A team’s success in one season can’t just be judged by the amount of medals or trophies you won, or which year end event you get a bid to. A successful season should be judged by the growth of a team from their first competition to their last.
To be a success is not always to be a success individually. In fact, most of the time we achieve our successes as part of a team. We are all part of teams. Our program is a team. Our sport is a team.
The growth of our sport and the success of a season belong to the teams. It is important for us to understand teams and how they work, especially those who achieve success – the achievement of their desired goal.
A leader needs to communicate the vision. If they are setting the pace, they need to let people know where they are going so that the team can follow. The coach always does a pre-competition talk, laying out the vision. The leader communicates the vision frequently, so as to always be updating the team as to where they are at and what changes need to be made. The coach doesn’t relegate the direction he gives to the athlete’s season, he or she coaches and communicates all the way through the season.
Watch a good basketball team. They are talking to each other all of the time. Helping one another out, encouraging one another, praising one another, and telling each other how they can make changes so the same mistakes aren’t made again. The same is true of successful teams in the professional world and in life in general. Let’s make this a goal for the 2016/2017 season. Always Encourage Others.
The truly great teams are teams that are committed to excellence. In everything they do, their goal is to achieve at the highest level. And this commitment is held throughout the team and at every level. A successful team cannot have members who are not committed to excellence because in the end they will become the weak link.
Every team works best when the members of the team have clearly defined and understood roles. Some do one thing, others do another. One isn’t better or more important than the other, just different. When teams operate on their strengths and in their roles, they win.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Every team member has strengths and weaknesses. The successful teams are those who, on a regular and consistent basis, enable the members to operate out of their strengths and not out of their weaknesses. And what is one person’s strengths will cover another’s weakness. This is teamwork, enabling all of the bases to be covered.
The team that plays together stays together. Is your team all work and no play? If you’re smart, that will change. Get your team out of the gym once a month and go have some fun. Enjoy one another. Enjoy life. It will bring a sense of bonding that can’t be made even in “winning.”
Common Goals and Vision
I have found that these need to have three aspects. Short, simple and clear. Can you say it in less than 30 seconds? Is it simple? Can you and others understand it? Does the team all know what they are working together for?
All through the “game,” successful teams appreciate one another and show it in a variety of ways. The coach shows it to the team, the team shows it to the coach, and the athletes show it to one another.
As we make the transition from the last season to the next, don’t evaluate your success as a program, team or athlete based solely on trophies or placements. Take a close look at where you started and where you ended, how your skills progressed, how you bonded with your teammates and how much fun you had the last 12 months.