Sign in | Register now Like us on FacebookLike Us | Follow us on TwitterFollow Us

Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014

Sun
Hi: 57
Lo: 46
Mon
Hi: 51
Lo: 42
Tue

Lo: 39
Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com

In Sports Commentary

In sports, it's all about working together as a team.

Which sport requires the most teamwork?


The Milwaukee Bucks are off to a start that nobody could have foreseen, languishing near the bottom of their division, having trouble scoring and trouble stopping the other team from scoring.

To say that surprise is the predominant reaction is a massive understatement.

The search for answers covers a vast array of causes, but it seems the most significant and popular one is that the Bucks have a lot of new players and they are still working to find a way to effectively play with each other.

What's missing, obviously, is a sense of teamwork.

That state of affairs got me thinking about sports where teamwork is a primary goal, where it's vitally important to the success of a team.

Teamwork is the ability of everybody to focus on a goal and to work cooperatively to achieve that goal. Good teamwork leads to success. And absence of teamwork leads to coaches getting fired.

We can discount individual sports as far as the teamwork discussion goes. A golfer and a caddy have to be on the same page, but that's not what I mean.

Water ballet requires a lot of teamwork, as do water polo and luge, but I'm talking about major sports.

Baseball is off the map because it is such an individual sport. There is, of course, the idea of intellectual teamwork, with a full team believing in the strategies used by a manager. Baseball can be included in that definition but real teamwork takes place on the field of play. I think the three leading contenders are soccer (I can't believe I said that), basketball and football.

Soccer obviously requires some teamwork but the individual activities, from flopping to mugging, are performed without the aid of a teammate. Also, the soccer pitch is so large that intricate teamwork seems superfluous.

Basketball requires a high level of teamwork. Basketball coaches design plays and players have to work with each other to complete those plays. On defense teamwork is especially important as players have to help teammates and step in to cover an unguarded player after his opponent has left him open. There is probably more on-court talking between teammates in basketball than any other sport.

In addition, the non-stop nature of basketball lends itself to a kind of ballet of teamwork with incredible body contact without pads and a grace that is sometimes hard to believe. Is there any play in any sport more beautiful than a well-executed, successful alley-oop? I think not.

Which brings us to the final contender, football. I think the very nature of football makes it the winner in the battle to see which sports requires the highest level of teamwork.

Football is a start and stop game. Eleven players line up on offense. Eleven players line up on defense. Each player has to perform and work with his teammates for a play to be successful. The element of disguise is critical in a football game and that disguise requires an incredible level of teamwork to be successful.

If you've ever seen a coach diagram a play on a blackboard you would shake your head in wonder at the complicated nature of a single play. And there are dozens of them in your average game playbook. What's more, all the players may be required to change the play they expect to run once they get to the line of scrimmage.

It takes an incredible level of teamwork to pull that off, and that's why football narrowly gets my nod as the sport requiring the highest level of teamwork.

Talkbacks

iabston | Dec. 1, 2010 at 9:58 a.m. (report)

Baseball + teamwork don't go together. Unless your talking a bench clearing fight. Otherwise 95% of baseball is pitcher and hitter. But I'd take that over watching a 1-0 soccer game anyday.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

sandstorm | Dec. 1, 2010 at 7:16 a.m. (report)

Begel apparently has never seen a double play turned, a sacrifice bunt layed down, or an outfielder hit a cut-off man. he's never seen a double-steal, the 1st baseman dig his teammate's throw out of the dirt, or a reliever come in to shut down the other team for his teammates. true, he lives in Milwaukee, but he can watch other teams do these things on TV.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Hckyboy00 | Dec. 1, 2010 at 2:33 a.m. (report)

shocker. another Dave Begel column,, another clueless article. Any sport that has constant start-stop motions should be left off the list. So there goes baseball, tennis, hockey and football. Next are sports that have at least half a dozen time outs per half. There goes basketball, That pretty much leaves soccer.45 minutes per half of non stop action, no time outs, very rare playing stoppage, and certainly no time for an entire team to come together. I would but Basketball, Hockey and Soccer in the top three, but if you really want to look at the advantages of teamwork, look no further that the 5-0 trashing of Real Madrid by F.C. Barcelona. On paper RCM may have had the better team by position but Barca dominated them in every sense of the word from possession to goals, and everything in between because of teamwork.The strength of Barca carries over to the Spanish national team which has no fewer than 8 Barca players on it, and led them to a world cup. when it comes to teamwork, the fast paced games are far more important than games that stop after every pitch or every play.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

sportsfan15 | Nov. 30, 2010 at 6:02 p.m. (report)

Soccer a major sport? HAHA Hockey is more mainstream than soccer. And I must say more teamwork is involved in hockey than soccer, baseball, football, and basketball. Its also the fastest team sport. I guess you just dont know about hockey. I can indulge you sometime if you want.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

TheyThink | Nov. 30, 2010 at 4:14 p.m. (report)

Uh, Mr. Begel...despite the Bucks offense woes, they rank at or very close to the top of NBA in team defense. Might be a good idea to check those stats prior to bashing our hometown cagers.

Rate this:
  • Average rating: 0.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
5 comments about this article.
Post a comment / write a review.

Facebook Comments

Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.