Who's In First League Management

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cutting a Friend, Co-Worker or Family Member From Your Team

Yesterday we discussed how to gain an advantage over a friend in the field of play. Today we will look at friendship a little differently.

Do you have a player on your team who just doesn't cut it that you want to get rid of? What if this person is a friend of yours? What if it is a boss? What if it is a family member?

How do you go about cutting someone, who you will see outside of the field or court, off a recreational sports team that you manage?

Maybe this person doesn't have the skill set to compete at the level of the rest of the team. Maybe their attitude toward competition negatively affects your team chemistry. Whatever the reasoning is, trying to get a friend, co-worker or family member off a team is not an easy task.

There are many ways you can go about letting the person know he/she should look for other leagues to join, but this article will only focus on the positive ways.

Before dumping anyone, give them an opportunity to improve. If the player knows that there is heat for them to step it up, go to the batting cages with them and work on their swing, or go to a gym and practice their shooting for extra practice. Whatever the sport is, allow them to improve in the area they are lagging behind. This will not only make them feel better about themselves, if they do improve, but will take the heat off of you to tell them you have gone in another direction.

Granted, this process may take a long time and may keep them on the team an extra season, while the rest of the team breathes down your neck, but in the end they may understand that they aren't competing at the level they need to be competing at and quit on their own accord.

If practice isn't the route you wish to take, or if it didn't work the way you had hoped, then an honest heart to heart talk would be the next option. Whether it is over a beer after a game, or on the phone during the off-season, a good talk will allow everything to be aired. They will know where you stand and you won't feel the guilt over having to cut athletic ties with them in the near future. If there is someone on the team who is closer to the player in question, and feels more comfortable discussing this with them, then deferring responsibility may be the best bet.

If nothing has changed and you still need to get them off the team, you will need to be blunt with them, all the while keeping in mind that this is only recreational athletic sports and those friendships, work relationships and family ties will be there long past your prime athletic ability. Be nice and civil and make sure everyone leaves on a good note.

Remember professional coaches and managers get paid millions of dollars to make sure they have the right team on the field. Their livelihood revolves around whom they keep and whom they cut. Yours does not. Keep what is most important in mind when making any of these decisions, and maybe losing a game or two, but retaining a friendship is the best option.

Keep sporting!
- Who’s In First

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