6 Commitments of Quality Coaches

I found a nice article over at the Basketball Insights blog that talked about NBA coach Gregg Popovich’s leadership skills. Since Popovich has been so successful, I’d love to take his ideas and frame them in ways that will work for those of us who don’t work with professional athletes. Using that blog as a starting off point, let’s dig deeper and see how we can adapt Popovich’s techniques at our level.

6 ways to show your commitment to your team

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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?

5. 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.

6. Have fun. Hopefully you love your sport. Hopefully you love going to practice. Hopefully you love coaching. Hopefully you love your athletes (even when they’re driving you crazy). Hopefully you get along with your coworkers. Hopefully you’ve got rockstar 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.