Introduction

Defining the roles and responsibilities of each player within a team is one of the most important things that can be done to develop teamwork. For a team to be as effective as possible each player must carry out their role within the team, for this to be possible it is essential that what is expected of each player is crystal clear.


Defining Roles in Your Team

In team sports, it’s important that individuals Know, Understand, and Buy in to their roles so that a team can maximize its collective potential

  • Know – It is crucial that all players know what is expected of them in the game both in defence and attack.

  • Understand – Each player must fully understand what they need to do and how this will contribute to the effort of the team

  • Buy In - In addition to understanding their role an athlete must accept the role they have been given. They may not agree or like the role but they must be willing to accept it for the good of the team.



How to use Defining Roles

To define roles within your team you should hold a team meeting. At this meeting you should

  • Discuss the positions and the skills required to perform each well.

  • Discuss each player strengths and weaknesses – this should be a combination of each players own view on their strengths and weaknesses as well as peer evaluation of each player.

  • Make decision about what players on your team are best suited to each position. To do this you should consider each players strengths and weaknesses and ensure that the role they have within the team makes best use of their strengths and hides there weaknesses as much as possible. Example – It would not make sense to have a player with a weak throwing arm playing in the outfield in a game of softball.

  • For each role that is assigned it is important that the player is made aware of exactly what is expected of them when performing

  • At the team meeting there should be time for discussion and questions to ensure that each player fully understands what is expected of them.

  • Ensure that each team member is very clear on the importance of the job they will carry out and how it will contribute to the success of the team.

  • After the meeting it is important that all player know, understand and "buy in to" their role on the team.

  • If there are any issues regarding the role that players are given it is important to work these out. the text in the box below describes how to deal with this situation.



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Examples of Roles




Why use Defining Roles

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Disadvantages of Defining Roles
  • Being too specific or precise with a players role may make the performer feel like they are not able to adapt to the different situations that occur during a game.

  • Some players may feel restricted due to the role they have been given. This may lead to frustration.

  • The roles given to players need to suit their skills and attributes. If they don’t this role may not be carried out effectively which may result in the team not performing well.

  • Too much information may result in confusion that could result in aspects of a role not being carried out. This could negatively impact on the teams attack or defence.

  • Player in the team may not agree and be happy with the role they are given within the team.

  • By simply defining a role it does not mean that the player is capable of carrying it out effectively.