In work, in sports, in our daily life we want a role to play.
Scratch that — we NEED to play a role.
We need to know where we fit in. It’s important to us as humans.
It helps us feel connected. And connection, as physician Dean Ornish says is critical, “The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water and food.”
What is your athlete’s role?
An athlete who is given a role will feel connected. Part of the team. Has a home.
An athlete without a role is in trouble. And can be trouble.
How so? Well, without a role there is a void.
For instance, Jill (or Jack) on your team, who doesn’t know their role will fill the void left of not knowing.
They will give themselves a role. And that role could be the wrong one.
- The guard who thinks he is the play caller of the basketball team, who isn’t.
- The anchor of the relay who knows she is the glue that keeps the team winning, who isn’t.
- The captain of the team who is sure he is the motivator of the team, who isn’t.
In each case, an athlete has assumed an unassigned role. And confusion, hurt feelings, and trouble can result.
Simple — assign a role. Ask, “Jill, we see you playing this role on the team. Would you be willing to do that?”
If the athlete hesitates at accepting, ask what role they see themselves filling.
Then help them go, and grow, into that role.
It will be better for the athlete, the team, team retention, and, yes, ultimately for you.