Ahhh, coaching females…it’s one of the joys of my life. And I’m not being sarcastic! Part of the reason is that I never had the opportunity to be coached by a woman. But the main reason is a deep desire to make sure that my athletes understand that women can compete, achieve, and excel together…without drama. That’s right, I said it…without drama. And not only that, I want them to recognize that they can be led by a woman and still have a team that’s drama-free and successful. I’ve written about this before in my post A Coach’s Guide To Creating Harmony On A Female Team and an experience I had at a sports convention spurred me to write this one. A speaker asked the crowd about common problems they had with their teams and someone hollered out “girl drama” and everyone (including the speaker) giggled. I believe that teams of female athletes can push each other, rely on each other, and compete with each other…without there being a lot a drama involved. If that doesn’t sound like your team…read on!
3 ways coaches can battle “girl drama” on their teams
- Don’t believe the hype. It’s easy for coaches of female teams to shrug their shoulders, throw their hands into the air, and sarcastically say, “gotta love coaching women!” It’s easy…but it’s also unfair to your team. Our jobs as their coaches is to help them be better teammates. Allowing them to behave poorly (by ignoring girl drama) will not bring harmony to your team. And what is “girl drama” anyway? It usually involves females with a conflict they won’t speak to each other about…but that eventually involves the rest of the team when they’re forced to choose sides in the disagreement. As soon as you see things going sideways between players, you’ve got to insert yourself into the situation.
- Equip your teams to handle conflict. Once you’ve heard about the drama, hopefully you’ve shown your team how to handle it. With my teams, everything filters through my captains. I meet with them quite often and use them as my gauge of what’s going on behind the scenes. If they mention something, I ask if they’ve tried to handle it. If it’s still a problem, I offer a suggestion. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll personally address the issue. This only works, though, because we’ve trained our athletes that they can disagree, talk to each other, and work it out on their own. Where there’s a team, there’ll be conflict…just show your players how to handle it.
- Give your vision of the “dream team”. The biggest thing to handle “girl drama” is to tell them what your ideal team would look like. I use John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success to do this. We typically will go through it as a team, with them explaining why each of the blocks would help our team. As we go through it, they learn that loyalty, self-control, skill, confidence, and poise are some of the qualities that will make our team great. Using the Pyramid as a base, I can quickly explain that “girl drama” is exactly opposite to success. And that’s why we can’t stand for it.
If you consistently use these three tactics, I believe that your teams will experience more harmony…and therefore more success.
This week is devoted to my thoughts from the AVCA Convention, which was held in December. Why this week? Because it’s Valentine’s Week and that’s all about love. And I love coaching and I love volleyball, so this was the perfect time for it! Topics for the week: getting the most from professional development, the FCA breakfast (an early morning!), and girl drama. Stay tuned!