Team cohesion is essential for a team's success. Vealey (2005) explains that for a team to have the success they need task cohesion and social cohesion. Meaning the team has to interact in an effective manner to achieve a successful performance as well as get along socially or interpersonally. Since interpersonal conflict cannot be avoided when you have a group of people in constant contact with each other, Vealey (2005) provides ideas on how team cohesion can be handled. Forming, storming, norming, and performing are the four developmental stages that a team can go through several times in a season to address conflicts. Vealey (2005) also gives a model for team cohesion, "How we do it here." The most interesting component I found in the model was criticism 101. It tells coaches that they need to teach their athletes and even assistant coaches on how to take critical feedback and why coaches give criticism.
In Anderson and Aberman (2006) it talks about Anderson going through a tough few years with team and coaching staff. One of the main problems was the coaching staff felt like they were coaching separate teams within a team because of a lack of communication and critical feedback to one another. Through Anderson's assessment of his team he found a few key things that needed to change, take responsibility and do not blame others, do not mistake effort for effectiveness, and become a better coach by not trying to do everything for the players. Not having the coaches do everything for the players is an idea that should resonate with all coaches. The generation that is being coached on teams right now is a generation that is used to getting told that they are special and used to having things laid out for them. The millennium generation used to getting ribbons for just participating or having parents fix a problem they do not want to deal with (CBS News, 2008). A decision the coach has to make is should they talk to the athletes like a therapist to get them to do what I want or do I give them the tools they need to be successful and let them figure it out instead of laying out step by step what they want them to do.
One tool a coach can use to guide their athletes on the right path without showing them step by step on how to succeed as a team is have an effect team captain(s). Janssen (2004) cited that leadership is just as important if not more important than the talent on a team. It is hard for a team that cannot work as one cohesive unit and be talented to be consistently successful. Once a captain is selected, they can be the bridge between a coach and their team. Coach can help captions become strong leaders to promote team unity by holding weekly meetings to make sure the team goals are being pursued (Janssen, 2004). An effective team captain can also help with themes that help promote effective team building. Pain and Harwood (2009) found common themes to be togetherness, inclusion, open communication, training quality, self-understanding, and player ownership. By linking the gap between coaches and players with a captain whom coaches trust and players respect the team is more apt to succeed in the team's goals.
Anderson, J., & Aberman, R. (2006). Why Good Coaches Quit.
Janssen, J. (2004). The Team Captain's Leadership Manual.
Pain, M., & Harwood, C. (2009). Team Building Through Mutual Sharing and Open Discussion of Team Functioning. The Sport Psychologist (23), 523-542.
The Age of the Millenials. (2008, May 25). Retrieved from 60 Minutes: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4126233n
Vealey, R. S. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge.