15 April 2013

Choosing your language

The language you use in a community or team sets the atmosphere and direction of the group.

So what words and terms does your team use now?

Which expressions do you want to use?

Here are some to compare, with implications that vary from obvious to subtle:

  1. "Stop turning it over, guys" vs "Let's take the simple options"
  2. "Our focus is to score every time we have the disc" vs "Our focus is to be assertive every time we have the disc"
  3. "We've been running really hard" vs "We're running really hard"
  4. "We want take away the deep cuts" vs "We're going to take away the deep cuts"
  5. "After a turnover, we're gonna play zone" vs "If we're on D, we're gonna play zone"
  6. "You need to stack deeper" vs "We are going to stack deeper"  
  7. "Let's play man when we are on D" vs "Let's match up when we are on D"
I would suggest that successful teams want to use language that is positive, phrased in terms of the controllables, phrased in the present or near future, creates the desired behaviour instead of wishing for it, focussed on the task at hand instead of errors, inclusive of speaker and listeners, and inclusive of both women and men. Each of the comparisons listed above highlights one of those features.

You and your team can make a conscious decision to use the language of winning. It starts at your next training or game.