Team building – Part 1: Team building is an action

Off Ball Lax Team

Team building is an action. From an outsider’s perspective team chemistry and that family-like bond may seem like a natural fit. Mainly because all we see are the success stories, and when you succeed we hear of the bonds that successful teams have formed. What we don’t hear is from the teams that fail at team chemistry, and falter and fall out of the limelight. Your team’s ability to bond and gel is paramount to your success. If a player cannot trust another to have his back, why do all the work for the next man to get the glory. If a coach isn’t willing to commit to his players, why should they commit to him and in turn, the rest of the team. That’s right coaches your aren’t immune from team building either.

Team building is an action, and as a coach your role is to enforce that action. Not all members of the team are willing to commit to these team building events, and again this is where your influence can help. Some teams are better than others and need limited involvement by the coach. I’ve found that the more senior class members on your team, the easier it is to have these team building events. But at the same time you need to be careful that they are including everyone, not just their senior/junior friends. The challenge here is the larger the senior class the more likely a “clique” is formed, making it difficult for them to branch out to all others on the team. When your team has a small number of seniors their motivation seems to wain as they have their friends outside of lacrosse, why should they be bothered with underclassman.

Team building is one thing leading to another

But at the end of the day, the more time they spend together the more they view each other as friends and not just players on my team. The more friendly, the more they care and start to trust each other. The more trust, the more they develop on field chemistry and are willing to sacrifice for one another. Chemistry, trust, and friendships, will translate into great teammates and ultimately a winning team.

No team building – No sustainable success

The emotional state of the team is always on edge and can crack at a moments notice. This is most obviously seen when challenges appear in front of a team.

  • The team could be down by a number of goals. Without team building words will be exchanged amongst the players as they play the blame game as to who’s fault is causing their issue. Words are said with negative emotion leading to tempers fueling an unhealthy and combative discussion.
  • A team may experience a number of turnovers or mistakes. Without team building your better players develop tunnel vision and try to take on the opposition by themselves because they don’t trust their teammates. This leads to greater frustration as your better players lose the ball due to triple teams, and the rest of team’s anger is directed at the “ball hog”.
  • Calls or opposing team’s actions will happen that are counter to an indiviual player’s belief as to what is right. Without team building they are more willing to let their emotions get the best of them leading penalties for their pride, instead of swallowing it in heated moments and sacrificing to the team. We all know that “hothead” that can go off at a moments notice, and they can cost the team in man down situations ultimately leading to goals against.

There are a number of reasons why team building is critical and if any of the above happens to your crew, its time to force team building activities. In our next post we’ll talk about ideas for team building.

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