Monday, September 29, 2008

Coaches as environmental psychologists

Vinny Del Negro (here with Michael Beasley in a pre-draft workout) is beginning to put his stamp on the Bulls, including making some physical changes at the team's practice facility.

For those who don't believe making "cosmetic" changes is a big deal, psychologists will tell you that environments influence how groups and teams think and interact together.

Last year, I read an article about "environmental psychology" that talked about how making changes to an organization's physical setting -- even small, seemingly unimportant ones -- demonstrates to those within the organization (in this case, the players), that "things are changing here."

How a space is arranged also has influences how we learn. Good elementary school teachers understand this. It's why they spend so much time arranging (and re-arranging) their classrooms, deciding what to put on the walls, etc., so that the students not only feel more comfortable, but actually learn more efficiently.

I'm not saying coaches need to be interior designers. But furniture (and how it's arranged), color choices, lighting, flooring, plants, the shape of a room, what's on the walls -- are things we should give more thought to as we look for ways to give our team a competitive advantage.