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Athlete Assessments | 5 Must-Haves of Championship Winning Teams

5 Must Haves of Championship Winning Teams

Teams who achieve success time and time again, all have key factors in common.

Backed up by research, these must haves are what result in winning championships.

It’s often state of the art equipment, multi-million dollar facilities or the latest technology that grabs people’s attention. Yet when we look at the teams who achieve success time and time again, it’s rarely due to their hardware. In fact, the best teams all have key non-negotiables in common. Backed up by research, these must-haves are what result in winning championships.

1. What makes the best, the best?

The top teams do make big investments. They invest significant time and resources in one key area – their relationships. They build phenomenal Coach-athlete relationships and develop strong bonds between athletes. They see team-building as a continuous process and not an event.

As Joe Gibbs said, “You don’t win with X’s and O’s. What you win with is people.”

This isn’t just feel-good stuff, it’s backed up by the latest research on super-elite athletic results. This research turned on its head the long-held view of how to achieve ultimate sporting performances.

The study presented at the 2015 World Class Performance Conference in London found there are considerable differences between the superelites (those who win multiple Olympic medals) and mere high-performing athletes. The most significant factor was the quality of the Coach–athlete relationship.

2. Know yourself, your strengths, your strategies, your motives.

Another Olympic Study reveals the next must-have. The Canadian “Own the Podium” research identified athlete self-awareness as the second most important contributor (after a positive Coach-athlete relationship) to accomplishing a medal-winning performance or achieving a personal best at the Olympic level. 

The athletes who know themselves the best know how to consistently create their best, on demand. As Coaches, our role is to help our athletes build the critical skill of self-awareness.

3. Know your job, do your job.

If there is one thing Coaches are crying out for, it’s how to instill accountability in their athletes. That’s because every successful team has a culture of accountability. Being accountable isn’t something that just happens. Successful athletes and teams have a system that helps them to be accountable. Put simply, accountability in sport is doing what you say you’re going to do and executing the task to the best of your ability. It is taking ownership and making sure you ‘know your job and do your job’ 100% of the time. Successful athletes and winning teams understand, value and embed role accountability into their team culture.

4. Successful teams have great leaders

Leadership underpins every great success story and leaves a gaping hole when it’s lacking. Consider all the best teams you know and you’ll find that strong leadership is always used to describe their winning edge. Thankfully, leadership is no longer seen as something you are born with, but something you can develop and grow with the right strategies. But, a big gap still exists when we look at the research.

In a coaching study, it was found that 98% of Coaches believe an effective team captain positively impacts the win-loss record, yet only 27% of coaches do any form of formal leadership development. Leadership development of the whole team is a consistent ingredient to the top teams, no exceptions.

5. Best athletes for the team

The ultimate differentiator of the top teams is their Coach’s ability to know how to bring out their best with their unique combination of team members. These Coaches know that developing a winning team culture is not a rite of passage. They acutely respect that it is a process requiring deliberate planning, careful execution and steadfast focus. Building cohesiveness and team chemistry with a diverse group of people is always their top priority. They do not leave their team culture to chance. They are committed to creating an environment where each athlete aims to be the best person FOR the team, not the best person ON the team.

As legendary Coach Lou Holtz said, “I’d say handling the people is the most important thing you can do as a Coach.”

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