Team Chemistry

30 Elements for Coaches to Foster Cohesion, Strengthen Communication Skills, and Create a Healthy Sport Culture


Baseball is a great example of working with failure. Did you know that baseball scoreboards display the number of mistakes made by each team? As if making the mistake was not embarrassing enough, it must show on the board as well. Another example is that the best hitters are unsuccessful 7 times out of 10 attempts at the plate. That’s right; a hitter with a .300 batting average is considered an all-star player. Baseball players pocket millions of dollars from failing more than succeeding. In 2019, Los Angeles Angels star player Mike Trout earned $33 million, which is a payout of approximately $70,000 per at-bat. That year he struck out a whopping 120 times. But his failures did not stop him; by accepting the Oops moments, Trout stayed focused and was able to crank the ball out of the park 45 times.

Whether it is playing baseball, becoming a circus artist or putting together a winning team, you must create an environment where failure is accepted and encouraged. You should even celebrate the mistakes. I am not suggesting throwing a party for every bad performance, but bringing in some silliness can help athletes relax and learn to play with mistakes.

André put forth the Oops concept in a brilliant, yet unusual way. One of his childhood heroes was Patof, a clown he idolized on TV. Patof would get in trouble from making blunders and getting caught in slipups. But he would always find a way to bounce back.

André integrated the Oops principle within the national baseball team in creative fashion. After games, the whole team shared their nominees for the best Oops moment of the game. The winner had to wear a T-shirt André had made with Patof’s face printed on it. It was always a funny moment. The concept caught fire. Highlighting the Oops moments, and having a good chuckle about them, created a positive relationship with mistakes. The impact of failure was lowered thanks to Patof. The concept also influenced the team culture. Athletes took more risks and were not afraid of criticism.

From time to time, André would award the T-shirt to coaches so players understood that staff members made mistakes as well. This entertaining post-game debrief was not only about showcasing the Oops moment but also providing an opportunity to come up with lessons learned for the whole team. It became a fabulous team chemistry booster as well.

Welcoming, accepting and celebrating failure must be part of your coaching philosophy. Acknowledge and recognize all efforts and attempts taken by athletes, even if they led to mistakes. That is how teams grow. You do not win games by playing safe. Success comes from going for it. To use a baseball analogy: you cannot steal second base by keeping your foot on first base.


Explores what is needed to foster a healthy culture—the common element in winning teams—and provides coaches and sports administrators, at all levels, with action plans for developing a positive environment that brings out the best in athletes and supports in-game success.  


“To become the best decathlete in the world, you must surround yourself with coaches who think outside the box and who are ready to do things differently. If you don’t, chances are, you will end up like your competitors. This book is all about that; it dives into concepts beyond traditional coaching methods. Team Chemistry represents very well how my coaches operate: keep an open mind, challenge the status quo and get creative to find a competitive edge.” — Damian Warner, Decathlete, 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist

“Sport leaders play such an important role to ensure team success. My favourite coaches weren’t only great technicians and tacticians; they communicated clearly, instilled confidence and cared about the players. Team Chemistry will be a valuable part of a coach’s toolkit.” — Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, guard, New York Jets, Super Bowl LIV champion

“Lachance and Ménard show us that building team chemistry one athlete, one staff member, one practice, and one day at a time is about more than just the results on the scoreboard. It is a skill that coaches at any level can learn and their book provides the tools to do so. Team Chemistry will become a trusted resource for coaches in every sport.” — Danielle Goyette, three-time Olympian, eight-time World Champion, Player and Coach, HHOF 2017

“I have been fortunate enough to work with and observe many talented coaches, the vast majority of them possessing great content knowledge and ability to teach their craft. However, the highly successful coaches were the ones who also invested their time and bandwidth in building a truly superior culture. Team Chemistry provides the tools and techniques to help sport leaders foster an elite culture, a culture of respect and responsibility that will in turn help players and staff reach their optimal performance. A terrific book that both aspiring and veteran coaches should read and put to use.” — Kai Correa, Coach, San Francisco Giants, MLB

“Creating a healthy culture goes hand in hand with developing how you play, your tactics and strategies, and might even be the most important part of a coach’s job. Just like the players we work with, coaches can always improve. Team Chemistry enhanced my thinking in this space and provided me with new ideas for creating the best environment for my players, my staff, and myself.” — Bev Priestman, Head Coach, Team Canada Women’s Soccer, 2020 Olympic Gold Medallist