November 2009 Archives

Team Building

What do you think it takes to create team unity?
One of my "rules" is that, in competition, all of the boys stand up and clap
for their teammate after each match, win or lose. Sometimes groups are
naturally cohesive, and sometimes cohesiveness needs to be encouraged for it
to happen. With my 06-07 team, they needed little external motivation to
unite and support one another, but they were also blessed with a nearly full
team. The past couple of years, I have been actively attempting to delegate
leadership roles on to the boys. Although there are no formal captains for
the freshman team, I assign individuals to lead the group through pre-match
warm-ups, or stretches in practice. I believe that, if I can inspire
leadership and a sense of ownership from within, team unity will grow. I
always encourage the boys to cheer for one another - to "be loud" when
watching each other wrestle (in competition), and through the strife of
practice, certain fraternal bonds seem to form. If I ever sense divisiveness
or witness an individual engaging in alienating activities, I address the
problem immediately, face-to-face. I'm not sure if this answers your
question, but that was my attempt.

How early will you start to create team unity?
Day one. In wrestling, although it is first and foremost an individual
sport, I try to preach that we are only as strong as our weakest link. By
creating an atmosphere of commitment to the TEAM, it places added incentive
on individuals to better themselves.

What strategies and activities will you use to create team unity?
I like to encourage the boys to swap practice partners regularly. By
drilling with many different team members, the less experienced wrestlers
can learn from the more experienced wrestlers, which is something I find to
be very valuable. Also, toward the end of practice, I (as well as Coach
Bergeland) implement team-based conditioning drills whereby they either
sprint, or do "monkey rolls," among other things, until the coaches deem
they have done a sufficient job. Through this strife, the boys are compelled
to cheer each other on and encourage each other. Bergeland invokes the words
of Thomas Paine quite frequently, stating "If we do not hang together, we
shall surely hang separately." Through encouragement, practice, and
facilitating internal leadership, I believe unity can and will be achieved.

I, too, look forward to working with you, and I'll see you soon! I hope
these answers suit your needs.


Tony Bui
Political Science Undergraduate
University of Minnesota
Head 9th Grade Wrestling Coach
Centennial High School

From: <>
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2009 11:30 AM
To: "Tony Bui" <>
Cc: "Bergeland, John" <>
Subject: Re: MN 9th Grade League Wrestling

> Hello Tony, Great email to the parents and wow, 20 youth for 9th grade,
> that is more than some varsity teams in total. You and others must have
> done a great job on recruiting.
> I look forward to working with you and from the sense I get, your team
> will have quite the success this season.
> As you think about the season, overall what are three to five things you
> feel you will have to work on when it comes to technique for your team?
> What do you think it takes to create team unity?
> How early will you start to create team unity?
> What strategies and activities will you use to create team unity?
> Many thanks, see you on the mat soon.
> Tex

9th Grade Team - Skills and Tech.

To answer your questions:

Technique to work on:
- Stance/footwork! Many of the boys are slow on their feet, and come out of
their stance. I want them to push the pace of the match and be the
aggressor, but many of them at this level have yet to grasp basic fundaments
like a good stance and staying in position.
- Getting out from the bottom! Although many of the kids (like myself) are
not "naturally" fast, I do believe this sense of urgency and explosiveness
can be taught through drilling/constant repetition.
- Wrist control & moving the opponent --> Rather than blindly diving at
their opponents' legs, I strive to teach the kids to control the tie-ups.
Moving the opponent toward us and establishing angles to set up shots from
will be part of the drilling.

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