With the NFL draft approaching, millions of people are getting excited about the addition of talent to their team rosters. Most people can see and appreciate talent – but great leaders know that talent alone is never sufficient.
Talent without character and trust – traits of great teammates – will always underachieve.
So how do you build an appreciation of character and emphasize the importance of great teammates, while also creating a culture of accountability among your athletes?
Well, even for a veteran coach that sounds like a tall order… but it really is possible.
Early in your next season, after you have chosen you teams, I suggest that you take time off the field or away from the court to have a team character draft.
This “draft” requires that you, as a coach, chose two players from your team that best represent the core values you want to emphasize – maturity, attitude, responsibility, etc.
These two players MUST be your two most “high character” kids, and seniority or skill level should play no part in this selection. These two athletes will be your “Draft Captains” and THEY will be tasked with selecting teammates much like they might in a scrimmage game.
Instead of picking their team based on skill, height or strength, though – they will choose the best available people based purely on “character”. Once every player is chosen in your team character draft, you as the coach will keep up with who is on which team – and will hold the teammates accountable for the actions of their members.
Throughout your season, you will be able to reward and/ or punish the two groups for their behaviors.
Infractions might include (but are not limited to):
- School behavior or low grades
- Social media issues with posts or comments
- Locker room behavior or horseplay
- Inappropriate language on or off the court
- Being late to practice or class
- Travel etiquette / dress code
You will soon find that this becomes a powerful motivator for teammates to do the right thing – not just for themselves, but to keep their teammates happy and win rewards throughout your season…
You may also find that, sometimes, the most skilled players are picked near the last because their teammates don’t feel they are trustworthy or responsible – and this can be a real eye-opener for those athletes.
Be sure to post team names on a bulletin board for all to see – and set expectations about how you will hold the entire “Character Team” accountable for their members.
Looking to develop leadership skills and a sense of shared responsibility?
A team character draft may be just what your group needs!
A focus on team character and values – coupled with an intense and powerful connection to team goals and a connection to team members are key components to creating a championship culture.
If your team could use a full or half day athletic team building event to create deeper connections or inspire a sense of shared accountability and dependence on others, consider contacting me to discuss how an event or motivational teamwork keynote can impact your group.
For more ideas on how you can lead your team, check out my toolbox!