Team Organization

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Organization and management of a Forensics team can be tricky. Whether the team already has protocol in place or if it is just starting out, no team is perfect and improvement is always possible. Bringing up the topic of team management can be touchy; especially if you are a team member approaching a coach with suggestions. A student attempting to criticize a teacher, regardless of how constructive, is most likely going to be placed in an awkward situation unless they have an open coach or good relationship. No matter how utterly enthusiastic a coach may be, without structure the team will fail in terms of organization. Thus, discussing methods to improve team structure is worth the awkward. What do you do then if you feel your coach is not leading the team well or if management could be better?

1. Talk to your coach. Whatever the size of your team, odds are you have heard the major complaints. Allowing these feelings to fester until they explode is probably not the most sensible way to deal. Sometimes you have to be an adult and confront the source of responsibility. Plan ahead and think of what you wish to say or suggest prior to going to talk to your coach. Remember to be positive and offer solutions. Be honest, direct, and NEVER PLACE BLAME. If you go in weapons blazing, you will turn a touchy situation into a rough one and changes may never occur—and a positive team atmosphere can be ruined.

2. Discuss and plan what sort of structure would work best for your team. If you are a large team you may want to have more management than a small team. For example, I came from a small team and we functioned alright with a few coaches and 2-3 team captains handling everything. A larger team may want to have a head coach, a coaching staff, and team captains who might also function as secretary, treasurer, president, vice president, etc. Regardless of what sort of infrastructure your team decides to adopt, having a chain of command is essential. Groups need a leader to follow and without one chances are the team will collapse again. Generally, the management order typically goes:

team members --> student leaders (captains, etc) --> coaching staff --> head coach.

At no point is any one person more important than another; however, for simplicities sake I will assume we can all agree the head coach does have more authority than a student competitor. That said, team members report to those “above” them and coaches/captains delegate tasks to be administrated by those “beneath” them. Think of your team organization as a body of government or the mafia if that helps.

3. Team meetings should be a weekly occurrence—same time, same place preferably. Routine is the basis of all well run machines. There needs to be a team meeting and at least one meeting designated for only management. The management meeting(s) should take place prior to the team meeting to discuss all business that is to be discussed with the team (this includes upcoming events, analyzing the previous tournament, planning for the next tournament, and so on). Keep in mind that at any meeting, be it team or management, the atmosphere is open and friendly. Too militant of an air and people might begin to feel marginalized and not part of the team. Use the school’s announcement system to remind team members of weekly meetings, special events, or changes to the schedule.

4. Use any and all school services available to the team to spread the word. Once you have the team organized, recruiting should be a major event at the start of the season and somewhat during. It is always a great idea to use the school’s morning announcements to promote the new season. Also, hallway signs are yet another way to advertise. Signs also serve as means for interested people to keep an eye on the date, time, and place of the first meeting in case they never wrote down the information during announcements. Remember though that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. Most teachers will allow students to address the classroom at the end/beginning of class to make announcements of school related events, so utilize and capitalize on this! A friend speaking highly of Forensics will mean more than a flyer or announcement.

5. All random, team building activities should have designated people in charge of performing those duties. All good luck locker signs should have someone, a team, or a rotation system in place to ensure that they are always created and hung on lockers. A person, captain or coach, should be in charge of writing and delivering Forensics news for the school’s announcements. Shirt/hoodie ordering or creation should also have a person or committee leading that effort. Warm-ups, any tournament tasks, in short, ANY AND ALL processes of the team need to have people managing those efforts. Each committee/person should report to the team AND coaches/head coach for updates to make sure everything is going okay.

6. Another aspect of organization that should be discussed is how to organize the team materials. Like everything else touched upon earlier, the organization of team materials needs to be thought of ahead of time and detailed. Just throwing a bunch of scripts in a box is not going to work…work well, anyway. There are infinite measures that can be used to classify materials, but the key is to find one what works with your team and its needs. Perhaps certain drawers for specific materials might work for your team? Plan ahead and take the time to categorize and label everything clearly the first time around so later materials are easy to find and less likely to become a mess. Further, KEEP UP WITH CLEANING AND UPDATING THE FILING SYSTEM TO AVOID CHAOS!!!

These are basic steps to organizing any team. Of course this is a skeletal outline of team management. There may be some aspects specific to your team that you will have to prepare. But this can help you begin the process of creating a well-structured team that will promote team growth and help alleviate confusion of team events.

Geeze, haha. I can tell someone was a good team captain. Or a coach...?

I cannot stress how important #6 is. I would also add that materials should continually expand.

Hey people, i think team building its an novative and very perspective methode to get your company and team stronger!

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