Playing the Team Game


flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

I recently wrote a creative post wondering about leadership. It occurred to me that there is always another side to things. So here is a second instalment …


As the siren blew for half time, Thom walked off the ground with his head down feeling a little despondent. Although he had held his man well for much of the game, in time on he’d gotten away, managing to kick two goals to give the opposition a three goal buffer. To Thom, it didn’t matter what had unfolded throughout. The reality was that the team was behind and it was his man who had done the damage.
Before he had gotten a few steps, three of his team mates had b-lined to him. Encouraging him to keep his head high. The game was not lost. They were both 50/50 decisions. As he took a few more steps, a few more players ran past. Reminding him to stay focused on the game ahead. What was done was done. The game was to be played out in the future.
With most of the players now together, Captain brought the team together to speak with them before going into the rooms. This is a team game, he explained, it is only by playing together that the game will be won. Don’t be sucked in by the glimmer of brilliance. The players all walked off as one.
Coach brought the team together. He explained the situation as he saw it. An even game with a half to play, the opposition had a small lead. He said that none of that really mattered though. That was done. The focus now needed to be on the second half.
In regards to meaningful statistics, coach applauded the contested ball and efficiency of use. This is what mattered. He also pointed out that the game could not be locked down for four quarters, so when it eventually opened up, whether it be because the opposition tires or things change, everyone needs to be ready to adapt.
He closed by touching on the lapse in time on. To blame this on the failure of one person was to miss the point. This was a lack of discipline from the team. The reality was and is, an opposition player should not be able to break the lines. When the opposition was able to play on and run straight through the centre, not once, but twice, it put undue pressure on the forward line. Everyone has their part to play and as a team we need to work together. Trust in yourself, but even more so, trust in each other.
The players all split off to their smaller groups to speak with their assistants. Whereas Thom had doubted his place in the team, the coach had reinstated his faith. Again the message was loud and clear. The Assistant spoke about sticking to the structures, but also having enough intuition that when the situation required to work collaboratively as a unit to resolve it. For it is fine to have coaches supporting from above, but it is the players on the ground who actually play the game.
Thom walked back out onto the ground ready to trust once again and do everything possible for others to trust him also.


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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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