Why Placement Matters in Team Sports

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Sports like football, basketball, rugby and cricket are all team games. They’re the very definition of the phrase “greater than the sum of its parts”, as even the most accomplished sports athletes can’t achieve alone what a team can together.

Team roles in sports, then, are crucial to the strength of the team. Every sports team in the world is comprised of players who can fulfil those roles which are necessary for success. However, in the wide world of sports, are there some positions that are more important than others?

Let’s take a look!

The Beautiful Game 

Football is a brilliant example to start with. Every football fan on earth grows up knowing that a team is made up of several players, and each of those players needs to be on the pitch for a game to go ahead smoothly.

Saying that, however, there are some crucial positions that a football team simply can’t do without.

Strikers, for example, score more goals than any other position in the team. Right now, a total of 16 players from the world’s 50 most expensive hold the coveted position of Centre-Forward, and they’re the players who are the prize draw of the team. Even in this age of digital entertainment, there’s nothing a football fan loves more than paying a premium price to watch their favourite team score goals. And yes, some Wide Forwards have taken on goal scoring roles in recent years, but it’s those Strikers that have the key role.

If Strikers are the driving force towards a team winning a match with goals, Goalkeepers are the players in command of a match. The importance of Goalies in modern football has been heightened in recent years, as they are now the only specialist position to have their own dedicated coach in major league clubs.

Goalkeepers are essential to a functional team. Not only are they tasked with shot-stopping responsibilities and guarding the home goal, but modern Goalies are also typically required to prevent danger from happening further up the pitch. Manuel Neuer is a key player who set a new trend for “sweeping” moves from his own penalty area, prompting the entire Bayern Munich team into action with his carefully executed decisions.

Then, of course, we have Midfielders, the so-called “engine room” of a football team. There’s common knowledge in the football industry that if you can control the midfield, you’ve got a good chance of winning the game.

Midfielders are chameleons, switching from role to role throughout the game and doing whatever’s necessary to ensure success. If you need further proof of the team value of Midfielders, look to Manchester United’s Paul Pogba for proof. In 2016, Pogba become the worlds most expensive player (valued at £89.3 million) when he switched from Juventus.

Basketball’s MVPs 

Every year, the NBA in the US hands its Most Valuable Player Award to the baller with the best performance that season. In the function of a team role, however, are there certain positions that are natural MVPs?

Well, much like football, there are certain positions that a professional basketball team needs filling if it wants to walk away from the court victorious.

First up are the Point Guards, which are in a class all by themselves in the NBA. The player in charge of the offensive for the team, they’re typically the best passers and shooters on the team and their dribbling skills are second to none. Crucially, Point Guards need to understand and execute the team coach’s game plan, all the while adapting to what’s needed to control the pace of the game.

In modern basketball, we’ve also seen Centers become elevated to a key team position, thanks in no small part to the success of Orland Magic and the Houston Rockets.

Finally, there are the Power Forwards – the so-called “big” players in the team. Power Forwards are tasked with scoring, so they need to be powerful and accurate, with a varied skill set that enables them to score from both close to the basket and the mid-range, or even the three-point range, on the court.

Positions Matter in Leisure Activities Too 

Positions and team roles don’t just matter in pro-level sports, they can also have an impact on the enjoyment of sports played for leisure and as hobbies.

Take poker, for example. While not strictly a team game, the mindsport of poker is nevertheless a multiplayer game, success at which relies heavily upon table positioning, so sitting in one place is not the same than sitting in another. Clued up players know that the best seat at the table is “on the button”, which is the last seat and therefore the position that can exert the most pressure on opponents during the course of the game.

On the other hand, players who are stuck at the other end of the table in the “blinds” positions have a harder time making successful plays.

Even if you love playing volleyball with friends at the beach, you could be doing yourself a disservice by playing in a position that’s just too difficult for you.

The easiest position to play in volleyball is Libero, since in this role you don’t jump or attack and success isn’t dependent on strength or height. In fact, the shorter a Libero is the better.

A Setter, meanwhile, is a demanding position that requires height, strength and technique. A Setter’s job is to get under the second ball, so they need to be the brains of the team to ensure it gets passed to the right players.

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