Schism: a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.
The first time I ever heard this word was back in 2009. Brett Favre's days as a Green Bay Packer were over and after finishing one season with the New York Jets, Favre was ready to "retire" from football. But then the Minnesota Vikings came a calling. Favre decided to join that team and then a report came out that there was a schism in the Minnesota locker room. Some players supported Tarvaris Jackson, who was already on the team, and others were excited about the arrival of Brett Favre. The locker room was divided. Fortunately for the Minnesota Vikings, they had good leadership who put an end to this nonsense ASAP. The team was able to get it together that year and won a lot of football games.
Working at public schools and coaching a few different sports over the course of my life, you don't have much choice in who comes out for your team. You can a few new kids out each year but by and large, you coach who is on the team. There is no recruiting. There is no selecting kids from a certain background or part of town. You coach who you have. With that, there is going to be some differing of opinions. Some kids want to lift weights at home, at the new fitness club, or just skip training all together. They may want to miss the optional workouts in an effort to play more video games or take a nap. Some might just want to work and make a little cash. But in the end, all of these things take away from creating a unified team. A divide could potentially shows it ugly head within your team. Enter the word schism.
A schism is a split or division within in your team caused by differences in opinion or belief. This is a scary situation and if not identified early on, it could wreak havoc on your program. That being said, the kids that train together will have a better relationship with one another. You can't get around that. A special bond is formed when you are working hard to accomplishing things you have never done before. The kids that decide to train elsewhere or not train at all miss out on this. They almost become outsiders to those who train together. It is our jobs as coaches to identify this problem and try to de-escalate the situation to the best of our ability. At the end of the day, kids are going to do what they want to do. It is our job as a coach to make the environment one that every kid wants to be a part of!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!