One of my favorite examples of teamwork comes from nature. There is much we can learn from Geese. By flying in a “V” formation each goose flapping it’s wings creates uplift for the birds that follow in that formation. The flock gains 71% greater flying range than if the birds flew alone. How significant is this? Is this not an example for teams to pull together with common goals and benefit the team by helping each other? Players who share common goals can reach them much quicker and easier if they trust one another and play like a team.
When flying alone, a goose will experience the drag and resistance and return to the formation. The goose understands the power of being helped. It’s important for coaches and players to offer help to each other, but equally important for players to check their egos and accept that help.
The lead position in the “V” is often shared. When the lead goose tires it drops back in the formation and another goose will take that spot. Great teamwork involves sharing of hard tasks and sharing leadership.
When geese are flying in formation you can hear them honky. This honky is a form of encouragement. Great teamwork includes encouragement from within the team. Coaches foster and environment where your players cheer for each other. If your drill is competitive and some are doing a consequence for the loss in that drill have the rest of your team clap them in and use positive talk during consequences, during drills, during game warm-ups and during games.
When geese are wounded or sick and need to drop out of formation. Two other geese will follow it down on its landing and stay to help protect it. The guardian geese stay until the wounded goose is able to fly again. Those geese then re-join the flock or fly in formation themselves on their journey. Great teamwork includes players that stand by each other in difficult times. They value all members of the team.