In these unusual times the world is talking a lot about connection. How do we replace in-person connection with virtual or other forms of connection?
Is there a limit, or an ideal amount of communication or connection on a team?
Is it bad that I’m tired of Zoom?
This got me thinking about the types of connection on teams in “regular” circumstances. Should every team member have a tight connection with every other team member? Is this a reasonable goal on any sized team? Here are two models of connection; both have TEAM in the middle.
#1 has solid connections between each and every team member. These connections pass thru the team each time.
#2 shows each team member having a solid connection to the team. Is this enough?
For over 30 years I’ve been coaching college athletes, and each of those years they spend some time near the end of the season writing evaluations. These can be simply checking of boxes, or that plus writing anonymous (usually) comments.
This is consistently the saddest day of my year.
Win or lose, a season is an incredible emotional investment for all. At the end, all coaches hope that players have had a “good experience”. We want them to have grown and learned how to play as a member of a team. We don’t always tell them that, however.
Players seem to have developed this sense that college coaches are there to serve their personal development first and foremost, just as their private and paid coaches have done for their youth career.
Of course they do!
This is the experience they’ve had in sports–most youth “showcase” teams are NOT there to be a great team, they are there to get kids opportunities after they leave that team. So, why do we expect them to change their perspective just because?
College coaches need to frame the experience that’s upcoming when they join a program. This should be done in the recruiting process, and made clear again and again.
It probably doesn’t include a coach offering non-stop individual feedback , so let’s be sure everyone is clear.
We should stop saying, “they should know how to put the team first,” when most kids have very little experience with this.
Pour the foundation. What are you all about, Coach? ID your drivers, your values, the things that you insist upon, or wish you did.
Frame it. Determine the language and lens that you’ll use to see the creation of the program and team. What are the critical pieces? There is no shame in asking your people here either. Get consensus, have great conversations.
Get the tools in line & get everyone to agree on the floor plan. Determine what the finished product will look like if it’s great.
Decorate. What’s this season’s slogan? Do you have a hashtag? A secret handshake? A goal that everyone can get in line with?
Number 1 is mostly driven by the leader. The head coach, the person at the top. YOU must have an idea of the central principles by which you’ll drive the program and from there you can, and should, include all of the important people.
What is a problem? Is this thing that’s happening or not happening actually a problem? Perhaps the reality is just the reality and you’re making it a problem for you (and maybe for others)?
Once those simple questions are answered then we can get to work on finding solutions if we need to.
One solution might be to stop allowing the situation to be a problem for you. Perhaps your mind is allowing this thing to intrude and impact you in a negative way, making it an issue for you when it need not be.
If that’s not the case then work to clearly define the issue and get to work.
When something goes wrong we often ask a version of this question: “why did they do that?”
This speaks to intention, that the person planned to screw it up, the “why?” implying that they wanted to make a bad decision. Of course, sabotage might be in play, but usually it’s a given that the person was not motivated to do things poorly.
Errors of all kinds come from a lot of angles. Typically, lack of focus or attention to detail, lack of skill, or poor preparation.
Coaches should understand this and teach focus in addition to skill and strategy, and look to ourselves to ask how we can better prepare our people.