Tag Archive for 'coesione'

How the coaches have to build cohesion

In this early period of the team games season, I am often asked how to improve the cohesion of a team especially by the coaches who work in junior teams and and also not professional teams. I make this distinction because among these coaches there is a widespread idea that having little time available, everything that goes beyond the technical work done in the field is unnecessary work, which we do not have time to do, precisely because: “We are not a professional team, where the players are always available.”

This attitude is the motivation that drives many coaches to believe that the players must adapt to their working method and the hierarchies proposed. Physical and technical/tactical preparation are the masters and if someone doesn’t agree, it’s worse for him/her.

Leadership is essentially manifested in the administration of a training program that must be followed without discussion. They start from correct considerations (limited time, reduced economic resources, not optimal hours for training) to arrive at wrong conclusions. Those who do not accept this approach are usually labeled as lazy, unwilling to make sacrifices or presumptuous.

Unfortunately for them, the culture of work and team cohesion are essential factors in a team sport and are not built with this approach. Team performance instead draws its strength from the daily training of the concept of US: the winning performance comes from the integration of the behavior of various players, teaching more players to do different things well, together and at the same time.

Coach has to:

  1. Encourage participation by listening to the players’ suggestions
  2. Avoide favouritism
  3. Reward altruistic behaviour
  4. Reduce individualistic behaviour
  5. Assign challenging and achievable goals to each player
  6. Assign each player a specific role
  7. Encourage a learning and collaborative training climate
  8. Stimulate maximum commitment and constantly reinforce it
  9. Always support the team when it is in negative momentum
  10. Spend time with athletes to evaluate their commitment to training
  11. Analyse coldly with the team the results of the matches

The question for coaches is: how much time do you spend developing these performance factors?

Magic Johnson and team cohesion: An old story always true

In basketball the cohesion is a need to achieve the team primary goal: cope with the opponents with confidence and grit. The internal rivalries, if not limited to few episodes are wasted energies and keep the players engaged in activities with a disruptive impact on training and match. The team must always think in terms of US and the coach should encourage the participation of players, listen them, treat everyone with the same criteria and avoid favoritism, support altruistic behaviors and reduce the individualistic behaviors.

Magic Earvin Johnson’s story is an example of how even a champion have to move from too individualistic behaviors to greater cooperation with the mates. In fact, when Magic played in the Los Angeles Lakers also stood out for his dedication to teamwork: passed and defended rather than thinking about scoring points. It was Magic to explain to his coach Pat Riley as he had established this great attitude.

When he was a little boy, playing Youth League basketball in East Lansing, Michigan, his coach told him he was the best player of the team and he should have to shoot the ball all the time. He did it, scoring  most of the points of the team, which won all the time. Despite these victories the other teammates looked miserable, were depressed and nobody thanked or appeared pleased about what he was doing. Magic also was not lucky and he did not want to be this kind of player. He decided to change, becoming more altruistic, defending and passing the ball to the mates. The team mood changed completely and the mates became much more motivated, increased their skills and continued to have success.

What about your team, the players put aside their ego and work to be cohesive independently of the match momentum?

Barcelona-Juventus: it will win the more cohesive team

Barcelona and Juventus have reached this Champions League final on the strength of the team, their ability to think in terms of WE. The strength of the group is a key issue for every coach, who must be able to stimulate this continuing active and creative participation of the players. We know it, as Italians since the time of Bearzot, 1982 World Cup,  who used the team media silence as a tool to build the team cohesion. The Americans know well this topic having coined the sentence: “The champion team beats a team of champions”, to indicate that also the ideal team with only champions have to integrate the skills of each one, to be able to express their full potential. At this regard, Pat Riley, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, said that as a young Magic Johnson made most of the points but his team was always depressed and frustrated, because his teammates felt useless. He decided that the situation was unbearable for him, and since then his behavior changed, putting his skills to the service of the team. The mood of the team changed completely, the teammates were much more motivated, they increased their skills and also continued to win.

Tomorrow Juventus can lose if it plays with the attitude of the victim, while Barcelona may fall because of a presumptuous attitude. This should not happen, if we want to watch a great match. As always, at the end one of the two teams will win and it will be the one who will have fought tirelessly and with tactical intelligence, putting their best players in the best position to express themselves in a winning way.

The Sassuolo football team mentality

The football team promoted in Serie A, Sassuolo,  has paid heavily the first two matches taking 6 goals. The coach called for greater cohesion to get out of this negative moment. As always the question at this issue is not so much what you ask for as a team, but how the coach will teach it. Depended on me, I would like to start from the results of the matches, providing significant information on the team’s mentality. In fact, in both games the first goal has been taken within the last 5 minutes of the first half. Similarly, the second goal was taken after about 20 minutes of play in the second half (60° and 63° minute). Therefore in relation to the first goal, it’s to know how to improve cohesion in the final minutes, when the players probably imagine  to have already ended the game and play with less fighting spirit. Regarding the second goal, it must be analyzed the difficulty to maintain for a long period the concentration and the cohesion in the game. In each case, the team had failure after half of the second time: how to recognize and prevent this negative moment. So it should be good to remember that the team cohesion is essential, but obviously the coach must not only make a statement but to find solutions for the moments of weakness.

Rossi and Andreazzoli: when the cohesion makes the difference

Delio Rossi and Andreazzoli took, during the championship, two teams in crisis Sampdoria and Roma and they managed to turn them from losers to combative team, winning on the field. They replaced two coaches each completely different, Ciro Ferrara and Zeman, in essence, the first was a great player but he has little experience as a coach and the second is a great visionary and ruler of the minds of his players. Both have failed, in my opinion, because they have not been able to build a cohesive and fighting group to  play on the field the game proposed by the coach. They were prisoners of their own limitations, which for the first is the inexperience and the second are his ideas never contractible.

As always, the main issue lies in the teams “what to do to hold it together.” This does not mean to be happy with those who are excluded from the team but certainly they have to accept this choice and continue to engage in training. It’s also clear that because the players develop this mindset, the coach must be corrected by sending them the belief that they will have space to play. It seems to me that Delio Rossi and Andreazzoli have acted in this way and with the changes in the game introduced they were able to have a team that goes into the field to play at its best. In summary, to win is not only a question physical fitness and technical-tactical rules but also a collective winning mindset and the coach and players must build together.

Roma what a disaster

At Roma FC is already arrived the moment of the meeting that it must explain why it plays so bad. Back to the question of cohesion that can be summarized as follows: “If one does not run at least run the others.” It’s not a question of tactics, the problem is the sense of belonging and pride to be part of this team. No player in the match with Juve wanted to give this example and then they have fall down. There is a sentence that says, “Who has not head should have legs”. If you have not even legs and you need to change quickly, otherwise you move to another match like the previous one.

Cohesion and experience

We hear more and more often that the best footballers are no longer playing in Italy. This explanation is often used to explain bad performances and to justify the poor competitive performances of  players. Personally I think the teams under attack in these first few games from Rome to Milan or Palermo were wrong also for lack of cohesion and reduced use by players of their experience. The tactic or the presence of champions in a team are not everything, it’s also counting the common feeling that we are united and that everyone is a carrier of his professional experiences.  These two aspects allow to the teams to get out of difficult phases of the game; the problems of someone who are balanced by the initiative of someone else. If  these two ingredients are not availables the team does not have a soul and the  players live waiting to have the tactics that will allow them to win. Wrong. It is useful to know what to do but that they must feel responsible for the team mistakes  or those did by a mate otherwise they are just mercenaries that when things are going badly run away.

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Wonderful foil athletes beyond rivalry

The wonderful of the the foil are the four Italian fencing athletes, Errigo, Di Francisca, Vezzali and Salvatori. They wanted to continue to show and affirm their value despite individual successes and personality differences. They re an example of how to overcome the individual differences to reach a higher goal, to which without cohesion they could not aspire. Do not just be the three strongest in the world, to win as a team you must really want it for.

Lo stress di Roma e Inter

Lo stress colpisce quando sei in crisi e Roma e Inter ne hanno appena dato una dimostrazione. La Roma ha infatti concluso in 8, quindi 3 espulsioni, la partita con la Fiorentina e nell’Inter per la prima volta il capitano Zanetti è stato espulso e Pazzini è caduto mentre stava per il tirare il calcio di rigore. Ciò è la prova provata che quando si vive una fase difficile come squadra,i singoli calciatori subiscono questa condizione e commettono errori grossolani perchè la loro condizione emotiva è così alterata da impedirgli di giocare in modo efficace. Mi sfugge come le squadre, nonostante i loro problemi tecnici, non riescano comunque a mettere da parte l’egocentrismo dei singoli giocatori e in campo almeno si mostrino unite, magari povere di gioco, ma perchè non unite? E l’allenatore come agisce per raggiungere questo risultato? Non lo sapremo mai ovviamente. E’ certo che questo problema è prima umano e poi tecnico … come ha ben capito Antonio Conte.