May the Best Team Win

By Andrew Grant and Craig Marshal

The USA has some of the best golfers in the world. But despite the fact that they can boast more individual players in the top 10 than any other country, for many years they failed to win the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament, a team sport. Rather, the European teams usually consistently win. 

Why? Because each player has only learnt to compete as an individual. When the US finally won the Ryder Cup for the first time ever, the coach admitted that his team was finally able to make it to victory because they had learnt to play as a team, rather than simply as a collection of individuals.

Tirian’s own “Lateral Golf” sports program can be a real challenge for accomplished golf players, as they soon discover they are too accustomed to doing what it takes to survive on their own. When suddenly the team goal becomes of paramount importance, many players find they must completely change their mindset and their tactics. They must start to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of each individual player so that they can support each other through the changing conditions.

In another area of sport – adventure racing – a similar pattern emerges. The Army and Navy often enter teams in these events, with the assumption that their teams would be the most physically fit and the most capable of navigating their way through rugged territory. Although these military teams may have the necessary physical and mental skills, they are often disadvantaged by their linear leadership style, which doesn’t allow for maximum use of potential according to individual strengths. No military team has ever, in the history of the race, been placed in either of the top two slots of any adventure race.

The teams that do the best, on the other hand, are those that have a fluid leadership style, that are able adapt quickly and easily according the unique demands of each new situation. Individuals within the team are prepared to admit weaknesses as they experience problems, and are able to ask for help when they need it. This enables the team as a whole to make the necessary adjustments and move forward again more quickly. When individuals do not feel able to admit to weaknesses, as is often the case in military groups, there can be a lot more underlying tension and potential for conflict, and the team as a whole will suffer.


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2 Responses to “May the Best Team Win”

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