In ESPN magazine’s August 2011 issue, MLB Player X takes a look and provides commentary on the impact of clubhouse dynamics. As we all recognize, the team dynamics on the field in sport are imperative to successful game play and consistency in performance. We also consider the dynamic of a team off the field, during practice and training are also important to fuel quality practice and execution of skill during stages of skill acquisition and refinement. However, how much attention is paid to the dynamics going on on the sidelines during a competition.
Baseball is one of the few sports that has a large number of bystanders (other than football) that are not participating in the game at the same time. So what are these players, part of the team, doing while the competition is going on? Additionally, there is a particular culture which develops in dugouts, clubhouses, bullpens, in baseball which are particular to the sport. Clubhouses are where cliques thrive; as mentioned in the article, Latin players stay together, pitchers hang out, rookies band together, hitters form their own special bond. These fractures of groups of a team can cause tension to exist in the clubhouse, which then is portrayed out on the field. Even if all 9 guys out on the diamond are meshing well, making the plays, acting cohesively, if there is bad energy in the dugout, it infects the team dynamic.
A solution presented to this matter in the article was to identify how and who is interacting. What roles are being taken on, or what roles should be recognized. Who acts as a mediator? Who is going to act hardheaded? Ultimately, these role identifications are not up to a coach or manager, but for teammates to identify in each other. The more a team can take control of themselves in the sense of conflict management, the more they grow to understand each other, cliques, strengths and weaknesses, ultimately developing a psychological support system of understanding, even if they are not all best friends.