Morgantown, Virginia – What in the old days was called “team chemistry” is today known as “team culture” and whether it was then or now, it remains one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood aspects of team sports.
When my buddies text me wanting to know more about the last recruit they read about on the internet, they ask how big and strong he was, how fast he was and how many offers he had.
They never asked if he was a good fellow or not.
Is he selfish?Is he willing to accept training?
Can he handle constructive criticism?
Does he consider others?
Is he willing to work hard?
Locker rooms today are a lot bigger than they used to be, sure, but no matter how big the locker rooms are, they won’t be big enough to filter all the dirty air that’s pouring in from a team full of complaining and second-guessing.
When I was in school, the most valuable possession anyone associated with the Don Nehlen football teams had were those faded gray T-shirts with the word “TEAM” emblazoned in blue on the front. It meant something to wear because Nehlen made sure that owning one meant being part of something much bigger than you.
That’s what Nehlen first brought here from Michigan – a positive, can-do attitude that is always filtered from top to bottom.
The best West Virginia soccer team these eyes had ever seen – the undefeated Neelen team of 1988 – were incredibly talented and profound. And what a chemistry!
It was Jim Carlin’s 1969 squad that won ten games and beat South Carolina at the Peach Bowl before my time, but I know they had a wonderful harmony because to this day these guys find any reason to come together for a reunion. The brotherhood and camaraderie they share is easily visible.
The same could be said for Bobby Bowden’s 1975 Peach Bowl side, who weren’t as talented as his 1974 team who only won four games and almost got him fired.
Some of West Virginia’s best teams in Rich Rodriguez’s team had a good chemistry as well. Will a team with bad chemistry recover from Pete’s annoyance to do what he did to Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl?
of course not.
I brought this up because we’ve heard many times from everyone associated with Neil BrownProgram on Positive Vibes and Environment at the Pushkar Center in Milan this spring.
It started with Brown’s first post-training comments on March 22 and continued two days later when he was the defensive coordinator Jordan Leslie He took his turn on the podium.
“This is a fun group for the coach; they really are,” said Leslie, adding that his first two days of training were among the most enjoyable things he had coaching at West Virginia because of the players’ eagerness and willingness to learn and grow.
It’s like a team full of volunteers – not hostages – to borrow Mike Tomlin’s phrase.
great offensive goalkeeper James Jimmer He admits that this is without a doubt the closest team he’s been with since arriving four years ago.
“I came here in ’18, and we didn’t do a lot of group activities,” he recalls. “We’ve had events like watching the Super Bowl together, but since Coach Brown came here, he’s kind of brought that family aspect to the team.
“The guys who left didn’t really agree to it all the way through, and now we have a locker room full of guys who are 100% on it,” Gemeter added.
Why is the team chemistry now so much better than it was last year, in 2020, 2019 or before?
“I don’t know,” backs coach Chad Scott She said. “That’s a great question. Might be maturity. Some guys who’ve been around now for a while have seen where some negativity and complaining has taken us, and it’s nowhere to be found.”
“They saw it when we didn’t get the results we wanted, and now we have our best players who are very well respected outside of football in the way they work, how they behave themselves and how consistent they are day in and day out.” “When these guys do it on the field and they get to play again, the guys want to do that too.”
safety coach Donta Wright He believes that chemistry is the most important aspect of team sports. Good chemistry does not always guarantee success, but it is usually a good indicator.
He admitted, “This changing room and the chemistry you have in this dressing room… If it’s good, you have a chance to be special. If it’s mediocre or poor, you have a chance to do absolutely nothing.”
Wright tells his comrades all the time that playing in good football teams creates a win-win situation.
“It’s not about you and it’s not about the individual. It’s about the team and buying each other because when the team wins, everyone wins,” he explained. “If you want to go into the league, well, it’s easier to get into the league from a team that has won 10. It’s really hard to get into the league from a team that has won five.
Wright continued, “Can you still do that?” There is more eyes on you when your team is really good. If you do it for us, now we all have a chance. If you make it happen, good luck to you.”
For Wright, the Cincinnati Bearcats won 13 games this past season, made the College Football Playoff and scored nine players in the school, including five selected in the first three rounds. Over the past two seasons, UC has lost only two games and had 13 players selected by NFL teams.
good players? definitely.
Great team culture? I am a willing bettor.
“That’s what I’m most excited about, and I hope you can hear it in my own voice; these guys are growing up together,” said Wright. “They’ve been hanging out with each other outside the locker room. Have we been out of the locker room in the last couple of years? A clique of people, and when you get groups you break up. Shall I say we’re having a special season? I can’t say that, but I can say the locker room is It is increasing to the point that we are going to give ourselves a chance.”
He said, “We’re always together. We have a good chemistry from the defensive back to the running back… It’s just a different chemistry.” “You don’t want to let this guy down. You want to do everything in your power to make the job easier for them and win matches.”
Gmiter admits that listening to a room full of lawyers and complainants all the time can be stressful.
“I think a lot of these guys are gone now,” he said. “I honestly don’t think we have anything, so it’s all just everyone enjoys being around each other. All that negativity is gone, absolutely no concern about a cultural issue or anything.”
Regarding some outside noise, which players and their families frequently read on social media, Gmiter said that’s an entirely different matter.
“You always have to remember the things people say about you and keep your receipts; that’s something we talk about all the time,” he concluded.