Team chemistry is an extremely important, yet often elusive, element to the success of any organization.
If you lead any kind of team, you are constantly searching for ways to bring your team together. It is critical that we find ways to get our team members to do more than just tolerate each other. We want them to work well, connect, and hopefully enjoy each other’s company.
This is not easy, though. So often when we see teams succeed on the scoreboard, it is due to the countless hours they have put in together to develop their skills, as well as to develop their relationships and camaraderie.
On the flipside, when we see teams struggle to succeed, while it may be due to a lack of talent compared to their opponents, it may also be due to other factors. One of those factors may be that the team members just don’t feel much of a connection to one another.
Unfortunately, this happens all too often. While it can be due to a variety of factors, it is up to the leadership and the team members themselves to embrace the idea that they must work to develop some team chemistry.
Team chemistry doesn’t just happen. Although some teams seem to create team chemistry easier than others, it still takes effort on the part of the members of the team.
We can’t expect that just because people are going to be on a team for a few months they will just naturally get along or even want to. Therefore, we must create methods and moments where team chemistry and connection can happen.
What qualities stand out to you on teams that you have seen or been on that displayed great team chemistry?
What are some things that you or your coaches and leaders have done to try to create team chemistry? How well did they work?
What are some other ways you can think of that might also work?
Chapter 7 from book #2 in my Remington Roberts series, Trouble in Discovery: Remington Rises Up, is below. Watch how Coach Brooks tries to develop some team chemistry over the summer. How do his players seem to be doing with regards to team chemistry? Should he be concerned at all, or does he have the foundation laid for great team chemistry once the season starts?
Trouble in Discovery will be released next Friday, July 30th! You can pre-order the eBook over on Amazon right now, and you can pre-order the paperback right here on the Shop page of the SlamDunk Success site.
If you did not read book #1 in the series, Ultimate Team Player: Remington Reunites the Team, I have a special running on it right now so you can get caught up on what happened in the first book to lead up to this book. The paperback is only $9.99, and the eBook is just $.99! Click on the Shop page in the menu above to check out those deals or go to Amazon.
The rest of the summer went very well for the Wolves. They had a skill-building camp in the second week of June, with the best attendance for a camp in Del’s time as the coach. They worked on their individual skills, followed by trying to incorporate those skills in games at the end of camp each day. Del was pleased with the results. They also continued to play in weekend tournaments in June and July, and they won the majority of their games. They actually took first place in their division at the tournament at Canyon High School, the school that Remington’s dad had coached at for many years.
Del also took them to the University of Montana Team Camp in Missoula. He liked to take the boys on one trip to a team camp to help them spend some time together and bond. It also gave them opportunities to play against teams from other northwestern states. He felt it gave them a chance to measure themselves against good players in other states, while preparing them to play the teams in their own state during the season.
The team-bonding aspect of these trips was important. On these trips, the boys spent a lot of time hanging out with one another. Del was always able to work in some character instruction and team-building types of activities to begin creating the team-first attitude that is so important for teams to have if they are going to have any success whatsoever. With the addition of Connor, Del was even more interested in this aspect of the team camps. He felt that the more Connor could become close with his teammates the better chance this team had of being the best team he had coached and possibly one of the best teams to ever play at Sacajawea High School. Sacajawea had its share of great teams through the decades, but the last five to ten years had seen a drop-off in that high level of success.
Del felt a lot of pressure to win because of this. While nobody had ever said anything to him about his job being on the line, with each succeeding year of not getting to the state tournament, he felt more pressure. With the success they experienced last year and the expectations that people had for this year, he felt like a great weight was put on his shoulders.
He knew people would be expecting more success this year with all the good players coming back. With the young sophomores, Jimmy Thompson and Bob Bickford, coming up to the varsity next year and joining the strong returning players, many people felt that this team could win a state championship. With the addition of Connor McDonald, the expectations rose even higher. His combination of skill and size was unique in the state this year, and people could see that this kid might be the key to pushing Sacajawea over the top to a state championship.
However, Del also saw a problem developing. Connor had already become a bit of a challenge. Del had already seen Connor displaying a poor attitude, not giving all-out effort, and not being a good teammate. Del was walking a fine line, trying to establish a positive relationship with Connor, but also instilling in him the proper discipline necessary for success. Del needed to hold Connor accountable, but he also didn’t want to lose him right away. So he dealt gingerly with him.
Already some of the elements of dealing with Connor reminded him of how he struggled with Cade Clemons the last four years. While Connor was different than Cade, there were some similarities. Both were really good players, but since they played different positions and had different kinds of games, it would be hard to compare the two of them. However, one place Del could see they were very similar was in their selfishness. Just like Cade, Connor was focused mostly on himself. He didn’t care all that much about his teammates. He had been at the school for the last three months of the year, and he was now into his second month of the summer playing with them. By now, he should be caring about them a whole lot more than he did.
This was the biggest reason why Del looked forward to the summer team camp trip. This would be a great chance to get Connor bonding with his teammates. Del hoped that by being on the road together with his teammates for a few days, a lot of that bonding would occur. As he watched Connor’s interactions with the rest of the boys, he could see it was happening. Del got excited each time he saw Connor laughing it up with Nick, Tim, or Brian.
He especially got excited when he saw Connor having fun with Remington. He knew that Connor could see Remington as a threat because Remington was the best player on the team. If he could get the two of them to become good teammates and even friends, it would go a long way towards creating future success. This was not a problem for Remington. He didn’t seem to have a jealous bone in his body when it came to teammates’ success. He just wanted to win. He was the best player that Del had coached and had seen in person at the high school level. But most amazing was that he was the best teammate Del had ever seen. He was all about getting everybody involved and creating success for each of his teammates. While he could have scored 25 points a game if he wanted, he would rather score 15 a game and hand out 10 assists. He knew that if he was dishing the ball to teammates for scores, they would be happy, and the team had a better chance at success.
If Del could get Connor to embrace Remington as a teammate and friend, good things could happen. Del did all that he could to put them together as much as possible on this trip. Any chance he could get to have them communicating with one another, Del tried to create it. As Del watched Remington and Connor together, it looked like the plan was working. They were doing a lot of laughing and joking and just talking about things. That was a good sign. Del also created some team-bonding exercises for the players to do in the evenings after the day’s games and activities. He set these activities up to put kids who didn’t know one another all that well with each other. Younger players were with older players for the most part. This helped bring sophomores, juniors, and seniors together better.
While Connor and Remington were getting along well, and the overall team-building exercises were producing a lot of the desired results, there was one unintended consequence that Del had not considered. Connor was starting to only bond with Remington, Nick, Tim, and Brian. He did not make much of an effort to bond with any of the other players. Connor saw in those four players that they were the key guys. They were also three seniors and a junior. Connor respected them.
However, he did not seem to develop the same level of interest in getting to know the other players, especially Jimmy and Bob, the two sophomores. Connor didn’t do anything to any of the other players that would be looked on as bad. He just didn’t do anything with them at all. And when he played with them on the court, they might as well not even have been out there. He rarely passed them the ball, never acknowledged a good play by them, or never communicated with them in any way. Del never saw this. He was so excited that Connor was bonding well with Remington, Nick, Tim, and Brian, that he didn’t see that Connor was actually driving a wedge between himself and the rest of his teammates.
So while the team camp was a success in terms of how well the team played and how well they started getting along and becoming a team, there was a minor crack in the cohesiveness of the team that had started on this trip.
Unfortunately, Del never saw it. He was so excited by the success of the team in the games and the way that Connor was getting along with the older boys that he didn’t see the groundwork being laid for a problem later that fall.
Ideas to Consider:
- What does Coach Brooks feel taking his teams to a team camp and tournaments provides for them individually and as a team? Does it seem to have worked on their trip to U of M?
- How is Connor reacting to his experience so far? How is he getting along with his new teammates?