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Successful team building: this is how you motivate your team

A wide variety of sports only work in a team that belongs together: be it volleyball, eSports or running teams. Because in addition to good technique, strategy and fitness, the interaction of the individual members in team sports is always decisive for whether the team enjoys the game and is successful - or not.

In the following, you will first find all the important information about motivation in sport from the specialist literature; expert Markus Flemming will have his say below.

What makes a good team?

In order for a team to function well, different aspects must be present in the team. The sports psychologist Lothar Linz and the former coach of the national volleyball team Joop Alberda have dealt with this topic. Here we explain to you what, from your point of view, defines a motivated team.


Group rules according to Lothar Linz

In his book "Successful Teamcoaching" (philippka sportverlag, 2014) the sports psychologist and coach Lothar Linz summarizes the most important rules of team life:

  • "Right to belong": With the admission to a team the player has an (unspoken) right to belong. He sees himself as part of the team and is involved in all aspects of the team. However, if a player is excluded without a valid cause - such as a rule violation or leaving the club - this has a negative effect on the feeling of togetherness.
  • "Right to Priority": In the team, each player takes on his or her individual role in the team. The coach must therefore also accept specific roles and rights (for example due to older age or longer association with the club) and should not try to treat all players equally.
  • "Balance of give and take": A player's high level of commitment should also be valued as such. Problems can arise when give and take are not evenly balanced, for example when a player often misses training but then wants to be in the starting line-up.
  • "The group is more important than the individual member": A common goal and clear rules for living together are important for every team. These include, for example, punctuality or the dress code on the match day. If players do not follow these rules, they will face a penalty. Such rules make it clear that the good of the group comes before that of the individual. It can be problematic when players no longer want to obey these rules of conduct, for example because they perform excellently or want to rebel against the coach.
  • "Everyone influences everyone": It must be clear to the team that each individual contributes to the success of the team. If one player makes a big mistake, it can lead to the defeat of the entire team. But the outstanding performance of an individual can also lead to success. Therefore every member of a team is important.
  • "The whole is more than the sum of its individual parts": The better a team works together, the more it can achieve. The team spirit and the interaction of the individual players is therefore crucial. If a team does not stick together or groups form, this weakens performance.
  • Group-specific rules: In addition to complying with the rules and standards, it is important that the individual players can identify with the values ​​and goals of the team. The team members must therefore agree to the fundamental values ​​of the team.
  • When all members of the team have internalized these group rules equally, great cohesion and motivation can develop in the team. In addition to these group rules, a team according to Lothar Linz always needs a good leaderthat gives the direction of the group. Because without leadership it is not possible for a group to achieve its goal. It is therefore important that the trainer assumes his leadership position by making decisions and taking responsibility for the group.

    Team building pyramid according to Joop Alberda

    The former Dutch national volleyball coach Joop Alberda has also dealt with teams and the principles of team building. He explains it using a pyramid: At the top is that communicationthat must come from the trainer. He is also responsible for leading and making decisions, and has primary responsibility for the team. In addition, according to Alberda, the joint development of rules, goals and strategies as well as the identification of all players with these are important in order to motivate the team in the long term.

    You can see exactly how the team building pyramid is structured, which other aspects according to Alberda are important for a good team feeling and how they build on each other following infographic remove.

    Practical tips from the experts: Communication as a success factor for motivation in sport

    Every single player in a team must be able to rely on his teammates at all times. That is why it is particularly important for coaches of team sports to also strengthen the team spirit and practice targeted team building. Sports psychologist and team coach Markus Flemming tells us in an interview what is important - and what options there are for the coach and the team members to build a satisfied team with a strong sense of togetherness.

    The expert: Markus Flemming

    As a freelance psychologist, Markus Flemming has specialized in sports psychology, mental training, team building and failure management (scroll down in the team area). Since 2005 he has been working as a freelance sports psychologist for high-performance athletes. Since then, he has coached the German national basketball team, the German national archery team, the former German ice hockey champions “Eisbären Berlin” and individual top athletes.

    Significance of team building for team spirit

    Targeted team building makes sense for every team. Especially at the beginning of the season and before the highlights of the season, it is important to bring the team together and talk to each other, explains sports psychologist Markus Flemming:

    “It helps all players enormously, especially at the beginning of the new season, to consciously take their time and in one get to know each other, communicate with each other and agree on common rules and goals. If there is a new coach, he should Make sure to introduce yourself to the team and show interest in your team. The team members can take this opportunity to exchange ideas and become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual. "

    For this, the team can, for example, do a joint activity, such as a climbing garden or a weekend together while hiking. But even if the financial means for such a team event are not available, you should definitely take the time to get together for a discussion, the expert recommends:

    “Then it can be, for example, a tournament, a barbecue evening together or even a visit to the theater. It is essential that you sit down afterwards, talk to each other and work out the values, goals and rules together. That is a very important process for every team. "

    The role of the coach

    The trainer has to be a leader for his team, similar to a manager in a company. But he should always try to include all team members in the process, explains Markus Flemming:

    "In addition to the leadership role, the trainer must also be able to moderate at such a moment, Respond to all team members and thus build trust - also between the players. Because only where there is trust does self-confidence arise. This is the only way for a coach to ensure that everyone continues even in times when things are not going so well pulling together and everyone can rely on the other.“

    Regular communication to strengthen team spirit

    According to the team coach, communication, especially between trainers and team members, should not only take place at the beginning, but regularly:

    “A good trainer is always looking for communication with the players and also inquires, for example, how their family members are doing or what other interests they have besides sports. Here is that honest and sincere interest of the trainer is essential. When a coach is really concerned with his team, it shows real appreciation. Only in this way can true trust and commitment arise with the individual members. "

    Identify problems and act

    Problems can arise with any team, whether in a hobby sports team or in competitive sports. That is also quite normal, explains Markus Flemming:

    “It would be a lie that every team is the best of friends. After all, everyone is individual and even as a trainer you can't look anyone in the head and know exactly what is really going on with the individual. But the point is that you can To win the individual personalities to work and to integrate them firmly into the long-term process of team building. Friction can also be an advantage in this process, because it too is energy and releases movement. It is important that the long-term, overarching goal is equally interesting for everyone. "

    If, as a coach, you notice that, for example, a player is not very good or unmotivated, you should first ask yourself what the reason is:

    “The easiest way is of course to dismiss the player from the team. In some cases, that can happen too. As a manager of a team, however, in such a case you always have the option of to ask first: Often there are fears of the player behind this, an inner blockage or a role in the group with which he cannot identify. You should try to find out first - and that will work again through communication, in one-on-one conversations. This is why it is so important for coaches to keep in touch with the players. Then you can try to work on the situation together. "

    The role of the team members

    The team members of a team can also actively contribute to a stronger sense of community in the team, says Markus Flemming:

    “It is important that the players actively participate in projects and also recognize their own role in the team and understand. Because in every team there are different roles - that's just the way it is, whether in the office or with a team. The manager should also work on this by informing the players about it. If you as a player can identify with your role and the common values, symbols, rules and goals of the team, you will also have fun pulling on this common strand. You are motivated to work for the team. "

    Motivate the team: Use suitable training measures

    There are several specially designed exercises that you can do with your team to build trust among one another. You can see an exemplary team building exercise by the FC Hansa football club in following video look at.

    Instead of playing soccer, during the training camp the team was given the task of climbing a mountain alternately by bike or on foot within 45 minutes using a map. The background: the communication and coordination between the players was crucial.

    Many other team building exercises for teams of all types can be found quickly, for example, by searching the Internet. However, it can be difficult to first motivate a large team to actively participate in the exercise, says sports psychologist Markus Flemming:

    “Especially in large teams, the motivation to take part in such measures can be low and present a challenge for the trainer. But here it can help work with extrinsic rewards first. If members feel obliged to participate in a certain way or receive some form of reward, this can increase motivation. By moderation, the trainer should then try to follow up on a to trigger intrinsic motivation in the team membersso that they want to continue to contribute on their own initiative. "

    Of extrinsic motivation one speaks when the motivational drive is triggered by an external stimulus, for example when a reward such as money or recognition leads to motivation. On the other hand is the intrinsic motivation: the motivation that arises from within, of its own accord.

    Promote motivation in sport

    If you have any questions about further tips to promote motivation in a team, Markus Flemming advises the following:

    "No matter what kind of team it is, it is important to get together, To be human and to let be human. One should never forget that. This means that you can, for example Personal sharing and Concerns or fears and talk about it. Because only by thinking and talking about situations that could become stressful or stressful, for example, can one then recognize, for example, that even in the worst case scenario, one still has resources and opportunities to continue to act successfully together in a team. Because everyone in the team, including the manager, is ultimately only human - and we should allow that too. "

    We would like to thank Markus Flemming for the detailed interview.

    Tips: This is how you create a strong team spirit

    As a trainer, what exactly can you do to strengthen the team spirit among your team members? Here we have summarized the recommendations for action from the interview again:

  • Imagine: If you are new to a team as a coach, it is important that you introduce yourself to the entire team and express your interest in the team.
  • Bring your team together: Create a framework in which your entire team can really get to know each other. For example, organize leisure time together, a barbecue evening or go to the cinema together. In this way you create opportunities for the team to exchange ideas and get to know each other better in private.
  • Agree on common goals and rules: It is very important to jointly agree on values, rules and goals that all team members share. Sit down together and discuss what is important to the players for the team. It is important that all team members can be equally involved. Record the results in writing, for example on a board.
  • Listen carefully to the players: Get to know your team and always have an open ear for every player. Only in this way can they recognize fears and problems of the individual early on and then act if necessary.
  • Proactively approach players if they have problems: If you notice that a player is not performing as usual or that something is depressing him, approach him. Show him that you are there for him when he wants to talk.
  • Also share private matters: When a team member has problems, it's not always about the game or the team. It is therefore important to get to know and accept the players as human beings. By also sharing personal things with the team, you can create real trust in one another. Allow your players to have concerns and fears and speak to them even if they hold private concerns.
  • Moderate when problems arise between players: If necessary, you should be able to moderate between players. Be open to all team members and let everyone have their say.
  • Further team building measures

    Do you now want to actively strengthen the sense of community in your team? With our expert tips for team building you are guaranteed to provide the right amount of motivation. A unique and suitable team name for your team or a very individual team jersey can also contribute to the sense of community.

    Our tip: With our 3D configurator you can develop your own cool design. In our online shop you will find a large selection of jerseys for athletes in a wide variety of sports, which can be individually designed.

    In our magazine you will also find further exciting information and tips, for example about passion and team building in hobby cycling, mental training in sport or the national ice hockey team in the team check. We hope you enjoy reading!


    Credit: Cover picture: © gettyimages / fstop123, picture 1: © gettyimages / Chris Ryan, picture 2: © owayo, picture 3: © Markus Flemming, picture 4: © gettyimages / Chris Ryan, picture 5: © gettyimages / Wavebreakmedia, picture 6: © gettyimages / SARINYAPINNGAM.