The importance of teamwork in sport

Columnist Dan Donohue writes about the how teamwork is vital in sports.
Dan DonohueDan Donohue
Dan Donohue

Sport in general has become big business over the last decade or so and, according to recent reports, the 2020 Olympics will be the last major sporting event that we will see on terrestrial television.

In other words, if you want to watch sports after that then you had better have satellite television or an account with one of the many streaming services like Amazon Prime. Back in the good old days of the 1990s, sport on television was in abundance, none more so than Channel 4, and this is where my love for two Los Angeles-based teams was born: the Los Angeles Raiders (now Oakland) and the Los Angeles Lakers. In recent weeks, the Lakers have acquired the biggest name arguably in any sport on the planet, LeBron James.Optimism for the coming season is at fever pitch in LA and I’m super-excited to see him play in the purple and gold, but is one man really capable of taking a team to the holy grail?

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In this week’s column, we’re going to look at the importance of teamwork, and why you may need it to achieve your goal.

I’ve recently read an excellent book written by the legendary NBA coach, Phil Jackson, named Eleven Rings.In it, he talks on multiple occasions of the importance of teamwork, regardless of the fact he had some of the greatest players in the world at his disposal at the Chicago Bulls and the Lakers. He states that the ultimate strength of an individual is the team itself.

Working with and alongside like-minded others builds motivation, trust and the ambition to achieve your goals. Players rely on each other in sport and build trust with one another. Building trust with those around you, creates success and drives motivation. We’ve seen it recently at the Great North Run with our own members.

People ran alongside others who they had gained an understanding with, and those who they had built trust with that they could help them to achieve a personal best or someone who they know they could trust to push them over the finish line. Without trust, your team is weak. Ambition creates commitment to the goal. This breeds consistency to exercise when you feel less inclined to do so.

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Without ambition, you may never reach the success you desire. Teamwork offers a way to teach an individual about accountability and none more so, than accountability to others. When we pursue a goal, we may not always be successful, and working with others allows the individual to take ownership of what went wrong and what they may need to change. They can then focus on working towards it, rather than using excuses that will halt their progress when others around them work together to motivate them and to push them on again. Boosting someone’s self-esteem will go a long way to helping them as, without teamwork, nothing is achieved as a group.