Army Crew Case Analysis Coach of the Army Crew; Coach P. selected the top eight rowers for the Varsity boat after a long series of objective tests measuring each member’s speed, strength and coordination. The Varsity team had a clear advantage over the Junior Varsity team. So, how could Junior Varsity team beat the Varsity team in two-thirds of the time in practice races? There are obvious reasons behind the bad performance of the Varsity team. Coach P. lacking a leadership couldn’t see the signs of Varsity team having serious problems as a team.
The problem with Coach P. ’s coaching mistake started with the team selection process of Varsity team members. He managed to measure individual performances successfully by using ergometer and weight records. However, as important as individual skills were, it was crucial for the eight individual members to be a team and synchronize their rowing. His performance and team building criteria lacked personality factors. However, rowing needs a perfect teamwork and mental strength of the crew members. U. S.
Olympic Committee’s research project showed that the master coaches those who were most experienced and successful tended to focus on psychological variables as the most important criteria for a successful crew team whereas novice coaches tended to focus on technique just like Coach P. did. Selecting a team solely dependent on individual technical performance resulted in very serious problems among team members. Coach P. lacking leadership skills had no vision about the team having serious trust and coordination problems.
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Just before National championships races, he –for the first time- included personality dimensions to analyze the team. It revealed that the Varsity team had no team leaders and had team disrupters instead. He brought in an external party to improve their confidence, concentration and motivation of the Varsity team which the Varsity team labeled it as “touch-feely”. Other than bringing in an external party, he should have acted as a leader and make the best decision for the group by using Rational Decision Making Model steps: first by identifying the problem, generating solutions, selecting the best solution and implementing it.
He should have showed a transformation leadership which would increase acceptance and support from the Varsity Team. Each set of the transformational leadership behavior was very crucial for the disrupted team: * Inspirational motivation (establishing a vision using emotion): It is very obvious that the Varsity team had superior performance individually and they can perform much better if they believe in their team. However, they are demotivated and lost their beliefs in the team. Coach P. encouraged competition between JV and V groups which affected Varsity team negatively.
Other than creating a tension between teams, he should have motivated each team separately and should have built close relationships with members and provided an open and direct communication with them. Idealized influence (sacrificing for the greater good): Team disrupters decreased the motivation of the team and the team had no leaders. Coach P. relied on third parties such as Center of Enhanced Performance (CEP) and asked the group “What is your solution? ” other than trying to make the best decision himself and then take the right step.
For the greater good of the team, he should have demoted the team disrupters. For the rest of the team she should have worked with each member individually to set their goals and increase their motivation. Individualized consideration (providing support): The Varsity team’s most important problem is motivation and lacking a team spirit. To overcome this problem, Coach P. should have showed his support and provide open communication with the team. Instead, he tried to find the “right combination” by switching members of the teams and causing a tension among Varsity and JV boats.
He should have realized from the very beginning that the problem is not about physical but it was psychological. By trying different combinations, he made the team’s psychology even worse. Intellectual stimulation (encouraging employees to question the status quo): Coach P. should have let them negotiate and come to an agreement about the situation but it was very late for him to hold a group meeting just before National championships. Coach P. should have realized the trust and coordination problems of the team and should resolve the problems much earlier.
As a good leader, he should have built the team depending on both physical and personality factors in the first place. He should have demoted team disrupters for better teamwork and motivation among the rest of the team members. To resolve the conflict between Varsity team, he should have provided a better communication among them. That way, they would have come to an agreement without any support from an external party like CEP. To create a team spirit, he should have done team building games and activities and make them socialize with each other. Both the team members and the coach don’t know and trust each other.
Just like basketball coach, Coach K. ’s leadership style he should have been a loved leader who creates personal interaction and drives performance through respect. He should have built trust and respect among teammates and himself. After achieving these goals, it is very important to motivate the team to achieve a better performance. For Varsity team, following Locke’s Goal Setting Theory, creating SMART (goals that are specific in their orientation, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) and right level of goals would increase the motivation and effort.
Returning to case, Coach P. should not switch Varsity and Junior Varsity boats even though Varsity will perform badly in the Championships. That way, he will show his support and trust to Varsity team. If he chooses JV team to compete, he might lose the Varsity team forever. He shouldn’t switch team members other than the team disrupters. Varsity boat has a clear advantage over Junior Varsity team but they lacked a teamwork and synergy. As a coach he should make them feel like a team again and perform their best in the Championships.
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