How to Build a Winning Team With Synergy

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brain-go-greenHave you ever watched a team and thought “wow that team just gels!” Gel’s is a fuzzy sports word that you might not hear that often and there are many reasons for this. This “Gel” term is almost seen as a magical once in a life time combination of the right players, at the right time. What I have realized is these moments of greatness and success are not ones of luck and mythical happenstance. Instead they are a result of team synergy.




What is Synergy?

The dictionary defines it as: The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects. Cooperative interaction among groups, especially among the acquired subsidiaries or merged parts of a corporation, that creates an enhanced combined effect. Which in plain terms means:

The Sum of the whole is greater than the parts.

Synergy is not a magical once in a lifetime occurrence, you can actually help this process and encourage synergy through systems, leadership, people, and focus. Successful businesses are a great example of synergy and preparing for success.


How Does Business Relate to Sports and Synergy?

Most fortune 500 companies appoint a leadership team that fits in their positions based on the skills they have, and their personality. This leadership team then creates and implements systems and tasks for the employees in their company. If the company has employees who are working in a position that fits their skill-set and personality then the company can complete the tasks and follow systems successfully. This process isn’t much different from a sports team.

You have to have the right people with the right skills, in the right positions and with the right attitude. That’s a lot of right, but it is possible. It takes skill and assessing your players and recruiting the players that can really bring something to your team. This is why it is so important that coaches recruit and choose players who might not always be the breakout start with attitude, a lot of times you need a position filled, and you need someone who has a good attitude and who want’s to win.Join the Team - Lanyard and Badge

5 Tips to Build a Team With Synergy:


1. Choose Athletes Wisely

As a coach you should have a plan, don’t go into a tryout or season without a clue of what you need for a winning team. No matter what sport you coach each position demands a player who can complete the tasks, follow your systems, and like it. Don’t get suckered in to athletes who are all flash and no loyalty, no heart. You have to have these things to build a winning team. Keep in mind that one player who doesn’t buy in to your goals and systems can lead to a whole team of disgruntled and resentful players and parents.

2. Keep Attitude at the Top of Your List

Don’t sacrifice your morals and beliefs for a stud! Attitude is everything! Make a list of personality flaws you will not support or allow on the team. Tell players and parents ahead of time about these requirements. This will set the stage for respect in your athletes and their parents. Don’t lose their respect by condoning bad behavior, bad attitude, or laziness. These things will not help you win, and will make your team miserable.

3. Don’t Choose the Same Athlete for Every Position

A team should be a mash-up of different personalities, skills, and sizes. Be careful when you add athletes to your team. A team needs a mixture of people with different strengths and weaknesses. If planned correctly your team will feed off each other, athletes who are weak in areas will be picked up by their teammate who has a strength. This is also a great way to increase the development of your athletes and increase their proficiency in weak areas.

4. Make Team Goals

Setting goals for your team is a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page and working toward a common goal. Winning should be on your list, but it shouldn’t be your only goal. Depending on your team and the sport you should have specific, and deadline based goals. Make a list of three high level goals for your team, then dive in tactically and list at least 5 goals your team must accomplish to achieve their big goals. It is up to you as a coach to hold your players, your team, and yourself accountable. Set dates for team meetings to discuss the progress of your goals.

5. Encourage and Lead

This is one of the most important tips! Coaches must lead their team to success, and should always be learning. Don’t get set in one coaching style, or one way of doing things. This is a statics thinking model that often suppresses creativity, and learning. Masters of any craft will tell you, they never stop learning, and they have an insatiable apatite for learning. Learn your sport, research in your weak areas and work on your coaching. Ask players how you could improve as a coach.

Did you know college athletes are often asked to review their coach and grade them on a scale of 1-10 in different coaching areas.

However, this assessment is often assigned after a coach has been let go, or at the end of the season. We believe these player-coach assessments should be made throughout the season. This way coaches would be able to work on flaws, and get unbiased feedback from their toughest critics, their team.

Start building your successful team with synergy and these tips in mind! Remember, always have a plan! It’s when you don’t have a plan, or don’t know what you’re doing that you panic and fail.


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A little more about Natasha Hawkins...

Experience: Division 1 Fastpitch Softball player at San Jose State. Degree: B.S in Marketing and Advertising Certifications: Certified Level 1 CrossFit Trainer Interests: She loves the way the brain works and how personalities and attitude can create a warrior of an athlete that will always persevere and make success for themselves. While she is not a certified nutritionist she studies and practices the Paleo diet and Zone eating. Quirk: I am an avid archer and hunter. Yup, it's true. I have shot archery since I could walk, and hunted with my Dad since I was born. I also have a sister (Cheridan Hawkins) who is a stud pitcher for the Oregon Ducks Softball Team and is on the Junior Olympic Team. My youngest sister Charli Hawkins trains with me at CrossFit and is also a catcher on the 12U California Grapettes. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaBHawkins