Team Spirit, the gamechanger beyond logic and psychology

Volleyball psychology preparation by Dariusz Szostek, www.sport-idea.pl

Darek - profiloweEvery coach focuses primarily on the physical and technical preparation of the team players. Then come game systems and tactics and a lot of different little but also important things (nutrition, regeneration, etc.). This can all be well prepared, operating while playing and the results of the matches may be weak and unsatisfactory.
There is one very important, invisible and difficult to measure aspect that applies to the entire team – team spirit. A strong and good team spirit makes that internal resources and energy of the players are activated, and that gives them greater resistance to stress, clearance and tranquility in the game, increasing also a determination in the game. Then a team of diverse players, begins to act like one.
Team spirit can not be directly touched, measured, but can be felt in the team during the game on the sports field and in the behavior off the sports field.
How stimulation and strengthening team spirit can affect athletic performance? Below are two examples of my work with volleyball teams.

Example no. 1 – 1-st league volleyball, Poland 
In the team is eight rookies in the 1-st league.
Before the meeting (team coaching), the team had played four matches, zero points, last place in the league and only 2 winning sets.
In the first game, three days after our meeting, team wins at home 3:0. And in a total of 7 rounds after the meeting, scores 10 points, winning all home matches, including the match with the leader of the table.

 
volleyball-89607_1280Example no. 2 – 2-nd league volleyball.
Before the meeting, the team had played 7 matches and was in last place in the table (10 teams), with gained 4 points.
For the meeting with players was invited also coaching staff and the Executive Board of the club.
After the meeting in 5 matches, the team wins 13 points, losing only the first match at exit 3: 2 with a team from the third place. In the 5-th game wins 3: 0 with a team from second place in the table. The atmosphere in the team, from the first match after the meeting, is radically different from that before the meeting. Reserves still support the players on the field. There are more slack and humor in training, and above all a team play calmer, more focused, defending more balls and playing confident on the attack.
In both cases, the two-hour workshops are actively involved and allow participants to bring their own assessment of the situation and a deeper look at the team and its current situation.

 

I focused on two things:
the team spirit – as something beyond logic and psychology.
individual beliefs (what is possible, or not, etc.)
In both we only touched some conscious and unconscious aspects of inner representation of themselves and the team and also their personal relation to the team. And thus they can see and hear others from another than only as sport activity perspective.atmosphere

It was enough to change the team spirit and this has caused a drastic and immediate change in performance on the sport field. The team spirit caused that the players took a part of the responsibility for the team’s results. They started to play better, more effectively and achieve much better results in matches.