In team sports, you need a team to succeed. Often, players on successful teams describe their team as “we had a good team spirit,” “we’re like family,” or “we trusted each other”. All of these describe in their own way the social relationships between players and their commitment to the team. In the coaching literature, this phenomenon is called cohesion, which is a social and changing dynamic process. It reflects the bond between the members of the group, the commitment to the group and its goals. It is influenced by the environment, personal, leadership and team factors.
According to Carron, Widmeyer and Brawley (1985), who have studied cohesion a lot, it can be divided into social and task cohesion. Social cohesion is often associated with human attraction. It reflects two main dimensions: the sense of belonging to a group and the relationships between members within the group. Task cohesion, on the other hand, reflects member`s interest in the group’s goal, which requires a joint effort by the group. Such as winning a championship. Often these two can be considered to be related. When a team is doing well, the relationships between the players are also doing well and while the team is doing well there is usually also higher chance to be more successful in the field.
Cohesion can be measured in two different ways: Using questionnaires and sociograms. Carron and colleagues`(1998) developed The Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ), which measures the task and social aspects of an player’s perceptions and attraction to the group. Questionnaire contains 18 items and has four scales: Individual Attraction to Group-Task; Individual Attraction to Group-Social; Group Integration-Task; and Group Integration’s Social. In the questionnaire, the player answers eighteen questions, after which the total score for each of the four scales can be calculated. The higher the score on each sub-scale, the more players reflect that dimension. There are no right or wrong answers to the survey and it gives the best result when it is repeated regularly, allowing example the coach to follow the development of the team’s cohesion.
Group Environment Questionnaire (GEQ):
Later Eys, Loughead, Bray, and Carron (2009) have created a version of GEQ that is better suited to youth sports.
References: Carron A, Brawley L and Widmeyer N, (1998), Measurement of Cohesion in Sport and Exercise, Advances in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement, Pages 213-226.
Eyes, M, Loughead T, Bray S, Carron A. Development of a Cohesion Questionnaire for Youth: The Youth Sport Environment Questionnaire, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psycholog, Pages 390-408.