When dealing with women within a team environment, feelings are often a hot topic. We women can be emotional or sensitive based on how we feel. It is so vital to every coach, captain or leader to know how their team feels, addressing any negative feelings promptly and keeping high positive energy in the locker room.
As a player and now a coach of the game, the season goes on six months and with 12 or so different people so many things can either pull you a part or pull you together. During the course of a season, someone on your team may deal with a death in their family, someone's parents may be going through a divorce or someone on the team may encounter a physical injury that would stop them from playing the game they love. All of these events can effect people and how they feel during the difficult time of their life. We as coaches can either teach our players to use these situations as reasons to lash out, or take away from the team's energy level; or we can teach our players to build a support system around one another to pull through the tough times. We teach our players to recognize when a teammate is down and give them a hug of encouragement. One thing we preach to our team is they may not always like one another or dislike someone's action, but we are family.
Feelings vs. Facts
One of the main teaching points is becoming aware of the facts of the situation and voicing feelings with respect. We believe there is power in someone (respectfully) voicing their feelings because we should care how we make someone else feel. Yet once the feelings are spoken and out on the table, the facts must be addressed. The bottom line is decisions must be made based on facts regardless of how we feel. Just like coaches tell our players all the time, you can't play basketball only when you "feel" like it. The same thing applies to everyday life. If we only work when we feel like it, we would not be very productive.
In conclusion, an activity that could start the dialogue in your locker room is the feeling test. Buy some emoji stickers with a bunch of different emotions from happy, sad, in love to angry and put them in the locker room. Ask your players to put the sticker that describes how they feel the most on their jersey. Before practice have a group talk about how everyone feels and allow them to recognize each person's feelings. This small and inexpensive activity helps create awareness and allows you as a coach to know the pulse of your team so you can stay as productive as possible.