Keys to Long-Term Success

Everyone is responsible for keeping the team together, coaches and players.  The group should have value for every team member, who should all contribute to its continuing success.  Coaches focus on building the team early in the season but may neglect maintaining the squad throughout the year and for subsequent seasons.

For Players

Reach the Top: Teams that come together socially perform better on the court.  Trust, chemistry, and confidence are attributes that improve as the team comes together.

Mentoring: Helping others is one of the best ways to enhance one’s personal satisfaction.  A small improvement in the social environment at school or at work is equivalent to a large increase in individual success.  Teaching younger players and taking pride in their accomplishments helps older students to enjoy basketball more.

It’s Not Personal: People frequently see their own opinions as more common than they actually are.  They begin to assume that their views represent the thoughts of others.  People also tend to believe that their perspective is better or more correct than an opposing argument.

Many individuals staunchly defend their own beliefs and conflicts escalate because of personal reasons unrelated to the issue at hand.  Don’t remain quiet if there is an issue within the team but express yourself honestly and frankly with peers.

Understand Others: When a dispute arises, manage the conflict logically.

  1. Explore your own thoughts and consider new possibilities
  2. Acknowledge emotional reactions (from both sides) and analyze what led to them
  3. Keep substantive conflicts separate from relationship conflicts

“You didn’t call that screen” is distinct from “What were you thinking at last week’s party?” and the feelings about each situation shouldn’t interact.

Be Proactive: Take steps to make it better instead of simply complaining.  If there is a problem, propose a plan of action instead of bemoaning the lack of one.

For Coaches

Bonding: Bonding social capital in the team brings players closer together.  Divergent groups of student-athletes who comprise the team must learn to trust each other.  Examples include non-sport activities in practices, competitions, and group challenges (regarding goals).

Everything in its Right Place: The worst temptation of power is to apply it where it is not appropriate.  Coaches can fall into this trap when they try to micro-manage every aspect of the team and over-expose themselves.  As Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, “it’s not the manager’s job to control everything.

Bridging: Bridging social capital in a basketball program brings different teams closer together.  The Grade Nine, J.V., and Varsity team members mingle and begin to know and support each other.  Examples include workouts for the entire program, older players mentoring younger ones, and coaches swapping teams for practices.

Singular Focus: When the team – or the program – comes, players can become more goal-oriented.  After coaching the United States Olympic Team in 2008, Mike Krzyzewski commented that all of the levels in the U.S. program have divergent goals, whereas the developmental programs in other countries share one focus: win at the top level.

If a Varsity coach must train their team at the beginning of the year, too much time is lost.  Everyone who plays basketball for a school should take pride in the top team’s achievements and look forward to playing for them, properly.

Prevention: If a student-athlete has a bad social experience, they will likely remain shy within the team for some time.  By monitoring the team from afar, a coach can keep tabs on certain groups and individuals before a problem explodes.