An integral part of being a basketball coach is developing key leadership skills. This often goes beyond giving just words of encouragement and developing ways of becoming a better leader. Clint Eastwood once said: “You can say more with your mouth closed than you can with your mouth open.” In today’s society, most young people learn only how to talk about taking action, but very few learn how to actually do it. To demonstrate basketball leadership effectively, you need to show it, not just say it.

Here’s a look at six ways to show commitment to your team and further develop your basketball leadership.

Understand What Motivates Your Players

In practices and in games, we’ve got to know how to get our teams going. I often tell my teams that games aren’t the time for teaching…go play and we’ll fix it later. The same goes for us as coaches.

We’ve got to remember to use practice time to figure out how each player is motivated to learn, how they’re motivated to push themselves, and how they’re motivated to excel. In the same manner, we can use scrimmages to see how they’re motivated in stressful competitive situations.

Do What It Takes to be a Champion

Winning cultures win. I’m sure you’ve played teams that your team was better than…but that other team had crazy swagger. They expected to win more than your team hoped to win. Before we can create a culture of winning, I believe we’ve got to create a culture of success. You all know by now how deep my love of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success goes. He was awesome. He was also a champion.

Be a Learning Leader

Isn’t the coaching cliché that the best coaches steal from the best coaches? With so many coaches out there, I can’t think of a reason that we can’t all find someone to learn from!

I believe in being a coaching nerd and learning from as many folks as I can, whether it’s another coach or a business leader.

Provide Vision for Your Program

What is important to you? What is your coaching philosophy? How do you want your team to be perceived? All of those things go into creating a vision for your program. Then you go out and get it.

Without knowing what you want, how will you know what players to recruit? Beyond that, how will your players know when they’re successful?

Put the Team First

Everything we do has to be about the team. Whether it’s being incredibly prepared for every drill, practice, and game…or making sure you’re on the same page with your assistants. All of that puts the team first. Add to that all of the intangibles that we teach our athletes, they’ll appreciate that it’s “we before me” and model that behavior.

Have Fun

Hopefully, you love your sport. You love going to practice. Perhaps most importantly, you love coaching. Hopefully you love your athletes (even when they’re driving you crazy) and you get along with your coworkers. Hopefully you’ve got rock star assistants. If you’ve got all of that, then you’re having fun.

Leading, coaching…it’s not easy, but it’s the best job ever! We can learn from those folks who’ve not only been successful, but who’ve been continuously successful over a long period of time.

Related: Basketball Leadership: Show, Don’t Tell

Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1389 10 Points of Basketball Leadership

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