Strong relationships are crucial when striving for success in pretty much any aspect of our lives, be it sports, at work or in our private lives. Each individual within the team is responsible for steering towards the ultimate goal and without a strong bond between these individuals, this goal will be forever out of reach.
Here are my five tips that will help to create that bond and ensure everyone is pointing in the right direction.
1. Respect is always the foundation
As with your life or business partner, everything has to come from a place of respect. This respect, of course, should be mutual. A disrespectful player who constantly challenges their coaches can cause great damage to any team. Similarly, a coach who abuses his power can have a long-lasting effect on team morale. Furthermore, this lack of respect could even make it to the media, where things are bound to be taken out of context and magnified, causing bad publicity for the team. If there’s no respect, it’ll be very difficult to follow the next steps.
2. Communication keeps things healthy
It sounds like basic advice for a romantic relationship, doesn’t it? However, what I’ve learned in any work relationship I’ve had is that the work suffers when the communication is not adequate.
Serious mistakes can happen on the field if communication is not clear. If the goal is not set out clearly, then things might get lost in the process.
Also, the players have to feel respected to be able to speak up when they need to. Be it to ask for clarification about a strategy, to let the doctors know there’s an injury that needs tending to, or to inform the coach of an emergency. Communication, just like respect, goes both ways.
3. Feedback provides motivation
Feedback should be more than telling a player that they’re doing something wrong. While this is an intrinsic part of training and improvement, positive feedback is also needed. Winning is the ultimate motivation for any player, but sometimes the trophy can feel like it’s far away. I have also found that celebrating small successes in training can help me get more motivated for the next smaller goal I have set for myself.
Letting the players know what they’re doing right will allow them to focus on what they truly need to work on. It makes no sense to keep working on a play that has already been perfected, instead of working on another one that still needs a lot of work.
4. Always keep things moving
Being an athlete might not be a nine-to-five job, but it can get monotonous and tedious if the training, talks, and instructions are always the same. While repetition can help in perfecting technique, changing things up will also refine and sharpen a team’s all-round performance, which helps to further strengthen the relationships.
5. The importance of hierarchy
There is a hierarchy and we all know it. However, that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other. The hierarchy allows for order to exist. Developing a healthy culture within the team will help you have more loyal players, who might spend their entire career with you if you treat them right.
Defining this hierarchy is incredibly important when building your team. An important thing to do is identify the leaders.
However, while some might be natural-born leaders, others might need to learn the tools that will allow them to be successful at it.
On the players’ part, it’s important to know how far you can go. There are certain things the coach might indicate that you’re not entirely in agreement with. However, it can be part of a bigger picture that he has in his mind. While communication plays a role here once again, ask what the strategy is about instead of simply challenging the hierarchy.
If you look at the teams who win week in, week out, they all have something in common. You’ll notice that those who underperform lack the intrinsic connection that the winners have. Share with me your thoughts on the matter in the comments below.