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What makes teamwork work?

I loved playing netball when I was at school but it was just one of those things I did as a kid. At least that’s what I thought until recently. It seems the good old game of netball is having a moment and it’s a resurgence that I’m very pleased to have been completely caught up in.

Now, I recognise it’s not for everyone and indeed there are many friends I’ve spoken to for whom the word ‘netball’ only conjures up unhappy memories of sweaty damp bibs and the feeling of frost-bitten legs poorly protected by ridiculously short skirts. Anyway, when a Target client decided to set up a team in a local fun league, I couldn’t wait to join in.

The ADEY Ladies have been playing together for a year now and we’ve learnt a lot, especially about playing as a team. We finished our first winter season at the bottom of our division, but this time we’re currently five games in and eight points clear at the top.

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This progress got me wondering about why we’ve improved and I’ve boiled it down to three factors that I think are critical to the success of our teamwork.

1. Strong leadership

We have an enthusiastic captain or ‘team leader’ who is incredibly competent, supportive, confident and able. She took it upon herself to set up the team, organise training sessions and ask her bosses for sponsorship to support us. Yet most importantly, she listens to her team and makes decisions, providing critical support and advice that helps bring us all together and want to perform to the best of our ability.

2. Common goals

When we started out we had a common goal; to improve. Many of us hadn’t played netball since our school days (and those days were much further away for some than for others!) so it took time to remember the rules, especially the footwork! We had differing fitness levels and varying skill sets. Yet every game saw improvement in each of us which was supported by the naming of a ‘player of the match’ in each game, more goals scored and fewer fouls. We could see tangible results.

As we’ve improved, our confidence has grown and our common goal has evolved; we now play to win because we know that we can.

3. Understand the rules

It might have taken us a while to remember what they are, but now we understand the rules of the game, we’re playing so much better. In our first few games, it was mayhem as we all tried to guess what was expected of us but knowing the rules has helped to set and define parameters, enabling each of us to focus on our individual role and function. Without uncertainty slowing us down, we’re free to play the game as best we can, and as such each of us has become more effective at moving the ball quickly up or down the court and into the net.

If these three simple factors can bring success for us on the netball court, what could they help your team to achieve? That’s certainly what I’m reflecting upon as I play my part in developing Team Target’s winning performances.

Rachel Meagher

Associate Director

 

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