There is always countless activities and tasks available across the internet that focus on how to build a Team. Any coach can do a quick search to find a mass of highly endorsed and frequently used team building activities. However, how do you know which ones are the real deal? Functional Basketball Coaching (FBC) has made your job a little easier by giving you four principles to evaluate anyone of these team-building activities against. The more principles the activity covers the better it is for developing your group into a team as soon as possible.
The first principle and probably the most important is the activity must Empower the members of your group. Empowerment is a buzzword around many business and management articles concerning human resources and more specifically workforce planning. Empowerment though is crucial in helping your players develop ownership over what they do. You can gauge if an activity empowers your group members by looking at what types of choices are given to the activities participants. If the participants in the activity have the ability to make a decision which has a lasting or ongoing affect then it will empower the members.
An example of this typical scenario which can go either way with regards to empowerment is selecting a Team Captain. If the staff of the group push their will onto the team then they will only serve to establish a leader. If the players are allowed to select (uninhibited) who they feel is right then they will identify the leader who demonstrates to them leadership.
The second principle of a good team building activity is Responsibility. Responsibility is crucial in providing a place for your group members within the team scenario. When players are allocated responsibility within activities, they will start to see themselves as having a place and purpose. A player who feels they are useful is more positive, more accepting, and more resilient.
An example of this type of activity can be seen within player meetings where players need to be told they have a place and purpose that can be defined. Just being part of the “team” is not good enough, the individual must be responsible for helping the group become a team through their actions as much as an individual as a well as a member of the whole.
The third principle is Accountability. A key point to note here is responsibility without accountability does nothing for the group or a team. Accountability builds resilience from the ground up and provides a powerful vehicle for helping a player reflect on their own performance and how this fits within the team dynamic. Accountability allows a team to hold individuals responsible for their actions. This has great parallels both on the and off the court. For senior and professional players accountability will be the most powerful tool in the arsenal of a good player manager, or what is commonly called a coach.
Accountability can be seen in a wide range of activities but probably the easiest way to see this aspect is look for opportunities in activities for players to review, evaluate and the reflect on what they have achieved. Goals setting, asking players what went wrong or right and how they could have a more positive affect on the outcome are all great tools for setting the stage so accountability can develop.
The final principle to be on the lookout for is Adversity. When an activity has an element of adversity, it challenges individuals and the group to find the solution. When adversity is present to the right level the group will not find the challenge easy, which in turn makes the individual engage and contribute. Different activities will focus on the individual, the group, or both. Depending on what your group needs look to find the right match with your needs. The power of worthwhile achievement is a fantastic building block for changing a group into a team.
Remember that the newer the group the lower the level of adversity that will be required to challenge your group of individuals. As the group changes into a team so too will their ability increase to demonstrate tolerance in the face of adversity before rising to meet the challenge.
These principles will go a long way to helping a coach when assessing the usefulness of team building activities. The more of these four principles the team building activity has the better it will be for helping players recognise their importance to the group and finally what it takes to become a team player.