Team Chemistry a Big Part of Team Success
The Los Angeles Lakers have surprised some folks this NBA basketball season by starting out the season 0-3. With All Stars at nearly every position (in fact, several players, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Dwight Howard will likely be Hall of Famers), the team has played well below what most basketball fans expected. Of course, most folks still expect that the Lakers will figure it out and be right in the mix for a title at the end of the season, but their current struggles do illustrate the importance of team chemistry and mental toughness — regardless of how much talent is on a team.
The challenges associated with team chemistry are not unique to professional teams, as sport psychologists often witness this same problem with teams of all ages and skill levels. In fact, it is not uncommon to see a youth-level team “stack up” with talent, only to watch them play below what their abilities “on paper” suggest.
One of the most important keys pertaining to team chemistry is to help players become clear in their unique roles – as well as emphatically embrace their roles. Unfortunately, when teams are stacked it becomes a challenge to get players to take a step back in order to compensate for the other new talent around them. With the Lakers, we can reasonably assume that this working-out process will take some time, especially when you consider how each one of their all-world players will need to defer to their teammates more than they have ever had to with their previous teams.
Savvy coaches know how tough it can be to tame egos and get great players to buy into a more egalitarian team framework. How things will work out with the Lakers remains to be seen, but it’s likely they will be working through their growing pains for some time yet. The Lakers are a good example for coaches and parents to use when teaching kids that having all the best players on paper doesn’t guarantee success, just like how having a team comprised of average players doesn’t stop a team from over-achieving and winning championships.
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