One of the Most Important Post-Game Habits for Great Team Chemistry

University of North Carolina Women’s Soccer Coach Anson Dorrance writes in the timeless coaching book Training Soccer Champions, “Team chemistry boils down to the attitude of the reserve players and how the starters view and treat the reserves.”

I’ve worked with hundreds of teams and couldn’t agree more. So what can starters, players who play a lot of minutes, and even the coaches do to treat reserves well? 

One of the most impactful post-game habits to develop in your team is to celebrate the reserves, the players who don’t play at all or much, especially after wins.  One of the first people who should be recognized in the locker room after a game is the player who didn’t play much but put great effort into practice leading up to the game. Their effort and attitude in preparation for the game helped the team deliver that performance. Don’t just celebrate their energy and support on the bench; players don’t want to be just recognized for being good cheerleaders—they want to know their effort and attitude in preparation have helped the team perform. Remember, coaches, captains, and starters, what you give your attention to grows— when you make this a habit, your team will be more connected and work harder from the bottom to the top of your roster.

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