Being part of a successful team on any level requires that there is chemistry between the players. And many of the ones that display a true bond through words and actions in and away from the game usually find themselves playing after the end of the regular season.
I hear coaches tell me all the time about how their players have good chemistry, but it’s not all about how well they get along with one another.
It’s something that can be heightened by winning, but it has to be present before a team gets better.
Watching how a player reacts to a missed play can tell you how they perceive themselves, but watching how their teammates respond to it reveals what type of relationship they have with them. This is a time in the high school sports year when I get to see teams develop or enrich their chemistry. Volleyball and softball seasons have just started, and football is about to begin the regular season after a few weeks of practice and a scrimmage here and there.
You can’t predict exactly how a team will do, but you can get a better idea.
And when a team makes a drastic change in their chemistry, it makes me excited to see what they turn it into.
Armuchee’s football team had that effect on me in the spring. The Indians won just two games last season but came out in their spring game against Adairsville — just a year and a half removed from going to the Class 3A state quarterfinals — and put on a solid showing.
There were players lifting each other up and encouraging each other on the sidelines. I know their performance had to begin in the weight room and on the practice field, but it could not have been maintained without an essential part of playing sports — feeling like you are having fun.
Coosa’s varsity volleyball team has won three straight area titles and was the Class AA state runner-up last season. As the team was warming up for its match against Rome last Saturday at the Battle of Counties tournament, the players began singing along to the songs played over the gym’s PA system and performing the same dance moves in unison.
Now I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs, so they may have been the dances featured in their music videos (Do they still make music videos?), but each of the girls knew them and laughed as they returned balls for the Rome team.
It was a reminder that focus, dedication and skill are powerful elements when building a winning program, but a bond between players and teammates — chemistry — has its place as well.
Rome Life Pigskin Edition out Aug. 20
Those anticipating this year’s Pigskin Preview can mark Aug. 20 on their calendars as the annual look at local high school football teams gets a new home in the pages of Rome Life magazine, the quarterly publication of the Rome News-Tribune.
Inside you will find photos, rosters, schedules and information about your favorite programs and players. The magazine will be included in home-delivered copies of the RN-T as well as single copies in stores.
Jeremy Stewart is the sports editor of the Rome News-Tribune. He can be reached at JStewart@RN-T.com.