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When to Call a Team Meeting

Meetings are something most people don’t like, and most players and coaches feel the same way. Players sometimes feel that their time could be better spent on the practice field, while coaches could use that time to teach their players more.

At least that’s how Garland (Texas) Naaman Forest High School Head Softball Coach Jill Miller views meetings. “I kind of call them as we need them. Right now I have a really good group of girls, so I haven’t had to have any meetings individually or as a team,” Miller said. “However, in the past I have had some personality conflicts. When you coach high school girls, there’s potential for it. I have had to call some meetings and try to get everything out in the open so we can get everybody back on the same page to achieve our goals.”

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One reason why Miller isn’t big on meetings is because she wants her captains and players to work out most problems on their own without her involvement. Of course, there can be exceptions, but as a general rule she prefers to let her players resolve their own issues.

“Well, my captains are really good. I kind of trained them when I first took over the program here about years ago. I said look, one of the things is I want you guys to learn conflict resolution on your own, try to keep me out of it and learn as a team how to work together,” Miller said. And improving those skills benefits them in several ways.

“[I tell them,] 'Not only is that going to help us as a team, but it’s going to help you guys in the growing up process, like learning how to handle things without always running to your boss because that’s essentially what I am,'” Miller said. “I really encourage my girls to try and handle things without me. They’re really good about doing that. A very small percentage of kids go on to play college sports. My goal is to try and teach them to be productive young ladies in whatever area.” 

However, there is one type of meeting she still has frequently, at least during district play: team film sessions. But Miller keeps those as brief as possible.

“I’ll watch a game and see if there’s really anything we even need to watch,” Miller said. “And I really only do that in district, when we go into knowing we’re going to play [a team] the next time. [I ask] what did they do, why?” But even film sessions can sometimes be counterproductive because her players don’t particularly like meetings.

“It’s real hard to keep them even focused,” Miller said. “They’re more into watching the game and watching what they individually did. We have to really wrangle them back in and get them all back on the same page of we’re watching this to learn, not to see what we did well. [I remind them] we’re not out for ourselves, we’re out for what’s on the front of our jersey.”

From GameChanger and Stephen Hunt.

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