A group needs to be led. A team is a self-sustaining ‘thing’ that moves forward because of desire not command.
There is only one way to turn a group into a team. Do a trust fall! *sarcasm
Ask yourselves this question coaches: If you were to tell your athletes that you were shutting down the season right now, at the brink of it starting, which one of your athletes would be absolutely irritated with the decision? Would all of them be irritated?
Which one of your athletes would pull the rest of them together to find a way to stop this from happening? Who would rally the group?
Why would they rally to be able to compete? Whatever that answer is, if you find it, is the beginning of building your group into a team.
There are different ways throughout the season that may bring your athletes together for this type of pow-wow: a losing streak, an incredible win, hard practices because of sloppy fundamentals, hatred for coach(I like this one because it’s a norm)….
It can easily be anything, and with today’s athletes you may never know what triggers them to bond. But creating the place for them to do so is critical. And having the understanding that all the coaches, fitness trainers, and managers are a part of the team as well is necessary.
We all know that the “product” is the game play(the actual performance), and athletes, in reflection, tend to only focus on this alone and shortsightedly their own performance.
The problem with groups not becoming teams is not them understanding the Big Picture, I believe it’s them not understanding what the team process looks like. In today’s culture we have a 30second ready(microwave) mentality which is not a bad thing(because at least we know what we’re working with) but it just needs more perspective.
Athletes. We know that you carry the work that others(fans/spectators) see, but remember that the team is also carrying a part that is making it easier for you!
What’s funny is that I believe athlete’s don’t want to know what the team process is because they have a sneaky suspicion that it’s HARD WORK.
So how DO you transform from a group to a team? (I hope you didn’t read this to find any “brand new” insights that are easy.)
You have everyone on the team look around and appreciate the part of the team they are holding up. And trust that nobody would drop their responsibility. (I told you it was trust falls! That’s why having retreats are important!)
I’m preparing and getting better as a sport psychology consultant and getting ready for the upcoming season. Are you preparing and getting better??? I trust you are!
Show the Vision. Do the Mission. Commit to the Process.
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