An Integrative Perspective on Interpersonal Coordination in Interactive Team Sports
Frontiers in Psychology
Interpersonal coordination is a key factor in team performance. In interactive team sports, the limited predictability of a constantly changing context makes coordination challenging. Approaches that highlight the support provided by environmental information and theories of shared mental models provide potential explanations of how interpersonal coordination can nonetheless be established. In this article, we first outline the main assumptions of these approaches and consider criticisms that
... ve been raised with regard to each. The aim of this article is to define a theoretical perspective that integrates the coordination mechanisms of the two approaches. In doing so, we borrow from a theoretical outline of group action. According to this outline, group action based on a priori shared mental models is an example of how interpersonal coordination is established from the top down. Interpersonal coordination in reaction to the perception of affordances represents the bottom-up component of group action. Both components are inextricably involved in the coordination of interactive sports teams. We further elaborate on the theoretical outline to integrate a third, constructivist approach. Integrating this third approach helps to explain interpersonal coordination in game situations for which no shared mental models are established and game situations that remain ambiguous in terms of perceived affordances. The article describes how hierarchical, sequential, and complex dimensions of action organization are important aspects of this constructivist perspective and how mental models may be involved. A basketball example is used to illustrate how top-down, bottom-up and constructivist processes may be simultaneously involved in enabling interpersonal coordination. Finally, we present the implications for research and practice.