Karlene Sugarman Karlene is a sports psychology consultant in the UK and the author of the book Winning the Mental Way, a book on team building and mental training.