Friday, 02 December 2016 12:39

A New Frontier of Athlete Responsibility

I bet you’ve seen it too. Some teammates lay plans to break a rule, but their captain is afraid to hold them accountable. They often feel like their friend above their actual superior. Throughout the years of my coaching career I had my teams elect their captains. As time passed, I began to realize that it wasn’t always the right decision. It became more of a popularity contest. Eventually my assistant coach and I decided that we would pick the team’s captains. Unfortunately not everyone on the team is trustworthy. There can be some players who have their own personal agenda. When players notice their teammates talking negatively about another teammate, it can begin this domino effect that trickles down the entire roster. Some unhappy players might try to make every moment a daily experience of dread. Asking student athletes about the difficulty of standing up to teammates on wrong choices will often times ignite anxieties. It becomes a means of social survival. In today’s world, peer pressure is at an all time high. It seems that too many student athletes live in the fear of intimidation from others, and would rather go along with the overall team atmosphere as opposed to their own, regardless of how toxic it may be. So what can we do? As I mentioned earlier, coaches must set a good example by selecting the appropriate team captains. I believe that in this era of athletics all team members need to take on leadership roles. Team leadership is a necessary entity, so that all can be clear about the goals of the team’s big picture. We are now in a culture that dictates an obsession about society’s view of us as individuals. This is a scenario that might come from the offspring from social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. I feel in that the realm of this subject there is an unhealthy preoccupation with others’ opinions. People spend too much time trying to impress others, when they should really be focusing on themselves. To gain that focus, there needs to be an attitude of dedication, which includes the observation of the team’s rules. It’s beneficial for the coach to clearly lay out team expectations and guidelines at the beginning of the season. One effective technique I have found later in my career, is to set team laws or rules as a group. This includes a conversation about why these rules are being put into place, and why those rules can be effective should each member of the team follow them. In conclusion, with some food for thought, there will be outsiders who speculate the team as a family aspect of athletics. Often times this can cause a divide and can drive a spike into the team’s chemistry. During pre-season, I would preach to my athletes that it’s important to stick together as a group, in order to avoid any negative outside influences that may deter the team away from its goals. In the contemporary world of today, a coach has to prepare his or her team of the possible outside interference and influences that could kill the soul purpose of the team-family.
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