An article published in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (JOPERD) outlined a number of benefits related to team cohesion. The advantages the researchers found included leadership acceptance, more productive practices, the definition of players' roles, the creation of collective goals, and the minimization of negativity. Other experts have found a correlation between positive chemistry, greater success on the field, and players sticking with the game.
Regardless of the sport or age of the participants, team building exercises are an essential tool for coaches who want to create happy, triumphant athletes.
Team building is easy to do and can involve the simplest of activities. A coach can incorporate them into normal practices or hold social events to promote bonding away from the sports field. Whether it's a potluck or a cooperative drill or group challenge, the JOPERD article offered several tips for coaches in implementing team building exercises.
♦ Allow players to show their individuality and style.
♦ Create an environment where everyone is free and comfortable enough to express concerns and issues.
♦ Define a role for each player that directly contributes to team success.
♦ Establish yourself as a trustworthy figure for team members.
♦ Learn the story and personality of every player.
♦ Let athletes contribute to strategy and team improvement discussions.
♦ Set out goals for the team from the beginning.
By incorporating these principles into an existing coaching routine, every team can be assured a happier, healthier environment. Deeper social bonds will also develop during the season, which is arguably as important as providing a team with the best baseball equipment on the market. The ultimate goal for any young athlete is to have fun, after all.