Article Contents

  • 1. What makes a team a team
  • 2. Common goals
  • 3. Bringing it
  • 4. Safety
  • 5. Communication
  • 6. Concentric circles of attention—looking within
  • 7. Personalities
  • 8. Leadership
  • 9. The Point of it all

“Communication is probably the most important thing. And I believe the maturity level of all the players involved has a lot to do with it. No one has such a big ego that they think they are better than anyone else. While we are bowling, we watch each other bowl. We take the time to discuss with each other what is happening on the lanes. We are all friends.”
—Bob Flaws, Senior PBA titlist, member of Bluebird Lanes bowling team, at the time (March 13, 2010) in first place at USBC Nationals

They say that there is no “I” in team. And it is common sports lore that talent alone does not win championships, or at least not repeatedly. Most athletes can name teams from any sport that were loaded with ability, yet failed to take home the big prize. In bowling this happens repeatedly at all levels of play.

It really does pan out that the team that plays together best as a team performs consistently better, especially when it counts. This has been demonstrated especially at the highest levels in recent years as Team USA has won about everything there is to win internationally.

“Plays well with others”
—Preferred report card comment

Whether you are bowling USBC nationals, tournament doubles, or league, playing as a team can take you to the top. Conversely, when bowlers do not play well together, choking, slumping, bickering, and other negative aspects of bowling can easily present themselves.

But this is no child’s play article. The elements of team and doubles play are essential and often hidden. This month we are going to look at what makes great teams great, what goes into developing team chemistry, and how to play team yourself.

What makes a team a team

“All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”
—Chesty Puller, WWII Veteran., when surrounded by eight enemy divisions during battle

Take a moment and think of the best teams, in any sport, that you know of. Add to that memories of the best teams you have played on. Most likely you came ...

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Dean Hinitz

About Dean Hinitz

Dr. Dean Hinitz is a clinical sports psychologist in Reno, Nevada, a bowler, a former competitive gymnast, and a black belt in Japanese-style Karate.