What makes a great team? In my experience, a great team isn’t always a group of great players.  A team must mesh well together. If there are too many egos on a team, skill will not always prevail.  With all the APA World Pool Championships around the corner, let’s discuss a few things that can help you put together a really great team!

Team Standards:
In order for a true team to take shape, you must seek out players who are like minded.  Find players who have the same philosophy and values.  Set a standard that your team should adhere to when it comes to sportsmanship, sobriety, honesty, and love of the game.  If you form a team with players that feel the same way about these things as you, then you have a good strong foundation for a good team.  If new members are added later, make sure they also meet and understand the team standard you have set.

Team Identity:
Another great thing to do is develop an identity for your team.  This is often reflected in the name you choose for the team.  Find your niche, are you the goofy team that has a lot of fun? Or maybe you are the quiet sportsmen?  Come up with something that unites the team as one, whether it be a motto, hand shake, or saying.  This slowly gets players into the mind frame of playing as a team and not as an individual.

Stay Positive:
Always keep a positive attitude.  Negativity spreads quickly and can destroy a team’s chances of winning in no time flat.  Encourage your players to keep their heads up and keep trying their best no matter what the outcome is.  Cheer for your team, don’t belittle them when they miss.  Focus on the successes rather than on the failures.  Remember, a team match is both won and lost by the team, not one individual.  If a teammate gets down on themselves just simply ask if they tried their best.  If they did, that is all you can really ask.

Set Goals:
Setting team goals is always a good thing to do.  We are going to finish in the top three, or we are going to do our best to make it to nationals this year, are just a few great goals to set.  Just looking to have a good time? No worries! That is a great goal to have too.  Maybe you decided to have an enjoyable social night out playing organized pool league, there is nothing wrong with that.  Unwinding after a hard day at work by playing pool and joking with friends is a great way to relax.

Have FUN!:
Please, don’t forget to enjoy yourselves.  Pool is a great game that affords many different rewards.  It might seem very important to win, but we sometimes forget that having fun should be more important.  If you get too serious about winning, you can become poor sports.  We spend so much time on our journey to the winners circle thinking that winning will be so much fun, when really the journey is where all the fun takes place.

I hope this aids you in forming a new team, or just taking a different approach to your existing one.

-Mikey V.