What would your team look like if you said your end of the season goodbyes… today?
You may have never thought about this but I promise you, it would greatly enrich your team.
Let me explain.
As a leadership coach taking 1-2 teams through Lead ‘Em Up every season, I’m involved in more then your fair share of end of the season goodbyes.
Whether your final game is filled with exuberance from winning or tears from a painfully abrupt end to the season, players tend to open up and express more in that moment then they do all season.
Have you noticed that?
Players tightly hug each other and say their goodbyes. They warmly embrace teammates they normally have very little interaction with throughout the season. Their text messages that night and the next morning have a completely different tone. You hear phrases like; “I’m going to miss playing with you,” “you were one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” “you had such an impact on me and my game,” “I appreciate all you’ve done for me,” “I love you” and so many more like statements.
In many cases, this is the first time they’ve had a teammate share this type of sentiment to them. Oftentimes they’re surprised to learn their teammate felt that way about them. Regardless of their “surprise” it’s a welcomed one.
That connection and vulnerability has the ability to boost their relationship to another level, unfortunately for the teams sake, the relationship growth is happening now that the season is done.
I personally experience it as I’m sure all coaches do.
As a coach who tries to develop players into better leaders, I rely on my faith heavily through the season. I’m not just referring to my heavenly faith, but the faith that what I’m teaching is actually reaching the players and making an impact. Leadership development is hard to quantify and since it’s cumulative in nature, there’s moments when you ask yourself, are they growing? Is the message being received and are they feeling it? I experience those doubts just like the next coach.
But then something happens at the end of the season during those goodbyes. I’m often approached by the players and overwhelmed with praise, appreciation and love.
“Coach, thank you for all you did for us this year.”
“Coach, you really made a big impact on my life, I want you to know that.”
“Coach, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your sessions week, I absolutely grew-up through the season.”
The warm messages continue through text message and social media.
I think to myself, “Really? You felt yourself growing? That’s awesome because there were moments through the season I wasn’t fully sure.”
The reality is, if that player knew how much those words meant to me and shared them with me in-season, I am convinced they would’ve seen an even better version of me. It’s only natural.
Same goes for their teammates. Sharing those honest & transparent feelings with teammates at the end of the season is great but doing it through the season is better. If your words through the season could push you all to another level, imagine what those end of the season goodbyes would look like then.
When you pour more into each other through the process, you both will get more out of the process.
So I encourage you,
- If you have a teammate you’re enjoying playing alongside or a teammate who’s having a positive impact on you, tell them today.
- If a coach is having a major impact on you, tell them thank you today.
- If a player is a joy to coach, share that with them today.
- If a player is growing into the person and player you’ve hoped they would, make a point to tell them that today.
Don’t save one of your biggest team influencers until the end of the season; implement your end of the season goodbyes… today!
Adam Bradley is the Founder of both the widely popular podcast Hardwood Hustle and the nationally recognized sports leadership program Lead ‘Em Up.
You can connect with Adam on Twitter via @ABradley5 and be sure to follow Lead ‘Em Up on Twitter at @Lead_Em_Up
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