A happy team environment builds a positive culture and gets team mates working together. This is driven and maintained by the coach, parents and all the players. When I reflect back on my successful years on court, for example 2009 Melbourne Vixens Premiership I remember feeling ‘happy’ and apart of a supportive team.
We all need to take responsibility for the happiness of a team. Is it just one persons job? The coach? The captain?
No! It’s everyone pulling their weight and making it a positive experience for all.
I am a true believer in what you put in… you get out!
If you are heading off to training with that thought…
I’ll leave my hard day and problems at the door, walk in, work hard and enjoy the time with my teammates, I believe 9 times out of 10 you will walk away feeling good.
1. PAINT THE BIG PICTURE
If people are clear about where they are headed and their roles in a team, they are more likely to understand what they personally need to contribute to be the best netballer that they can be. If they don’t understand the overall goal and don’t feel valued, there’s a massive chance that they will lose interest and feel neglected from the team environment.
People are much more likely to be motivated, willing to pull together and happy in the team if they have a sense of ‘shared’ responsibility and purpose and are on the same page as the rest of their teammates.
2. BE A LEADER
Leading a team isn’t about delivering instructions from above like a dictator. Players will be much more willing to go the extra mile if they know that their coach is enthusiastic and cares about every player in the team. As a player, you can feel when you are a valued team member. The coach communicates with you and genuinely ask you how you are? Then when you hit the court, their is a strong and respectful relationship that translates into a coach pushing you to play your best. A coach must be an approachable leader – who people feel they can talk to if issues arise within the team.
FOR THE PARENTS- you are the greatest leader in any players life. Support the coach, support the vision of the team. Take a step back from any emotions that you feel will be detrimental to your son or daughter and always show compassion.
AS A PLAYER, take ownership of your position in a team. Be good at reflecting on your own performance and how you are as a team mate. Are you working as hard as you can? Are you being the best team player as you can be?
As players we need to be leaders of our own lives and never look for any excuses or to blame others.
3. DEVELOP AN OPEN, INCLUSIVE ATMOSPHERE – IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION
There’s more than one way to cut the cake – and it’s a fact of life that team members don’t always agree on the same thing.
Conflict doesn’t, however, have to be unpleasant and unhealthy.
The key is to create an atmosphere where people feel free to discuss ideas openly and to disagree with each other before reaching a compromise that everyone can live with. If the culture is right, it’s perfectly possible to pull in everyones ideas and find common ground.
4. FOCUS ON STRENGTHS
Players need to be given direction, be pushed and questioned. However it’s all about how you deliver the messages that matters.
Be firm and strong with delivering your coaching instructions, but always remind a player of the positives they are doing while you are helping develop their other skills that they need to work on.
I remember last year at the Swifts always been pushed. Always! Every training there was something I needed to do better and I loved it. I was always reassured of my strengths from coaches or teammates which motivated me to do the things I did well BETTER and to work on my weaknesses for the success of the team.
When we think about it, everyone likes to succeed and do things well right? Kids want to learn and be “a good netballer”– so give them plenty of opportunities to do the things they are good at, then build on other skills along the way.
5. CELEBRATE SUCCESS! FUN FUN FUN!
A happy team works hard but also has fun together. Make sure you take time out to allow the team to celebrate successes – not just the major achievements, but also the small milestones along the way.
I often think – Why would we be doing something day in day out if we aren’t enjoy it?
This doesn’t have to be a big, expensive event – just take a little moment to make people feel valued. I am a big believer in recognition of people’s efforts and a simple ‘thank you’ can always help to create a positive team culture where people are motivated and willing to pull together.