By Joe Chigbrow
In every team-based competition, there will always be an emphasis on teamwork, communication and leadership among the best performing teams. From the MLB, to the NHL, or even the NFL, teamwork and hard work define a team and its successes. This stays a common truth in team-based esports as well, in that the importance and impact of a solid team social foundation greatly impacts the overall effectiveness of a team. Acknowledging this is the first step to understanding how to craft winning teams with strong social connections and teamwork.
How exactly though, do you take complete strangers to each other (or at least people who may be meeting for the first time) and create that kind of tournament winning team bonding? To give you a hint, it’s not through elementary school style name games and rhyming schemes that were given the name ‘team bonding games’ or ‘team building exercises’. These types of activities do find some success and can be useful in the right situations. In the world of competitive esports on the contrary it’s rather unhelpful. Given that teams are usually between the sizes of 2-5 players and that most are between the ages of 16-25 (18-25 here at Boise State University), most players in this demographic won’t get as much out of these types of activities.
We have to remember that the primary goal in mind is to create a real human connection between the players and their fellow teammates that creates a source of friendliness and bonding. That then better prepares the team mentality for winning more games. In that sense we are trying to turn the players from not just teammates, but into friends. These relationships can be forged through shared life experiences and just generally hanging out together. A great example of how to build these strong team foundations is through after game dinners, watching replays together in person, or playing games together that are more for fun and less win oriented. Through casual gaming, shared meals, and positive easy time spent around each other, the team will begin to form a friendly bond that will help them keep their mental in check while competing at the highest level.
This concept is all too important nowadays as esports begins to become more and more prominent in our society. Things that organizations, teams, and players all forget while playing games online is how crucial it is that they additionally have positive face to face time with their team. Teams that do recognize this however, oftentimes can become dominating forces in their leagues if this connection is the tip they need to get ahead. Remembering that your teammates are more than just your teammates is the secret ingredient to building a strong team wide mentality on a professional or collegiate team.