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The Maasai people have a saying – “if you want to travel fast, go alone. But if you want to travel far, go together”. What resonates when I hear this,  is that to enjoy sustained success in sport, business or life in general, we need to understand the power of team work and camaraderie. The value of sport in building team spirit is particularly evident in boys’ education. Here are some things that great coaches do to help build camaraderie amongst team members.

Create the right environment

All successful sports coaches understand that in order to build a winning team it’s crucial to create a team environment. To do this, coaches must ensure the team is provided with the tangible things they need to be successful, such as facilities and equipment. Beyond the essentials, coaches should aim to foster a ‘no fear’ culture where all team members have well defined roles and are encouraged to speak honestly with each other.

Cultivate team work

Effective leaders can cultivate team work in a number of simple ways. First they must lead by example and be a good role model to their team members. Young teams need to learn how to handle conflicts well, so it’s important to stay calm when problems arise and encourage a group effort in resolving issues.

Another way for coaches to cultivate team work is to involve the team when setting goals and ensure that they are realistic. They must understand that all team members enjoy being challenged and trusted to do their job. By involving all team members, this will encourage team spirit and help the team to develop trust in you, as their coach.

Build trust

Trust is built over time, by consistently doing what you say you’re going to do and treating all team members fairly. When communicating with team members, it’s important to praise in public and criticise in private. Building an effective winning team is never an accident. It’s always the by-product of great planning, enthusiasm and a shared vision.

Teach the benefits of team spirit

It’s very hard for every team member to have the honour of hitting the winning runs or kicking the goal that wins the match. What defines a ‘team player’ is the willingness to accept a degree of personal loss in order for the team to make a gain. This is a very important lesson for any young man to learn. Team players are recognised by leaders in every walk of life. They are the people that drive success within any team, and without them and their efforts there can be no winning legacies.

There is another slogan that is often seen in boardrooms and change rooms around the world – “team work makes the dream work”. At school and in life, team players will be drawn to organisations that recognise, reward and cultivate team work. Leaders in all walks of life understand the value of team work and team spirit. Understanding how to be a team player, the value of team work and the power of team spirit is an advantage for any school boy.

To learn about student achievements at The Scots College, download a copy of Excellence at Scots 2016.

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