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.

6 Steps to Better Practices - Free Guide

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter today and get this free guide to making your practices the best, along with loads more coaching tips and information.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

    1 Response to "Building relationships"

    • 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.

Please share your own ideas and opinions.