When my Soccer Girl #1 began playing club at U9, she didn’t come in with a friend and it was difficult for her to connect with the team because the only time the girls saw each other was on the soccer field. We met for practices and games and then everyone went their separate ways. I spent much more time socializing with other parents on the sidelines than she ever did with her team mates! That team underperformed and never really “clicked” until the end of the year and I think the lack of team chemistry from bonding was a big reason why.
Team chemistry is such an elusive, yet essential part of team success. Successful teams rely on one another and are rarely just a collection of superstars…remember the implosion of the Lakers a few years ago? I think that girls especially need some extra encouragement in this area for them to feel like a team rather than a bunch of individual players. When things like gossip, cliques, jealousy, cockiness and selfish play enter the picture, a team can quickly veer off in the wrong direction. This is a big problem for a club soccer team which stays together for a calendar year!
So, as we start this new season with new teams we hope to “find the formula” for team chemistry! The last two years we’ve done a very early Spring away tournament- that’s been a great start for the girls to get to know each other. (And for the parents to get in some good
drinking bonding time as well) Tonight we had a bowling night, but only 5 of the girls were able to attend. It’s so hard to fit things into everyone’s jam packed schedules. Oh well, I guess those who make the effort to come will reap the benefits out on the field. I’m thinking that a parent’s bowling night is in order as well…we need to continue what we started at the Tournament! (Maybe we’ll even go on Karaoke night- although is that bonding or blackmail?)
What kinds of things does your team do to encourage bonding?