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Title: Team Behavior and Performance: An Exploration in the Context of Professional Rugby Union
Contributor(s): Serpell, Benjamin G  (author)orcid ; Colomer, Carmen M (author); Pickering, Mark R (author); Cook, Christian J  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2023
Early Online Version: 2023-07-24
DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2023-0085
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Purpose: To explore complex system behavior and subsequent team performance in professional rugby union. Methods: Here, we present 2 studies. In the first, we used global positioning system technology to measure player clustering during stoppages in play in nearly 100 games of professional rugby union to explore team (complex system) behavior and performance. In the second, we measured stress hormones (cortisol and testosterone) prior to team meetings and analyzed these relative to amount of time and the frequency with which players looked at peer presenters, as well as subsequent training performance, to explain how stress may lead to behaviors observed in the first study and subsequent match performance. Results: No link between player clustering during stoppages of play and performance was observed. When players (complex system agents) demonstrated greater levels of stress (as indicated by greater cortisol-awakening response and a greater decline in testosterone-to-cortisol ratio across the morning), they tended to look at peer presenters more; however, training quality declined (P = .02). Correlational analysis also showed that training quality was related to testosterone-to-cortisol ratio (P = .04). Conclusions: Team behavior is complex and can be unpredictable. It is possible that under stress, complex system agents (ie, rugby union players) look at (and cluster toward) their teammates more; however, meaningful interaction may not necessarily occur. Furthermore, while complex system (team) analysis may be valuable strategically in rugby union in the context of describing behavior, without understanding “how” or “why” intrateam/interagent behaviors emerge it may have little meaning.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 18(9), p. 996-1003
Publisher: Human Kinetics, Inc.
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1555-0273
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
520202 Behavioural neuroscience
520299 Biological psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 130699 Sport, exercise and recreation not elsewhere classified
280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Science and Technology

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