How a team operates and performs has been a major talking point amongst psychologists for years. Putting together a successful team is a great challenge across all sports for coaches, managers and players. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

This month, one of the greatest challenges in the sport will be undertaken, the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. This involves putting together a team of 35 players from four nations who will be together for 7 weeks only.

How will the British and Irish lions succeed down under?
How will the British and Irish lions succeed down under?

They are required to come together as a team unit and win a 3-test series against Australia. Putting together a team in sport is ordinarily done over time, and attempting to do this in such a short period is extremely challenging.

Lions team

The Lions team is made up of players that were competing against each other only a few weeks ago, but are now tasked with living, working, training and playing together to reach the same goal. According to MacPherson and Howard (2011), in a short-term group environment where there is fierce competition for places, there is a heightened chance of conflict as there may be little room for sentiment amongst players.

Conflict in a rugby union team is normal, with physical confrontations occurring often on the training ground, but it is how these conflicts are managed that is most important. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.

One area that could ensure that conflict doesn’t overshadow the tour is group norms. According to Forsyth (1999), group norms are the standards that are put in place to regulate the behaviors of members of that particular group. These are extremely important in the Lions environment as every player must adhere to the norms set out collectively by the team.

This ensures that player behavior is standardized and any conflicting behaviors can be identified and dealt with. According to Munroe et al. (1999) group norms are set out around the following areas: competition (game preparation, work ethic, mindset and team behavior), practice (mindset, practice preparation, team behavior and work ethic) and social situations (interaction and participation).

How will the British and Irish lions succeed down under?
How will the British and Irish lions succeed down under?

Discipline was at the forefront of the Lions tour before it had even begun as England hooker Dylan Hartley was suspended for 11 weeks whilst playing for his club for swearing at the referee, thus ruling him out of the tour. This type of behavior is something that will have been discussed when setting group norms as this type of behavior would be deemed severely unacceptable.

In order for these group norms to have their desired effect, cohesion within the group is very important. This can be described as a dynamic process that reflects a group’s likelihood of sticking together and remaining united in pursuit of objectives and behaviors (Heegaard et al., 2006).

Jeremy GU Scott, who played for the British Lions on 3 tours, was quoted as saying “Lions tours are about bonding together…success depends on whether you come together or split into factions”. 

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