Team chemistry plays a larger role in team success than talent

Food, an essential part of living, can taste good or bad. It’s all about having the right mix of spices and flavors, and until that mix is correct, the food won’t reach it’s highest level of quality. Similar to food, sports teams aren’t good until they find the right mix of players.

Chemistry is a very important part of every game. There are so many factors that need to come together in order to be successful. It appears that talent will only get a team so far. The past century, coaches across all sports have dealt with players that simply can’t get on the same page.

General managers, coaches, and staff members can draft the best players and trade for the best of the best but it is impossible to tell if they are the right mix until they’re playing together.

Back in 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles invested 118 million dollars between defensive linemen, Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin as well as cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha. On July 28, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was traded to the Eagles along with a second round pick for quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Vince Young, dressed in a practice jersey, walked into a press conference room to answer challenging questions after being dropped by the Tennessee Titans and then picked up by the Eagles to play behind Michael Vick.

After many questions, a reporter asked him about all the additions the team had brought in recently, and with no hesitation he replied with two words: “Dream Team”, and later in the season, he  ultimately regretted it.

They were given 15-2 odds to win the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the recipe they cooked up just didn’t work out. Years later, a lot of accusations came out about how the players weren’t good leaders. 

According to multiple sources, Nnamdi Asomugha was a worse leader than he was a cornerback. He had no motive of developing relationships with his teammates.

After he left the Eagles, stories emerged of how he would take his lunch and eat alone in his car. The Eagles couldn’t take anymore from Asomugha so they told him either “take a pay cut or take a hike.” He was released soon after since he was reported to make $15 million in 2013.

It’s a proven fact that a team with leadership will always do better than a team with no set roles, plans, or a direction.

Dave Miller, Fairmont Football Head Coach, has dealt with many teams with players that couldn’t bond after a successful nine year stint that he had at Covington High School.

Looking at the record that he compiled at Covington, others wouldn’t be able to tell that he had teammate issues. In some cases, coaches might have a successful season but at the end they hadn’t genuinely enjoyed it, that was Miller’s case.

“We’re 1-9 and I have enjoyed this season more, way more, than I did that 9-3 [season] and we even won a playoff game,” Miller said. Looking at this Firebirds Football season it can be stated that record does not determine the amount of respect, love, and care that a group of underclassmen and upperclassmen can have for each other. 

The issues between teammates and who gets more playtime isn’t as evident when you’re winning. On the other side, when you’re losing, it’s more clear and substantial.

Fairmont’s Baseball Coach, Kent Drake, has a great reputation of having players with tremendous talent and victorious seasons. One would think that a bad season would come sooner or later.

“When you’re not winning, everybody’s pointing fingers at everything, is it the players? Is it the coach? Is it I’m better than you? Stuff like that,” Drake said.

There’s relevant example of this on the current NBA Golden State Warriors team. Having signed one of the best players in the NBA, Kevin Durant, along with already having stars like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, many people had doubts about how the All-Star team would play and how good their chemistry would be.

As of now, the Golden State Warriors have a record of 38-6, with many of their games being blowouts. Kevin Durant is averaging 26 points, 4.8 assists, and 8.6 rebounds; so all the talk regarding play time and poor relationships should go down the drain.

“Winning is more of a determining factor of team chemistry than the other way around, because a couple years after our winning season, we had really good team chemistry and were terrible,” Drake said.

Most examples of team outcome follows this suit but the team record is more dependent on chemistry and how well those group of people can work together.

Since chemistry can affect a team ability to not perform at a high level, there are some ways to evade its negative consequences.

Ideas to escape the trouble that poor chemistry brings:

  • Trips out of state for either games or just hanging out with the guys or girls. “It gives you a chance to hangout with that 13th or 14th player that they didn’t know was on the team,” Drake said.
  • A simple task is just having the locker room open, guys that can come in before practices or games and can hang out there and get to see each other. This lets them know that it’s not a competition to be the best.
  • Create a sense of family and make them commit to each other. Once that happens, the sense of practice or team dinners being mandatory will be something the players will look forward to every week.

To summarize, team chemistry is the most vital piece to finishing a puzzle to build a successful team. “ It can be the most underrated thing and the most overrated thing, once a group of brotherhood is formed, the greatness and dynasty that is yet to come is the best,” Drake said.