Posts Tagged ‘team’

I’ve been so lucky this past 2 months.  I get to walk into a gym everyday with the 2009 CIS Volleyball coach of the year, and  a group of girls that range from academic all canadians,volleyball all-stars, and team captains who have just won three national championships in a row.  And I get to be a part of creating a team with these unbelievably talented, unique human beings.

And you’d think it was easy, right?  Like, take 18 of the best, smartest volleyball players in the country, a coach with 26 years of experience, trainers who are innovators in their field, assistant coaches who are well practiced in the art of teaching and inspiring, all of whom exemplify excellence and want to win volleyball games and it all works out…. right?

Well, I don’t think that’s all there is to it. And maybe for the seasoned coaches that may be reading this, that is an obvious statement.  That the best teams were not your championship teams necessarily, that there was something beyond the obvious that makes a championship team.  In fact, it seems to me that the higher the caliber of the people on the team, the more complex and detailed the creation of that team needs to be.  There are no “yes-men” on the team… because you can’t be that way to get to the top. There is nobody that doesn’t know how to win. There is nobody who is not self-aware.  There is nobody that hasn’t been a leader on a team… and you put it all together and it doesn’t just exponentially increase the leadership, awareness, and success of the players and team.

What it does is exponentially increase the POTENTIAL of the team.

And what is potential?  It’s not real (yet), and it’s not the goal.  I actually used to love when somebody said that I had potential and as the years passed I started to hear something very different as the words came out of their mouths.  I wondered why I still had potential.  I realized that the key is in accessing this potential – finding ways to get it out and to express this possibility on and off the court.

A great coached shared a quote with me that I want to share with you:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”.

So, a team isn’t all of their potential – their potential is just how high the ceiling is on their capabilities.  What a team is, is commitment to a common purpose.  It’s not just the sum of 18 players and 4 coaches.  It’s the brand new created vision of what they want to do together.  And it often means putting aside some personal goals and visions for the greater vision of the team.  OR, for the seasoned athlete and coach, to reframe some of the personal goals to fit into the common vision, because there isn’t anything that will destroy a team faster than a player that does what they need to do outside of the vision and goals of the team.

Take one situation:  Player X wants to be a starter (obviously!).  And they aren’t because the coach believes the team will be more successful starting Player Y and using player X as a substitute.

Many athletes have been in this situation and here’s where I think a champion is created… in how they use this situation, which is obviously contrary to their personal goals.  They have two choices.  Either A.  Continue to contribute to the team, use each opportunity to learn and perform and be creative to find ways to stay on the court, including learning how to be the best sub ever (and considering that it’s not who starts the game that’s important, it’s who ends it)… or B. Get frustrated because you want it to be different, you want the coach to see your perspective and you don’t think it’s fair.  Performance and connection to the team suffer and you just solidify your position off the court.

I’ve been in both situations, and it’s awfully hard to swallow personal goals in the pursuit of a team goal, but it’s the only way a team will reach their potential.  So in becoming a part of the team, the commitment is made to the common vision.  No matter what feelings or thoughts come up.

It’s not much different in a relationship, is it?  I mean, I’m sitting here writing about coaching and playing and really getting how this truly applies to everyone.  A relationship is a team.  I mean, it has to be in order to exponentially increase potential.  Common goals and visions have to be created together (and I stress TOGETHER as there is no power in each person individually doing this.  It’s why teams vote for captains and do goalsetting sessions together – you can’t tell people what their goal is or they are not invested in it or accountable to it).  And after, each partner needs to do what they need to to to manifest that vision so that it doesn’t stay as potential.

And I think that the stronger the love, the stronger the two people and the larger the vision, the more complex this becomes because of the raised roof on what is possible.  Because it’s not 1+1=2, or at least, it doesn’t have to be.  And it may become 1-1= 0 if we kill off the other persons part of the vision. Or it could be 1+1= 2 (to the power of x), which really has no limit  (I can’t do complex math symbols on here- sorry math people!!)  And if we can’t get past everything we think we need or perceive, no matter how much it makes sense to US individually, then we may as well be a part of an individual sport because putting the team ahead of the individual means that we may be on the bench for a game every once in awhile and just trust that the process will make us stronger.

One thing that I say to the teams I work with is that if each person takes care of each other and doesn’t worry about themselves, then the payback is massive.  It’s perhaps even 17-1. You’ve got 17 people who’ve have your back, rather than just 1.  But in order to do that you truly have to give up taking care of yourself because you now have 17 people to contribute to.  And it’s the same with relationships.  Is it possible to truly stop worrying about ourselves in order to become the best teammate possible?  And know that we will be taken care of, and maybe in a different and more powerful way than we ever thought possible? I’m not sure if that is realistic but I have a hunch that’s what it’s all about.  That’s the next level of love, of commitment, and of excellence. And I think it would be really cool to see what that’s all about.


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