Almost everyone would agree that responsibility is a positive trait in a young athlete. But how do you go about developing this attribute?
We feel responsible to others when we own a task, when we sense that another's welfare directly depends on our actions. Ownership, of course, requires that one has some control over the item owned.
As a coach, you should always look for opportunities to provide your players with an ownership stake in their team. Here are three ways in which you can do this:
- Provide Opportunities to Lead: One way to give players a sense of ownership is to provide opportunities for them to lead.
This is easiest with your older, more skilled players. These players can lead their team through their performance, the way in which they conduct themselves during a contest, and how they prepare in practices. Help them understand that they are potentially role models for their teammates.
In addition, you should also encourage these individuals to see themselves as mentors to the beginners and less-skilled players. Ask them to represent you on the court or field of play, helping other players as required. Ideally, they will reflect your style and provide constructive comments and guidance. By giving certain players leadership responsibility, you provide them with a strong vested interest in the team and its success.
- Involve Players in Decisions: Another way to increase your players’ sense of ownership is to involve them in some of your coaching decisions and responsibilities.
For example, at the beginning of a game, you might ask players on the bench to determine the opposing team’s defense. Sometimes they may know players on the other team, and understand the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses better than you. Regularly ask your players their opinion on game situations and matchups. This approach helps keep everyone involved in the game. It also sends a message to your players that their input may help define your coaching strategies and tactics.
- Have Beginners Own Their Small Roles: For the youngest players in participation oriented programs, let them know that they own a certain task (e.g., in basketball, setting a screen as part of a specific play) and that this task is important to the team’s success.
If you have multiple team captains for individual games, give your young players their opportunity to serve in this capacity. Letting your players choose a team name is another fun way to promote ownership and team bonding.
Listen to your players, and when possible, make them feel that their observations and suggestions are part of your decision-making and coaching process. Give your players a sense of control and ask them to lead in whatever way they can.
Copyright © 2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads. All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2009-2012 Jeffrey S. Rhoads; All Rights Reserved