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Individual vs Team Sports

This article was written for us by Nick Mallett.

"Nicholas Vivian Haward Mallett (born 30 October 1956) is a former South African rugby union player who played for the Springboks, South Africa's national rugby union team, in 1984. He also coached the Springboks between 1997 and 2000 and was the head coach of Italy's rugby union team between 2007 and 2011.

Born on 30 October 1956 in Hertford Heath, England, Mallett moved to Rhodesia with his family in 1956 when he was only six weeks old, and his father, Tony Mallett, took up a post as an English teacher at the recently founded Peterhouse Boys' School, in Marandellas near Salisbury.[6] Nick first arrived in Cape Town, South Africa in 1963, when his father was appointed Headmaster of Diocesan College, after which he attended St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1977 with a BA in English and History. While a student at the university, he was selected to play for the Western Province rugby union team.

In 1979 Mallett moved back to England to attend University College at the University of Oxford, where he not only gained further qualifications but also won Blues in rugby union and cricket, famously hitting three sixes in one over off Ian Botham. Eventually, he returned to South Africa, where he represented Western Province in four consecutive Currie Cup wins between 1982 and 1985, and played two games for the Springboks in 1984 against the South American Jaguars." (Wikipedia)


"The wonder of sport is that it gives all personality types an avenue to compete.

I am fascinated by the character traits that are required for success in individual sports, such as athletics, golf, swimming, boxing, tennis and squash as opposed to the character traits that are required for team sports, such as football, rugby, basketball, hockey and cricket.

I imagine that a person who chooses an individual sport is one who is motivated primarily by personal achievement. To be successful in an individual sport, you would need intense focus, dedication to hours of practice and training in order to shave off a few hundreds of a second from your personal best, or to serve or drive a ball more accurately. Your motivation is self-driven and requires immense mental strength. The satisfaction of achieving personal ‘bests’ is what presumably drives you. You suffer failure and celebrate success alone. You are not dependent on anyone else and this can be a positive as well as a negative. Strong self-belief is essential as you have no one to blame for failure but yourself.

In a team sport, the focus is completely different. Success or failure depends not so much on your individual performance but far more on the team’s performance. The ability to motivate each other is far more important than the ability to motivate oneself. Unselfishness, tolerance of our individual differences and a searching for commonality are the requirements for creating a team culture. Under duress, the team culture will contribute to a team’s success or failure. Team players are motivated by, most importantly, not letting their team mates down and not by personal success. Many team players perform poorly in individual competitions but really well in team competitions. Their motivation lies in helping the team perform and not only in how they perform. Team players win for each other and not just for themselves.

As sportsmen and sportswomen, we have the ability to choose a sport that is most suited to our personal character traits. Some athletes are motivated by individual success, unsullied by the vagaries of other fellow participants, others perform far better in a team environment, where mutual rather than personal success gives them far greater pleasure.

The beauty of all this is that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in choosing whether to participate in an individual or a team sport. Both types of sport are equally admirable.

We do, however, have the choice to select a sport that best suits our individual personality. Our enjoyment and motivation will depend primarily on our individual character traits and we need to first understand what drives us before settling on our sport of choice!"

Nick Mallett


We are at Torque Training want to mirror these exact thoughts, ideologies and also encompass both the individuality and team aspects. Not only do we want to help you to pursue your own power, your own individuality and your own uniqueness but we also want to be that team that you can trust, rely on and find solace in when things may not be going to plan.

Our aim, is and will always be to coach and support you, and to help you build the best version of yourself. Whatever your goal or aspiration maybe, individual or team, we hope that through our foundations we can guide you to reaching that end goal.

Torque Training

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