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Home Health & Lifestyle Healthy Living Researchers Find Theres No I in Team

Researchers Find Theres No I in Team

Researchers Find Theres No I in Team


The expression “there’s no “I” in Team” has been around for awhile and the principle is basically understood. When it comes to team sports and team competition, the winning edge comes from the group working together, applying individual talents towards the benefit of the whole.

When it comes to individual performance, sport psychologists have focused on elevating the use of self-talk in athletes to get them to more readily apply their talents to their particular sport. They have worked on getting athletes to focus on their individual talents and speak mantras of “I can do it!” and other self-motivating phrases.

Even in a team environment, this strategy has been practiced, getting the individuals of the team to boost their confidence via individual self-talk. The thinking was that if all the members of the team mumble the mantras of “I can do it!” then the entire team should play better.




The “I” vs. “We” Study

A new study has just been released and published in the Journal of Sports Sciences which reveals that when self-talk is directed towards the team instead of the individual that both overall team confidence and performance levels are increased.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Michigan State University and directed by D. Feltz, Ph.D (in Physical Education). and doctorial student Veronica Son.

Eighty randomly selected individuals were divided into three teams of dart players. One team focused on their personal abilities and spoke phrases using “I” to edify themselves. Another team focused on elevating the team’s abilities through self-talk phrases using “we”. The final team didn’t use any self-talk phrases at all.




What the Study Revealed

What caught the attention of the researchers was that a simple change in motivational statements from “I” to “we” impacted both the individual’s and the group’s performance. When self-talk was implemented towards the abilities of the entire group, confidence levels and performance indicators rose significantly over the other groups.

This study shows that everyone involved in the group is encouraged and performs better when all the members are exhorting the team’s ability as a whole and not simply the abilities of the individuals of the team.

Dr Feltz says, “By focusing on the team, you include yourself without putting the focus or extra pressure on yourself.”




The No “I” in Team Should Work Anywhere

Although carried out in an environment that embraces a sports setting, the researchers think that the same principle will work regardless of the situations people find themselves in, such as a work environment.

So, the next time you are in a group situation and your “team” requires a winning outcome, don’t get everyone to chant “I think I can! I think I can!”, but instead get everyone chanting “We think we can! We think we can!” The results should be far more impressive.

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