Bluntly: you aren’t going to win anything if you spend all your energy fighting yourselves. Disorganized, unfocused, stressed out pits are a death sentence for any team.

The army has a saying, “Men need to be led.” Make no mistake about it, pits need to be controlled. Own the pit. Get everyone focused in the same (and hopefully right) direction. 

Each case is different, so there is no cure-all I can offer, just high level directions.

Get everyone to the point where they understand and buy into the idea that the team is bigger than any individual. The team is greater than the sum of its parts. The name on the front of your jersey is more important than the one you the back. Maybe that starts with a coach or captain who the team listens to (the coach or captain, standing in for the team, is bigger than each individual). Eventually, though, people need to realize that it is the team that they are there for, not themselves. The team is bigger than the individual.

Get everyone focused on things they can control. You can’t control the reffing. You can’t control the paint. You can’t even control your teammates. So don’t waste time on it. Fix what YOU can fix, which is only, ever, yourself. Trust your teammates to do the same. But no finger should ever be pointed at something you can’t fix or have no control over.

Get everyone focused on the next point. How you got shot only matters as a mistake-driven learning opportunity. If you bounced a guy, it only matters so the next point everyone knows that shot. If the other guy wiped or the ref made a bad call, get over it. You have another point coming up in just a few minutes, but you have all night after the event to cry about life’s great injustices. 

Don’t get caught up in past successes. That’s a trap. Each year, you have to evaluate what your CHANGING needs are. What worked for you one year may or may not work for you the next. Each team has to find its own answer for each challenge, and sometimes each challenge, each time, because what the team needs changes as players, coaches, sponsors and expectations come and go.