Hoosiers is a film that was produced in 1986, and it is about a high school basketball team in Indiana. Although it was a relatively small team, players managed to win the coveted state championship under the leadership of Coach Norman Dale. Dale has a rich history in coaching basketball teams and he comes with unique coaching skills that are not readily appreciated both by his players and the rest of the coaching staff. The non-traditional approach of the coach shocks the entire town when the team manages to reach the championship level in Indianapolis and win while playing against the defending champion. This essay analyzes a sports film and the way characters perform as a team, in particular.
Characteristics of the Team
Hoosiers tells the story of a high school basketball team known as the Hickory players. Hickory possesses the attributes of a high-performing team due to the fact that it managed to win the state championship, yet it comes from a small town. Under the leadership of Coach Norman Dale, the Hickory players manage to beat the defending state champions against all odds. A team can only manage to put in excellent performance if it understands and utilizes the four C’s, which include context, composition, competencies, and change management skills (Dyer et al., 2013, p.13).
According to the competencies attribute of the team, high-performing teams must be able to develop the mechanisms that will enable its members to move forward and resolve the disagreements and disputes. Basically, an effective team can only achieve its goals if it has the competencies of enabling everyone to understand their assignments and work (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 17). For instance, a dispute arose when Dale introduced his own techniques of coaching, yet the team was used to a zone defense and shooting. Much to the dislike of the team, Dale drilled his players in the conditioning of the fundamental playing tactics that do not have any shooting or scrimmages. It is at this point that people come to learn the significance of effective leadership and the ability of the leader to be consistent with his self-concept. Obviously, the team was not used to the playing tactics introduced by the coach. However, their ability to enable assignment understanding allowed mastering the new art, which propelled the team to newer heights.
Initially, the team is not conversant with the playing strategies of the coach. Dale steers his team towards concentration on the four-pass offense approach when playing. However, Rade Butcher decides to disobey the coach and even manages to score successfully on several occasions without passing the ball. This makes the coach bench him, and he does not return even after another teammate fouls out. This portrays the significance of sequential interdependence, where the team leader places emphasis on consistency and regular coordination for certain objectives (Dyer, et al, 2013, pg. 27). Although the efforts of a single player in the field are important, all members must work together as a team since sequential coordination is required to achieve a common goal. The concept of reciprocal interdependence is also emphasized by the coach. He lets his team understand that output can be produced only through an iterative and simultaneous process where each member has to work closely with his teammates.
In the court, basketball players must constantly coordinate as they play team defense or offense, which reduces the possibilities of the team being defeated due to lack of teamwork. Studies show that team success cannot be guaranteed even when a team has a player who is considered to possess the best basketball talent (Dyer, et al, 2013, pg.29). This is the main reason why Coach Dale does not go looking for Jimmy who is considered the most talented shooter. He places emphasis on the composition and performance of the team by giving clear directions. The coach does not allow personal efforts to be celebrated when they obstruct the efforts of the teams. This is the reason why he prohibits the best shots of his team member for failing to pass the ball to a teammate who was in a better position to score. The composition and performance enable the team to adopt the strategies of the coach, though it is challenging to implement them.
Another crucial element of the 4 C’s concept is changing. Teams usually face a wide range of problems such as differences between the team leader and the team members, resistance to change, and lack of trust (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 87). Coach Dale had a huge problem trying to convince his team to change their old cultures and playing plans and adopt new strategies that will enable every player to play together as a team. Ensuring that the ball was passed at least four times before shooting played a significant role in enabling all members to contribute towards the final success. Furthermore, individual talent was not allowed to grow at the expense of team performance. Team members had to change their old strategies, and this enabled it to reach the state championship.
Some of the elements that the team needs to develop to become better include having faith in the game strategies implemented by the coach and appreciating the efforts that each team member displays. It is important to note that a team can only be successful if it shares the same goals even when members are not sure about the decisions that are made by the team leader. This ensures that all individuals are putting in maximum effort towards a common goal. The team will develop and become better when the contribution of each member is appreciated.
Members of the Team
In the beginning, the team consists of Coach Dale and seven other players. However, Buddy Walker is dismissed from the team when he fails to pay attention when the coach is talking. Whit Butcher is another team member who decides to leave the team after his friend has been dismissed. However, this does not derail the coach from forming a team of five players that includes Rade Butcher, Everett Flatch, Merle Webb, Strap Purl, and Ollie McLellan. With time, Whit Butcher returns to the team after he apologizes and asks for another chance. Jimmy Chitwood is considered the most talented player and when he joins the team, he greatly motivates the players to work together as a team. The fact that he supports the strategies implemented by the coach makes Jimmy a unifying factor in the creation of a high-performing team.
Coach Dale is the team’s leader who is responsible for steering and motivating them to be successful. Jimmy contributes his shooting talents and acts as the team captain since all the players believe that they can be successful when he is leading in the court. This implies that the team is more confident when they have a motivational leader (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 57). Other players basically work together towards the formation of a team that shares the same goal and aims at achieving it.
The Hickory players can be described as a high-performance team due to several reasons. One of the prominent attributes of the team is the way it relates to individuality and team performance. From the beginning, Coach Dale tells his team that they must pass the ball at least four times before a person can shoot. This gives all team members a chance of contributing positively to team performance. This shows that the team understands effective ways of establishing high-performance standards and ensuring that all team members are held accountable for the results. From this perspective, it is evident that the team initiates clear processes when it comes to decision-making, and that final decision can only be influenced through efficient participation (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 61). This is an important aspect, which Coach Dale uses to form support and trust in the team so that they can be a committed team.
Another reason why the Hickory players are considered as a high-performance team is the presence of a highly talented player, who demonstrates the significance of talent versus hard work. For instance, although Jimmy is recognized for his outstanding shots, he is not included in the initial team and also refuses to participate due to personal reasons. Basically, studies show that natural talent can carry an individual only up to a certain level (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 91). When it comes to the concept of change, a team leader must realize that team building is a continuous process and not a single event. This is what Coach Dale does when he builds his armature team to reach high levels of professionalism even without Jimmy’s talent. Even when Cletus, the Hickory principal, tells Dale that it is important to include Jimmy in the team, the coach says that no one is irreplaceable. This implies that the coach does not simply focus on the value or talent of a single individual but on the team spirit.
The coach also tells the Hickory players fans that they should not just support the performance of a single member but should encourage the entire team. He argues that school athletics should have a form of reciprocity since the players sacrifice their personal energy and time to ensure that the school and the community are recognized in the bigger league. Teams that appreciate the contribution of different team members end up becoming successful in the long run (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 91). This implies that the coach validates the diversity of each player. This is because members are not playing for their personal recognition but for the recognition of the entire team, their learning institution, and the community. Team building is basically a meta-competency that can be developed in order to continuously analyze and change the way a team performs.
Coach Norman Dale is the team leader who attains the position of the head coach. Dale achieves the respect and admiration of the team after he demonstrates the uniqueness of his coaching techniques. Basically, the coach introduces a new cultural norm that enables the basketball team to have team synergy, cohesion and pass the ball before making a shot. Different leadership styles tend to influence the cohesiveness and motivation of the team members (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 93). He plays the role of a manager when he creates a productive and successful team that can develop processes, which enable the team always to criticize itself and encourages them to seek improvement. When Butcher disobeys the game plan, Coach Dale seats him on the bench due to the risk of the actions of a single member. It is important for a team leader to identify the problems in time to ensure that the goals of the team are not forgotten.
From this episode, it can be seen that team composition and performance can only be successful if the team leader is able to identify and recruit individuals who share the same attributes as those of the entire team, and Coach Dale can do that. Effective teams must clearly identify the weaknesses and strengths of each team member (Dyer et al., 2013, p. 37). Basically, team members must be willing to follow the directions set by the team leader so that team goals can be achieved. Team leaders who are successful must be effective at managing their teams both at the group and individual levels in order to ensure that everyone is motivated. Coach Dale complies with this requirement.
Finally, effective managers usually have to work with limited resources. Coach Dale has a limited number of six players and everyone second-guesses the ability of the team to win a tournament when faced with formidable opponents. The coach recognizes the significance of appreciating the efforts of all team members, and it plays a critical role in winning the converted championship. His intelligence enables him to solve the problems that affect his team with a team concept of consistency. Basically, he designs a team building program that utilizes the four C’s of building a successful team. For instance, he hires Shooter Flatch despite his alcoholism problems due to the fact that he is confident that he would create an effective management team. He provides his subordinates with opportunities to coach the team and proves that the missions of the team are being completed through consistency.
This essay analyzed the performance of team members of the characters in the film Hoosiers. According to the analysis, Coach Dales introduces unique coaching skills that help to steer the team towards a state championship. Dale seems to be an individual with effective leadership skills since he has the ability to set a positive example both to his players and the coaching staff. He defines a clear playing strategy which he expects all the team members to adhere to. Unified players work towards the same objective, and those who violate this strategy are disciplined in order to avoid disrupting the objectives of the entire team. On the other hand, he provides his coaching staff with the opportunity of showcasing their skills. His leadership strategy plays a critical role when it comes to forming a high-performing team.