Are Cell Phones Negatively Affecting You and Your Team?

The other day, I was reading a article in a coaching magazine that was sort of a debriefing about the summer Olympics.

I found one of the elements discussed by the author very interesting and definitely something I can relate to – how the presence of cell phones might negatively affect an athlete’s performance and the team environment.

We now live in a society that is addicted to instant communication devices like cell phones, iPhones, Blackberries, etc.

We are addicted to being connected and talk, chat, email, and text anywhere anytime.

I’ve had a cell phone for over 10 years. And just a few months ago, I got myself an iPhone so I am definitely guilty of that too.

I am not a text addict but I like to be able to check my email anywhere anytime now!

Ok, so what kind of effect can this have on an athlete’s performance and the team?

The author was saying that at the Olympics, many athletes were so focus on “capturing” and “sharing” their Olympic experience using their cell phones by taking and sharing photos, filming bits of it with it, emailing, talking, and texting with friends that it could have affected some of them by taking some of their focus away.

Another thing that it can do is to “isolate” the athlete within a group environment because as soon as you start “texting”, you become absorbed by it and you “mentally remove” yourself from where you are.

Last year, I took two athletes that weren’t mine to eat lunch before a workout. As soon as we sat down to eat – they both started texting and ignoring me and each other being completely focused on each texting.

I will admit it – I was insulted and found that profoundly disrespectful.

I felt it was the same as if I had been eating with someone and started to read the paper in their face ignoring him or her.

To me, it’s simple courtesy – you can’t do that.

Ok enough ranting..

Bottom line – the author concluded that excessive use of cell phones led to:

1) Being distracted and not staying focus
2) Took away the team concept by having athletes “isolate themselves” when with their team; not conducive to “team-building”.

So what is my policy about the use of cell phones?

Very sipmle.

Within my team environment, your cell phone is to be in your bag whenever we are in practice, in a game, preparing for it, or doing something as a team like eating together.

I don’t want to see it. If you need to use it – you ask permission.

It’s a simple as that.

You are not available – they can leave a message and you will attend to it later when you are.

So, what is the cell phone policy within your team?

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