A Valuable Lesson for Team Development

The following post comes from Karl Dewazien, CEO/Internet Clinician at FUN SOCCER Enterprises. Koach Karl is the author and publisher of the world-famous “FUNdamental Soccer” book series, the cornerstone of Youth Soccer practice and Small Sided games. Find out more at www.fundamentalsoccer.com.

fundamental soccer

I recently heard a story of a coach who was having trouble with his players because they did not show any respect to their opponents before, during, and after games. The coach tried everything. He talked and talked to the players; he pulled players out of games when the players were disrespectful; he would not let players who demonstrated disrespect for their opponents start games. Nothing worked. In desperation the coach decided to try an experiment.

Before the next practice began the coach placed a rope across the center-circle.  As the players arrived one could see that each was curious about the strangely placed rope across the center-circle but none had the courage to ask the coach about it. 

The coach then asked the players to follow him to the center-circle, get behind one another on one side of the rope, pick it up, and on the count of three the ‘Tug-of-War’ would begin. It would be a best-two-out-of-three contest with each contest starting on the count of ‘Three!”

The players confusedly followed their coaches instructions picked up the rope and waited for the count to reach “Three”.  Surely, the players must have thought that the coach had lost his mind because there was no one on the other side of the rope to compete against. The coach, however, continued by slowly counting “One . . ., Two . . ., Three!”  

We of course know the result of this competition and the conclusion of the ensuing discussion … Some of this coaches players truly grew-up that day.

This valuable lesson could also be applied to the relationships and obligations among players on a team. A team is a number of people working together. That means that the essence of the team concept is the interrelationships among those associated with the team, not the individual or a few individuals, but the whole team. If you are a coach and doubt that this is true, don't tell your players about your next game and go to it alone and see how you do. Unless the other team gets completely lost on its way to the field and never shows up, I bet you will leave with a distinct impression that you really do need the players.

If you are a player and you think you do not depend on and indeed need your teammates, go to your next game alone. I am quite confident that you will leave with an impression very similar to the one your coach had when he went to the game without the players. It should be obvious that each member of a team needs each other when facing an opponent. 

One would also think that it should be obvious that anyone truly interested in developing great players and a great team or being a player on a great team would focus on the interrelationships among those associated with the team as the most important factor. Those that are truly interested do understand this.

If you look at the very top teams in any level of competition you will quickly see that it is the ability of those on the team to work together that makes them the best. The coach develops himself first and then focuses solely on developing the players on his team. In turn each player on the team then helps his teammate become better …Priceless!

Your FUNdamental,

Koach Karl (Karl Dewazien)