Monday, November 8, 2010

Better team through leadership

What:  Coach Joe is a high school football coach, and he is trying to improve the leadership on his team.  He knows that as the main leader of the team that most of the blame lays with him.  He will need to augment his current leadership method to make an effective change.  He is no alone in this his players are also responsible to be leaders.  They need to all strive to improve as leaders to positively affect their peers.
So What:  The first thing Coach Joe needs to know is what leadership is. Leadership can be defined as ‘a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal’ (Northouse, 2001, p. 3).  By being the Head Coach Joe is the formal leader of the team, and it is his responsibility to help the player achieve their goals as a team.  While the coach can have the largest impact on the team it is the responsibility of the players to act as leaders as well.  If the players do not act as leaders they do not offer a support system for the other players.

Currently Coach Joe is very ridged in his autocratic style.  He doesn’t delegate to his other coaches or the captains of the team.  By doing this he alienates the other main sources of influence on the team.  As the coach of a prestigious football program he is mostly interested in getting wins and keeping his job.  The current state of the team is so poor that only the Captains are quality leaders for the team.  None of the other players take an interest in influencing others. 

Now What:  The thing to understand is that to be a leader one first needs influence, because if a leader has no influence they can’t effect change on someone else. As the head coach he is able to influence the whole team which put him in the position to positively affect everyone on the team.  To improve the leadership skills of the team Coach Joe needs to be more flexible.  There are times when the coach needs to make the decision, that’s what makes him the team’s leader, but other times he needs to let others have input.   This allows others to feel as though they have some say in the direction of the program.
                It is important for Coach Joe to call a meeting that outlines the benefits of peer leadership.  While they do not have the ability to influence the large number of people the coach does, the teammates are able to provide leadership to individuals.  The fact is that all the players know each other and they may have influence among their friends that the coach may not.  According to (Loughead, T.M., Hardy, J. pg 310)   peer leaders were perceived by athletes to display the leadership behaviors of social support, positive feedback, and democratic decision-making behaviors to a greater extent than coaches.  The benefit of a football team is that it has a large number of players on the team so if even half take initiative and try to be a positive influence it could be 50 people. 

Conclusion:  Coaches need to be good leaders because they influence the whole team.  Players need to accept the role of leadership to help each other.  Everyone needs to remember that leadership is a process of bringing everyone together to achieve goals.  They must also understand that to have get influence they need to be a good example or people will stop following them.

Northouse, P. G. (2001). Leadership: theory and practice (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
 Loughead, T.M., Hardy, J. (2005). An examination of coach and peer leader behaviors in sport.  Psychology of Sport and Exercise 6  303–312

Monday, November 1, 2010

the family that sweats together

What:  The Garwin gym is trying to increase the number of its members, by implementing family classes.  To facilitate more families joining, the gym will lower the rate for new family memberships to the gym.  The new family classes will need to be available during times when the family can all come together, and they need to be fun for everyone. 
So What:  The family classes need to provide a positive social atmosphere so the families to improve their physical condoning as a group while having a fun time.  To make the classes available to the largest possible number of families the gym needs to have the classes at night or on the weekends so that nine to five parents will be off work and students will be done with school.  The classes need to be set up so that the adults can influence the children by working out with the children.  By having these classes parents will be able to set a good example of a commitment to fitness that their children to model.  According to Gill and Williams (2008) People learn by observing others.  Modeling is a key part of exercise science because instructors can just say “just do what I do”. Pg.213  By having the family work out together their will be more pressure to continue to go to classes, because they will be their own support system.
Now What:  The gym is setting up a three day a week cardiovascular/flexibility program for families.  The classes will be held Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:30-7:45pm, and on Saturday from 2:00-4:00pm.  The program consists of aerobics, spinning and yoga.  By using cardiovascular activity all the participants will get in shape or at least improve their current conditioning.  This will also supplement Physical Education classes for the children to help maintain a healthy body weight.  This is key to trying to stem the tide of obesity in the children in this country.  The parents will benefit both from the cardio and flexibility training, but the flexibility training is critical to preventing workplace injuries in physically demanding jobs.  By having the family working out together it allows the children a chance to impress their parents and a chance for the parents to model proper habits for their children, by having these opportunities the self efficacy of everyone should be positively affected.
Fredricks and Eccles (2004) states that “parents who play sports on any level provide a model for their children and help normalize involvement in athletics” (p. 150). By putting the parents in a position to influence the children positively can only increase their self efficacy.  By razing the efficacy of its patrons the gym will see greater attendance and achieve its goal of getting more members and increasing the overall health of the community.  The other key advantage is that arousal is increase due to the fact that there is an audience.  This effect can only increase when a person is trying to look good in front of family members.  This effect will allow the family to get the most out of their work out leading to positive physical results.
Conclusion:  By providing an opportunity for families to work out together the gym will increase its attendance.  The families will be able to work out together giving the parents the opportunity to influence their children’s ideals of athletics that will lead to a healthier life.  By working out together the self efficacy of all should increase as each gets to share their individual success with their family.  This provides a positive situation for everyone.
Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2004). Parental Influences on youth involvement in sports. In M. R.Weiss (Ed.), Developmental sport and exercise psychology: A lifespan perspective (pp. 145-164). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics