“If the only way you lead is by example, then you’re a very poor leader.”
– Dick Devenzio
This thought has always resonated with me on a number of levels—as a coach. As an athlete (or parent), though, it’s a tough statement to swallow. It doesn’t make sense.
Many will say: “What do you mean I’m a poor leader if I lead by example?”
Well, for starters, “leadership” is what every team member must do on a good team. It’s a baseline. A starting point that lays the foundation for winning and championship performances.
The first level of leadership is leading yourself. That is, by doing what needs to be done (e.g. showing up on time, being prepared to play, hustling, etc.), it sets the example – or tone rather. That’s called doing your part. To a good coach, it’s the expectation rather than an exception.
Once this happens, then you have your feet firmly set in the starting blocks. (You have yet to run the race though!)
Real leadership in basketball, as so appropriately put by Coach DeVenzio, “…begins when the people around are not doing what they need to be doing and probably don’t want to.”
If you want to win championships and be special, it’s not nearly enough to congratulate yourself for being the basketball player that pays attention and does their job. The differentiating factor is: Are you in the habit of making sure your teammates play close attention and do their job too?
I was recently reading some thoughts inspired by Dena Evans and stumbled across this golden nugget that sums it up so well:
Queen Elizabeth I, who some would call one of the greatest leaders of all time, once said: “To be a king that wears a crown is far more glorious to them who behold it than it is to them who wear it.”
Winning a championship; and, being a contributor to that championship environment is a far less glamorous undertaking than what TV and movies would have you believe.
Leadership is a full-time job and *A LOT* of responsibility.
There are countless opportunities – away from the court, during practices and during games – where true leadership is needed. You’ll know you’re there when you find yourself or a teammate ‘stuck in the muck’ of a discouraging situation. When that happens, and it will, true leaders bring their rubber boots, eagerly wade into the muck, willingly stay for a while, and don’t let themselves be discouraged.
Get busy getting dirty!
THINK THE GAME
Join PGC Basketball and discover how to become a playmaker, lead your team, and run the show.
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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.