The importance of Team Building in Youth Development Coaches.


When we form a team, it seems like the most important part is simply recruiting. We spend lots of time thinking about who should come onboard, we interview a variety of candidates and imagine how comfortable it will be to work with the different combination of personalities and skills. We worry about the possible conflicts and whether we would be able to work through them or not.

All that enthusiasm when forming a group doesn’t allow us to focus on the true important factor: The construction of a “team”.

What is a team? How many definitions exist or could exist? Why should we point out the difference between a team and a simple working group?

The Argentine Sports Psychologist Carlos Giesenow described in his book “Psicología de los Equipos Deportivos” (Giesenow, 2007) a really interesting approach on the significance of BEING a team.

The work of a team doesn’t happen by magic. It doesn’t work by simply saying we should do it. There is a certain amount of conscious effort needed.

Members must have chemistry to act as a really cohesive unit, where each member feels he is being treated with respect in a cooperative and supportive environment.

Team Building in Rugby Goes Beyond Recruiting

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As a working group is only a group working together, a team has to go beyond recruiting individuals. The team must have chemistry, unity in their objectives and goals, respect for the roles and opinions of each member, trust in the capacity and skills, strengths and cooperation of everybody involved.

In order to get all the necessary elements of a team you must have a fluid and sincere communication between team mates.

Further into Giesenow’s book, he defines teams, based on 6 basic elements:

  • Effective communication
  • Chemistry to achieve synergy
  • Cohesion
  • Identity as part of a team
  • Active contribution of participants
  • Leadership

According to the author, without these elements, a group is simply going to stagnate and will never be a team. Therefor it will certainly not work as a one.

This becomes really important in coaches and staff committed to Youth Rugby Development, simply because creating a proper team environment among coaches will definitely help you build a strong team of players as well.

Now, some of you may be thinking “but in youth development we focus on developing players… not teams”. If you think that, you may be right. But, after many years of experience on youth development in rugby, I can tell you: young players care both for rugby and having fun.

Having fun has a lot to do with enjoying being part of a team. On the other hand, “team players” can help us achieve better results in comparison to other self-centered players of similar technical skills.

We will discuss more on these important elements and which tools do we have to build strong and effective teams in our Special Workshop on January 20th, at USA Rugby’s National Development Summit 2018, in Denver.

Register today at and join us!