Ingredients of a Successful Team: Part I - Definition

AlexanderMylesCaptBy: Capt. Myles A. Alexander, USAF - December 16, 2013

I would like to take a few moments to express my thoughts and feelings on a subject that every scout, coach, player and parent reading this has had some experience with in some form or another…Teamwork. No matter what your life experiences are, there is a 100 percent chance that you have been part of a team of some sort.

It could be a team at work, working on a project or on the field trying to win a game or capture a title. You’ve probably been on good teams and bad. Talented teams and those lacking talent. Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to experience teams that far exceeded their potential.

Ever wonder what makes some teams “click” and some not…Some really talented teams fail while some scrappy teams succeed. What causes that?

How do you avoid failure or achieve success?  What is teamwork?  How do you teach it?  Can you teach it?

What’s the difference between a team and just a group? Who makes a good or bad teammate? How do you build trust, cohesion, unity and camaraderie? Most people say they want to be a good teammate, but how many really are?

What happens to a team lacking leadership?  Do you know your role on the team? How do you motivate others to achieve the impossible?  Why did the Red Sox prevail over the Cardinals? I will attempt to answer all of these questions from just an average college baseball player-turned military leader’s perspective.

Let me first throw out a disclaimer:  I am NOT a know it all. I don’t pretend have all the answers. Who does? I do however, pride myself on being perceptive of human behaviors, identifying different personality types and understanding group dynamics.

I have had the blessing of being on many types of teams. In my playing days I experienced baseball teams at Boiling Springs High School and moved on to the College of Charleston. As a member of the Air Force I have had the honor of serving with a very different type of team but a team nonetheless. Moving up through the enlisted ranks I first had to learn to be the follower before I could be a leader. I learned the importance of roles, and more importantly knowing what my role was and performing it to the best of my ability.

I recognized early on what attributes I wanted in my leaders…Honesty, Competence, Inspiration and Fairness. In 2008 I had the opportunity to earn my officer commission. I embraced the extra responsibilities, assumed a role of leadership and understood the obligation to fulfill to my troops the attributes that I once wanted to see.

So, to begin, let’s allow Webster to identify some terms.

Group: Two or more members having influence on each other.

Commitment: The attitude of someone who works very hard to do or support something.

Team: The work done by people who work together to achieve a common goal.

Unity: The quality or state of being made one.

Cohesion: The act or state of sticking together tightly.

Camaraderie: A feeling of good friendship among the people in a group.

AlexanderMyles-Afgan12About the author: Myles Alexander is a former outfielder at The College of Charleston, has worked various Diamond Prospects events and has covered games for DP too. He is presently a Captain in the United States Air Force and has served one tour in Afghanistan. 

Part II - Coaches / Part III - Players / Part IV - Parents