Ask Cael: What is your philosophy regarding Team v. Individual in the sport of wrestling and how do you communicate this philosophy?Story Published Monday, November 22nd, 2010
question:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† There are some parents and wrestlers who believe that the individual is more important than the team in wrestling. What is your philosophy regarding Team v. Individual in the sport of wrestling and how do you communicate this philosophy?¬†¬†
The team is more important than the individual.¬† All great athletes know that, at least they should.¬† The team first mentality is also an essential part of an individual getting the most out of their own career.¬† I would guess that the players considered the greatest in history (in all sports) were big time team players.¬† An individual who has an attitude that they are bigger than the team severely limits their own potential.¬† That is just the way it is.¬† I can’t fully express in words that idea well but it is the truth.¬† An athlete should be loyal to the team, the team mission and the coach.¬† I talked about gratitude being the base of greatness in a recent blog.¬† Gratitude and putting the team first go hand in hand. ¬†If there is an issue where the coach and athlete aren’t on the same page it needs to be addressed directly.¬†¬† Ultimately both parties want the same thing.¬† I think 98% of the time with the right attitude on the coaches part, the kids and kid’s parents will come around.¬† If not, no program should put the needs of one individual ahead of the team.¬† That will not work for long term success. ¬†¬†I think it all comes down to the attitude of both the coach and the athlete.¬† I think a coach needs to be flexible with the student-athletes as well.¬† Rules and order need to be enforced.¬† But it’s important to understand that every kid is a little different and be willing to make small adjustments to accommodate the individuals on the team.¬† The difficult part of running a team is that each individual is on a different level and needs different things to progress.¬† I think a little humility and creativity will solve the problem.¬† Open communication with the parents and wrestlers and each party (coach and athlete/parent) seeing the other’s perspective is critical.¬† ¬†If the student-athlete has the right attitude and understands the importance of the team, you can be more flexible with them.¬† It is all attitude and not a power thing.¬†¬†Everyone on the team needs to be held to the same standard but adjustments can be made without compromising that.
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