A few months ago I wrote about my experiences coaching my daughter’s U7 soccer team. Specifically, I shared how lots of practice and hard work resulted in our girls winning their indoor league championship.
Well, I’m very excited to announce that these same girls successfully defended their crown this past weekend winning the indoor championship for a second time as they defeated a very strong team who, earlier in the season, clobbered us 12-4!
Now, while we did make a few positional tweaks to the way our girls played this team the biggest difference between the two games was related to one thing and one thing alone – dancing.
Changing our Focus
You see, after we lost that game 12-4 we were all a bit bummed – coaches and players.
Additionally, my coaching style and my assistant coach’s style had become a bit too intense and, as a result, the girls were playing tight and scared to make mistakes.
Sensing this I decided to make a BIG change to the way I approached practices and games. And this change was to simply loosen up and focus on the most important aspect of soccer for girls this age – HAVING FUN!
This change started at the practice after we lost 12-4. Our indoor team practices indoors where music is always playing… so, during some of the fun games we play to teach soccer skills I told the girls they could only pass the ball if they were dancing to the music.
To really mix things I up I joined in and started to dance with them. That, my dear friends, was enough to nearly draw tears from the girls as they were laughing so hard!
From a soccer perspective the beauty of all this dancing was the girls had “busy feet” and were in perfect position for their “first touch” and were able to pass the ball perfectly.
From a fun perspective the girls had a blast and the mood was immediately lifted.
We kept this “dancing” theme alive for the rest of the season. During warm-ups before games I, and the girls, would dance like fools. The other teams watched us like we were nuts… but we didn’t care. We kept right on laughing and dancing.
The results spoke for themselves. We played much better the rest of the season and most importantly I am pretty sure these little girls never had more fun playing soccer in their lives.
How this Relates to Us
I propose it matters A LOT.
You see, we grown-ups often take ourselves far too seriously. Many of us would do well to loosen up while striving to truly enjoy the people we work with each and every day.
Many of you likely teach people about lean and six sigma. My question is how hard do you work to make people smile and laugh during your training sessions?
If you find yourself sounding like a boring professor and wonder why people’s eyes roll back into their skulls 30 minutes in… perhaps you can change your approach. You may even try Gettin’ Jiggy With It as shown in the image to the right!
Many of you also likely manage people. My question is do your employees “work scared” or “work loose?” If they work scared and without passion perhaps you can change your style.
Now you may not choose to “dance” as this may not be appropriate in the corporate world but perhaps you can find other ways to lighten the mood.
What do you think?
With all this said, I am supremely confident injecting a little fun with all the seriousness of life and business will do nothing but help.
Have you worked in fun environments and not so fun environments? If so, where did you do your best work?
What do you think?