Dec 28, 2017
Culture is Key, Part 3
Danny Olszowy

When taking over a new team, building the right culture can be elusive. In Part 1 of this article we looked at expectations and Part 2 examined how to create accountability.

The final process I believe must happen is for your athletes to build autonomy. Autonomy is defined as personal independence, self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The point where your athletes no longer need you all over them every training session is when you know they are trending in the right direction. They begin to take the initiative and ownership of their team!

The athletes start to hold each other accountable and have soaring expectation levels for themselves and their teammates and no one will accept anything less than that anymore. As a coach, your accountability and expectation levels remain present, but you can let the process unfold in front of you.

It is a beautiful process, too. Building autonomy does take time, because it has to occur organically. When it is created, however, it is long lasting and permeates its way to every member of your program because everyone will want to be a part of something that special!

In closing, you can only achieve an independent group of athletes by attaining the first two steps first. It has to be established by your unrelenting expectation levels and attention to details. Then accountability has to be formed among you as the coach and the athletes. Lastly, you strive to build autonomy as a unit — where you let your athletes take the “bull by the horns” with their unwavering discipline and attention to detail they developed themselves, as far it will take them!

This process of recalibrating athletes and their mindsets takes months, sometimes years. If you commit to the day-to-day grind of it all, you will be happy that you did so. You will be striving toward excellence and setting the bar higher than you may have even dreamed of. When it is all said and done, you can look back and say that you gave everything you had to your athletes!

Danny Olszowy, CSCS, USATF, is a Performance Training Specialist for SPECTRUM, Inc., in Orlando, Fla.

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