Athletics prioritize bonding after school hours

Simon Hodge, Reporter

Team bonding is an important part of high school and collegiate team sports alike and it can bring benefits to almost every team. Many teams conduct team bonding in different ways though much of it consists of teammates planning an activity outside of practice such as a team dinner.

A long team history comes with traditions, such as chants or small things you can do before a game or match for good luck. Traditions are usually carried out by the whole team together which can make it a fun bonding experience.

“[We have] team meals before every game, before a game we [also] go through a scouting report and walk through the plays the other team is going to run. We hang out outside of practice too but those are the only basketball related activities we do,” sophomore Justin Zerger said.

Team dinners are a very common way for teams to get together and have a team bonding experience. Team dinners are typically held before a game or meet to boost the morale before the event so the team will be in higher spirits during the event.

“We have team dinners regularly before every meet. [At team dinners] we might play board games, and usually we’ll eat good food. We’ll crack funny jokes and generally we’ll just have a lot of fun,” junior Jacob Anlte said.

Team dinners are always a fun experience for students, however, the same thing before a game or meet every week can get old. Some students may prefer more variation in what their team does outside of school to bond with one another.

“If we went to a [Wichita State University] game with all the fundraising money we made this year that would be fun,” Zerger said.

Team bonding may additionally have psychological benefits for a team. According to Forbes, team bonding can build trust, stop conflict among players and increase collaboration. These effects are most evident among team sports, such as basketball, but also has benefits to individual sports, such as swimming.

“The races that I was at freshman and junior year when we had team dinners I felt better. I could hear the cheering more which is difficult to do underwater compared to swimming during sophomore year where I could hardly hear any if there was,” Anlte said.

Team bonding experiences outside of school might be expected to be run by a coach though in many cases it can either be run by a parent, during events like a team dinner where it is hosted at somebody’s house, or a student who is part of that team. 

“All of the involvement [outside of school] is entirely by the students, primarily the team captains or the [parent] hosting the dinner,” Antle said.

Though some teams may not have team bonding experiences often, the event is a helpful time that a student athlete can spend with the people they will be spending a whole sports season with. Additionally, these bonding activities are able to help with encouragement and participation among individual athletes.

“Even though swim is not a team sport, I feel connected to the team when I’m racing and I know I have to swim well for my team,” Antle said.