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Understanding Team Dynamics in esports

Whether they are teams of 3 (RL, etc.), teams of 5 (Val, CSGO, LoL, etc.) or more - teams have tendencies. Here are 10 to pay attention to.


1. Mostly a middle is created - in terms of comms / energy / dominance / experience / leadership / etc. Wherever the middle leans to, the pack will follow, which creates a pull. In 3’s - 1 can be up, 1 middle, 1 down. In 5’s - 2 up, 1 middle, 2 down. Etc.


2. There are roles that naturally arise to fill the needed gaps, in the effort to make a team work - hype, emotional rock others go to, leader, etc. Teams need a balance of personalities to be successful. It’s important that everyone has an underlying role that they thrive in.



3. We tend to forget the team is the 3/5/X of us. The “team” becomes its own entity. The “team” is the individual players & how they connect to each other. To create a change in the “team” we must create a change in the individual players & their connection to one another.




4. Teams can create camps, which creates a dissonance & disconnect between the players - younger vs older, veterans vs rookies, from this region vs that, old teams vs new, extroverted vs introverted, etc. This can be mostly equalized & the differences can be used beneficially.


5. In a lack of open communication, whispers / backroom talks create secrecy & a lack of trust. X says something to Y, Y conveys it to Z from their own perspective, which differs from what was said & we start turning on each other. Team & 1on1 sessions empty out the backpack.


6. Being together all the time yet don’t know/share with one another. As professionals we don’t have to be best friends but we have to be friendly & know we can count on each other. When we understand where the other is coming from, our compassion kicks in, reducing frustration.




7. Domino effect - 1 tilts/peaks, the rest follow. The momentum of the team is in the power of numbers. You try to create 1 thing but can’t stop another from happening. If it’s what we want to create, great. If not, a return to balance is needed. It takes the players to shift.


8. Power dynamics - some have grown to have more of a say than others & they passively fade into the background. Creates imbalance/inequality. Dominants can blame passives for not stepping up (repeating mistakes, not being engaged, etc), without allowing them the space to do so.


9. Patterns of behaviors are formed - we just assume the other feels this way/will do this or that. Create irritation & a lack of belief that change is possible. It takes creating a new formation by letting go of the past. It does not necessarily require a change of individuals.




10. A natural connection is made to who’s most similar to us (views, age, playstyle, background, mindset, etc) or who we feel most comfortable around. This can lead to forgetting to connect to the rest of the players in other ways (common interests, humor, vision, etc)


“Similar to traditional sports, the perf. of esports teams is influenced by team dynamics. Therefore, they should be viewed as important capital that needs to be cultivated & developed. Reinforcing team cohesion should be a priority for team leaders of esports” The Sports Journal



Conclusion:


The more aware coaches & leaders are of these dynamics, the better/earlier they can be addressed & developed. Finding individual flow is easier/more natural, the beauty is finding the team flow/synergy to create the best results.


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