Tag Archives: teamwork

5 Levels of Player Commitment

29 Jul

201401042048749303103-p5[1]I found this, recently, hanging on the wall of a high school weight room where I work with an area swimming and diving team.  Good stuff.


Five Levels of Player Commitment

  1. Compelled:  Team goals are of the utmost importance. Players feel a true sense of mission and purpose.  They enjoy extra work and team accomplishments.
  2. Committed:  Team goals are of high importance and a player is willing to do whatever is necessary.  Puts in extra time and effort to win.
  3. Compliant:  Team goals are important.  Player will do whatever is asked to achieve goal.  Will do no more, no less than what is asked.
  4. Reluctant:  Player is hesitant, or afraid to commit to team goals.  Will cut corners when they can get away with it.
  5. Resistant:  Player has not bought into the team goal, usually because he has his own agenda.  The player is selfish.

Which of these describes you?


Your thoughts?


When You’re on the Bench During a Game

11 May

Youth_Basketball_Sitting_out[1]Every athlete wants to be a starter and play big minutes.  And, if you’re a competitor, that’s what you should want.

But, the reality is, at some point every athlete finds him- or herself on the bench.  It may be for rest, foul trouble, injury, poor play, or other reason.  How you handle your time on the bench ultimately says a lot about you as an athlete, teammate, and competitor.

Every great team is made up of players who accept their roles and perform in those roles to the best of their abilities.  From the star to the person at the end of the bench, it takes a collaborative effort from everyone to be a championship team.  Great teams embrace a “WE BEFORE ME” mentality.

Here’s a great article I borrowed from a friend of mine, an area high school athletic director and boys basketball coach.  It’s titled, How to be a Great Player… While Sitting on the Bench.  The article was written by Coach Mac and published on the site, Basketball for Coaches.

When you find yourself on the bench during a game, rest your body, NOT your mind!

Gain an edge by staying engaged when you’re on the bench.


Your thoughts?

Are You a “ME” Player or a “WE” Player?

12 Dec
San Antonio Spurs -- The Epitome of Unselfish, Team Play

San Antonio Spurs — The Epitome of Unselfish, Team Play

No one is bigger than the team. If you can’t do things our way, you’re not getting time here, and we don’t care who you are.” – Gregg Popovich

Basketball season — my favorite sport season — is upon us.  We’re already a week or two (and a handful of games) into the high school season, and I’ll have the opportunity to watch a lot of basketball.

Invariably, there will be some good and bad individual and team play; some cohesive teamwork and some selfish, “me-first” individual play.

So, I guess the question becomes, what type of player are you?  Do you play for you or do you play for your team?  Do you play for the name on the front of your jersey, or the name on the back of your jersey?

It’s frustrating for everyone to watch players who put “getting mine” before “getting ours;” players who, instead of playing within the system, play at the expense of the system.  It’s equally frustrating to watch the coach who allows and, in effect, encourages such behavior.

I’ve always told my kids and players this:  When you spend more time, on every possession, looking for your team’s best shot, instead of spending so much time trying to find a way to get off your own shot, you will be a better player and we will be a better team.

See the floor.  Pass the ball.  Move without the ball.  Get your teammates involved.  The longer you spend with the ball in your hands, looking for your own shot, the more sluggish your team’s offense becomes.  Trust me, the ball will come back to you.  On any given possession, your shot will be your team’s best scoring opportunity.  And, when it is, do your thing.

Don’t get me wrong, winning is great and — on the surface — it can even conceal some teamwork issues.  But I think I’d rather lose with a cohesive, unselfish team than win with a “me-first” player (or players) who thinks they are bigger than the team.

Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to produce uncommon results.” – Unknown


Your thoughts?

How Playing Sports Prepares You for Life

11 Oct

DSCN0424I don’t want to suggest that playing sports is necessary to prepare you for, or succeed in, life.  But if you’re willing to absorb and learn from the life-lessons that participating in sports teaches us, you will realize that there are a lot of parallels between what you do — and learn — on the court or field, and what you do at home, school, work… and life.


Competition is a given in sports.  Athletes compete against other athletes, teams, and the clock.  You will be competing for the rest of your life, internally (with yourself) or externally (with others)… get used to it.  The competition may involve your grades, class rank, a position (or starting spot) on the team, a scholarship, a job interview, a promotion, or even a diet.  Developing a healthy attitude and perspective toward competition can make life’s challenges less overwhelming.


Even most individual sports, such as tennis, golf, and gymnastics, exist as teams.  Learning to function and succeed as part of a group is vital (unless you plan to spend your life in a cave, by yourself, in some remote part of the world).  Communication, collaboration, and delegation are skills that teachers, coaches, and employers value.  You don’t have to give up your identity or talents to work effectively as part of a group, but you may need to learn to compromise.

Winning With Grace

Sometimes you will win.  There’s nothing worse than seeing someone gloat after winning.  Humility demonstrates both class and respect for your competition.  My Dad used to tell me to act as if I had won before, and expected to win again (Fred was not big on victory celebrations; definitely a life lesson I passed along to my own children).

Losing With Dignity

Sometimes you will lose.  A sore loser is no better than an arrogant winner.  Sure, losing hurts, but nobody wants to see you pout or sulk, or hear you complain or make excuses.  Learn from, and be willing to use, past failures as stepping-stones to future successes.

Dealing With/Overcoming Adversity

In sports, as in life, there are times when you will have to “play from behind.”  It’s great when things go smoothly, but it’s not realistic to expect that things won’t sometimes take a turn for the worse.  Maybe you’ll have to deal with an injury.  Or maybe, for whatever reason, your team will have to play at less than full strength.  In those situations, you’ll need to learn to adapt if you want to succeed.  It’s imperative to keep working hard and maintain a positive attitude.

Challenges and Obstacles

Hard-throwing pitchers; strong, speedy running backs; basketball players that jump out of the gym.  When they’re on your team, it’s fun.  When they’re not, you and your teammates may have your work cut out for you.  In life, you will undoubtedly encounter obstacles, every day.  Sometimes, they will be minor nuisances, like bad weather or household appliance that need repair.  Other times (hopefully they will be few and far between), the magnitude of these challenges — for example, dealing with a family member’s serious illness — will test your resolve.

Value Of Practice/Preparation

If you want to be good at — succeed at — anything, you need to work at it.  No basketball player becomes a good ball-handler or free throw shooter without a lot of practice.  Same rules apply for life — school, work, parenthood, etc.  The more you dedicate yourself to practice and preparation, the better your odds of success.


Failure and rejection are part of life.  We all learn this at a relatively young age.  In sports, you will not win every time.  To borrow a card-playing analogy, you can’t allow yourself to fold every time you’re dealt a hand you don’t like.  Certainly there will be times to “cut your losses,” but character is built by dealing with less-than-ideal situations to the best of your ability, and making them as positive as they can be.


In sports, your responsibilities may include your studies (academic eligibility); practice and game schedule punctuality; uniform maintenance; game film study; and demonstrating leadership (team captain).  In life, responsibilities become magnified — mortgage payments, bills, and parenthood.  The sooner you learn to hold yourself accountable, and avoid making excuses and blaming others, the better-off you’ll be.

Respect For Others

You don’t necessarily have to like or agree with your competition (or maybe even your own coach or teammate).  Develop a healthy respect for others.  Respect your competition, but don’t fear them.  Respect your friends, teammates, and co-workers, but don’t worship them.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but don’t judge anyone.  You don’t deal with others’ issues, and they don’t deal with yours.  Be patient and tolerant.  Learn to live and let live.  Coexist.


Your thoughts?

Everyone Wants to Win, But Not Everyone Wants to Prepare

19 Nov

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.” – Zig Ziglar

Winning is not an accident.  Neither, for that matter, is success.  Look at a winner and you see the surface, the “tip of the iceberg.”  What you don’t usually see is the effort that was responsible for, and contributed to, the end result.

Winning, at every level, is the result of preparation.  Work ethic, achievement drive, innovation, communication, and teamwork are essential components of the process.  Preparation is the key to success – winning – in sports, school, in business, and in life.  Success typically comes to those who are best prepared.

Physical Preparation is training the body for successful performance.  “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.” – Unknown

  • Sport-specific skill development – blocking and tackling (football); ball-handling and shooting (basketball); hitting and fielding (baseball); etc.
  • Strength and conditioning – improve performance by developing strength, speed, agility, and athleticism.
  • Nutrition – fuel your body for optimum performance.
  • Sleep – proper rest is essential to the recovery process.

Mental Preparation is training the mind for successful performance.  “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

  • Goal setting – motivate yourself with realistic, challenging goals.
  • Visualization – use your imagination to train by creating a mental image of success.
  • Focus on execution and practice to eliminate distractions.
  • Have Confidence in your skills and prepare to cope with adversity.
  • Commit yourself to your game plan or strategy.


Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: