Athletes at CHS discuss how to overcome problems in a team environment


Shraddha Ramnath

The CHS women’s basketball team warms up for practice as their season begins to pick up. This year the team will face one of the toughest schedules in the state.

Kelly Truax, Reporter

Both the women’s and men’s basketball teams have been practicing and getting ready for their games ahead in the season. But when playing on a sports team in which the players rely on one another, different overall dynamics can develop that affect how a team plays. These dynamics can be either positive or negative, and even just one athlete can affect an entire team’s dynamic, if the team allows it.

Tod Windlan, women’s basketball head coach, said he talks about dynamics to the team a lot, specifically team chemistry.

“Everybody has a role on the team, and not everybody is going to get that ink on the paper all the time and be the leading scorer or be a rebounder and stuff. So small roles really make your team great, and if (the players) kind of adhere to that and really want to do that, then I think we will be a very good team,” Windlan said.

This season, Windlan said the team has one of the hardest, most competitive schedules. In order to prevent the players from getting down on themselves throughout the season, Windlan and the other coaches said they have been talking and preparing the athletes for the season ahead.

“Our schedule is so tough; it’s the toughest in the state by far. We’re going out-of-state up to Chicago to play the best team in Chicago. Losses never hurt, you kind of learn from them a little, so it’s really hard for them to go undefeated on our schedule, so the kids know there are going to be some bumps in the road, so how you handle that adversity is what is going to set you apart,” Windlan said.

Windlan said he knows that even after preparing the girls, there is still potential for the team to get down during games and create a negative dynamic.

“Usually when adversity hits you, after a loss or a bad practice, that’s when you can kind of see who’s in the boat with you and who’s not. Adversity usually plays a key role in that. Usually it’s pretty quick; we address (the negative dynamic), get over it or try to get over it and move on as quickly as we can, and if we have to keep addressing it, then we’ve got a major problem,” Windlan said.

Makenzie “Kenzie” Wood, basketball player and junior, said negative dynamics cause the team to fight harder and talk less. She said this doesn’t guarantee them to lose, but it does make it even harder to win a match. Wood said when negative attitudes do arise on the court, other athletes on the team should try to help combat it.

“With the coaches, if it got to a certain point (they would pull the athlete off the court), but they usually just try to get (the team) to talk to them about it, so that it’s our own teammate helping us out,” Wood said.

With coach involvement in these dynamics, Windlan said the assistant coaches are very good at handling the situation to resolve any negative vibes.

“We’ve got some really good assistant coaches that will get some kids keyed in on if (someone else) is having a bad day to kind of pick her up a little bit. The kids are really good about doing that,” Windlan said.

Windlan said when a team is having a positive dynamic, it is up to the players on the team to encourage it and keep it going.

“(To encourage that behavior) it’s about picking up your teammate when they’re down and being a vocal and lead by example, you know, be a vocal leader. But you’ve got to lead by example, too. So, if you go out and play hard every day and you’re one of the better players on the team, then everyone else will fall in line,” Windlan said.

Other than the women’s basketball team, the men’s basketball team also deals with these various dynamics daily. Ryan Osborn, men’s basketball head coach, said he talks to the players about spreading their positive attitudes not only outside of practices and games, but also outside of the basketball program.

Osborn said, “I don’t think it matters what the setting is- it can be in class, it can be if they’re together (at all), and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a teammate. We want people in the basketball program that are genuinely good people, so they can be excited for somebody else, they can encourage somebody else. Obviously, if you’re in the locker room or if you’re in practice that tends to lend itself in a basketball setting, and that is just as important. If you can get excited for somebody else or if you can make a play for somebody else and that excites you, I think that makes us better as a team.”

Osborn also said he talks to the team about the reason why they are there and what they are playing for. He said the answer to these questions can help the team to stay positive more easily.

“I think you have to look at the big picture. For us, it’s what are you playing for, who are you playing for and trying to talk about that the tendency sometimes to maybe get selfish. Where if you’re playing for something or in this case you’re apart of something that is bigger than you (such as) Carmel basketball or Carmel High School or the Carmel community, if you find that important, then I think (a positive attitude) comes a little bit easier and it’s a little bit more natural and I don’t think you find yourself talking in a negative way. Our kids do a really good job of holding on to that, only because I do think that is important to them. In a nutshell I think that is what we try to embody; that is what we try to represent,” Osborn said.

Cole Brady, basketball player and junior, said a positive dynamic helps the team stay more comfortable, pass the ball more and keep their shots consistent.

“Having a positive attitude always affects us even in practice or in the weight room, anything. Always staying positive is key,” Brady said.

Brady said even one player’s attitude can affect the team.

He said, “Usually a (negative dynamic) affects how we play, how we shoot as a team. Usually we don’t pass the ball and we become more selfish. In general it just kind of kills the vibe or momentum that we have. (One player’s attitude) could drag us down as a team if one person is down. Usually when everyone else on the court is thinking the same thing then it is usually better, rather than one person trying to do their own thing or just not mixing well with others usually makes it worse if one person is not with everyone else.”

Osborn said he hopes there is enough positivity on the team to retaliate any negative attitude coming from one specific behavior.

Osborn said, “We hope that (one player’s attitude) doesn’t have an impact on the team and that the positive attitudes of everybody else diminish anything negative that could come about, and that is what we talk to the guys about having the responsibility of being accountable on the team. We do talk about if there is a guy that might be negative that it could possibly bring somebody else down and to try to guard against that. I think that is where the encouraging part becomes important, where we don’t let each other get down, or you don’t let somebody be negative, and then you go all the way back to the beginning when we talked about the big picture and what you’re really playing for. The people that get negative are probably playing for themselves and not looking to be a part of something special.”