USA Softball News Candrea on Coaching:...

Candrea on Coaching: Team Unity

Sept. 22, 2016, 9:39 a.m. (ET)

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to post season – it is not always the most talented team that wins championships but the team that plays the best as a team that finds a way to win?  Yes, there are times when you cannot beat talent if that talented team plays as one unit, but team unity is a very important element in winning!

The longer I coach in this game, the more I realize that building a team that believes and trust in one another is a key ingredient to building team success.  Team unity can be related to everyone rowing the boat the same way or everyone pulling the rope the same direction.  In either case, unity is the X factor that allows teams to get through the tough times and share the blame as well as enjoying the victories.  Strong leaders are important in building team unity.  You would always hope that your best players will be your best leaders.  But truly, to build team unity, I feel that everyone on your team should feel like their voice is important and heard.  From your starting line up to the bull pen catcher or pinch runner, everyone must buy in to the process and feel like they can contribute to the success of the team.  When this happens, team unity is at a high level and when this occurs, success or tough times are shared equally throughout the team.  It only takes a few people that are not willing to row the boat the same direction or better yet, stick an oar in the water to pull the team off course, and keep a team from having success.

Team unity begins with a clear and concise vision.  This is one area that is different in today’s culture.  When I was playing, the coach established the vision and path and you just followed his direction.  In today’s world, I feel the vision and standards must be established from the inside out – meaning the player’s must have ownership to make it work.  The more ownership established by the players, the greater the chances of strong and prolonged team unity.  I also feel that we cannot mistake team unity for everyone liking one another and no one ever rocks the boat.  Adversity is something that happens in any season and good teams grow closer with adversity vs. pointing fingers and growing apart.  This is the true test of team unity.  Communication is a key along with compassion and understanding for each other. I have always appreciated competitive people that understand the fact that no two people are the same and to be a great teammate, we must appreciate those differences but hold everyone to high standards that will lead to team success.  Playing for each other and having each other’s back is the foundation for a unified team.

I have used this for many years but it still holds true today………Individuals win honors but teams win Championships! 

Until next time!

Coach Candrea