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The Importance of Recognition in Team Sport

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The age old adage that there is no 'I' in team certainly rings true in sport.  However, at the end of many sporting seasons many players, bar the fortunate few who win 'Best and Fairest' or 'Best on Ground' find their efforts go largely unrecognised, if not completely unnoticed.  Although this is 'the way things have always been' there is evidence to support the fact that recognition, in the form of general trophies and awards, can have significant position effects on sports players, and their sporting performance.  Here's exactly why recognition for everyone is so important in team sport:

Recognition reduces the team quit-rate

The fact that recognition has a positive effect on a player's desire to quit his or her respective team shouldn't be rocket science, yet, many coaches and team managers seem to ignore this important fact.  Recognition is absolutely key in reducing both a player's desire to quit, and their eventual decision to do so.  Although it is not in a coach's best interest to try and retain all players, especially non-performing one, if a player is showing at least some potential, a coach should try and recognise them in order to retain them for subsequent seasons.  

Recognition also improves team culture

Success in team sport is less about skill and more about relationships - making team culture is of paramount importance to the success of any great sporting team.  And, if within that team, some players are called out as brilliant, and others are completely ignored, it will do little to foster a culture of mutual support, where players help each improve their weaknesses, and take advantage of their strengths.  Recognition of each and every player for their contributions, then, can help to foster this positive, more equal team culture.  

Most importantly - recognition leads to increased performance

Many coaches mistakenly believe that an individual player's talent is divorced from their mental state - they either 'have it' or they don't.  This couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, confidence in one skill's, and a belief in the overarching talent of one's team can significantly improve both individual and team performance.  Recognising individual players helps them to feel confident, valued, and important within the team, hence giving them a greater sense of purpose, and ultimately contributing to their increased performance.  

This sporting season, ensure that you recognise each and every one of your players, either through an individual award, or a special trophy.  It will not only make them feel good, but it will also improve the culture and performance of your entire team.