Coehoorn's Corner: What does it take to make a good team?

COURTESY: Medicine Hat News

I am over the moon excited about the team of athletes that we have accepted into our Athlete Enhancement Program at the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Southeast for the 2016-2017 year.

What is a team? A team is a group of individuals working together on a common goal. Usually this goal resembles the desire to win a championship or to achieve some sort of advancement in relation to the previous season or year. In theory, this common goal is achievable if all of the working parts are functioning at full capacity.

Allow me, if you will, to compare a team to an engine. An engine is a group of working parts that work together to achieve a common goal, which is to propel the vehicle optimally in motion. When all of the individual parts of the engine are working at full capacity, the goal is achievable.

What happens when one of these parts breaks down or is not functioning the way that it should? For example, when the timing chain in and engine jumps a sprocket, the timing of the engine will be off and the engine will run rough. I have no idea what I just wrote about in the previous sentence, but luckily my father does and he could give me the proper lingo! The bottom line is that when this occurs in an engine the engine will not run at its full capacity.

A team is the same way. There are several cases where a team can break down and not work at its full capacity. This can include several issues such as poor coaching, players with a poor attitude, improper training, or lack of work ethic.

I will focus specifically on the issue of a player with a poor attitude. This in most cases resembles an individual who feels as though they are above the team or superior to the other members. This is usually seen clearly when the individual with the poor attitude shows up late to practice or meetings or gives less than optimal effort during practice.

Just like an engine with a timing chain issue, a player with a poor attitude will cause the team to not function at full capacity and will ultimately result in the demise of the team in reaching their ultimate goal.

How can this problem be fixed? Well, I will ask you the question, how do we fix a problem with an engine? In most cases, we replace the part that is not functioning properly. I would argue that the same solution applies to a team. The best solution is to remove the player that is causing problems with a poor attitude. If this is not done, the player/engine part will ultimately bring other members of the team/engine down with it.

My brother Nate Coehoorn was here in Medicine Hat in May doing a Winning Edge Seminar for the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Southeast and he spoke on the difference between the 2014 and the 2015 seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. He mentioned that the main difference between the 2014 semi-final exit and the 2015 Grey Cup winning season was the removal of some of the problem players. There were some players on the team that were dragging them down, and once removed, they had a Grey Cup winning season!

Cory Coehoorn is the coordinator of the Alberta Sport Development Centre — Southeast and he would love to hear from you and chat with you about the ASDC-SE programs and services. He can be reached via email at and via phone at 403-504-3547.