Girls Softball: Team Chemistry Can Make or "Brake" Her Team

Because girls softball is a team game wrapped around individual performances the team chemistry, culture and vibe can really be the tipping point factor on whether your athlete's team will be good or great.

Team chemistry can consist of a variety of different elements, all of which can either enhance or detract from a team's success:

1. The Coach(es): As the leader(s) of the team the coach(es) need to establish the team culture for the behavior and attitude of his/her players. If a coach shows favorites or allows certain players to get away with showing up late or dogging it the rest of the team will pick up on it and team chemistry will be weak because the coach has has created a two tiered culture within the team.

Likewise if a coach does not offer adequate playing time to certain players this can create poor team chemistry. Now I'm not advocating equal play but rather getting all players in a game if the score and game situation allows for it. Coaches also need to be good communicators in order to establish and maintain good team chemistry. If a coach does not clearly communicate to each player her role on the team morale and chemistry will suffer.

2. The Players: If a team's chemistry and culture are not rock solid certain players on the team can be a cause of poor team chemistry. If the coach is not a strong leader that the players respect one or more players may assume a leadership role on the team. This can be a very positive thing or a very detrimental thing. If one player believes she is above the team concept and feels she is better than her teammates this may cause resentment among teammates. I have even seen players order other players around and berate them for poor play. This should always be the role of the coach and not the player.

3. The Parents:  Team parents can play a huge role in supporting or undermining their athlete's team. Talking about other players or the coach in a derogatory way will absolutely undermine team chemistry on both sides of the fence. A single parent, like a single player, can be poison for an otherwise harmonious team. Make sure you are not one of those parents...please!

The upsides of your athlete playing on a team with great chemistry include:

1. Positive team attitude and energy.
2. Tighter friendships.
3. Team is never out of a game.
4. Looking forward to playing and practicing more.
5. Greater learning opportunity with coaches and team.
6. Few distractions allowing her to be the best she can be.
7. Likely a successful team on the field and fun off the field.

I have coached on and parented around teams with both great team chemistry and a few with less than stellar team chemistry and the former is a whole lot more fun than the later for parents, players and coaches! It takes a conscious effort to be sure the proper attitude is set from day one on the team and a willingness to stick to it's priority. This may mean the a player (or coach) is not asked back in an effort to promote and maintain positive team chemistry.

Remember, the good of the team must always come before the good of any player, coach or parent. The last time I checked there still is no "I" in the word team!

 Watch John Kelly explain how to skyrocket your athlete's game day performance HERE.


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