Joe Goertz asked:
Team spirit encompasses many things such as trust, respect and enjoyment of the game among the athletes who are all working toward the common goal of winning. Team spirit is said to increase the odds of winning and having a successful team. While some athletes, and even some coaches do not understand the meaning or importance of team spirit, just ask any record breaking team what their secret was, and they will all tell you it was the team spirit that got them to the top.
While it is ultimately the responsibility of the coach to build team spirit, the individual athletes must have a desire to win and a willingness to work with one another. Many coaches have help along the way when they are trying to instill team spirit; pep clubs, cheerleaders, school bands and spirit clubs all help to raise awareness of the team and boost morale, which can in turn promote team spirit.
Team spirit in sports is also the responsibility of the team captain. For this reason, it is important to choose a team captain who is a natural leader, someone that others won’t mind following. They should be quite capable of boosting morale when times get tough, and always possess a positive attitude.
When a coach, or even a team member realizes that their team simply doesn’t have any team spirit, there are a few things that can be done to turn negative attitudes into positive ones, boost morale, and get the team spirit flowing. These things are best implemented by the coach or team manager, and include explaining to the team that they must all be cooperative with one another. The objective of the team is to win, and this must be the most important thing on the athletes’ minds. They must all cooperate and strive for the common goal. Understanding also plays a big role in team spirit, as all of the athletes need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the other players, and all work together so that everyone is contributing to the team in their most effective manner. Excellence should also be strived for, and each individual athlete should be held accountable for his or her own performance, whether it is good or bad. All it takes is one athlete who is not striving for excellence to throw the entire team off, resulting in a bad record.
Fans, while not under the control of the coaches or team managers, also play a big role in team spirit. For example, if a team files out onto the field to realize that only a handful of spectators showed up to watch the game, well, that alone is enough to kill any teams’ spirit. It is easy to see how team spirit can either make or break a team.