During this past summer I got to film and work with Alan Knipe, who I arguably think is one of the top 5 coaches in the United States. (I highly recommend his summer camp for players looking to play in college!)
Beyond all the obvious traits that make him incredible, his coaching advice on how to develop better team dynamics is off the charts! I am going to share part of it here as I feel it is a trait most high school coaches miss.
Part of Alan’s advice included reading the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. The book is written by business consultant Patrick Lencioni and in it he reviews why teams / particularly executive teams fail.
The first point and foundation of why teams fail is: An Absence of Trust!
Now if you coach high school girls and understand how they do relationships (Please read Top Dog by Ashley Merryman) you will understand why they do not trust each other.
But our job as coaches is to create an environment that fosters and builds trust between our players. In order to do that you need to understand:
Building Trust Requires Vulnerability
(Trust – The ability to be truly open and vulnerable within the group.)
As a coach this may require you going first or creating opportunities where players go first and are vulnerable to the group.
A simple exercise that does this is the “Name Game” Dan Fisher introduced me too. In it players share information about themselves to the group. This powerful exercise forces vulnerability and creates trust. It also helps players connect through shared experiences.
Another way coaches can build trust is by going first and being vulnerable themselves in front of the group. Now again for many coaches this is the polar opposite of their belief systems. I call them “Old School Coaches” and they rule with an iron fist and look like a communist era coach or like most Texas high school football coach today.
Well, in my opinion this may not be the most productive way to coach! Not only does it not get results with the new generation of kids, but it also does not help develop players into better people and prepare them for the future work environment where team collaboration and creativity is a critical part of work success. But that’s another conversation for another time.
On point again: To have success as a team you must have trust between the team members. Our job as coaches is to develop and build this trust! If you do this your chances for success on the court are much better!
If you are interested in learning more about how I teach coaches to foster this team building environment for their players contact me here! I will schedule a call and help you address some of your coaching goals.
This is an old pic of my son Thor and I. Yes I am building trust and yes I am being vulnerable! 🙂