Expertise in soccer teams: A thematic inquiry into the role of Shared Mental Models within team chemistry

Lael Gershgoren, Itay Basevitch, Edson Filho, Aaron Gershgoren, Yaron S. Brill, Robert J. Schinke, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Aims: The purpose of the current study was to establish a conceptual framework of team chemistry components in sport with an emphasis on Shared Mental Models (SMM). Method: Elite soccer coaches (n = 6) and players (n = 3) were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. An inductive thematic analysis was employed to analyze the data. Results: Four themes related to team chemistry components were identified: (1) members' characteristics (i.e., demographic data, on-field characteristics, and member's ego), (2) coach-players interactions (i.e., professional interaction and emotional intelligence of coaches), (3) interactions among the players (i.e., professional understanding, efficacy beliefs, team cohesion, players' emotional intelligence, team roles, and goals), and (4) interactions with environmental factors (i.e., owners, management, fans, and media). Conclusions: The cognitive components of the team chemistry model were clustered to establish a conceptual framework of SMM. Furthermore, the cognitive-affective-social-behavioral linkage of team chemistry and athletic performance is examined in light of the emerged model and conceptual framework. Implications and future directions are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-139
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
StatePublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cohesion
  • Shared Mental Models
  • Shared cognition
  • Shared knowledge
  • Team chemistry
  • Team mental models
  • Team performance


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