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Developing employability through sport and physical activity
Developing employability through sport and physical activity

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2 The initiative challenge: rejuvenating a despondent team

Described image
Figure 3 Bench of unhappy athletes

Within the next activity you will explore a case study. Engaging with case studies holds significant importance for your learning journey, as they facilitate real-world application, cultivating critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the scenario and carefully consider appropriate courses of action. By participating in this, you will gain a deeper understanding of how your learning experiences not only enhance your growth in sports but also enable you to transfer those skills and knowledge to the workplace.

Activity 1 Case study: demonstrating initiative in overcoming adversity

Timing: Allow approximately 30 minutes

Read the case study and consider the questions below.

Background: an experienced coach finds themselves leading a team facing various challenges, including dwindling team morale, lacklustre performance, and internal conflicts among players. The coach must step up and display initiative to turn the situation around and guide the team towards success.

Challenge: the coach faces the challenge of rejuvenating the team’s spirit, improving performance, and fostering a positive team culture. They must take the lead and demonstrate initiative to address these issues and create an environment conducive to growth and achievement.

Your objective: to analyse how a coach can display initiative in a challenging scenario, showcasing an ability to take the lead and make proactive decisions for the benefit of the team.

Questions to consider:

  1. What are the specific challenges faced by the coach in this scenario that requires them to display initiative?
  2. How can the coach take proactive steps to address the challenges and seize the opportunities?
  3. What actions can they take to motivate and inspire the team, fostering a culture of initiative?
  4. How can they identify and capitalise on areas for improvement within the team or individual athletes?
  5. What potential risks or obstacles might they encounter when taking the lead, and how can they overcome them?
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There are several opportunities for the coach to display initiative within the scenario. These might have included the following:

  • Creating a vision and setting goals: setting a clear vision for the team’s success and establishing achievable goals, collaborating with the team to define the shared objectives, ensuring everyone is aligned and motivated to work towards a common purpose.
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses: by conducting player assessments and team evaluations, the coach can pinpoint areas that require improvement and develop targeted strategies to address them.
  • Individualised development plans: to nurture the potential of each athlete, the coach can take initiative by creating individualised development plans. By recognising the unique needs of each player and providing tailored guidance, they can enable athletes to maximise their performance and contribute effectively to the team’s success.
  • Fostering effective communication: the coach can proactively improve communication channels within the team. They can implement regular team meetings, one-to-one discussions, and feedback sessions to ensure open and transparent communication. This initiative encourages trust, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas among team members.

The provided list is not exhaustive, and undoubtedly, you may have generated your own suggestions as well. Regardless of your own role (player or coach), engaging in sports offers ample opportunities to showcase and enhance your initiative skills.

Initiative, honed through sports participation, is a transferable skill that holds immense value in the workplace. Its proactive nature, problem-solving abilities, leadership qualities, adaptability, innovation, and self-motivation make it a highly sought-after attribute. Employers value individuals who take the initiative (Jackson, 2014), recognising their potential to drive success, foster growth, and contribute positively to organisational cultures.