Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

The Nature of Groups, Pt. 2

Posted by admin May - 22 - 2012 - Tuesday

Individuals have a need to be identified with others. Belonging gives us a feeling of having status. Thus, the reason why we have “fans” who enthusiastically follow their favorite team! For players on the team, it’s a case of finding security through belonging. Each member of your team desires a defined place or role on your team. This defined role gives each team member the security of having something stable from which to work.

The second point is: all individuals seek status. Through membership in various groups the individual is seeking a means of gaining some recognition. Status depends on what the individual thinks about his role on the team and on how he defines success for himself in his role.

It’s important to note that a player may gain feelings of esteem from the status of the group to which he belongs. If your team is well thought of and belonging to your team brings credit to each member, then there is built-in status for your players to be a part of your program. The Marines have long used this means of satisfying individual esteem needs through the prestige of the Corps. This is a good thing for it serves as a strong motivating force. Simply put, people like to belong to groups that they are proud of.

The final point I will share today is a secret to building successful teams. It is called Identification with the Group. We know that individuals join or identify with a group because that association pays off in satisfying needs. These needs (which we’ve talked about) must be satisfied by the group (your team) to cause the player to whole-heartedly identify with it. At the same time, the group must benefit from the identification of its members. This means that accomplishment of the group’s goals (winning football games!) is a responsibility of all team members.

What I’m saying is that group identification must be satisfying to all members rather than just a select few. KEY: there is no surer way to lose group members and the effectiveness of your team than by favoring a selected few. The group is not a team until all members start identifying themselves with it! When your players start boasting about your team or simply show pride in belonging to your team, your players are accepting team success or failure as his own success or failure. If you are showing favoritism to a certain player or players, it is a surefire way to destroy team cohesiveness and thus group identification breaks down. I know a coach who let his quarterback play on Friday night even though he’d been suspended from school that week and had missed several practices. Friction started which eventually led to the disintegration of his whole program.

I’ll look specifically at Group Dynamics starting next week. If you would like to talk about any of this I’ve written or you have a question, please click on the Contact Form and write. I love to hear from you guys! In Christ, Lew

One Response to “The Nature of Groups, Pt. 2”

  1. Tracy Jackson says:

    Thanks for the information. I have operated on gut instincts and the experiences of not always being a star myself so I worked to help the role guys feel as important as they really are. In my new position, however, we are really going to work to strategically substitute players more toward the middle of each half instead of the last of the fourth quarter. I think if we really coach guys up we can get contribution from them but not suffer too much if they are not super talented. To me, if you are out there putting forth effort and being an addition to the group, we are going to find you time. We owe it to them for their effort. Thanks again for what you are doing with your help, the book and the blog. Tracy Jackson

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