The past two soccer seasons I have had the privilege to facilitate a team enhancement workshop for the women’s soccer team at Morningside College. One of the primary goals of this workshop is to help build a team with a shared purpose.
The key to achieving this goal is to provide opportunities for each player to learn about themselves while also learning about their teammates. Stronger relationships are the outcome. A useful approach to get your team moving in this direction is to provide opportunities for players to reflect, share, and learn from past experiences. An activity titled, “the interview” starts with a writing prompt, “It is the end of the season. You have been asked to give an interview about your soccer season. What three things would you like to be able to say about the team in terms of its accomplishments, character, values, etc. both on and off the field?” This prompt requires each player to think about the end they had in mind for the team (i.e., the goals for your team). Players are encourage to think beyond outcome goals such as wins and losses and consider what they value in terms of their team character. This would include – effort, playing to the end of a game, etc. After two to four minutes, players share their interview responses with 4 to 5 teammates. This is followed by each group identifying common themes among their responses and sharing them with the team. The biggest value of this activity is that it exposes how much these players have in common - what they value and are willing to work towards. These common themes can be used as a framework for building a strong team.
A second activity requires the players to reflect back on experiences that they have had on teams. The premise behind this approach is to help them become reflective practioners so they can learn from past experience. The activity called, “Best Part, Worst Part, Take Action” ask players to individually record what their best experience was on a team and why; their worst experience and why; and then what actions they should have taken to make things better. The prompt for this last part was, “If you knew then what you know now, what actions would you have taken to make both situations better.” As with the previous activity, the sharing progresses from individual to small group to the team. These activities are just examples of ways to get your players thinking, learning, and developing relationships that will make your team stronger.