Hali VanderMeulen, Staff Writer
Utica College coaches and players view the importance of team chemistry and how to bond equivalent to the game itself.
The relationship between players can be developed in day-to-day interaction, throughout a grueling season or both.
Senior basketball player Maggie Tabone tries her best to make her team feel appreciated.
“I always ask my teammates about their days and how life is going, ” Tabone said. “It might not seem like a lot, but people are more likely to buy in to the team’s agenda if they feel wanted, appreciated and included.”
Tabone has been part of the women’s basketball team for four years and would rather have a team that works well together than one that is talented.
“Talented teams are all about potential,” Tabone said. “Eventually when push comes to shove, talent can only take you so far.”
Maggie believes team building is extremely important because a team that works well together can find ways to beat talented teams.
“Team building is essential,” Tabone said. “Whether it’s on the court, field, ice or diamond, players must work together as a unit to accomplish a common goal. If all the players are not on the same page, the team will fail.”
UC football’s assistant running backs coach Ryan Burnett would also rather have a team that works well together. Burnett previously played for the Pioneers before accepting the assistant coach position.
“Teams that work hard and play together have great chemistry,” Burnett said. “They do not care about the individual stats. The only thing that matters is who comes out of the game with a victory.”
Burnett believes that team building in sports consists of trust, motivation and cohesiveness and thinks team chemistry comes from the things done outside of practice like eating together as a team, workouts and road trips.
Utica head men’s basketball coach Sean Coffey thinks his team spends a lot of time together, and it has helped the program flourish.
“Usually those times are in practice, the weight room and watching film,” Coffey said. “We try to find some times where we can hang out and not be in a tense and competitive environment where the guys can get to know one another.”
Coffey believes that the most important benefit from spending time together is creating a support system.
“The team that continues to support and lift their struggling member will be more successful as a group than not,” Coffey said.
Coffey also believes that having a group of players who get along is much more important than individual talent.
“We’d rather have a team that shares the ball, trusts one another and cares for each other,” Coffey said. “That team can progress and has more upside than the selfish, individualistic team. The team that lacks trust and unselfishness doesn’t win big games very often.”
UC’s head football coach Blaise Faggiano believes chemistry is everything.
“The teams that have team chemistry, that play for not just themselves but play for their teammates, play for something bigger than themselves,” Faggiano said. “I think that’s everything.”
Faggiano focuses on shaping his players into more than just great athletes.
“What my job is as a head coach is to develop young men,” Faggiano said. “If I develop young men and do that the right way then the success will follow.”
To help build team chemistry, the football team has a competitive accountability program. The team breaks up into smaller groups and earn points through a system. Points are earned by doing well in school,volunteering or joining more clubs, but they can also lose points by underachieving.
Faggiano believes this works so well because it pushes them in a competitive way.
“I think the great teams have a belief in each other,” he said. “They believe that they’re going to win, and as a coach, there are ways to build on that.”