Welcome back! In the first series, we began to discuss what it takes for a team to have a successful season, more specifically, the forming phase of the development of a team. As we move onto our second series, the "storming phase," we will touch on several components that contribute to team succession. Keep in mind that during all of the phases, parents, and outsiders looking in may not truly embrace these processes, most just value the end result. So, you may want to keep your parents and onlookers in the know and update them periodically about your team goals and direction. Even then many of them may not truly embrace, care, our value the process, but don't let that stop you, you must continue to do what most won't, only then will you create an excellent pathway for your players to succeed.
This is one of the most inquisitive phases, to observe as a coach, that a team will go through during the season. Again, these phases are unavoidable and more importantly, necessary for a team to enter into the next phase.
The storming phase is filled with the new beginnings of team cohesion, as the players begin to train, compete, and play together. Players may challenge the coach, "test the fences" of the team rules or team charter. Player's compete for status, acceptance, and voice as they propose their ideas for team ideology. This "idea" competition usually sparks the process of team conflict, and they play in a dynamic game the tug-of-war for acceptance and status.
This is where coach involvement is the most critical as players look heavy for guidance and direction. Coaches need to provide a safe environment during this phase because of the bullying and clicks that tend to arise. If not monitored sufficiently these issues can cause a significant set back in the team building process. The storming phase can also be challenging for players that do not like conflict, that is why it is imperative for coaches to help players develop, strong, self and team awareness. Coaches need to be capable at facilitating team interactions and teach their players to listen to and respect the ideas of one another.
By creating a safe environment and working to regulate and encourage individual contributions, player assertiveness, and active listening players will start to develop their voice and build personal status. Team leaders will begin to emerge as they work together to problem solve. They will begin to function independently and as a team as they settle into their roles and responsibilities among their teammates.
In the final descent of this phase you will begin to observe players showing more acceptance, trust, and understanding in one another. They work together for the needs of the team, through valuing diversity, accepting different natural working styles, personalities and behaviors. They show definite signs of problem-solving together as a team for a common goal.
This is where I begin to give the players more rope to work with, but not enough to hang themselves. Present them with more independence in team decision making, yet still be there to aid in the resolution of any conflicts. During this time players begin to feel the success, they are accomplishing as a team. They show great enthusiasm for solving the next issue, challenge or bump in the road as a team.
In the next series, we will discuss the Norming phase, a phase that I have learned to appreciate so much as we begin to observe players resolve their differences, appreciate teammates strengths and respect your authority as a coach.
Please feel free to comment on your experiences and ask any questions you may have. Please stay tuned for the next part of, "There Is An "I" In Team," as we continue discussing the formation of a successful season.