Sport Psych Wednesday with Brian Alexander - ​Creating Values Based Teams

One of the first questions I will often ask a new coach with whom I work is “What is your coaching philosophy and what do you expect of your players in and out of the water?” Obviously this is a two-fold question that could spur a long conversation but it’s interesting and sometimes concerning that most coaches do not have clear answers. A team is a group of like-minded individuals who share a common long-term goal toward which they can direct their effort. That is the basic definition but a successful team must have an understood structure in place that extends way beyond the minimum. 

A coach needs to develop a clearly understood and articulated philosophy which includes their beliefs and values that represent the foundation of everything they do. Open and transparent communication to the players on the team is needed by athletes today. A coach can decide what his players should represent as people and athletes as well as how that folds into the institution or club for which they play. Values and human qualities that outline the attitude, behaviors, interactions, preparation, and beliefs about each athlete as well as the team as a whole should be included.

Below is a short list of examples. Each should be defined by the coaches and members of the team in their own words to make them meaningful.

  • Hard-working
  • Resilient
  • Persistent
  • Respectful
  • Confident
  • Bold
  • Humble
  • Determined
  • Victorious
  • Studious
  • Eager
  • Resilient
  • Prepared
  • Present-minded
  • Cohesive
  • Trust-worthy

Again it’s up to the coaching staff to create a culture in which their athletes can thrive. Ask yourself: “what do I stand for as a coach?” Share with your athletes: “This is what you can expect of me and this is what I expect of you.” As you share your expectations based on your philosophy you can detail the team values and demonstrate how you see them being put into action. As always if you would like help establishing your coaching philosophy or team value system please contact me.

About the author: Brian Alexander is an athlete mental skills coach who helps athletes learn to train mental aspects related to their sport by implementing sport psychology techniques. Contact Brian for mental skills coaching via email: alexander.brian3@gmail.com or at www.athletementalskillscoach.com. Also follow him on Twitter @BA_POS_MIND and on Facebook (Athlete Mental Skills Coach).

Image by Catharyn Hayne.