Winning requires playing our position

When I was a young man in college, I was fortunate to coach soccer through the YMCA. It was so much fun! I was assigned a group children; most of which had never played soccer before.   They did their best to my instructions.

It was my responsibility to begin laying a foundation for understanding the game, their role, and how to build a team.  In retrospect I think I learned more from them then they ever did from me.

I worked diligently to prepare drills and organized practices that would prepare them to compete against other teams.  Part of my responsibility was assigning positions and help them to understand their role on the team.

I didn’t give it much thought then, but in looking back, coaching individuals to play effectively together to fulfill a mission is what many of us continue to do today.   Below are five principles I began teaching years ago and how they relate to my current work.

Do any of them resonate with you?

Know our position

Knowing where we are supposed to be gives our teams the best chance to achieve success.  We also understand that our current position may change as our environment changes.

Equipping ourselves

It is our responsibility to come prepared. Doing our best doesn’t include waiting for leaders to put a uniform on us.  We practice, we learn, we contribute. Our teammates deserve that we bring our best every day so we are ready on game day.

The most effective teams understand that each person has a position to play and when they play it well the team has the best chance for success. 

Play our position

We may be asked to play a role for a period of time that is different from the one we would like to play. Our responsibility is to commit to perform our assignment to the best of our ability as we learn and contribute.  A mature player masters their role and plays in ways that inspire others to play theirs better.

Stay in the game

Regardless of outcome, when part of a team team we accept that our responsibility is to the team. While the strength of the team lies in the abilities of the players working together, we also appreciate the strength of each individual will be refined as a result of the team.  With the right coaching, both the individuals and the team succeed.

Play for the one 

Who are we playing for? In the beginning, our underlying motivation for how we train and how we perform may be ourselves. As we mature, we find deeper meaning in how we use our talent.  As we look towards the future, we will need to find a reason bigger than ourselves to help us stay in the game.

Shepherding: The art of becoming the leader others want to follow