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How to build a perfect sports team |13 September 2019

Coaches and management should work on strategies to build a positive and effective sports team.

What are sports teams?

Sport teams are simply a special type of group. One important implication of this is that they are therefore subject to change, to growth, to modification, and improvement. The coach is probably in the best position to influence change in a positive direction.

A lot of coaches know about team building activities, doing it is another story.

Below are the three components that coaches should take into consideration when preparing strategies for team building.  


Environmental factors:

Individuals who are close in proximity, who are physically close to each other, have greater tendency to bond together. Physical proximity by itself is not always sufficient for producing cohesiveness, but being in close contact and having the opportunity for interaction and communication, does speed up group development.

Scheduling activities that require the team to travel together in a bus is also beneficial. Traditionally, distinctiveness is achieved through team uniforms and mottos, by providing special privileges, or by demanding special sacrifices.

A very good example of that is the old St Louis football team. They were the top team in Seychelles during the time of regionalisation and many would remember seeing the players grouped together before training sessions and matches next to the Uniset sports shop. They even came on weekends.


Personal factors:

It is very important that the players are happy and in good health. Satisfaction can be derived from many sources. The quality of the competition is one element, improving skills, having opportunities for social interaction with teammates. Satisfaction also results from recognition from parents, coaches, teammates, members of the public and the sports authority.


Leadership factors:

When athletes have ownership over a decision, they tend to support that decision more strongly. The coaches’ decision style can have an influence on the level of cohesiveness with the team. Team members engage in actions more persistently, with greater intensity and duration when they have had an opportunity to take part in decision-making

How can the players contribute positively toward the team?

If everybody can find a way to put their personal agendas aside for the benefit of the team, ultimately they will gain for themselves in the long run. But I think what often happens is a person thinks he/she has to take care of him/herself first and the team second. You have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the team, no matter what role you play on the team – whether you play one or two minutes.

Create the team values. The players should take part actively in creating the team values.

One example

1. Team toughness: Mentally and physically, never quit. Stick up for one another.

2. Team spirit: We must all work hard so we can wear down our opponents. We’ll be able to win the close games if we can do this. It should be done in the spirit of fair play.

3. Team defence and attack: We need commitments to play solid defence and attack.

4. Work ethic: On and off the sports venues strive towards your goal. Push yourself to be better.

5. Accountability: Being truthful and up front to your teammates. Don’t make excuses.

6. Respect: Respect must be earned. Respect each other’s roles and what different players bring to the team.

7. Positive attitude: We need to be more positive. No complaining about bunch contribution or the coaches.

8. Loyalty: Don’t cheat yourself or your teammates. If you play 1 or 5 minutes, work hard whenever you get the chance.

9. Leadership: There is one leader and all players, no spectators.

10. Commitment: Make commitment to team concepts, system, and off the sports venue.

No sports team is successful without working together to reach a common goal. Teamwork is essential to a good performance from any sports team, professional or not, and is also a great way to teach young players certain life lessons, such as cooperating well with others and taking responsibility for actions. Such lessons are applicable to life outside of sports and can be applied to work or school.

Here is a statement made by the United States of America’s men’s team Olympic basketball coach Larry Brown after losing to Puerto Rico in the preliminary rounds of the Athens 2004 summer Games: “I am humiliated, not for the loss – I can always deal with wins and losses – but I am disappointed because I had a job to do as a coach, to get us to understand how we’re supposed to play as a team and act as a team, and I don’t think we did that.”

Building a positive team is a lot of hard work. It can not only be done during practice but it can be done in activities outside practice.

Maurice Denys

Certified Mental Coach (CMC)

S.N.H.S.Dip (Sports Psychology)

S.N.H.S.Dip (Life coaching)

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