What To Do When Some Players Socially Exclude Others
This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.
"On my U-12 team, I have 14 players. Twelve of them often gather socially and leave out the other two. How, if at all, should I intervene?"
PCA Response By David Jacobson, PCA Trainer & Senior Marketing Communications and Content Manager
You should try to improve the situation but not necessarily by intervening. Hopefully, you have emphasized teamwork as a path to success, as an intrinsic reward of team sports and as a source of life lessons, and now you can extend that emphasis to the social arena.
Rather than an “intervention” – where you call attention to the issue of teammates excluding each other and demand that it stop – instead create your own INCLUSIVE events. For example, have a team pizza party at a time when you are sure all players can attend. There you can introduce ice-breakers, such as giving each player a team roster that the players then fill in with a previously unknown fact about each teammate.
You can even do this at team practices without too much of an impact on precious practice time. Use just two or three minutes at the start of each practice, make sure each player pairs off with a different teammate each practice, and have them ask questions of each other, such as favorite food, movie, etc.
This way, you are not staging a dramatic intervention, which risks exacerbating social divisions within your team. But you are giving your players a chance to discover how wonderful their teammates are so that they may WANT to socialize.
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