When was the last time you sat down and truly thought about why you do what you do as a dance coach? I know, we may jokingly question it all the time. During those late nights rhinestoning costumes, after a nasty parent email, or when you have to sacrifice one more thing in your personal life for your team. But I don’t just mean the flippant, “why am I doing this again?” When was the last time you really tried to find the meaning and purpose in your coaching?

When was the last time you sincerely connected with the purpose of your team? What is the meaning of a season that may be completely uprooted and different from anything we have ever done before?

Are you struggling with how to handle this season?

If you’re struggling emotionally with canceled fall seasons, the stress of practicing in-person keeping everyone safe, or wondering how you are possibly going to handle a season that’s even longer than normal, I want you to just pause.

Take a deep breath and use this opportunity to connect back with the true meaning of your dance team and why you’re a coach.

Why do you love to coach?

Why do you put in the hours and ask your team to show up every day?

What does your team mean to it’s dancers?

What does your team provide to the school or community?

Check-in with your team

Once you’ve connected with yourself, it’s time to turn to your team. And if you’re struggling to get your team onboard with this strange season and your dancers are asking you, “why are we even doing this Coach?” it’s time to have a heart to heart with the team.

Help your dancers find the meaning in your program outside of competition and performance. Sure, most of us are competitive and all of us are performers in some way. What if the way we typically compete is cancelled, or our favorite events to perform for our community are now virtual? Does that mean our teams don’t serve a purpose anymore?

I argue, of course we still have meaning! Especially in a time of change and uncertainly, we all need our dance family more than ever. Maybe the purpose of your team this year is to offer a place of comfort, connection, and security to your athletes who are otherwise living completely disrupted lives.

Maybe your purpose in the big picture is to bring the focus back on community, positivity, and good old-fashioned school spirit!

I realize this is a major mindset shift for some.

But that may be what it takes this year. And your team is looking to you to understand how they are supposed to feel right now. They are looking to you for answers about how to react. Show them the leader who reacts with strength, grace, and a positive attitude. Even if you need to take some time in private to get yourself picked back up off the floor, you need to show up with a renewed purpose and communicate the meaning of dance team to your dancers.

Find your core values

Here’s my concrete advice: Have a conversation with your team about your core values. Discuss what really matters to you this year. You can give them a list of values to work from to brainstorm those values but try to narrow it down to 3 or 4 core values that are your true meaning and purpose this season. It’s a hard conversation any year, but this year is more important than ever.

Find values that focus on learning, grit, growth, connection and belonging. Help them connect back with the big picture again. This will be a challenging season to coach. But I also think it can be the year we find our true purpose again. The year that we slow down and realize the meaning of all the hard work we put into our teams.

Because that work matters. YOU matter, Coach. Your team needs you to be the positive leader who continues to challenge their growth, personally and technically, and help them find the meaning again.

If you’d like help with the team values conversation, I have been doing virtual and in-person workshops for years and I’d be happy to help. CLICK HERE for more information about a team values workshop. But whether I host it for you, or you do it for your team, have the conversation this year and connect back with the true meaning of your team.

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