Your team is no different. Every parent on your team wants their kid to feel special, wanted, and appreciated. So many athletes just run into the gym pick up a ball and start shooting without saying hi to everyone, or maybe they say hi to one or two of their teammates.
You can teach the kids on your team how to create a feeling of connection and belonging on court and in their careers.
Using someone’s name is the beginning of the business concept called on-boarding?
Some might say that kids are too young to learn a concept like that. I completely disagree. I deal with thousands of young athletes at our camps every year that learn this concept quickly. Here’s a stat: 95% of Fortune 500 company CEO’s played a Varsity sport. Kids who play varsity sports didn’t just start at the varsity level. They started young with coaches and teams like yours. Life lessons are learned on court, and it begins with you now.
I know what you are thinking. You are awful at learning names. I am horrible at learning names too, but somehow, over the last 20 years, every summer, I could remember hundreds of children’s names.
I know this seems crazy, but the truth is, how can you expect to win games, championships, or give them a fun-filled season if your kids don’t feel connected to you or each other.
The road to creating a winning team starts with this one essential skill. Learning everyone’s name.
Three things need to happen:
- The coaches, athletes & parents need to learn the names of all the players
- The coaches need to learn all of the parent’s names
- The parents need to learn all of the coaches names
For all of those coaches that are business people, building a high functioning team is what success in business is all about, and you are going to teach your athletes the life skill of the importance of learning a name this season.
Ok, so how can you learn everyone’s name and help everyone else learn it too? I have two tricks for you
2 Tricks for Learning a Name
#1 Learning names through games: Click here for the game description & drawing: CONNECTION GAME
#2 Learning names with visual cue tool: Click here for the player tool worksheet: Team Names Work Sheet
One thing we like to do is play name games in our first practice. I will include two simple name games in the show notes that you can play with your athletes. Super simple with diagrams.
Play this game for the first 3 practices of your season. Don’t worry if your season has already started. Play it anyways. It is always fun to play games.
Now name games are great for athletes and coaches, but what about the parents?
Often parents are not at practice, or only one parent comes every week. It is hard for them to learn all of the names.
Nothing worse than being in the stands and not being able to cheer for a kid on your team because you don’t know their names. ( I even have team snap up open, but not all parents put their kid’s picture in the profile) I’ve been there, done that it is not fun.
What we do to help parents on our team is is take a picture of each kid on the very first day of practice and put together a sheet with all the images and names of each player. If you want to go to the next level, you can do the same thing with the parents’ photos. I am great at remembering kid’s names, but the parents are usually known as Jimmy’s dad. I have to work hard to learn parent names.
I will include a word document that you can edit and populate with your team pictures and information so you can provide your parents and athletes with this visual cue tool.
Click here for that document: Parent Work Sheet
Learning team member’s names helps create a feeling of team and community. Help your team this season create that feeling of belonging with others.
If you want to learn more about our life skills curriculum, watch out for our life skills course for coaches coming soon. Follow us on facebook so you can be the first to know when we launch the online course.
Stephanie uses easy-to-understand principles—simple, relevant, practical solutions for dealing with mediocrity at work, at home and on the athletic field—without quick fix schemes.