Dealing with Team Drama
Drama is tough. Drama is stupid. But regardless of what it is, it’s there. And you’re going to have to deal with it one way or another.
Whether it’s problems between individual members, problems with other teams, bad grades, alcohol & drugs, depression in certain members, or just any other cause of drama, you have to get rid of it. And don’t wait! Do it now.
Look at the big picture in drama. It doesn’t improve; it just gets worse. Here’s some misconceptions about drama and the wrong way to deal with it:
1. If I let it wait, it’ll go away
Sorry, but not gonna happen. How long have you waited for those two members to settle their daily arguments about formations? How long have you waited for the girl with the abusive boyfriend to stop missing practice because she’s sad? Waiting just doesn’t work. You need to take action from the moment you sense any drama. If you deny that it’s there or think it’ll go away, well, it’s there and it’s going to stay until you do something about it! Might as well act now.
2. This isn’t a big deal
Wrong! If it’s been going on and it’s conflicting with your ability to be productive and practice efficiently, then it’s a big deal. Isn’t that little stain on your drill outfit a big deal? Yes. It’s always a big deal. Don’t underrate.
3. This isn’t affecting the team . . . so I don’t have to do anything about it
If it’s in the team, then it’s affecting the team. Take alcohol for example. There’s just this one girl on your team that has a problem with alcohol. That’s not a problem–it’s just one person, right? Wrong. Remember telling your team that every person counts? Well, if you think this person doesn’t count, then that’s hypocrisy. This one person could be messing up formations, coming to practice drunk, etc. This affects the team. It can also possibly influence the team. I’ve seen people on the team become influenced by other people to such an extent. One alcoholic can lead to 10 alcoholics. That one person affects the team.
4. All high schools have drama. This is just part of high school.
When you’ve put this thought into your mind, you’ve just convinced yourself of a false statement. Remember when you said drama was stupid? Well, it is. So why are you trying to make it “okay” by telling yourself that it’s normal? In the United States, being obese is pretty normal. So should you be obese and not do anything about it? No. Don’t go with the normal because it’s not always right. Don’t tell yourself that bad things are okay, because they’re not. You have your own thoughts–don’t let the statistics fool you.
5. I don’t know what to do; therefore, I won’t do anything
This is both a thought that arises from fear and simple laziness. You’re scared to talk the the girl whose father abuses her because you don’t want to make her sad. You’re scared to talk to the administrator of your school about suicidal problems on the team because you don’t want team members to get angry and have their privacies invaded. You’re too lazy to deal with this. You’re too lazy to take time out of your day to fix this team. At first, you might not know what to do, but that’s always how it is. When you look at a math problem and have no idea how to do it, you think about it. Well, do the same. Think about what you’re going to do to prevent drama. You have to take action, but how? Well, think of a solution. Don’t tell yourself you don’t know what to do. You wouldn’t turn in a test blank because you didn’t know what to do. Well, this is the same. Turning in a blank test is just going to result in failure. Not dealing with the team = failure.
6. It’s getting better, so I should leave it alone and let things settle
So, she finally broke up with that abusive boyfriend and is happier. I shouldn’t mess with her becasue she’s probably adjusting. Besides, it’s getting better now . . .
This might be the case every once in awhile, but drama is usually periodic. It repeats over and over again. So, that just makes things better, because if you’ve prevented it once, then you’ve prevented it forever. High school relationships are tough. People don’t know what they want in life, who they want, why they want. I know a person who was seriously depressed at a competition because of relationship problems. This impaired her ability to perform. So shortly afterwards she broke up with him. You know, they had fights and the usual. She had the usual after-relationship sadness. But then they got back together. She found out that she “LOVED” him. So she loves the guy that likes to abuse her and influence her in bad ways . . . hmm. Don’t rely on the fact that it’s “getting better”. If it’s been getting better for a few months and it’s not better, then it’s not getting better. So why wait?
Now you know when the drama should be stopped. Of course there are sudden surges of sadness (funerals, for instance) but these are things that will just settle. Something periodic should be dealt with immediately. Any negative emotions will impair the drill performance.
So how exactly do you deal with it?
1. See what’s wrong and evaluate
Find out what’s wrong and what’s affecting your team in a negative way. Ask yourself: Is this something that I cannot prevent? Examples of this would be funerals, illness, family problems, etc. If it is something that will not last long (illness, for instance) then you can just leave it alone. If it’s something, like family problems, that’s troubling a particular member, then you can’t prevent it. What you need to do is talk to this person and see if it’s getting better or if she can no longer deal with drill. Ask her if she’d be better off without drill so she can spend time trying to deal with her problems.
2. If it’s something you can prevent, then find a solution
How are you going to deal with this? Usually your best bet is to talk to the person/people involved. Get the details and see what they want. They’ll probably give you a response like: “I’ll deal with it”. Well, don’t trust them. They’ve been trying to deal with it all year, and they still haven’t dealt with it. Since they aren’t going to do anything, it’s your turn to do something. If it’s a serious problem (drugs, violence, severe depression), then report it. Don’t be scared of the outcome. It’ll usually be a better choice. If you’re afraid, then leave it anonymous. Don’t worry about what they will think of you. If they’re depressed, then it’s their problem, and you’re dealing with it, so they should thank you. If it’s something that’s less severe, but still affecting your team (problems between members), then work it out. Who is causing the problem? Practice requires teamwork and collaboration, and with people arguing all the time, you can’t do anything. Why is there a problem? If it’s a simple drill issue, like who’s in the right spot for a formation, then you need to deal with it. Don’t provide an immediate answer. Think about who’s right. No favoritism. By the way, learn your formations. Don’t be telling people where to go when you don’t even know where they go! Settle any disputes fairly.
On the other hand, if it’s a relationship problem (as you can tell, I’m not very fond of these ones because they have caused so much trouble in all areas of high school), you need to talk to her. See what’s wrong and tell her it can’t go on if she’s going to continually be depresed at practice. Don’t be afraid to talk. That’s what you’re here for.
3. Once you find a solution, execute it
Again, don’t wait. When you’ve found that the solution is to talk to the person, then do it immediately. Procrastination is bad, so don’t wait until the problem gets worse.
This may seem like a simple process, but the main problem is waiting and thinking that the problem will get better over time. About 99% of the time it won’t get better. Remember to not be afraid to execute your decision. Your job is to make this team work and you need to prevent drama if you want this to happen.
And if it’s really bad and keeps going on, you may want to read my article about taking her off the team.
Go take action. Prevent the drama on your team and become more productive at practice. Now!