Team Building, Do you really have what it takes?
So you have played recreational paintball for a while and have decided you would like to take your team to the next level? Well, as a fellow Team Captain with some experience, BE WARNED! Prepare to set aside some serious time and effort as an undertaking such as this most certainly amounts to a part time job. Please be advised like anything else such things have there ups and downs but by the same token it can be a very rewarding experience for the person who truly loves to paintball so PERSEVERE!
In this article I hope to outline some ways of putting your team on the proverbial map so to speak within the paintball community. Furthermore I intend to outline some of the mistakes and pitfalls common to any team in the hopes of helping your team retain a certain amount of longevity.
To begin with any Team Captain must possess those leadership skills that gain you the respect of the rest of your team. Personally I think it important to designate a minimum of at least one other trusted team member to assist in making the daily decisions for the group as part of team management. Please keep in mind a leadership role provides for making those final important decisions for the team, however it is not to say one should run around barking orders or maintaining some kind of dictatorship. Any good Team Captain will advise team mates of a goal and then step back to a certain degree and allow them to fulfill their individual roles towards accomplishing the overall task at hand. Cross that line and the team is destined to crumble and fail but also remember that Team Captains are people to and are capable of errors in judgment. The ability of a true leader is to learn from those same mistakes and apply it when running the team as a lesson learned.
It is very important that first and foremost a team should SCREEN potential recruits thoroughly and do not simply add someone to the roster who expresses interest in joining the team. Simply put, some people’s personality traits or playing style may not integrate well with other existing team members resulting in problems within the team structure and can easily result in an eventual team split. Therefore it is imperative to insure all potential recruits fit in well with the rest of the team. Herein lies some difficult decisions for any Team Captain, just remember that any decision made should be done with the furtherance of the team as a whole in mind, one must try to set aside personal differences. I am not however suggesting that a decision for the betterment of a team should compromise ones own morals and ethics, all this having been said, be very selective.
Another interesting point to note is that quite often as the years pass by, many members for whatever reason go their separate ways, whether it’s life or work that gets in the way. Thus another good reason to establish the criteria for your team’s recruitment process. Personally at least to this writer, team try outs are simply not enough. If a potential recruit really wishes to join the organization that individual should be prepared to spend some time at different events or get involved with team projects and in so doing prove their worth. Since our inception in 2004, The Glen Morris Mercenaries aside from me as the team founder have only one original member of the crew still with us today, while tough, get used to the idea that people move on to different things. Always be up front and honest with the team as a whole, they make not appreciate all the decisions you make but they have to respect it. Hold regular team meetings to discuss the issues and once agreed upon by the majority, set out the rules and guidelines of what it takes to be a member of the team and have each member sign a contract of agreement to these terms. Thereafter if members do not pull their weight so to speak, remind them of their commitment to the team and the signed contract as a basis for dismissal. Please note as a Team Captain, each situation should be dealt with on an individual basis and at times exhibiting a certain amount of leniency depending on the circumstances is a sign of any good leadership, remember that this is also just a game right.
Establish the direction the team wishes to take. In short in this writer’s opinion there are really only two directions for paintball, either opt to embark into competition paintball or choose to exemplify paintball as a Rep team. Rep teams can be as significant to paintball every bit as much as competition teams. While competition paintball is relatively straight forward, a Rep team could over and above attending games, hold charity events, establish instructional paintball programs or clinics and look for the many other ways to help represent paintball in a positive manner to the paintball community and the general public.
Another important aspect of taking your team to the next level is the ability to MARKET. What do I mean by this? In the beginning get out and play paintball at the big games or enter those tournament competitions and no matter how well you place NETWORK! It is important to talk to other teams or field owners and staff and in so doing gain your team name some notoriety. Personally I like to take tons of pictures at every event we attend and immediately following upload the pictures onto our website for others who attended to come and view following each event date. Part and parcel of developing a reputation in the paintball community is finding ways to have people remember you stopped by and played a great game of paintball. Conduct yourselves at every venue in a friendly and honorable fashion both on and off the field no matter what anyone else says or does.
Once you have established a reputation and have completed some scenario games or tournaments, now is the time to build your team resume, that all too important document that says who you are and the achievements you have accomplished. In this day and age any group looking to market themselves should have access to the World Wide Web and a team looking to take it to the next level should be prepared to invest in a crisp, professional looking website. Making connections on the internet to other teams, paintball venues and people within the paintball industry is yet another great way of setting your team up for success.
Any significant teams today looking to make a name for themselves should have the backing of a local paintball field or pro shop. With the assistance of your sponsored local paintball venue approach those paintball sponsorships to help PROMOTE the team. Please keep in mind that sponsorship does not necessarily translate into a fortune in free paintball gear or markers nor does it mean (as in one of my previous articles) that only paintball related business should be approached (psssst FYI, who cares if your now sponsored by your favorite local donut shop, paintball is not inexpensive and every little bit helps). One fine example were some of my old friends in the Grand River Renegade Guerrillas or GRRG for short. One of the GRRG’s sponsors were Western Waffles at the height of their existence, something they proudly displayed on their team jerseys, the GRRG were among the #1 top ranked Scenario tournament teams in all of Canada at the time.
In many cases sponsorships are items shipped or supplied at a significant discount or money donated to help offset the team’s costs. Any team should be more than prepared to properly represent that product/field at any and all paintball events you plan to attend via banners, fliers or other promotional material. Plan to include plenty of mention of your teams sponsor/sponsor’s on your team website by perhaps creating a sponsors page and include links to your sponsor’s website.
So if taking your team to the next level is really what you want, I hope following a few of these simple guidelines will help achieve the desired outcome. PERSEVERE, SCREEN, NETWORK, MARKET and PROMOTE