Monday, June 23, 2014

Leadership and Team Dynamics in Cricket - An Experiment

We got 12 youngsters together to conduct an experiment on team dynamics at the ML Jaisimha Academy. We got one bowling team which was to bowl and a batting team. The batting team comprised of Shilpee (c), Venkatesh, Yash, Vinay, Vikas, Pragdeesh, Roop and Prabhu. All rules were applicable to the batting team which was the control group.

Game 1
In the first game the batting team members were asked to
1) play for themselves
2) have no leader
3) have no communication

The team made 57 in 8 overs.

Their responses were thus.
  • Difficult playing without a leader and without communication, did not bother about team and went for my performance 
  • Difficult to play for myself 
  • No communication was unsettling, affected performance by 10% negatively
  • No leader and no communication actually helped to feel no pressure, played freely
  • No leader meant no rules so could play freely
  • Not having leader helped individual performance but backfired or team
  • Affected individual performance by 40% and team by 60%

Game 2
In the second game, the team was allowed to communicate, have a leader, have a goal and seek to do better. They felt that with the changes, they could do 60% better.
The team elected a leader, made a target of 70. However they ended up making 56 runs.

Player reactions were thus.
  • Gave 70% potential, played under pressure with target in mind
  • Did not implement team plan better, under pressure to live up to team standards
  • Under pressure to score for team
  • Not enough time to know new leader, so could not give 100%, target put us under pressure
  • Failed to implement plans
  • Not played to potential individually
  • Under pressure when teammates do not perform
  • Plans were good but could not implement
  • Individually could have done 30% better
  • Overconfident about achieving target, impatient, under pressure, low performance, fear of getting out

Game 3
In the third game, the team was asked to support one another fully, give their 100% and give it their best shot at getting to their target of 70.
The team ended up with 61 runs.

Player reactions were thus:
  • We did better but still not there
  • Better to have an indifferent team rather than bad team environment. Best to have good team environment.
  • Gave our best but could not achieve plan
  • We should spend more time and know each other better to perform better
  • Good effort but not up to mark
  • Taking each ball at a time is a better option than going for the big target
  • Keep faith in your team mates and back then, do as your captain asks you to do
  • Did well but still had about 10% more to give
  • Sulking if plan did not work out, fear of getting out, wrong shot selections, impatient to achieve target
My takeaway:
  • A couple of matches more and they would have cracked it. (We stopped because it was past time.)
  • Interesting that they feel they can play freely without a captain. Or rather, if the captain can make them feel that they can perform freely, they perform best perhaps. Point to note for leaders.
  • Players come under pressure every time there is a target. They worry about their own failure, performance, team mates performance, over confidence, losing confidence, sulking etc.
  • It is the captain's duty and the collectives duty to assure and bring the team together and make them feel supported and push them to give their best without fear of failure.
  • Keeping faith in team mates, dong what the captain tells one to do, following the process, doing the simple things well can be part of process training that can bring a 30% improvement in team performance.
  • Will be interesting to see their performance if  each of them is asked to behave as captain.


Madhav said...

But what were the bowling team members told. Did they bowl the same level in all the 3 experiments?

Harimohan said...

Madhav, This group was kept constant. They were allowed to speak, strategise, communicate and do whatever they could to prevent the batting side from getting runs. However, one player stepped in from game 2 (owing to latecoming) and I'd say he would have added about 10-15% to the bowling side's efficiency. We factored that in while looking at the batting team's performance.