I think Worlds 2008 gave me a few more lessons on a topic I thought I knew, but actually have much more to learn about.
Each of the six Australian teams at Worlds had to deal with unexpected surprises. Things that threatened to put a spanner in the works. In fact, the ones I am thinking of are six very different surprises.
The teams got to North America... and boom!
Events happened. People reacted. And for some teams, the players weren't clear on what should be done, or what others expected to happen.
Setting expectations is a key task for a coach. There are numerous ways to do this.
- Have a team meeting at the beginning of the campaign. Ask players what they want out of the experience. What would be unenjoyable? What would be exciting? What are the risks?
- Draw on past experiences. Discuss what happened last year with leadership.
- Group discussion of scenarios. Print out simple, realistic scenarios on slips of paper. Discuss in pairs, then come together to discuss as a team.
- Meet with coaches of other teams and find out what they have experienced, and how they plan.