[PODCAST] Grabowski, Gearity and Kuklick talk about how to install team cohesion

By Keith Grabowski | Posted 8/31/2018



The Smart Coaching Series on the Coach and Coordinator Podcast is designed to help coaches improve over the course of the season in the areas outside of the X&O’s.  Coaches need to be able to take care of people and this podcast will give pause for reflection and well as generate ideas for the coach to be smart about how he improves his players and team.

Today’s Podcast focuses on team cohesion.  We have finished up the portion of our season where players are fighting for jobs and now everyone is understanding their role.  Cohesion is important and we need to think about how we install it as coaches.  Grabowski, Gearity, and Kuklick share specific ideas and strategies to build a more cohesive team over the course of the season.

Show Notes

01:00    Shift in fighting for a job to settling into roles and coming together again

01:30   Our responsibility to be sure we don’t drive the team apart

02:24    Setting the stage for bringing creating a cohesive team – mental, social, emotional

03:08    Building upon the existing relationships

03:38    Setting up a plan early on to keep the team aligned

04:58    Using time available to implement tasks, problem solving to enhance communication

06:35    What academic literature says about building a cohesive team

07:12    Definition of team cohesion

09:05    Negative behaviors to avoid as coaches and players

10:30   Dr. Gearity’s example with Philip Fulmer and a display of interpersonal relationships

12:33    Research suggests coaching staff cohesiveness is highly correlated with cohesiveness of the team

13:18    Rituals with the team hazing vs. awarding/fulfilling rituals

14:50    Seniors being servant leaders

16:50   Figure out what they want to do and tie a reward to it

17:31    Define roles and look for ways to recognize the role players

18:59    Grabowski’s example of celebrating role players and bringing a unit together

21:35    Connecting celebrating roles in the offseason as well through video to lay a foundation

22:35    Using social media to celebrate role players

23:03    Getting guys to fight for each other

24:08    Communication and cohesion are skills to be developed

25:19    Little things that build cohesion

25:50    Reinforce behaviors that promote cohesion

26:35    Celebrating as a team

27:34    Installing and practicing celebration  

29:40    Example from a high school team in Missouri – “What do you like about being on this team?”

31:31    Recognizing contributors…Who is a teammate who helped you out today?

32:35    Drills/strategies to implement during practice to build cohesion

33:40    A star and a wish

35:03    Embedding a questioning strategy

36:43    Reflective and tips

37:17    Can’t get carried away with this stuff…too much conformity is problematic

40:00    Must practice being a cohesive team



Dr. Brian Gearity and Dr. Clayton Kuklick, professors of sport coaching at the University of Denver. Dr. Gearity has been the director of the Master of Arts in Sport Coaching program at Denver since 2014. Before teaching at Denver, Dr. Gearity spent five years at the University of Southern Mississippi as an assistant professor of Sport Coaching Education.  As a coach, Dr. Gearity’s specialty is in the strength and conditioning side. Dr. Gearity worked as a strength coach at the University of Tennessee for nine years and received his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Tennessee in 2009.

Dr. Kuklick works as a clinical assistant professor for the Sport Coaching program at Denver. The previous two years, Dr. Kuklick has worked as an assistant professor of Athletic Coaching Education at West Virginia University. He also previously received his PhD in Human Performance and Recreation: Administration and Teaching at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2014. In coaching, Dr. Kuklick has worked as an assistant coach for baseball teams at Shepherd University, Georgia College and State University, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Kutztown University. Dr. Kuklick has also worked as a head coach for several college baseball summer leagues.

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