Pallo ! 1
11 May 2017
Cohesion in High School Soccer and Beyond
High school sports, the amount of emotion and passion involved is incomparable to
anything else. You are playing not only for your team, coach, or high school, but for your
community, and potentially your parents and siblings who are alumni of the same team. I am a
high school soccer coach at Mountain Lakes High School and I also played for this team.
Mountain Lakes is a small town with a big heart for high school sports and we know how to
compete and we know how to win. The lasting impact being part of the girls soccer team at
Mountain Lakes has had on my life is worth more and has been more effective than any other
team I have been part of. Our team dynamic was incomparable to any other team athletically and
relationally. We played with the utmost love, joy, and sacrifice for one another and ultimately,
our team cohesion was something envied by our opponents near and far. We were known for our
strong bond on and off the field. This was something fostered by our coaches and acted on by
each athlete on the team. It was necessary and pertinent to the success we achieved. However,
here I am the new head coach, taking over for Coach John who was my head coach. He has lead
this team to multiple state championships, but the most important aspect of his coaching, from
my perspective, was his ability to foster such successful and affective team cohesion among his
teams. The last few seasons, however, his ability to do so has been slowly becoming ineffective.
In fact, last season was the first losing season Coach John had ever had; it was my transition year
Pallo ! 2
and Coach John’s final year as official head coach. I already know the girls on the team well as a
result of being assistant coach for the last two seasons which has allowed me to build
relationships with each athlete and also see areas where Coach John has been lacking in the
department of cohesion.
I have had the privilege of playing on multiple soccer teams throughout my life and have
been made aware of what works and what does not when it comes to building and fostering
impactful team cohesion. I believe that a team can have the most talent in the world and still fail
because they lack team cohesion, and I do not think there is anything worse than this; it is simply
a waste of talent and potential. Therefore, in preparation for my first season, I have created a
program to prevent this from happening to my team. Vince Lombardi says it best, “Build for
your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength derived by unity.”
This is exactly what I want to do for my team.
First, I will address the team about what cohesion is and what we are aiming to achieve.
According to sport psychologists Carron, Brawley, and Widmeyer, cohesion is defined as the
“dynamic process that is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united
in pursuit of its instrumental...