A leader must always look for possibilities and opportunities and never give in to complaining or worrying about conditions or circumstances. Then always look for ways to turn things around, and never sink into self-pity or get discouraged.
There is one decision I feel confident no player will regret; that the greatest honor bestowed upon a player is to be remembered as a great teammate. I was a good teammate, but if I could go back and change one thing, I would have pursued being the greatest teammate ever.
This blog post is specifically for those athletes who want to be the best they can be as players and leaders. If you want to be an effective leader it is crucial to first lead yourself. Learning the following five habits to lead yourself in practice will not only earn the trust of your teammates and coaches but it also will give you confidence in yourself.
During practice, seek to be mature, not right. After practice you can work out the rights and wrongs, removed from the tension of competition and performance. What is the difference between a mature athlete and an immature athlete? The answer to this very important question every athlete ought to ask and think about daily is one hour.
THINK THE GAME
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Listen carefully, boys and girls.” Teachers, instructors, and other authorities might as well add, “or you won’t get to hear what the nice, boring man is saying.” What a warning. The precise reason you are not listening carefully is that you have no interest in what the nice, boring man is saying. But how often do you hear this sort of thing? How often do you have to put up with it yourself? In my opinion, the whole problem is one of definition.
Do players like playing for you, or do they dread coming to practice every day? Are you even aware of how they feel about you? Are you pursuing a career where you will one day be a character in their athletic horror stories or the hero that changed their lives? I am sure you have heard the quote from Billy Graham before, “One coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.” If we assume that this statement is even partially true then you, as a coach, have been empowered with one amazing task and one amazing burden.
When a young athlete wakes up to instagram, eats with snapchat and falls asleep next to youtube, then their whole paradigm of what a basketball player is becomes what is captured in a loop of video. The hero is someone who can make others fall, a hero is someone who puts someone on a poster, and the loser … never be the loser who get’s made fail-famous in a video.
It was the 2007-08 basketball season, and I was going into my junior year at Emmanuel College. We had graduated five seniors from the previous year—a loaded team that not only won the most games in program history, but had also made the school’s first ever conference championship appearance. Riding that wave of success our head coach left, leaving myself and one other teammate as the two lone holdovers from the previous season. In our first scrimmage of the year, we squared off against North Georgia and emotions began to run high. After that game, coach pulled me aside and gave me three nuggets that changed the way I have approached leadership. I hope they can have the same impact on your leadership game as they did mine.