We talk about lanes, roles, and boundaries between coaches, players, and parents. We each lead in our own way. Whatever it is you have to offer, there’s a place to lead when we’re looking at a team.
But where we lead is important if we want to build the best wolf pack, the best support system, a unified and driven group of people who know how to move forward towards goals effectively. Have a vision? You’re going to need teamwork that goes beyond your roster if you want to reach it, and that’s a fact.
I’ve been in every role, and I’ve experimented with leadership from different places. I’ve seen where leadership can become an obstacle instead of a catalyst. Something incredible happens when everyone figures out how to coordinate to make the most impact and contribute to a team’s success. If someone is out of place it can become a stampede to the end of the season while everyone trips and shouts over each other. There’s often players and parents and even coaches who get left behind, sometimes before the season is even over.
WHERE TO LEAD:
COACHES: Imagine you are teaching someone to drive. You can’t be in the drivers seat and teach effectively, because the student needs to do it themselves. I can’t imagine you’d want to be out in front of that car walking backwards and directing, that’s certainly not where I wanted to be when my kids were driving! You can push from behind, maybe if they’re stuck, but generally, you want to be in the passenger seat. You’re along for the ride, giving advice, looking around for possible dangers, and encouraging them as they do well. Coaches lead without getting in the way when they are leading from the beside the players, looking out for roadblocks, can see what might be chasing behind, can give direction but can also let them “do” while being out of the way so they can move forward freely or slow down as they need too. With coaches on either side of the team they can build the trail, or the map. Their position keeps the team in the center and moving the right way.
CAPTAINS: Captains are a part of the team, but in a leadership role. They are leaders who also actively participate in the same roles as the rest of the team and need to be among their teammates. Captains lead by example, by doing and showing the team how to follow. Captains also mix in with the team, encourage them to move at their pace and keep up. In this role they can also see if anyone is falling behind and feel the mood, attitudes, and feedback of the team. Captains are in touch with the team’s culture and can direct that info out to the sides where the coaches are forming lanes and instructions for moving forward.
PARENTS: Parents are the reason the team doesn’t stop moving. They lead from behind, cheering, praising and pressing forward. Stepping up to help fill holes, assist with responsibilities that hold up a team’s structure. Any player who is feeling discouraged, lost, who maybe has not received the support they needed while falling to the back of the pack will be encouraged forward by a solid line of parents who are there to tell them they CAN in fact DO IT! When parents form a net, unified in supporting the entire team (not just their own child or their child’s friends), then no one can fall through the cracks. When the parents commit to cheering for all of the players, the coaches, the captains, and continually having faith in their abilities to overcome, then this team simply cannot fail. Without the parents there, leading from behind, the team can scatter, lose players, lose coaches and the captains sag to the middle and have to carry the load of the team. Teams can’t function without parents’ support.
PLAYERS: Players are there in the center, driving forward and listening to instruction, following their captains, communicating in all directions, and connecting with those around them in order to keep pace. Players are behind the captains for a reason, because it’s not only the players that need support from behind. Our captains also need the team to rally and tell them they believe in their leadership, they believe in where they are going and they are coming too!
Build a pack this year, form an indestructible culture of support. Have your team come up with an incredible vision and then come together and live it!