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How to Motivate Your Team

How to Motivate Your Team
February 04, 2022 | Andre Harakas | 8 min read

What motivates members of sports teams to work together? What is it about your athletes that makes them so motivated and brave that they can reach their greatest potential? The presence of a healthy team culture holds the solutions. But what precisely is it, and how does it affect you as a coach? Let’s have a look.

Successful organizations with an easily identifiable good team culture, such as the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, make me wonder what goes on behind closed doors. How does the coaching team put its disparate parts together to achieve success?

This article seeks to provide coaching staff, regardless of sport or player age, the tools they need to construct and maintain a team culture they can be proud of. Will you be able to win more games? The truth is that I have no notion. But I am certain that you will be providing your team with the greatest opportunity to achieve their objectives and improve as a team and as individuals.

Within sports teams, the importance of team culture cannot be overstated.

Consider your engagement in team sports throughout your school years. What was the atmosphere like on the team?

Did your team have a few “superstars,” one of whom you may have been, who entered each game with maximum confidence, regularly leading your team to win on game day?

What was the culture like if this was the case? What was the atmosphere like in the changing room? Were the less gifted players permitted to participate in the game and speak up? What if these less gifted people put on a show and it bombed? Were they accepted, bullied, or completely ignored, making them feel like second-class athletes?

Despite the fact that this club has won games and even titles, its success will be fleeting.

No successful team, even the Men’s USA Olympic Basketball Team, which is regarded as the sport’s peak, can continue to win without working on team culture development.

I just saw a YouTube video with coach Mike Krzyzewski, in which he discusses the significance of leaders setting the tone for the whole team’s culture. He noted how players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Jason Kidd, who were part of the 2004 Olympic squad, needed to set an example for the rest of the team by working hard and respecting one another.

Some players may lack a feeling of purpose and will feel as if they don’t belong if the team culture isn’t favorable. They will have a restricted incentive to develop their own game since they will never make it, and some players may even retreat, fearful of embarrassing themselves or the team if they talk or behave out of character.

Building a strong team culture and having a “certain way things are done around here” mindset as a coach not only leads to success on the field, but it also develops your players into decent people who can make a difference in the lives of others outside of sports.

Creating A Culture of Success

When it comes to student athletics, which is what this website is about, winning isn’t everything. It’s all about assisting youngsters in having fun, making friends, developing good motor skills, and just loving the game.

The team culture we attempt to instill in coaches includes good parental participation, equal playing time, injury prevention with an emphasis on not overtraining, and a knowledge of how granular cultural detail differs.

However, when these children get older, things may become much more problematic. If your players want to make a career out of their sport, their personalities will grow and the focus will move to winning. And culture has never been more vital.

There are a variety of methods for you, as the coach, to foster a healthy team culture.

Define your team’s goals, values, and attitudes with precision.

We discussed defining team objectives, values, and anticipated attitudes at the start of the season. At the younger level, we stress the necessity of doing so in the presence of parents in order to ensure that the whole team community is transparent and focused.

Throughout the season, the coach and leadership team must re-establish the motivation to achieve these objectives. They can’t be overlooked because of a few setbacks or an injury to their most gifted player.

Don’t be scared to write down these objectives and post them in the locker room to remind everyone of their aims. Regardless of skill, your players’ ideals and expected attitudes should stay constant.

Captains should be appointed.

Team captains can go a long way in helping build team culture, or backfire in your face . Is it worth it to go through the trouble?, When captains have a good rapport with the coaching staff, I believe they may be quite effective in transforming a team’s culture.

The speaker emphasized in a recent TED Talk that we, as coaches, need to develop leaders. People who have the ability to affect change in a team environment and set the tone for a new club culture and atmosphere. I completely agree.

Appointing captains and understanding how to guide them might be difficult, so it’s important to stay vigilant throughout the whole process.

Accept Failure

The dread of failure may immobilize even your greatest athletes.

Some athletes are paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake and disappointing their coach, teammates, and community.

To prevent this from occurring, your role is to foster a team culture that encourages failure.

Create a culture where players are respected for attempting something new and making that play, not just by you, but by the whole squad.

Encourage players to speak out and attempt, even if they fail, as long as their actions align with the team’s values, beliefs, and aims.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take,” Wayne Gretzky(and Michael Scott) famously observed.

Another point to consider here is your role as a coach when it comes to accepting failure. Within your team’s ideals, don’t be hesitant to attempt something new, violate the rules, and do things differently. Even though you don’t know whether it will work, if you don’t attempt, you’ll never know!

Roles of Delegates

Another aspect of creating a great team culture is to include everyone, and I don’t just mean the coaching staff.

The captain/s, team moms, other parents, and the surrounding community may all contribute to the culture’s development. When individuals feel appreciated and respected, they are more likely to show an interest and contribute in their own unique way to the program’s overall success.

People desire to be a part of settings in which they feel they have a role to play and are recognized for it.

As the coach, it will be your responsibility to delegate tasks to captains, team moms, team parents, the groundskeeper/stadium supervisor, the school community, and members of the public. Instead of being scared by these individuals, evaluate how they may assist the team.

Honor your heritage.

Are you observing that your players are beginning to act and behave in a manner that is consistent with your team’s culture? It’s something to rejoice about.

Changing a culture is tough, and coaches must “enjoy the tiny victories.”

Praise is one way to honor your culture. I recently heard that creating products with your team slogan written on it is a smart method to achieve this, since it visibly shows the whole community what the team culture is all about.

This solution may not be financially feasible, but it is a possibility for those who have the means.

Involvement of the coach may be the driving force behind the Athlete Team culture, but the athletes are the ones that shape it.

Coaches cannot expect to influence or improve a sports team’s culture unless the players are motivated to do so.

Coaches must create chances for players to contribute to the development of team culture. This might be accomplished in one of the following ways:

“Open Mic Monday” allows players to “get things off their chest” in a polite manner in order to assist the team win.

Allow them to propose and arrange team bonding activities like an escape room or team yoga.

Allow yourself to experiment with different warm-up and cooling-down structures.

Allow nicknames and music to be used during practices for young teams, make sure you’re keeping team meetings fun!

When you’re on the road, have a player or coach lead the squad in a brief prayer session.

When provided in the appropriate manner and at the right moment, be receptive to feedback.

Accepting criticism is an important component of building a healthy team culture because, as much as I hate to admit it, we all make mistakes.

Being able to receive constructive criticism from coaches, players, and the community without becoming defensive helps you to develop as a coach while also strengthening the culture. Even if you dismiss some of the input, listening and allowing others to speak has value.

Form Team Rituals

The odd thing about rituals is that they frequently grow out of nowhere. When a player does or says something that is loved and appreciated by others, it quickly becomes “a thing” that the team just does from that point on.

Coaches, on the other hand, may help build rituals like forcing all players to wear team-branded gear to and from games and asking all players to perform a certain exercise at practice before going home to track development.

The formation of team culture and belonging is aided by creating recognized moments.

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