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Building a Successful Team

Building a Successful Team(By Gilroy Ezi Hall)

Kingsley SHALA Armstrong, Michael JAH YOUT Raymond, Victorine GAUCHET Weekes, John Duboulay/FIFA/Uptown- Defenders
Winston PONSEE Thorpe, Angus RIGNEY Sexius, Gilroy WARD NINE Hall, TI John, Ti Goat – 
Irvin BAR BOY Hippolyte, Earl BALL HOG Jean, ABRA –Strikers

3rd place Shell Caribbean Cup 1987 with major upsets over TNT World Cup Squad, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

One of the greatest football teams ever assembled locally under the guidance of coach Stewart Charles.

I have often reflected on the development of this team of the past and made comparisons to other successful teams regionally and internationally in an effort to determine what key elements allow for the emergence of a successful team. It may be wise to first point out that the success of a team is not merely the ability to win championships but longevity and the ability to survive whatever challenges come its way is also important. Teams who emerge from seemingly nowhere to win a championship and 3 years later disappear as miraculously as they appeared are not successful in my opinion. Having clarified this let us now pay attention to the common characteristics of successful teams. From my personal experience and knowledge of teams that I consider successful, eg Manchester United, VSADC etc these common denominators include:

  1. The majority of the players have spent a considerable number of years playing together.
  2. The team management and players have a cordial and mutually respectful relationship.
  3. The personalities of the players compliment and not contradict each other.
  4. There is an element of trust that is two way and both players and management look out for each other.
  5. The players are genuine friends and spend a fair amount of off filed time socializing together. They know each other.
  6. There are established procedures, rules and protocols that are well known to all and enforced by all. It is common to find players correcting each other rather than enforcement seemingly the responsibility of management only.
  7. The training effort is always 100%, always very competitive but still allows for players helping and encouraging each other.
  8. Most of the basic needs of players are satisfied even if in some instances management has to be the provider.
  9. The families of players and management know each other and spend time together.
  10. Everyone seems to be on the same page regarding the main goal.
  11. Players take personal responsibility for elements of their development eg basic fitness, improving a specific weakness etc. Players spend a lot of time outside scheduled training working on these skill sets.
  12.  Players have basic football intelligence and are coachable.

The reality for me is that building a successful team takes time, resources and the application of the scientific principles of sports development, management and human relations. If these principles are unknown to management the chances of building a successful team are greatly reduced. Many claim that good sports administrators need not have played the sport at any significant level and at this juncture I must declare that I categorically reject this theory. I am of the belief that who feels it knows it best and while there are good administrators who may enjoy a reasonable amount of success the truth of the matter is that they are usually assisted by those who came from the sport. How do you prepare a 15year old cricketer for his debut in front of a crowd away from home when you can’t even fathom what that experience is like. I may be wrong but my preference is for those who have been and have firsthand knowledge.

In closing let me say that we tend to focus so much on the current match, the current competition and the current training session that we fail to plan for the long term development of the players and the team by extension. St Lucia’s most successful teams over the years have one common element.They did not become winners overnight. Building a team is not easy and so a nonchalant approach cannot suffice. We need to devote more of our time assembling and building good teams rather than merely trying to win championships. Good teams will bring the results that we desire.

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