Growth of Forensic Programs
In an effort to replace many of the forensics programs that are lost every year to budget cuts and coaching changes, many in the forensics community are making an effort to build new teams. Through the observation of team meetings and interactions I have used small group theory to analyze the vision the new team at Miami University has constructed. Hopefully, other coaches can use this information to develop a unifying vision that can foster team growth.
Despite the long and impressive competitive success at Miami University, the turnover in the coaching staff has also resulted in a high turnover on the team. When I arrived two years ago we had three returning members on a fifteen member squad. Only one of those three lasted throughout the entire year, leaving the team with a national tournament group of ten with only one member with more than that year’s experience. She was in her second year of competition. At the next years national tournament we again had ten members; however, four of them were returning members.
In an effort to motivate members to return and to create a more cohesive unit I decided to observe the team during our regular team meetings and at tournaments with small group theory in mind. What I discovered is that the team lacked a driving vision because the narratives being told were keeping a cohesive vision from developing. This observation has been vital in developing a new vision for the team and can probably be developed at other programs as well. Therefore, a simple explanation of narrative theory and group vision will be given. Next, I will further explain the narratives at Miami University in order to show the cyclical nature of narrative and vision and to show how vision can be constructed so that other programs can use this evidence to foster their own growth.
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"Constructing a Vision in a Small Group: A Narrative Analysis of a Forensics Team,"
Proceedings of the National Developmental Conference on Individual Events: Vol. 4:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/ndcieproceedings/vol4/iss1/9