Camaraderie is the spirit of good fellowship. It’s the mutual trust and friendship that emerges among people who spend a lot of time together.
Championship teams have it. Winning coaches understand its importance.
Take Doc Rivers, head coach of the NBA Boston Celtics, for instance. Rivers goes so far as to require his basketball players to spend off-court time together by attending one another’s functions. He realizes the obvious: some players like to hang out with certain teammates, others don’t. He’s continually trying to identify cliques in the locker-room and keeps a sharp eye on his basketball players to prevent too selective of groups that will get in the way of building team camaraderie.
When I was the point guard for Iowa State, we would get together once a week, watch a show, cook some food, and spend that important time together developing our trust and building key relationships.
There is seldom conversation amongst teams about how to foster chemistry. However, it is important for the coaches and leaders to find creative ways to unite their team in off-court opportunities. I constantly find myself struggling with this as I lead our seasonal summer coaching staff during our busy basketball camp season.
As I travel from school to school, I am always judging two things:
- the coaching staff’s level of fatigue
- unique opportunities to share a team building experience together. One location it might mean going for an all staff walk around a beautiful pond on campus. One location might present the chance to get on court and hoop it up together. One location was extremely exciting, which I share below.
I had two sessions at Gallaudet University this past summer, one in June and the other in July. During the June session, I identified a neat ropes course on campus. I immediately got connected with the ropes instructor, Jean, and inquired if I the coaching staff and I could attempt to do the ropes course on our day off prior to beginning the July basketball camp. While I wanted to make it mandatory, the middle of July is when fatigue typically creeps up on many of the coaches. However, almost the entire staff participated. We were challenged, yet Jean was a tremendous teacher and really was able to pull some amazing thoughts from the group. Most importantly, we had a great time getting outside of our comfort zone, engaging with one another on a completely different level, and we will forever share wonderful memories from the experience.
Here are some pictures from our experience and a video of myself flying through the air on the ropes course. The smiles and laughs tell it all.
PGC ‘Team Fennelly’ at the ropes course: Jenny Logan, Tony Tatum, David White, Lyndsey Fennelly, Omari Whiltshire, Stephen Fennelly, and Brianne O’Rourke.
PGC director, Lyndsey Fennelly, is all smiles now…!
GET CREATIVE AND BUILD CAMARADERIE ON YOUR TEAM
It doesn’t need to be a ropes course, but it is important to be thinking about how you can create camaraderie on your basketball team and sustain it for the duration of the basketball season. The pre-season is a wonderful time to encourage this behavior and build the foundation for a successful basketball season.
What are you doing this pre-season to build the chemistry of your team as either a coach or player? I would love other ideas or suggestions for what takes place in the pre-season to build the camaraderie of championship-level teams.
Too many players waste time working on things that don’t happen very often in games. One thing all great players have in common is their intentional training of game-specific actions
This is a correspondence between PGC owner Dena Evans and a long-time PGC grad. I was so moved by Dena’s response to this player, which the player’s father shared with me, I decided to ask Dena, and this athlete, for permission to share this correspondence publicly. If you know the heart-ache and disappointment of not reaching your team or individual goals, this is a must-read.
Far too often, basketball players make the game too hard with their go to move. They use multiple dribble combo move that rarely result in a successful attack. James Harden
PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.