I previously wrote a review of the book Great Teams: 16 Things High Performing Organizations Do Differently. One of the quotes I flagged while reading it is the following.

“So the focus in sports has to first be on relationships.”

A team is nothing if not a collection of relationships.

Mark Lebedew ran a poll on his Twitter feed where he asked visitors the question How many relationships are there in a volleyball team of 12 players?

Want to hazard a guess?

I should note, Mark’s question can be a bit misleading. He didn’t say “individual relationships”. There are 66 of those. When you consider all the groupings of more than two people, though, you get a really big number – 4083 to be exact. And that’s not counting coaches and other staff.

Now consider this.

When coaches run team-building exercises, how many of those relationships are they working to develop?

Oftentimes the answer is just one. The whole team is working together. That leaves a lot of relationships out of the equation. And the ones left out necessarily include every 6-player relationship involving the various combinations of players who will be on the court together playing.

Seems like we’d be better off spending time (and possibly money) working to develop the smaller group relationships.

Food for thought.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Volleyball Director for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

    1 Response to "Building relationships"

    • Avatar Tim Frechette

      I totally agree with the quotes mentioned “So the focus in sports has to first be on relationships.” In order for a team to win, there should be teamwork.

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