About Complex Systems

Sports and Complex Systems

Team sports provide a great opportunity to learn, think about, and apply complex systems concepts and methods. Understanding how individuals form effective teams has all the features of other complex systems: interactions, patterns of behavior and the dynamics of evolutionary selection over generations leading to improvements in team effectiveness. The successful teams in different sports can teach us a lot about the effective ways of creating collective behavior under various constraints imposed by the rules of the game. Because the players, sports writers, comentators, and coaches (who have particular responsibility to develop effective collective behaviors), are human beings with great insight into how the games should be played, they may also be consciously aware of key complex systems concepts.

Among the issues that can be discussed are:

Complexity of team play
Team play (altruism) vs Selfishness
Specialization

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