Basketball on the Edge – 16 Qualities Every Basketball Team Leader Needs

Team Leader

Leadership is a quality that is often easy to recognize, but harder to define. What are some characteristics that make you a great leader?

Your work ethic should be your greatest asset.

This is where it all starts. You must be one of the hardest workers on your team. This is the best and quickest way to enhance your credibility with your teammates and coaches. If you don’t work hard no one is following you anywhere!

You believe and demonstrate that the best interest of the team must always come first.

You truly must not care who scores, who plays the most minutes, or who gets the credit. You must be willing to sacrifice for the good of your team. Not many players can honestly say, “The team comes first.”

You are an energy giver.

Your enthusiasm and passion for the game should be evident to anyone who watches you practice or play a game. Your energy level should boost your teammates’ performance. Any team environment you are in is better because of the spirit you bring to it.

You make mistakes and use them to improve instead of looking for excuses.

Great leaders are willing to take risks. Increased risk means more chances for mistakes. Growth and improvement come from making mistakes, admitting the mistake, and then learning from the mistake. To become a great leader you must apply this thought process on the court and in the locker room.

Your mental toughness sets you apart.

Learn to be resilient and bounce back quickly after mistakes. Don’t turn one mistake into two by sulking or pouting. Be the tough player that your teammates look to in the face of adversity. When things go bad they look to you because you are able to handle the pressure. Leaders want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line. Don’t be afraid to fail in clutch situations, instead look at clutch situations as an opportunity you have been given to show how your preparation and hard work has paid off. If you do fail, be prepared to accept the responsibility and look forward to being successful next time.

You do the little things right when no one is watching.

Who are you when no one is watching? Are you the same player, do you give the same effort as when the coach has his eye on you? Great leaders don’t allow any slippage regardless of whether a coach is watching or not.

You build relationships with your teammates.

Leadership is all about relationships. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t have a relationship first. Get to know everyone on your team. You may spend more time with your best friends or players in the same grade as you, but make a strong effort to get to know each and every member of your team. A quick conversation before or after practice can go a long way towards strengthening the bonds between you and your teammates that will pay off as the season unfolds.

You give more than what is asked and take less than what is deserved.

Do you always have your hand out looking for someone to give you more? Or are you the player looking for ways to give more to your team?

You fill your teammate’s tank.

Always look for teammates who are doing the right thing to help your team. Praise a teammate for their hard work in a drill, for making a great pass, for being resilient when mistakes occur, or getting an A on a test. We all do better when our tanks are filled with specific and truthful praise. Recognize the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated.

You make choices add up to success.

Every day you make choices. Do yours lead to success or failure? Do you drink a Coke or water? Do you study for a test or play video games? Do shoot free throws before practice or work on your half-court shots? Are you polite or do you treat others disrespectfully? Each individual action may not seem significant, but collectively your choices will add up to success or add up to failure.

You make your teammates better on the court.

Be the player that everyone hates to go against in practice. Your teammates should know you are coming at them every day. Encourage them to do the same for you and for each other. Good leaders consistently inspire others to reach a level that they didn’t think was possible.

You support your teammates off the court.

Your teammates have issues just like you: school, romance, family, a shooting slump, etc. Good leaders are always watching for teammates they can offer to support. If you’ve built a relationship, they’ll appreciate when you reach out to them when they are struggling.

You look for solutions and don’t complain.

Anybody can complain. Players do it all the time. They complain about the coach and the bad decisions he makes. They complain about teammates who play ahead of them or make a crucial mistake. They complain about practice. Be a leader who looks for solutions to these problems instead of fueling the fire by joining in with the complainers.

You talk to your coach on regular basis.

Find out what your coach needs from you and then try your best to deliver. What are the coach’s objectives for the day’s practice? How can you help achieve those objectives?

You help your team see that hard work leads to long term success.

The hard work that is required of you and your teammates on a daily basis is an investment that will pay off over the course of the season. That may be tough for everyone to see during a particularly tough practice or during a losing streak, but leaders help the team keep their eyes on the prize.

You represent yourself and the team with class.

Everywhere you go people are making judgements about you, your team, your family, your school, and your community based on your actions and appearance. Go the extra mile to practice good sportsmanship, be polite, treat everyone with respect, take care of your facilities, and demonstrate what kind of person you are. Leaders make those around them proud!

Teams with great leadership are often the most successful. Are you willing to do what it takes to become a leader on your team?

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Basketball on the Edge – My Season Ended in Disappointment by PGC Basketball

Disappointment

If you have ever played sports you have had disappointments. I know that I have losses in my playing and coaching career that stick with me to this very day. Only one team each year gets to end their season with a win. With the Final Four upon us I think this article will touch a nerve and inspire players, coaches, and parents to keep striving to be their best despite the near certainty that you will experience disappointment along the way.

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Basketball on the Edge – An Open Letter to the Out of Control Sports Parent Sitting Next to Me in the Stands by @CTGProjectHQ John O’Sullivan

Parents Out of Control

The open letter in this article was written by Karen, a mom and a Changing the Game Project follower who has grown frustrated and disgruntled with the current state of youth sports, and the fact that she cannot go and watch her kids compete in peace. She asked us to publish it and to remain anonymous. We thought it was pretty good advice, so we decided to share. Thanks, Karen, and thanks to all those parents out there who realize that the game is supposed to be for the kids. – John O’Sullivan

Dear Out of Control Sports Parent,

You.

Yeah, you.

The one shouting “Get the rebound!!!” to your kid. The one with the heart palpitating so loudly that you cannot contain yourself. The one yelling and complaining about the coach. The one hollering at the 13-year-old referee. The one angry at my kid for making a mistake. The one hollering at the kids who made a mistake running the scoreboard in a recreational tournament in a meaningless pool play game.

Yeah, you, the one whose spouse won’t sit next to you during the game…

Click here to read the rest of the letter!

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Basketball on the Edge – How Much Should I be Cheering for My Young Player During Games? – Vintage Edition

Cheering Parent

We’ve all heard parents yelling and cheering for their kids at games. “C’mon William, bend your knees. Put this free throw in.” William glances out of the corner of his eye toward Dad in the bleachers. What happens next? Maybe William has shot hundreds of free throws this past off-season and he steps up to the line and drills home the free throw. Or maybe he hasn’t put in the time and that leads to him feeling pressure and missing as a result. Maybe William can tune out his Dad. Maybe his Dad’s yelling annoys William or makes him mad or maybe he loves it. Who knows? I have already written about why you shouldn’t coach from the stands, but what about cheering or yelling encouragement? Maybe just something as simple as “Go William!”

What level of cheering helps your young player do their best in a competitive environment? I am going to relate several stories from my own life. The first goes back to my playing days. My parents were at just about every game I ever played all the way through college. I don’t remember one thing they ever said from the stands. I don’t remember hearing them cheer (although I know they did). Whatever was going on in the crowd I was able to tune out and focus on what I needed to do out on the court. Didn’t matter the size of the crowd, home or away, I just wasn’t paying attention. People could have been cheering or coaching from the stands and I probably would have been oblivious.

Secondly, I have learned from watching and coaching my own kids (from the bench not the stands) what their preferences are when it comes to cheering. My daughter does not like to have any attention placed on her. There were times when she was younger that my wife would call her name and cheer very loudly for her during games. My daughter clearly did not like that kind of attention. My wife thought she was encouraging her, but really the cheering was a distraction for my daughter. It made her self-conscious and less likely to play her best. We’ve learned not to cheer for her other than an occasional clap when something goes well for her or her team. Silent observation is what allows my daughter to be at her best.

Conversely, my son enjoys attention and being in the spotlight as a general rule. He is much more likely to be uplifted when someone cheers for him or calls his name. He’s not going to turn red and become less aggressive when he hears someone cheering for him the way my daughter might. He is fine with more cheering and encouragement.

The takeaway from these stories is that you have to know your kid and what they can handle when it comes to cheering for them during games. I’ve learned to sit (or stand) silently while I am watching my kids play. I’ve found that’s what they want and what helps them be at their best. It also helps me to remember that the game is about them and not about me. When I am coaching them, it’s a different story. I probably coach them even harder than I do my other players. But that’s when I’m their coach. When I’m just their Dad I stay quiet. Me being at the game is what makes them feel supported. I felt the same way about my parents attending my games as a player. Them being there was everything I needed.

Watch and observe your child while they are playing. See how they react when you cheer, do they play better, worse, or is your cheering irrelevant? Have a conversation with your young player and ask them directly, “Do you like it when I cheer for you out on the court?” I’m pretty sure they’ll give you an honest answer. My daughter’s answer was “Don’t say anything. It’s embarrassing.” My son’s answer, “Go ahead and cheer, I don’t really care.” Based on their answers and your in-game observations you should be able to determine the proper amount of cheering going forward so both you and your child can be comfortable, hopefully leading to improved performance out on the court. At the very least they’ll be happier with you after a game and that’s always a good thing!

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Basketball on the Edge – The Double Defeat: Can you lose twice in one competition? by James Leath

Losing Team

This article by James Leath is centered on this famous quote from legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi.

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Leath explains why your process and effort are so important as an athlete or as coach.

Click here to read the article by James Leath

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