Communication and Team Play

Many of the tournaments, games, leagues and jitney’s we play in are team based, but how do you rate as a teammate?  You may find yourself in the finals or even on a winning streak, but for the majority who don’t win or who may be struggling, do you know if you are really working as a team?  Is there someone (even you) who is influencing the team (positive or negative)?  Do you know why you are winning or losing?  Is the whole team making the effort to win?

A recent article I read from Lachlan Tighe  was all about team attitude and the one thing he preaches (it’s ingrained in a lot of his articles) “Attitude.. all about practicing habits”.  Here are a few of the points from one of his articles:

Why does Tiger Woods look to do it so easily?

Because when he chooses his 2-iron twice in a round he knows he has hit that club 500 times this week and 475 of those were perfect — 95%.

Do you have the discipline to throw 500 shots a week, how about 100 shots a week?  Do you even practice specific shots or practice at all?  Are you simply playing games as practice?  A lot of bowlers don’t get out to the greens by themselves or even with their team to practice.  If you don’t practice shots how do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are or how far you and your team has to go to improve?  If you don’t practice you are letting yourself and your team down as they are relying on you to perform (and you are relying on them as well)?

Repetition of perfect practice

Do you just play games?  That’s not perfect practice.  Short/long/wide bowls are evident and what you practice is what you bring as a standard into competition.  Does the team even practice?

Pre shot/delivery routine

You need to know by practice what you do every time you prepare to deliver and while you deliver.

If all you are doing is playing game after game, what specifically are you practicing?  Do you really know how well you draw? drive? trail?  can you isolate you weaknesses and work on them in a game?  If you are playing games you really cannot work on a specific aspect of your game.  A golfer doesn’t just go out and play tournament after tournament, they hit the range and crank out hundreds of drives, hundreds of chips and then hit the putting green to sink hundreds of putts.  It’s practice with a purpose… to improve each aspect of the game so when you are in a real game situation you’ve done it so many times it should be second nature.

Fail to Plan — Plan to Fail

Do you and the team expect to win the district, provincial, national?
Do you expect to play in a championship?
If so…
Are you preparing for the next round competitor? (player/team/club)
In your position (say lead) are you precise in your jack delivery at maximum/minimum length and are you also always able to get one bowl per end within mat length of the jack?
Have you/the team set goals for the season?? — why not?? (don’t expect anything in that case)
Why haven’t you as a team member?  Too afraid to be seen as different?
Make goals measurable for technical skill and your level of competition.

If you don’t have a plan, what are you doing?  Honestly — if you have no goals, no plans and are flying by the seat of your pants.. what are you really accomplishing?  You have to prepare for each game, each opponent and each event.  If you are doing this and your team isn’t — maybe you are in the wrong team?  Don’t be afraid to be different and set goals and make plans.  That way you know when you are moving in the right direction and what it will take to get to your goals.

Communication

Good communication = listening, encouraging, positive body language, personable, welcoming and honesty.
Two ears, two eyes and one mouth to be used in similar proportion.

Team communication is vital to success.  If you can’t talk to your team, then you are at a huge disadvantage.  You need to be in constant communication with each other and not just with tactical information, but with encouragement, positivity and team spirit.  Do you really want to be on a team that doesn’t get along or doesn’t want to talk?

Being in a team means being responsible to everyone involved.  There is no room for selfishness, egos or stubbornness in a team game — these things will only defeat you.  The team has to work together, practice together (and also as individuals) and make sure that they are doing what they can to support the team and all the other individuals in the team.  If you want to win together you have to work at it together.

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