I was struck by a great deal of reflective thinking when I began reading chapter three: Team Building from Levi’s Group Dynamics for Teams. This chapter stuck out in my mind due to the uniting of the second years during the first week of school and got me thinking, “are we an extraordinary team, or are we merely ordinary individuals in a group?” Levi defines team as, “a special type of group in which people work interdependently to accomplish a goal” (pg. 2). He goes on to preach the benefits of a proper and well-oiled team machine. Teams often accomplish more than individuals, have increased satisfaction and experience a greater sense of motivation. However, as I continued my reading I feel we are less team, more individual. This is due to a missing component and a great deal of type-A personality! What are we missing? Cohesive and unified team goals. Levi defines these as, “a desirable state of affairs members intend to bring about through combined efforts” (pg. 45). Goals provide a vision which drives effort and develops passion. So how does the sport and performance psychology program (SPP) function so well in many different team-like situations? Our individual goals seem to go beyond one single person  and encompass something far greater than we could ever imagine. For example, several members in SPP individually decided to work collectively on the Denver Public School (DPS) project. An effort in developing a coaching education that will foster youth life skills. The vision does not stop with life skills, but hopes to demonstrate the power that sport has to mold young youth into productive members of a  growing society. And it is this one example, that I believe, elevates us from ordinary individuals to extraordinary individuals who have all the benefits of a team without the sometimes sticky stages of group development.

 

–Elizabeth Kingen

 

Levi, D. (2011) Group dynamics for teams. California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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