Imagine that Cristiano Ronaldo is in your football team. Wow! That will surely be some advantage. Such great player could single hand change the course of your team in any competition. He is a match winner anytime, any day. So managers tend to build their team tactics around such player and get other players to compliment his effort.
The job of a team manager gets even easier when he has a team of extraordinary players. The manager of such team as Barcelona may as well go to sleep and be rest assured that his team will do well. My wife once said to me, “Barcelona doesn’t need a team manager. Anyone can stand at the team’s sideline and still get the needed results.”
Well that may be her opinion, but we all know that not many team can be like Barcelona and not many club can boast of such extraordinary player as Cristiano Ronaldo. Sometime, a team manager may have to make due with a crop of average players, yet the club expect him to compete favorably against top flight teams in the league.
If you are the team manager, what will you do? Will you decide to go defensive, trying to contain the opponent’s rampage all through the duration of each game. There’s nothing more frustrating and emotionally exhausting as that.
But managers like Arsene Wenger has proved over time that it is possible to build an extraordinary team with a crop of average players.
In managing Arsenal of England, Wenger has been known to have always recruited inexperience players fron feeder teams and bench warmers in other clubs; then turned them into extraordinary team that compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Man City in the UEFA champions league. How doe he achieve this fit?
First, football is a team sport and Wenger is one manager who is against the singling out of an individual player as the best. He has vehemently criticized awards like FIFA Ballon d’Or. Wenger said, “Individuality in a team sport is a bunch of crap.” A club with many great players may not win if the players doesn’t fit together to form a formidable team.
There are four factors that contributes immensely to the building of an extraordinary team, even with average players.
Team Work: The primary job of a manger is to form a balanced team by selecting players with complimentary skills who are committed to the team’s approach and set performance standards.
Teamwork is how a team decides to approach a game with each player committed to complimenting and supporting one another through out the duration of the game.
In building an enduring teamwork, an individual player’s excessive expressions or playing to the gallery is discouraged. Rather the manager tries to get the players to perfect tactical moves as well as response to opponent’s style of play. Teamwork is the foundation of building an extraordinary team.
Team Norm: Team norm is a standard of conduct shared by team members that guides their behavior. Norms aren’t formally written guideline, they are informal standards which a manager should identify key values and clarify each player with the expectations of the team.
In a high competitive team, norms are consistent with working together with supportive standards that focus on team goal. A well imbibed norms causes each player to want to go the extra mile (do extra work) for the sake of the team goal.
Team Cohesiveness: Team cohesiveness is the extent to which a team players are attracted to the team and motivated to remain part of it.
Team cohesiveness is built by creating social avenues that promote players frequent interactions. This will cause the players to develop common attitude and goal as well as enjoy being together.
Coach Tony Dicicco attributed the success of the U.S. women’s World cup soccer team and the gold medal-winning U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team to the cohesiveness that comes from shared values: “The players placed high value on fitness, intensity in training, individual respect and respect for the group, both on and off the field.” Dicicco concluded.
Team Spirit: Team Spirit is the oneness of mind and purpose. It is the outcome of a well established teamwork, team norm, and team cohesiveness that in-build in the team a winning mentality and an absolute believe in the composite players as a unit.
This is what the Scriptures has to say about team spirit: “And the Lord said, behold, the people is one, and they have all one language, and this they begin to do, and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” Gen 11:6.
At this point, it doesn’t matter if the players are average or not, the team spirit causes them to do the extraordinary. With such team spirit nothing shall be impossible for the team.