The Army Varsity Crew failed as a team, in my opinion because there was no trust or confidence amongst the team members. It was clear that there was no team effort working towards the same goal; instead it was eight individuals doing their own thing, with no goals. Coach P had been so driven to excel at the National Championship that he discounted or chose to ignore the psychological piece when he put together the varsity team. Although the Junior Varsity team may have been the bottom eight rowers, they formed as a team with a goal and did not individualize it. Coach P’s gaffe began when he was selecting the Varsity team and using the individual performance metrics from the ergometer and weight records, and neglecting to utilize any personality traits in the selection process. While the individual skills are important piece, the team element of trust and confidence are crucial in helping a crew team to be successful and synchronizing their rowing. As Snook and Polzner point out in the case, research done by the U.S. Olympic Committee showed that master coaches of racing crews highlighted psychological variables as the key elements for success. What is interesting though is that Coach P was aware of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s research and the emphasis on the psychological factor, yet he felt based on his experience and judgment as a coach he could do his own analyzing of the team. The Varsity Crew team
As the article points out trust is a required for component for a successful a team and that the team is only as strong as it weakest link.
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