Baseball...the Team... a Band of Brothers
What makes a good team...
a good team? We can go down a checklist:
*good basic baseball fundamentals
*a good coach
These are the the components that come to my mind, right off the top of my head. Everyone of them is necessary to be competitive. Depending on your league's level of play the variables may fluctuate some.
I intentionally left one essential element off my list! Team camaraderie. The team has to click! They need to enjoy each other's company, and respect each other. Building friendships is necessary to help the team come together.
Cues and signals
In the course of every game, players have to be able to communicate with each other. Sometimes they do it with words, but often times they have to use cues, signals, and just plain mental telepathy. Players have to know each other. They have to know how their teammates on the field think. We've all seen it... a pop fly that 2 or more players go for at the same time. Either someone yells, "I got it", or total mayhem follows. At best, no one catches the ball. At worst, there is a collision and someone gets hurt.
The same thing holds true for routine ground balls. The infielders have to know who is supposed to be going for the ball, who is supposed to be backing him up, and who is covering the bases. It's all part of the intricacies of baseball fundamentals, but every team has it's own particular nuances. One player might be stronger or weaker in certain areas. One player is faster or throws harder. The decisions that need to be made in a split second, have to come from your players respecting each other's strengths and from good team dynamics. They need to be able to pick up on each other's cues.
Great team dynamics are built off the field...
as well as on the field. On the field, your coach is in charge of keeping things flowing smoothly. The fundamentals are taught. Every player should know which part of that field belongs to him. Practice and drills prepare them for every possible scenario. Practice and drill.... practice and drill... a very, very important part of any winning team! The coach also watches and adjusts according to the team's weak areas. After all, it's obvious you can't really prepare for EVERY possible scenario. Things just happen! That's where the team dynamics, and every player knowing what to expect from their teammates, delivers the most punch for your team's aspirations to be competitive in every situation. Some of that 'gut feeling' knowledge comes from their off field team building.
Just turn the team loose between games with a creek nearby or a small mountain to climb behind the field, and you soon see another side of your gang of players. There is no tension! There is nothing to prove... except maybe who can climb to the top first. I'm not saying this is a good idea for between game antics. After all, you don't want your team exhausted or injured before their next game... but a little of this may go a long way in building cooperation, respect, and good communication on the baseball field. The laughter, the smiles, the playful 'joking around' all leads to friendships that boost the morale of your team. After all, you are a lot quicker to go the extra mile to 'get your buddies back' during game play, if he's your buddy. Friends are quicker to encourage each other and console each other.
It makes the coach's job a lot easier, if the natural leadership abilities of your players are developed on and off the field. It's also much easier if the team is fired up just because they want to win for each other. It's no longer a personal agenda... it's a team agenda. That's what it's all about.
Playtime for your team...
is essential for them to unwind and get to know each other. I don't care how old the guys are, they need that 'down time' together to form the bonds that make them better team players.The more time the team spends playing together, the closer they will become. Meeting up at the ball field just to have fun can be a great morale booster. Other team outings can act as a catalyst in developing friendship and building memories that last a lifetime. Off season activities or training experiences can be used to bring the team closer together, and keep the connection going during those long winter months.No matter the age of the players, they can make time to hang out together and have fun! The closer the friendships the better the team.
Memories that last a lifetime..
are built one memory at a time. The good times, and the bad times, on the baseball field will be etched into the player's memory forever. The friendships he makes will likely continue on throughout his life. Those friends and teammates will share the same memories. Long after the ball field lights are turned off... they will be able to sit around and retell their 'baseball tales' from long ago, and still share that same team spirit. At some point, they truly become a band of brothers.
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