How to Integrate New Players into the Team

Making sure that new players are made to feel comfortable and have positive experiences is one of the most important tasks facing sports coaches today, with social dynamics likely to have a significant impact upon the success of a team. So, just how can coaches ensure as smooth a transition as possible for newcomers?

At any level of sport, registering for a new team can be exciting for any player, while coaches should also relish the challenge of introducing a new personality into the team. This period of time is hugely important for both the individual and the team as a whole, as it will likely determine how well players develop and contribute. Helping newcomers to adapt to the teams’ culture is crucial as a result.


While every coach is likely to have a different strategy when it comes to integration, however it is firstly important to consider the type of player you are recruiting beforehand, taking into account the teams’ style of play, culture and goals in doing so. Whilst attracting the best talent from the local area may feel like something of a coup, it is likely to go unrewarded if they are not a good match personality wise. There are any number of reasons as to why a player may struggle to feel comfortable with a new team, with research suggesting that the following are the most important factors for coaches to consider:


  • Understanding of Role – It is crucial that new players know what is expected of them, including the tasks in which they should deliver both on and off the field.

  • Social Acceptance – New players should be made to feel welcome by both coaches and teammates, which will help such individuals in feeling trusted and valued.

  • Making an Impact – Players who are able to quickly deliver on the field are likely to have a better chance of integrating within a new team, including those who are able to quickly learn new skills.


With research having found that there is a strong link between newcomer adjustment and performance, coaches who work with these three factors in mind are likely to be in a better position to get the best out of their players. Getting all three right is no easy task however, as can be seen in many high profile cases from professional sport, where even the most talented of players have been unable to adjust to their new surroundings, including Fernando Torres and Alexis Sanchez.


A sense of belonging is required in all aspects of life, with those who do not feel in such a way potentially having difficulties when it comes to emotions and behaviours. As a result, those who are involved in team sports must be able to work together in order to deliver positive outcomes. The way in which coaches integrate players will therefore effect how they mix with existing members of the team, along with their ability to carry out tasks to the best of their ability. So, how can coaches improve in this area?


  • Team Outings – Whether it be a pre-season tour or simply a meal together after a training session or match, such outings are the ideal platform for players to get to know each other better and bond.

  • Team Meetings – Teem meetings are a time when players can talk to each other and coaches in an open and honest environment, potentially raising any issues that may have arisen.

  • Integration Questionnaire – Questionnaires or surveys can be used by coaches in order to gain a better understanding of the mood in camp, allowing changes to be made where necessary.