Innovative Athletes
Leadership on the Court

Where’s the on-court leadership?

Last week we spoke about leadership in the lockroom but as we ventured into high school gyms this past weekend to watch some basketball, the one thing that really stood out was: where was the leadership on the court?

The one thing that can be a constant and has proven to provide the necessary competitive edge is: leadership and communication.

From both coaches and players we could not find a direct correlation that lead us to someone out there displaying leadership. We were very disappointed with the lack of communication on the floor.

Is this happening on your team?

In two games we counted at least 15 times, a team coming off a free-throw attempt or timeout and at least 1 or 2 players didn’t know who they were guarding.

This is what we mean by leadership on the court.

If you are a captain and you are quiet on the court, you are not providing the necessary direction your team needs to be following therefore you are hurting the team.

The captain leads by example and understands every facet of his/her teams game plan. A captain is constantly communicating with his/her teammates and coaches and making sure 1 voice, 1 vision, 1 goal is being implemented throughout the contest.

The captain needs to be the extension of the coach.

A message to the younger players: Since captains are usually appointed by sonority, the freshmen and sophomores who play meaningful minutes really don’t get this opportunity until later down the road. But if your senior captains are failing to lead, and it is a direct correlation to you losing because of the lack of communication, then you better provide the necessary on-court voice that your team needs in order to win.

So we are guessing if we noticed this happening this weekend in a few games it must be ubiquitous throughout the country, so here are a few simple leadership/communication tips that will help your team win a few games.

1.) When your team is shooting a free throw, huddle the team up and make sure everyone knows who is guarding who – this takes 5 seconds but saves you the possibility of giving up an easy bucket at the other end.

2.) Coming out of a timeout, as the leader – quickly huddle again and review what the timeout was about. Whether its offense of defense, make sure you get a ‘head nod’ from all 5 players that they understand the next sequence. We cannot tell you how many times a player didn’t know his/her assignment and it cost us a good play.

3.) Communicate on ‘D’ – constant communication on defense can provide significant value to your team. It keeps your teammates energized, engaged and aware. Things like: ‘help, I got your help’, or if you know what play is coming from your opponent; make sure everyone is aware of it.

4.) If your teammate makes a mistake, quickly run over to him and say “forget about it, next play” or “we’ll get that one back”. We are big fans of positive reinforcement to our teammates. Instead of dwelling on what already happened, look towards what can happen next. Next play!

5.) Make sure everyone is in-tuned with the game, especially the kids not playing. Too many players don’t clap for their teammates on the court.

This can prove to be detrimental to any team’s success. Ask the players on the bench their advice or opinion. They then will feel they have a role to play and have a stake in the outcome.

Players on the bench are seeing the game from a different angle, they obviously have knowledge for the game, so look at it this as an opportunity to engage your teammates, keep their spirits high and keep the team cohesive.

What are some of your leadership and communication tips that you have done to keep your whole team on the same page?

Good Luck

Innovative Athletes

dannym@innovativeathletes.com

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