Playing on the turf of a Division I football stadium versus a team from national power Bergen Catholic in our first game of the UMass 7v7 tournament was more than our newly formed team was ready for. But it was just what we needed. As the day went on, we witnessed our team go from the Storming Stage of Tuckman’s Phases of Team Development to the Norming Stage.
The Hilltoppers began to perform with lowered anxiety, became more engaged, more supportive of each other and communicated at a higher level. The energy level of the entire team increased dramatically as we competed from game to game. There was an emergence of team harmony that we had not yet seen in this group of young men.
When we think about the characteristics of a team working through the Norming Phase we look for:
- Increasing Interdependence
- Role awareness
- Contextual decision making
- Employing measures of effectiveness to reinforce progress & success
- Commitment & Unity
Leadership roles became clearly defined as did positions on the depth chart. Players began to make decisions not just in relation to the defensive scheme or offensive formation, but in context with, and in relation to each other. In doing so, they demonstrate more and more interdependence and by doing so, reinforce commitment and unity.
During our discussion of the “Forming” stage, we talked about the importance of challenging but attainable goals individuals could accomplish in order to build momentum and reinforce success. As we work through a phase like “Norming,” we see the scope of challenges grow to a competition like a 7v7 tournament where success is predicated on cooperation and the realization no one can win by themselves.
We have two more weeks to prepare for our next 7v7 at Spaulding high school in Vermont. The venue will not be nearly as imposing nor will the opponent, but it will allow our team another opportunity to bring us closer to the Performing Stage.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!