The Best Way to Build Team Camaraderie
Kelly said: I have learned that the best way to build a team is to remember that you have to think like a team in order to act like a team. Hockey is not an individual sport, it is a team effort. That is the biggest statement to try and "hit home" with the players. To do this effectively means to enforce teamwork at every turn, not individual scoring, not individual stats, not individual playing time, not individual greatness or failures, but team efforts and team consequences.
If one player is not "pulling his weight" then the whole team needs to have the reinforcing consequences. If one player is showing themselves to be a leader, reward them and give them the responsibilities of leadership within their own peers. If one line is surpassing the others, proudly speak about them and make examples of them for the others to aspire to, but let every line have the chance to rise above. One line doesn't win or lose a game - A team wins or loses together. If someone is having an off day, the rest of his/her line should pick up the slack for them, knowing that it will be reciprocated when the time arises.
Give children the chance to make it about the team and they will. They obviously didn't choose to play golf or tennis, they chose this team sport. If we, parents and coaches, can get out of the way and stop singling out the "best" players or talking about the ones who didn't reach the top this time, the players themselves will have a better chance at bonding within the team. We may only have one child on the team, but the team is made up of 20 children. We need to remember that it's not just our child out there, it is their team.
Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Kelly Eck for winning this week’s contest. As a thank you for her answer, TotalHockey.net is giving Kelly a $25 gift certificate to TotalHockey.net.