“The goal for the leadership council was to lead by example in practice and never “slack up,” – Alabama Football
In 2013 Alabama football was looking to make some changes to their team culture. They had lost 2 bowl games and were not the program they wanted to be. Changes within their leadership council group were an important part of making the run towards winning 2 National Championships the over the next few years. (Read More! – Losses, lack of leadership fueling Crimson Tide’s anger)
In volleyball, building team leaders within a team is critical for long term team and coaching success. These leaders can be taught to take over many traditional challenging coaching responsibilities which often create problems with coach to player relationships. In talking with coaches the characteristics of the current millennial generation of players has accelerated this need to change toward this new coaching style that requires more player involvement.
Characteristics of this millennial generation and new coaching style include:
- Athlete ownership and empowerment of team decision making
- More athlete to athlete, and athlete to coach communication
- More athlete self-discipline
- Athlete think and question vs. the traditional model of just being told what to do
- The coach can admit mistakes before the team and the coach is a lifelong learner
Lets review together important things to consider when building a “Prestigious Leadership Council Group”.
- The first thing you will notice is this is a “Prestigious” position that is earned! This position offers benefits and responsibilities and all players on the team as such should understand this.
- I encourage coaches to pick the leadership council and limit it to 2-4 players per team. This goes for all teams including varsity, JV and freshman teams. On the younger teams I would suggest this obviously happening later in the season as players prove themselves.
- I encourage coaches to consider the setter in this group as they are in most cases also the on court leaders or at least we want them to be the on-court leaders. If you have a younger setter this can be a great way to give them power with the group early.
- I encourage coaches to consider the real competitors on their teams particularly with girls teams for the leadership council. These are the players that are sometimes not liked by others because of this competitive nature. The reason behind picking these players is we want to encourage and reward this competitive behavior and this can often overcome one of the biggest challenges coaching girls teams.
- Finally in picking leaders it is also important to consider their responsibilities listed below.
Lets review important responsibilities and characteristics of leaders on your prestigious leadership council group.
- Team leaders lead by example. (Many of these come from the “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” team building exercises) This includes:
- Leaders go first during trust building
- Leaders encourage and initiate healthy conflict
- Leaders make individual commitments before the team and encourage others on the team to do the same.
- Leaders hold themselves and others accountable to their commitments
- Leaders participate in formation of team mission statement, goals and purpose
- Leaders are responsible for monitoring the teams “pulse” and action. This “pulse” then needs to be reported back to coach regularly in a planned manor. This could be after practices, matches or at a specific time weekly.
- Leaders challenge the team and help raise individual and team expectations.
Good coaches should rely on constant communication and input from their leadership council when making decisions for the team. Particularly as it relates to the team culture, practice structure and more. This will improves player ownership / empowerment of the team and is critical when coaching millennials.
Contact me below if you would like help setting this up with your high school, club or college program. We offer help though our summer volleyball camps, coaches clinics and online instruction.
Let me know if you also would like to schedule a call for more information regarding our High School “Travel 2 U” Summer Camps!