That's the mindset of a person who has not yet embraced the team mentality. In sports - unity and teamwork is often discussed but not as frequently achieved. In the recent trends of increased transfers, there is an epidemic of not feeling a part of a team. Think about it - if they truly embraced being a part of a team, would the words "transfer" ever come across their lips?
How can you as a coach position your team to win? Of all the great intrinsic values gained from playing sports, the top quality that every player and coach gain that will serve them in the rest of their lives is TEAMWORK! Teaching your team how to WORK as a TEAM is easier said than done but once achieved can yield great results. Here are some tips to teaching TEAMWORK:
- Discover what your player's strengths are? - Position each player based on their strength. This increases confidence, morale and commitment! Helps players take ownership when they know they are trusted to do something they are good at. Win-Win situation!
- Discover what your player's learning styles are? - Try to reach each learning style in everything you teach. For instance: When teach new plays, we always give hard copies of the plays in each player's playbook, we talk about how to execute each play in practice, we allow each player to get multiple repetitions in practice then we go back and watch the film of the plays to study together.
- Determine who your leaders are. This may take some trial and error as some players tend to be one way in front of you and another way when you are not around. Once you find authentic leaders - you will need to develop their leadership to lead to YOUR expectations. Everybody's idea of leadership is not the same but once you get on the same page, this will benefit you because True Leaders ensure the team is a team on and off the court! For example: My sophomore year in college, I was voted team captain and we were on a strict curfew all season long. My teammates asked me to ask our head coach if we could all go to the club to celebrate our record breaking season, which I did. The head coach allowed us to go and told me that I was responsible for everyone going and coming back to the dorms. I didn't understand it then, but now I see that my coach was showing me that the BEST teams stick together on and off the court!
- Decide what your goals are as a group and who is willing to step into necessary roles to achieve these goals. Goal setting is so much deeper than saying "We want to win." Once goals are outlined, ask players who is willing to do what it takes to reach this goals. If your team wants to average 40 rebounds per game, then make it personal right then ---- ASK "How many rebounds are you getting as an individual?" Each player should take ownership as their own contribution to these goals. This is how you get commitment from players to give consistent WORK to the team's overall production.
- Last piece of advice for teaching TEAMWORK: Incorporate camaraderie with your players. Create a chant, cheer or secret hand clap to players to get excited about one another's success. Set the standard by acknowledging when a player executes direction or a play that gives them success with a high five or clapping for them. The more players see you get excited, the more they will get excited. Camaraderie is a learned behavior but once developed will create a sisterhood that will help sustain you through the wins and losses to stick together.
A lot of people say that winning cures everything, but it actually can cover up things that need to be addressed and give a false sense of success. I believe that the true test of a team that is positioned to win is when you lose. How do you respond? Are you blaming people? Do you look for the quick fix? Are you ready to give up? A team that is Positioned to Win will respond to adversity by taking responsibility, correcting their mistakes and choosing to put the work in to change the results immediately. They don't play the blame game, instead they encourage one another to make the necessary adjustments in order to Win Again.
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