How does a coach turn a group into a team?

5 November 2015 1:47:44 PM NZDT


A challenge for many coaches is how to get a group of athletes of varying fitness or skill levels to perform as a team.


A group of extremely talented athletes does not guarantee a successful team. Success is more likely to come from a group of athletes with less talent but who choose to work together to achieve a shared team outcome.

The difference between a group and a team
Just because athletes train and compete together under one coach does not automatically define them as a team. A group of individuals becomes a team when they all possess a common identity, have shared goals and objectives, show structured patterns of interactions and communication and consider themselves as a ‘team’. When they start referring to themselves as ‘we’ rather than ‘they’, coaches feel confident that a team is beginning to emerge!

Team cohesion
What are the contributing factors that draw individuals to a team and help them remain united to achieve a common goal? There are numerous factors that result in team cohesion – friendship, the chance to win a championship game etc. These may change from season to season and even throughout a season.


A coach might identify cohesion factors such as social interaction between the younger players or the leadership styles of senior players. A mentoring system for younger athletes to work closely with more experienced players will help bring the team together.


Learning together and learning from one another creates a very effective and successful team.

For more on this theme and for the practical application of it in our businesses, be sure to watch OLC Stage 3 Episodes 6 and 7: Working together, Parts 1 and 2.


Source: Australian Institute of Sport,

Posted in UBT Updates By

Erica Field