Coaches convinced chemistry is key to winning athletics

Drills and practices are vital to improve an athlete’s skills, but players only come together as a team by bonding and developing chemistry.

At least that’s the philosophy at PNW, according to Xavier Allison, assistant coach of the men’s basketball team. 

“Team bonding is absolutely fundamental to team success,” he said. “By forming a bond off the court, players will be more likely to trust their teammates, which allows them to gel on the floor together. 

“Team bonding affects performance on the floor, friendship and trust,” said Allison, a graduate student studying Communication. 

He said PNW coaches spend a lot of time encouraging players to engage.

“Coaches encourage a family atmosphere 24/7,” Allison said. “Performance on the floor is not the end-all-be-all. Our guys know this program is built on forming relationships that will last a lifetime.” 

Building bonds makes teams more competitive.

“The differences I see are joy, togetherness, trust and effort,” he said. “Teams that are bonded always communicate well with one another, keep their heads up through adversity and hold each other accountable.”

On the men’s basketball team, bonding efforts begin early. 

“The best bonding activity we do is our fall team retreat,” said Allison. “The whole team, coaches and managers included, spends the weekend in Illinois, all staying under one roof.

“There we play tons of games, share personal stories, discuss team and personal goals, enjoy barbecuing, compete in backyard games, and have a ton of fun,” he said. 

This philosophy extends to the other PNW teams. 

“Outside of the rink, bonding is easier once we start to know each other,” said Brandon Prodoehl, forward on the men’s Division I hockey team and a senior studying Computer Science. “Having team dinners and watching sports are two things that make team bonding very easy and helps everyone get to know each other a lot more. 

“Team bonding is important for team success,” he said. “Team chemistry makes practices and games roll easier. Knowing how each person plays the game makes creating scoring opportunities easier and helps prevent more goals from being scored against us.” 

Chemistry is important to all PNW teams. 

“Women’s soccer and men’s soccer have a special bond,” said Emma Carter, a sophomore midfielder on the women’s soccer team. “The men bring so much support when they come, and the women go to as many games to cheer the men on.

“We also enjoy each other’s company outside of athletic functions,” she said. “I think it is important to bond with the men’s team because we both share a love for the game of soccer, which brings so much camaraderie, and we have so much fun together.” 

PNW’s athletic department has also implemented programs to better establish bonding between teams. 

“We have a brother/sister program.” said Carter.“This is where each team is assigned with another team in which they support throughout their season. 

“The support we give and receive makes the small things, like a strength and conditioning session, a game and just the overall college experience, better knowing that someone has your back,” she said. “Off the field, it is vital to do some outside activities to make some memories, share some laughs, and create shared experiences.”