Thursday, September 6, 2012


Last week we talked about team expectations, and the importance of understanding each persons "role" in the organization.  While most would agree that defining and accepting roles is a critical part to the success of any organization, it isn't as easy as just telling someone their role and leaving it at that.  I thought it would be great to share with you the four key points to helping your team, coaches and anyone else in your program understand and accept the roles you are asking them to fulfill.

  1. DEFINE THE ROLE - How many times is this important part overlooked?  Either it isn't clearly explained, changes without notice, or isn't even explained in the beginning! I can't tell you the number of times I will hear from coaches who are frustrated with their players and the constant word tracks are - "They just don't get it!" / "They should know it needs to be done that way!" or "We knew to do that - why don't they?"  NEVER ASSUME - and even if the role was defined 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year ago - it is important to always remind them of their defined role, and the importance they play in your teams success.
  2. UNDERSTAND THE ROLE - Most often this is where all communication breaks off.  In the "old days" when we were playing, we were told what to do and never even thought to question our coach.  The idea that a player would "run through a brick wall" without ever questioning it is now the exception in athletics, not the norm.  Because of this, it is important you really spend time with the player and help them understand exactly what you are asking of them.  As always, be as specific as possible!  That way if anything happens done the road, it is very easy to refer back to your discussions with the player and remind them of the specific examples that hopefully were given to help them understand their role.
  3. ACCEPT THE ROLE - Another huge component that is so often overlooked.  Someone may have had their role defined, and they clearly understand their role - but if they don't truly accept the role they will NEVER complete the next part which is to fulfill the role.  Simply put - if you heart isn't truly in something, it's pretty hard to really put maximum EFFORT, ENERGY, and ENTHUSIASM into whatever you are supposed to be doing.  The challenge for you as a coach or leader of a program is to find the right way to get each player to whole-heartedly accept the role they are given and understand the organizations success is directly related to them performing their role.
  4. FULFILL THE ROLE - Once the first three points have been accomplished, this becomes the easiest and most rewarding part of the equation.  This is where the action takes place.  Remember the specific examples you gave earlier?  In this phase you can now circle back to those examples to see how the individual is handling the role given to them.  Measurable goals also work well here to really check to see if the role has been understood and accepted.  Always remember - without clear definition, understanding, and acceptance a role will NEVER be completely fulfilled to the best of their abilities.  And at the end of the day........isn't that what coaching is all about?

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