In sports, team expectations and teambuilding methodologies have significantly changed over the last two decades. This is mainly due to the increasing emergence of Expert-type coaches and sports professionals who are seriously immersed in the depths of their profession. They have discovered that a team is not just the collection of the best players, but the collection of people who can really work together. As a result, they keep eliminating the Ruler and Individual personality types; however, COVID-19 can easily turn this successful recipe upside down.
Proactive teams in sports
Many people still do not really understand that when analysing people in sports, it is important to remember that, in addition to being athletes, they are also “just people”. They are not at all different from businesspeople in terms of personality or goals. This misunderstanding causes the downfall of so many club and national teams, as they try to associate people with a general, otherwise unrealistic image. In team sports, athletes are, of course, outstanding team players, proactive, bring their best in the most important situations, and of course, win under all circumstances. However, these few ideas alone require two completely different personality types, which, if they exist in the same person, can pose serious problems for them mentally; because one cannot be both a Ruler and a Supporter to the same extent. Nevertheless, some athletes have won a lot of races and have been simply unbeatable. Yes, of course there are. I could mention Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps as individual athletes, and several team athletes from Cristiano Ronaldo to Michael Jordan. The Ruler was not a primary personality type for any of them. In every case, it was perseverance and hard work that led them to the top; and once there, that personality type can stay there. Ruler athletes reach the top more easily because they can exert a lot of effort in a shorter period, but they cannot stand routine work, daily trainings, and repetitive preparations. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of sports knows that without this preparation, there is no success. When should we plan with the Ruler or Individual personality type in sports? Firstly, when there is no other option, when it is a given. But fundamentally, when we know that the team in question will be inferior in ability to future opponents. When we know that a team’s skills are not sufficient. When we know that it will take more than that, because the opposing team will simply be made up of better footballers, basketball players, hockey players, or even handball players, because of that team’s experience, financing, or anything else. As the saying goes about Ruler and Individual characters, “they can beat anybody, and they can get beaten by anybody”. Although it sounds like a good catchphrase, these athletes are indeed capable of great surprises, even if within certain limits. We should not expect a balanced performance from them; however, they can cause huge surprises in a world competition. Nevertheless, we have to accept that even if we call them a team, we are herding standalone players into a community where they will have serious problems with consistency and team unity.
The post-COVID era is also creating new recipes for success in sports. Most professionals believe that the successful approach of the past two decades, which relied on team players and excluded players that prefer individualistic goals, is failing. The primary reason for this is the serious mental crisis caused by the pandemic, which has had a major impact on team-oriented athletes. It is thus possible to create a kind of “balance of power” in the different sports. As fans and experts, we are already witnessing this, as fans and experts have seen several surprises since the resumption of championships, cups, and world competitions. All the coaches must prepare for a new era!