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Monday, 05 March 2012 17:48

Teaching Our Players How To Handle Conflict

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Written By Coach Dawn Redd from Coach Dawn Writes

ConflictOur first inclination when we’re around someone we don’t get along well with is to run away. We avoid them, we discretely leave the room as soon as they enter it, we just stay away. And that works most times…except on teams.

When I saw the title of this Harvard Business Review, I just knew I needed to bring it on over here. Conflict in groups is normal and the emotion that goes along with it is how I’m sure the author came up with this title: How to Work with Someone You Hate. I know it sounds harsh, but conflict left to fester will definitely end up in this place.

Do’s & don’ts helping your players work alongside someone who drives them crazy

DO NOT assume it’s all about the other person. It’s easy to put the fault on others, but most times each person has played a part in creating a bad relationship. It could be that these two people wouldn’t be friendly outside of the team, so their relationship isn’t going to be the greatest. The best way to advise our players in this situation is to believe the best about the other person. Perhaps they do drive each other crazy, but it’s not malicious.

DO NOT gossip. Oh, it’s so easy to “innocently” say to a teammate, “What’s up with Susie? She’s always such a jerk.” And thus is starts…the drama! We’ve got to make sure our captains keep their eyes and ears peeled for this kind of talk, because they’re our first line of defense. They should encourage both players to talk to each other rather than gossiping about one another to their teammates. Our captains also need to know at what point they need to involve the coaches in the conflict.

DO NOT confront with bad motives. Have you ever had someone tell you they’re giving you a correction “for your own good” and then proceed to rip you to shreds? It’s something we’ve got to warn our players about as we advise them to talk to the player who’s driving them crazy. If part of their talk includes letting their teammate know that everyone on the team thinks they’re awful and hates them, then maybe they can hold off on the confrontation until they’re a little less emotional.

DO manage emotions. Sure, we want our players to learn how to manage conflict and gently confront their teammates when necessary. Before they get to that point though, we should challenge our players to do all they can to stay positive. If they’re walking into practice with a chip on their shoulder about the player who’s driving them crazy…conflict is inevitable. It goes back to believing the best about their teammates.

DO try to get to know them. It’s too easy to make assumptions about folks…especially if we don’t bother to get to know them. Players assume others don’t like them because one player always looks grumpy or has a sassy attitude around them. What they may not know is that’s the player’s personality. They’re not just sassy with one player, they’re sassy with them all! Maybe knowing that it’s a personality thing, and not a personal thing, will help everyone get along better.

Conflict is inherently emotional. Hopefully our players aren’t at the “hate” stage, but even if they are, we’ve got some good tips to bring them back from the brink.

Read 3920 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:04

What's Being Said?

Tera Mills
2013-06-30, 08:02
Thanks again for all the valuable information. Were still chatting about what he learned ;) (June 2013 Free Interactive Youth Sports Safety Clinic)