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Yesterday I gave a team presentation on a topic coaches of the team chose surrounding how to be a good training partner, being inclusive, and being supportive teammates. With the group consisting of around 30 girls ranging in age from middle school to high school, I thought a teammate makeover would be a fun way to show how to create and maintain a culture the coaches were after. Here is an abbreviated version of the team session.
Common Interest Activity
I try to include activities and group games into team sessions as often as possible. The Common Interest Activity allows for team building by discovering commonalities between each other. This works great for club teams who may be coming from different schools and are composed of athletes of different ages and genders. After finding common interests, the group discusses common benefits from having those things in common.
Motivation, Personal Development, and Group Dynamic Theories
No matter what topic a coach gives me as the focus for team sessions, I always try to include sport psychology or general psychology theories and relate them to that specific team. Utilizing research and mental training techniques, I assist in processing the information so they can see the big picture, while then following up with how to implement what they learn into the athletes' daily lives. This format has allowed me to easily explain topics from a widely used method within the profession and then adding my own personal spin to adhere to the team's perspective based off sport, age, gender, and outcome sought by the coach(s). The following two models are what I used for my teammate makeover session.
Johari Window Model
The Johari Window Model relates to a person's individual traits related to their group. Each block represents information about someone in regards to whether it is known or unknown by the person, and whether the information is known or unknown by the group. This model helped us open space for better understanding and communication as well as enabling an atmosphere for acceptance of feedback so the group can be most effective and productive as individuals and then consequently as a group.
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a five-stage model surrounding ideas about personal development and human motivation. It shows and reinforces the idea that as basic needs are satisfied people are then able to move up the pyramid diagram to achieve the next stage of specific needs. The stages start with basic, primal requirements and move to level 5 where an individual can seek personal growth and realize peak performance. This model helped show how a person would have a hard time being an amazing teammate when their family is going through turmoil such as divorce or a chaotic home life. It opens a young athlete's mind to the possibilities of other teammate's experiences and allow for understanding as well as increased self-awareness.
The Teammate Makeover
At this point, the session opened up to relating everything we've discussed to their personal experience within the team. We set up game plans for each individual athlete to become a better teammate by linking action items to each area. As a guide, certain areas I asked the athlete's to think about were things like growing relationships based off the commonalities activity, opening up blind spots and working on self-awareness, allowing feedback, creating routines, patterns and structure, organizing spaces, rooms, cars, lockers, etc. removing toxic relationships, mending broken relationships, enhancing positive relationships, being comfortable alone, seeking more independence and responsibility, as well as being true to who they are and being non-conformists. Additionally, I had questions that would guide them every day to consistently work on their makeover. To have good teammates, you must be a good teammate.