How to Design Tasks to Improve Collective Game in Team Sports
20 Jan 2022   ·   

According to Seirul-lo’s proposal,1,2,3 there are different types of superiorities in football and team sports:

  • Numerical Superiority: There are more of us. The players in our team who can participate in the intervention and mutual help space are more than the opponents.
  • Positional Superiority: We are better positioned. The players are better positioned in the space and have the advantage to achieve the goal.
  • Socio-affective Superiority: We understand each other better. The players in our team who can participate in the intervention and mutual help space understand each other better than the opponents.
  • Qualitative Superiority: We are better. The player carries out the selected actions more efficiently than the opponents.

In team sports, the game is possible only if we count on our teammates, if you can achieve high levels of interaction with them and the commitment to an inevitable team participation that should transform the individual meaning of winning. So, the collective culture of the game emerges where the interpersonal relationships are confirmed, identifying different communication codes and emotional links with the team members. Team sports create complex interactive processes that involve, at different levels, all the structures of a player, being the socio-affective the preferred one to understand the game. The feelings that emerge after participating, sharing and solving (or not) the game situations strengthen the affective relation with those who experienced them with me, making clear the need of counting on them.

For each event in the game, the players have a certain level of information to make their own judgments, which can be put in effect in many dimensions:

  • The knowledge of the game event identified by previous experiences in competitions and training sessions.
  • The level of the group’s expectation for that event.
  • The commitment of the person with the group to intervene in the event.
  • The level of trust between the person and the rest of the members of the team.
  • The acceptance of the teammates, opponents, spectators and coach’s judgment (feeling judged).
  • The level of personal satisfaction with the action performed just before.
  • The player’s desires and interests in that intervention.
  • The idea the player has about their level of responsibility for that event.

In order to maximise the socio-affective structure the training sessions should:

  • Propose clear communication channels for our information, so these judgments are efficient and help optimise our players’ socio-affective personalities.
  • Facilitates alternatives to conclusions on negative judgments during the performance of that event to try to modify the undesirable predisposition, and to make the player embrace the modification of their judgments in future events.
  • Optimizes the self-management levels in the group so it immediately takes action when negative judgments emerge and makes the player feel part of their self-management.

Finally, there are four conditions the coach should manage when assessing whether the task was well-designed, and the goals achieved:

  • In the exercises, the desired behaviours or actions to meet the goals frequently appear. It is about contributing experiences for the players to identify the most relevant aspects of each task and to improve the execution.
  • Players should be successful in the task. They should get to execute what the exercise proposed with the desired level of accuracy.
  • The athletes understood the concept they worked on. It is not only about practice time. Most of all, it is about understanding what to do to be successful.
  • The level of the task was appropriate.

The goal of the training session in team sports is to help the player to adapt their behaviour to be successful in the game. However, there are no magic solutions that work in the same way for all the teams and players. We must know great deals about the game, adjust the difficulty levels of the tasks, and know what the athletes are capable of.


1 Seirul·lo, F. (2010). Estructura socioafectiva. Documento INEFC – Barcelona.

2  Seirul·lo, F. (editor). (2017). El entrenamiento en lo deportes de equipo. Barcelona: Mastercede.

3 Lago Peñas, C. y Seirul·lo, F. (2021). La dirección del entrenamiento y el partido en el Fútbol y los Deportes de Equipo.


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