tip tuesday

Do you ever wonder what goes on during the NFL summer training camps? From what I’ve read, the days are long and grueling. After fitness testing and a couple of practice sessions, those that make the cut get to spend the next three weeks working their a**es off in typically scorching heat, all to get ready for the upcoming season.

The good news for you and your team is, you can prepare for the next school year without running laps in 90-degree heat wearing 20 pounds of gear.

Getting Your Team Ready

“On a team, it’s not the strength of the individual players, but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together.”

— Bill Belichick, Head Coach New England Patriots (2000-Present), New York Jets (1999), Cleveland Browns (1991-95)

What do some of the greatest sports teams all have in common?

  1. Trust in each other.
  2. They enjoy playing the game.
  3. They all play a role and know and respect the individual roles everyone else is playing.
  4. When they lose a game, they strive to get better together.
  5. They trust and respect their coach.
  6. The coach works hard to empower players and tap into their motivation.

As your team’s coach, you need to take stock of how your team played last year. How did your foundation hold up? What were the staff issues? How much time did you put aside every week or month to meet everyone’s needs? How much time did you set aside to feed their professional tank and challenge them to grow?

Looking back, did you have a plan for the year? Where did you excel? Where did you fall short? What promises did you break?

Often times the staff development, team meeting, motivation/empowerment methods, practicing, building trust, and financial and time investments to get better are the first things to be sacrificed during busy times and/or crises. How did the sacrifices you made last year impact the team and the foundation? What did you learn as the leader and how did the choices you made impact individuals attitudes, overall work performances and their ability to work together at the high level you want them to?

Pro sports teams can’t accomplish championships without the players and coaches working together toward an understood common goal. As your team’s coach, you play an important role; one that needs to be consistent.

How do you consistently inspire, motivate, and empower your team every day? By creating and sticking to a playbook. And that’s exactly what you’re going to start doing this week 2 of your summer vacation. With only 9 weeks left, it’s time to get going!

The Playbook – The Foundation

This week, spend a little time determining what position everyone will play next year. It’s a good idea to have individual meetings with everyone. If you can’t meet in person, set up a Skype call and conduct an interview. Consider asking your individual team members the following questions:

  • Are they clear on their role? How it contributes to the student success? A quarterback’s role is to call the plays. A running back’s role is to get that ball as far down the field as they can before they are pummeled.
  • Do they know your (the coach’s) expectations?
  • Do they know they are valued?
  • Can they identify what they need to work on to improve this year?
  • Can they identify how they need to be motivated and how they respond to that strategy?
  • How would they rate their relationship with you?
  • Are there any conflicts?
  • What did they need this year to be successful that they didn’t receive from the team or you?
  • What could they have done better but didn’t and what was the WHY?
  • What is the WHY for them wanting to be part of this team?
  • How can they contribute to the team at a higher level? What will it take?
  • What is the conditioning (aka training, development, and support) that they will need?

If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out.”

— Chuck Noll, Head Coach Pittsburgh Steelers (1969-91)

Make next year the winningest year you’ve ever had. Lead your team! A team cannot lead itself – it needs your leadership and dedication and it needs it consistently.

Debra Griffith is an Associate Vice President at San Jose State University 
Consultant|  Speaker | Coach |Strategist |Trainer