Team sports can be grueling. There is the competition with the opposition, the competition with teammates for playing time, the frustration with coaching decisions, and the suffering one experiences in the course of attempting to be best in the form of physical pain/exhaustion, personal/social sacrifice, and emotional turmoil that comes with the ups and downs of being an athlete. One major factor that helps players persevere through a grueling season or career is the interpersonal connections that are formed within the team. The strength of these relationships is incredibly powerful. Teams with very strong interpersonal connections tend to overachieve. There are a couple of key elements that make this true.
1. Individuals on these types of teams rarely feel isolated and/or hopeless. These are two feelings that can lead to a miserable season or someone even quitting. However, a strong connection leads to a feeling of support, which helps athletes to work through the tough times rather than feeling alone in a hopeless situation.
2. When a team feels like a family, everyone is more likely to take risks for the group to succeed. These teams have players who will sacrifice personal injury and push themselves to their physical and psychological limit. In addition, when a team feels like a family, players are more likely to put aside their personal ego for the advancement of the group.
3. Highly cohesive teams tend to be more fun. A team consisting of individuals who have strong, meaningful connections is going to have more fun on and off the field in comparison with a team with weak connections amongst players.