The Right Kind of Leadership
The grassroot sports season is underway for football, rugby, hockey, basketball and a number of other team sports. Pre-season training, warm-up games, exciting player signings and new coaching and management appointments all raise the anticipation and excitement of the committed Club officers, loyal supporters and not least the team.
Push for promotion, reach the play-offs, finish in the top four, win more than we lose are all clichés heard in the build up to the first whistle. But what is it that makes this ideal a reality?
I’ve been the player, manager, coach, committee member and supporter and my personal belief is it all begins with the manager or head coach and let me explain why.
Firstly let’s remember we are talking grassroots here, not the dizzy heights of the elite clubs. I am also not under estimating the importance of the stalwart volunteer, committee member and old Charlie who marks out the pitch every week are all key to a successful well run club. But to keep those supporters coming back, the much needed sponsors parting with their cash and the numbers turning out on those cold training nights is all driven from the results and that comes down to the person stood by the dugout.
Productive, positive, enjoyable and player led input at training is so important, not just text book drill after drill without purpose. Understanding each and every individual player is key, what makes them tick, are they players that need an arm round them or do they perform better after being told straight. Finding those combinations that actually work instead of what are deemed the best players in that position, identifying the leaders, those who thrive under pressure and can rally the troops when they are on the back foot is paramount to the teams success.
Appreciating outside influences like work, family and other commitments will create another key ingredient which is 2-way respect. Because if both coach and player respect one another then performance comes second nature. Individuals create teams and trying to treat them as one just doesn’t work. Get it right and your players will go that extra yard, put their body on the line and turn out week after week wearing their club shirt with pride.