Why is Ego such a bad thing in a team?
A player needs to be feel confident and proud and brush off bad situations in order to perform at a high level. A Coach also needs to be confident and proud and bounce back from set-backs. But that is not the type of Ego I am talking about here.
The Ego I am referring to is the negative "Me, Me" type. The Ego that pulls team efforts down and teams apart. The mentality is the "I" do not make mistakes, "I" had to overcompensate for someone else's missed assignment, "I" was held on the play, "I" was not accountable for that. This comes from Players as well as Coaches.
But the purpose of this post is to examine the impact of negative ego of a coach upon his team.
What I have noticed in my short time as a Coach is that the majority of negative Ego comes from being ill-prepared and/or over-burdened.
Being ill-prepared as a Coach is the cardinal sin. If a coach cannot set an example to those that look up to him how will he maintain their respect? If the Coach does not adequately learn the Language, Theory, Philosophy, Drills, Scout Report and Strategy of the Program how will he be able to teach it?
Being prepared is to a large degree organizing a Practice Session. In order to organize a Practice session we as coaches need to understand the Language, Theory and Philosophy of our Team. If we do not the outcome will be wasted hours of practice teaching technique that will not add to the performance of our Athletes and further down the line actually reduce the performance and potential of our Program.
The feeling of being over-burdened is, most likely, something that we have all experienced as Coaches at one time or another, especially in the formative years of our careers. Unfortunately, this period continues for many Coaches and recurs for others. Being over-burdened is a trust issue. It displays a lack of trust in the Coaching staff of the program you are involved in and to a lesser extent the players. The burden comes from the administrative duties a coach needs to perform, the Video analysis, the Practive Organisation and much more.
A common factor that I have picked up on in my career is ignorance.
Ignorance causes us to be ill-prepared and leads to a feeling of being over-burdened. But this need not be the status quo. Ignorance ought to be the catalyst that propels you forward. It is the ignorance that tells you:
"Be accountable for your success"
Being accountable for success must therefore mean accept your failures and learn from them, they will add to your success in years to come. It is ok to err, we do it every day. Though it is the desire to reduce the errors and maximise the success that moves us forwards.
If we accept our own shortcomings and actively try to reduce their impact then we are assuming responsibility for our own success.
This season there have had been some major set backs for us and at every level of the team. We started with 10 Coaches and 68 players. We now have 3 Coaches and enjoy a participation of maximum 30 players (thats a very good day). 2 weeks before our 5th game (we where 2-2) I had 5 of my starters leave our Defence. They do not believe in the Philosophy of our Program and couldnt justify running the risk of injury. Up to this point morale was extremely low and there was massive dissapointment and confusion within the Coaching staff and players. So it did not come as a big surprise to me when this happened.
I spent the 1st week going through all denial phases and being angry and generally not being accountable for the success of our Defence. I blamed others for our position and lack of direction until I spoke with my better half and she bluntly said: "Whats the point your making? Your just complaining." She was right!
So I speak to our HC and ask for a little leeway in organizing Practice and review the Video of our next opponent again. I sent emails to the defence with the challenge of stepping up and being accountable, I spoke to our Team at the end of training and laid the options out for them: Be accountable for individual success or add to the discontent, either way we stand or fall together.
Boundaries where pushed and there was a little hand slap after the events but come gameday the Players where fired up like it was a State Final and they assumed responsibility. This alone allowed them to maintain a higher level of performance and the team never crumbled.
For us it got the ball rolling in the right direction again. The team has started to believe in itself again and you can see the effect of taking responsibility for being successfull.