Have you ever been in this situation? Your team is not playing to the best of their ability, they’re not focused, they’re losing games, and nothing you do or say seems to be getting through to them.
Pleasant Grove (Utah) High School boys soccer coach Chris Ecalono has. His response? Just leave. And it seems like it worked.
On the eve of their next game, Coach Ecalono addressed his team at the beginning of practice, and told them that he was going to leave the captains in charge of practice. It was up to all of them to figure out how they were going pull themselves together as a team and put out their best effort the next day.
Then he and his assistants walked out.
“It was a shock when they said they were going to walk out and let the captains run practice,” senior Ryan Fonseca told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I was like, ‘What? Are you guys crazy?’ ”
But the strategy was helpful. According to the paper, the next day, the team went on “relentless attack” against their opponents, and won the game 4-1, although the opposing team had possession of the ball for more of the clock.
Understandably, some coaches might hesitate to try such a strategy for liability reasons, and or a simple lack of trust. But sometimes, teens can benefit from a sudden increase in independence and responsibility — with support and boundaries, of course. The coach in this case didn’t walk off in anger; rather, he planned the action, and discussed his reasons with the team in advance. Ultimately, he was saying that he believed in them and trusted them, and they were left to step up to the challenge.
What do you think? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you found other ways to motivate a unfocused team that isn’t taking responsibility?
Image: The Pleasant Grove boys’ soccer team. Facebook photo, via Prep Rally Yahoo Sports blog.