Sports offer a variety of opportunities to develop our physical abilities, improve our mental well-being and to connect with our communities. Whether you participate or facilitate in grassroots, recreational or high-performance sport, having a strong bond with teammates and staff is a feeling like no other.
But why is team cohesion important? Well, for starters, many of the most successful sports teams in history worked as well-oiled machines – take the 90s Bulls for example. Team building is more than everyone “getting along”, it’s understanding of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and making a choice to support each other regardless. Not only can this improve the results on the playing field – but it can build long-lasting friendships and relationships.
Ask your athletes what they value in team cohesion. It’s important to understand as coaches that each of your athletes may have different perspectives on what team cohesion looks like. While using virtual video platforms such as, start by asking questions such as “what does team cohesions mean/look like to you?”
After your athletes/coaching staff have shared their ideas, let them know what your idea of team cohesion is. This displays an open dialogue from all members of the team and helps to set the standard that all ideas are valid and welcomed.
Start or review goal setting. Have your athletes write down one personal goal and one team goal. This will not only give you a sense of how competitive the team goal is for the season but, it will also show what your athlete’s goals are. If many of them are technical skill-based, that can help when you begin your practice planning.
Put together a player code of conduct with your team. Allowing players and coaching staff to have input shows that their opinions are valued. When players truly believe and are a part of the player code of conduct, it creates a sense of ownership that will help them to hold themselves and their teammates accountable.
Incorporate some fun activities into your teams’ virtual meetings:
When sports eventually do come in to play, a great way to have your athletes bond is through activities. James Leath – the founder of Unleash the Athlete, is a mental performance coach who puts a lot of focus on team chemistry. Here are some exercises from James’ “Interrupt” Wake up the Athlete and Set the Mood to try when sports resume:
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This is a Competition Development multi-sport course. After completing this module, you will be able to manage administrative aspects of the program and oversee logistics.
This is a Competition Development multi-sport course. This course will enable you to implement general and sport-specific training protocols and methods to effectively develop or maintain athletic abilities specific to your sport.
This is a Competition Introduction Multi-Sport module. With the NCCP Make Ethical Decisions workshop you will be fully equipped to handle virtually any ethical situation with confidence and surety.
This is a Competition Development multi-sport course. This module will enable you to fully understand and explain the consequences of using banned substances in sport.
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