Building Team Chemistry

If team chemistry made a sound, it would sound like a “click”.   When teams “click”, they raise their level of play as teammates cooperate and work together toward their common goal.  Most championship teams credit team chemistry as a key element of their success.  But, in the limited time available to youth sports coaches, team chemistry is often a challenge for teams composed of teammates not already familiar with one another.

Building team chemistry involves building common experiences, skills, emotions and goals among the players.  However, in a short season, practices and games alone may not provide enough time.  To build team chemistry quickly, coaches should consider a preseason or early season team meeting with only the players and coaches that helps break the ice and gets players more familiar with their teammates.  Some suggested activities include:

  • Player introductions where one player asks another a list of questions and then introduces the player to the group.
  • Relay races, trivia quizzes and similar small group competitions with no more than 4 players per group.  Smaller group size helps facilitate player interactions.
  • Problem solving activities featuring game situations or strategies that smaller groups of players discuss, solve, diagram and present to the whole team.
  • An after practice pizza party that gives the players a chance to talk and interact with one another.

By breaking down normal shyness and letting kids get comfortable around their teammates, coaches facilitate an environment where peer support encourages team play.  This environment can help the entire team work together and minimize player cliques composed of players who attend the same school, have the same teacher or have previously played together.  Helping all players get along before a game goes a long way to helping players get along during a game.

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