The word schism was first introduced to me a few years ago as Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings. A report came out that there was a "schism" in the locker room. When Favre was asked, he replied "I don't even know what that means,". At the time, I was in agreement. I have never heard that word used but when I looked up what that word meant, I realized that schisms show up all the time in sports.
The word schism can be defined as a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. For a great example, I think back to that Bears team from the 1985-86 season. The defensive coordinator on that team had very little respect for any coach or player that did not play on his defense. He did not seem to have much respect for his head coach either (I think that feeling was mutual). That team was able to stick together and win a Super Bowl but it quickly blew up and that Bears organization never reached the heights that it should have reached. All because of two coaches with an over-sized ego who were both stuck in their ways.
Over the years I have developed some solid relationships in the coaching world. I have made some good friends, heard crazy stories, and experienced some things with other coaches that just don't make much sense at all. One of which is when a coach has a fixed mindset. They do what they do and don't care about what anyone else has to say. They aren't worried about growth. They think they have it all figured out. When this occurs, a schism occurs within the coaching staff. That coach with the fixed mindset alienates himself and often times is not open to debate on any issue. This rubs people the wrong way. This divide on the coaching staff will eventually trickle down to the players. This is what happened to the Bears back in 86. And this is what happens to athletic programs all over the world right now.
Leadership starts at the top. If there is not a stable leader in charge, who openly encourages communication, great teams and organizations will suffer for it. I heard an NCAA football coach once say, "a quiet team is a losing team". What he meant was, if the team doesn't communicate with one another, the results could be disastrous. The same is also true among the coaching staff. All the coaches must be on board with which way the team is heading. If they are not, then it might be time to remove that problem coach from the organization. Don't be surprised if that team begins to flourish!
Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful weather and thanks for reading!
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!