5 Keys to Team Chemistry Every Coach Needs to Know
We often her about the importance of team chemistry in sports, but rarely do we dissect exactly what good team chemistry is comprised of when it comes to team dynamics. Coaches need to be good leaders in order to create healthy team chemistry and mental toughness, and they can accomplish this through a number of important ways. Below are my 5 sport psychology keys to helping coaches develop a team that trusts each other and maximizes team potential because of strong team chemistry:
- Trust/intuition. As humans we sometimes second-guess ourselves, even when our gut feelings seem to suggest certain vibes about people/situations. These gut feelings, or intuition, should be recognized more than you think. If you get a positive feeling about a particular player it’s probably due to important qualities, like leadership skills or resiliency. Similarly, if you get the sense a player isn’t very serious and not committed, his athletic potential may be offset by these qualities. You might be surprised how much information you gain in relatively little time, in fact, Malcom Gladwell wrote the book Blink based on this idea.
- Don’t rely on personality tests. It seems a trend is in place in professional sports where increasingly more teams are using personality tests to help determine the psyche of players they might draft (the NFL started using the Wonderlic years ago). While it can be interesting and fun to use these tests, the reality is that personality tests don’t offer as much as coaches would like to think when it comes to athletic potential and on-field success.
- Look for best fit, not always best talent. Savvy coaches know that great teams are often built by finding players who embrace their roles — even the roles that aren’t always glamorous. Conversely, when coaches look to assemble teams that only include all-stars, they run the risk of egos clashing and team chemistry suffering as a result.
- Trust and respect. Coaches who dedicate time to creating an environment based on trust and respect for one another almost always maximize the team’s abilities. These qualities are developed by offering positive reinforcement, listening to team members, and valuing their ideas (even if you don’t use them all).
- Keep things fresh. When athletes become bored doing the same practices day after day, even the best teams can lose some chemistry as a result. Coaches who fail to vary routines run the risk of players losing focus, motivation, and concentration, which usually results in more team errors and mistakes, which can lead to players fighting amongst themselves (and thereby losing important team chemistry). The key, therefore, is to keep practices fresh and maintaining a positive attitude at all times.
There’s actually a lot coaches can do to improve team chemistry, probably more so than many coaches think. Coaches who embrace this idea will not only win more games, but also enjoy the kids who they coach that much more as a result of everyone pulling together.
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chemistry, Coaching, cohesion, culture, mental, psychology, sport, success, team, toughness, winning