Starting your first team? Avoid these four traps!
Not Setting Goals
Everyone has their own individual goals when they join a team. People find a group that they think will help them achieve these personal ambitions.
New teams often don’t take the time to set goals as a group.
Not having a clear group purpose fails to align the individual ideas of what the team can be. Just agreeing to a training calendar is not a reason to train 4-way. I’ve seen one teammate want to compete as a primary personal goal while another wants only to have a social experience. Those goals could be very compatible, but articulate them early.
Not Getting Specific About Money
I’ve seen teams agree to season plans as vague as ‘let’s do a 100 jump and 2 hours of tunnel’. While that seems pretty specific, teammate Jack hears that as ‘we will do a 100 jumps with coaching, video, packing; if we are weathered we will make up the days; that doesn’t include nationals’. Teammate Carrie hears ‘we will do 100 jumps with a go pro; I will pack for myself; I don’t care for coaching; if it rains we will lose jumps and our numbers includes nationals jumps’. Those are very different visions and very different price tags.
When starting a team, figure out a budget. I encourage teams to express their commitment level in monthly budget terms. Once you have committed to a resource level, it is a little easier to debate how to use the resources.
Not Having a Decision-making Plan
A functioning team sees many decisions every training day. Talking about these situations upfront is helpful. I also strongly recommend a rotating captainship.
Four-way is hard work. Teams just starting often have high hopes of success but no sense of what to expect from the level of input. They start to develop rigid expectations on how they might place, who they might beat, or what average they will have. Outcome goals like this can be very motivating and appropriate given the right amount of effort. However, it is important to layer on process and performance goals to keep perfectionism from derailing an otherwise amazing season.
If it is your first team or tenth team, avoid these pitfalls when setting up a team. Set goals, talk about the money, decide how you will make decisions, and set realistic expectations!
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