3 Ways to Build Team Chemistry
There are a bunch of factors we need to consider when trying to achieve and build team chemistry, keeping players motivated, setting goals, measuring results, and enjoying each others company. While there is no one recipe for success, we have identified, from personal experience, what works well and have decided to share that information for the better of our rugby coaching community. In order to build team chemistry we must first define it. Wright believes that:
“Team chemistry is one of the most complicated keys to the success of organisations. Effective teams are more than just a collection of talented members. To be effective, a team has to be able to combine the efforts and abilities of members in the right way. Just as no two people are identical, no two teams are identical. Consequently, what works well for one team may not work well for others.”
Having clearly defined it, let’s have a crack and informing you how to build team chemistry.
1. Split your squad into Mini-Teams
Having experienced this strategy whilst playing in Canterbury, New Zealand, and having recently compiled a document for a Representative side in Melbourne, I believe this point has significant bearing on how to build team chemistry. The purpose of splitting a squad of players into sub groups is to create smaller, close-knit teams or communities who spend more time together, compete against the other mini teams and encourage each other to attend trainings as they are accountable for each other. An example of a successful squad split into mini groups can be seen in the Crusaders – they have four – Tighties, Loosies, Insides and Outsides, and are 7-time Super Rugby champions.
Here are a few ideas that you can assign to these mini groups: You can delegate duties that could include setting up fields for match day, packing away the fields on match day, clean the changing sheds, organising drinks and food for post match, work behind the bar (if applicable) or in the kitchen and use these teams when playing games at the end of training. Splitting your squad into mini teams will build team chemistry, increase engagement and competition within the squad, which always leads to a positive outcome.
2. Hold a Training Camp
This should most definitely be held pre-season whilst preparing for the regular season. Holding a training camp is an excellent way to build team chemistry as it quite literally separates the players in your system from their normal every day life – they have no option but to invest in the rugby team. It is very important to coach and teach team policies throughout the training camp, develop the team’s mindset and understanding of what you are trying to achieve. You could collectively define goals and set objectives, or even ask your mini teams to create these for everyone then decide as a team what you want to achieve.
Other duties you can assign mini teams at a training camp include: Introducing a budget for each player, a budget for purchasing groceries, delegate mini teams to organise social events and activities, logistics plans and/or cleaning. Hosting a training camp does wonders to build team chemistry as everyone buys into the system, learns new skills and has input into creating team goals and achievement markers.
3. Attendance at Social Events
This one goes without saying. To build club culture, is similar to how to build team chemistry, and Social Events is an excellent way to achieve this. It may be as simple as attending a post-match function in the opposition’s clubroom where everyone toasts the other side, thanks them for the hospitality and wishes them best of luck for the next game and rest of the season. It’s quite important for your captain to undertake this task, as it reinforces the fact that he/she represents the group.
Another type of social event that increases your ability to build team chemistry could be a mixer, disco, formal dinner or ball. This way you can encourage partners of players (if applicable) to attend and buy into the atmosphere. That way they become supportive of the cause, the club and the team chemistry.
Well, there you have it, three ways to build team chemistry as seen from personal experience. There has got to be dozens of ways to build team chemistry as a rugby coach, and above are but a few in what must be an eternity of nifty ways to build team chemistry. If you have found or experienced alternative methods that have worked, please share them in the comments sections below.
By Sam Lindsay
Sam Lindsay is the Director at Global Rugby, a website that provides Rugby Coaches, Clubs and Schools with rugby training and coaching videos. You can connect with Sam on Google +, Facebook and LinkedIn or click through to check out some other great articles in the Global Rugby News section.