Preparing for your upcoming season is like planning a trip. Before you go on any trip you want to know where you are going, why you are going there, who is going with you, and how you are going to get there. Once you know where you want to go, you program your GPS to give the directions on how to get there. You start the trip with positive expectation and a feeling of trust that you will have fun and get there safely. As in every trip there may be some detours along the way causing you to take some unexpected turns. Life is not always easy. If you stay persistent in wanting to reach your goal, you may have to make choices to adjust your path so you can ultimately reach your destination. Whether you enjoy the trip or not is up to you. You get to decide how you are going to react to the roads and turns that you chose to take. The trip can be positive, challenging, and uplifting as you deal with obstacles along the way or it can be negative, self-involved, and defeating. You can either chose to enjoy the journey or you can allow it to make you feel frustrated in dealing with your delays. You may not be able to control the road blocks and detours but you can decide to enjoy the journey.
Before the season starts, successful teams take the time to communicate about where they want to go, why they are committed to going there, and how they plan on getting there. They believe, affirm, and trust that they can accomplish what they set out to do. They set standards of focus, effort, daily routines, and actions, they hold everyone accountable for living up to those standards, and they are able to make adjustments along the way. The team takes ownership of how they think, communicate, practice, and play that will either take them to their final planned destination or on a wild goose chase.
Coaches take time to talk with your players about what you want to achieve as a group, why you want it and how you plan on getting it. Let your players have involvement in setting your direction and your goals. If you don't know where you are going, where your players want to go, how will ever know when you get there? Have a team goal setting session where the players identify what they want to accomplish during the upcoming season and why. Can your players tell you what they want and why they are playing? Do they have a vision? I bet a lot, can't and don't. You may be surprised to find out what your players want and what their motivation is. It may be a lot different than what you think.
Each athlete in your program has their own reason for playing. Do you know what their why is? Trying to get all of your players on the same page is the hardest part of coaching. Help your team get clear on what you want to accomplish and why everyone must commit to upholding the team's plan. If you don't have a clear goal and clear why, you will find your team going in several different directions, never arriving at your planned destination but landing wherever the wind takes you.
As coaches we assume all of our players want to win, that they are willing to work to win, and that they will sacrifice the me for the we. In all reality is that true for everyone? It may be for some but not for all. Each athlete has their own why and their own commitment level. Some are just happy being a part. Some don't care if you win or lose. Some hate losing so bad they lose sleep over it. Before you start your journey you should find out where each kid wants to go and why. Are they along for the ride or will they drive your bus? Your job as a coach is to get all of your players to want to go on this trip with the goal of contributing in whatever way possible while enjoying the journey.
Planning your trip through team goal setting can help you have a more enjoyable successful journey. Find out what your kids think. Give them direction in programming your GPS. Engage your team to help set the direction for the season. It will be motivating for them. Ask them if they were driving the bus, where would it go and why? Let them plan the trip with your guidance. It is a great team building activity.
Aspire Higher can help you plan for a successful journey in 2017. We can do a fun interactive team building session that sets your direction for the upcoming season.