Team tackles books

Soccer players build unity with team book discussions

The Cleveland State University Women’s Soccer Team started a new tradition a couple of weeks ago when it decided to read a book each semester as a team and discuss it together.
The first book that the team has picked out for the semester is “Culture Code” by Daniel Code, a book about how to make the best organizations effective. 
 According to head coach Dallas Boyer, this type of activity is a way to make the team not just better on the field but off as well, as team members will have more of a chance to bond and connect. 
“So much of what we are teaching and prioritizing in our team culture is the development of the well-rounded person,” he said.  “So it’s not enough to simply teach the technique and tactics of our sport.  We need to make sure that we are also creating individuals who are working on how to be better leaders, better followers, better critical thinkers, better communicators, better problem solvers, better teammates.”
“We need to help facilitate their ability to effectively come together and create for themselves the world they’ll be working in,” he continued,  “a team environment that helps them become the best student-athletes they can possibly be.”
The book reading involves everyone on the team, from the coaches to the players, he explained. He said he wants the team to buy into what the book club is about while also listening to what each player has to say during the discussions. 
“First, that they buy in,” Boyer said.  “It’s one thing for us as coaches to feel that this is an important process for them to go through individually and as a team, but it won’t have much value unless they truly invest in it.” 
 “After that, it’s important that there is real follow through in the way they take the suggestions and ideas they’ve shared together in these book club discussions and then actually make them a part of our daily environment,” he said.  “If the group agrees that a topic from the book is, in fact,  something that we can better incorporate to our own daily environment or team culture, we need to make sure we don’t just talk about it there but actually make it happen in our daily routine.”
Freshman Lina Feltovich says that the book club brings the team closer together. 
“It brings us closer together, while building team chemistry between all the players which helps workout the issues we may have and gives everyone a voice,” she said. 
While Boyer wants them to buy in and help the players get along with one another, Feltovich said that her take-away from doing the book club is improving the team culture.
“I just want to keep strengthening our team culture, and grow closer as a team,” she said. “I also want to see our team grow closer so we are better prepared for the fall season.” 
Besides seeing her teammates on the field, she sees them more now with the book club. Seeing her team during practices and games during the fall, and now during spring, Feltovich said that this book club will help the players learn more about one and other.
“It helps seeing each other more because we will actually learn more about each other as well as growing closer with each other,” she said. “It is bigger than soccer, and we need to develop stronger relationships.”