Notes for Improving Your Team

Here are some of my takeaways from 2016

From Jack Clark, Cal Rugby Coach
(From an article written by Jen Sinkler)

“You and I could go to the sports page today and open it up and see some sports team calling themselves a family. It’s what everyone does nowadays — they call themselves a family. In reality, it grates on me a little bit because my concept of family is unconditional. There’s my screw-up brother down in Huntington Beach. I love him, but you don’t want him on your team, I promise you. Family means unconditional, whereas high-performance teams are highly, highly conditional organizations.”

“I think what matters most — outside of talent — would probably be the culture of the team: developing a really resilient, embedded team culture around performance. It’s like anything else: You’ve got to rep it. You’ve got to talk about it on day one and day five and in the middle of the season and at the end of the season.”

I think this is an underrated and overlook part of culture. I once heard Doc Rivers say, “You have to protect your team culture. This battle is waged daily.”

In other words, culture, to be successful must be intentionally thought out, planned and executed by all those involved

“We believe in constant performance improvement. We say it’s not just enough to win. That’s kind of an old thing. If you go back to legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, you can get some performance over results. It’s there. We believe that and we believe that we should be getting better. We think that we should accept that burden. If we’re going to work at this as hard as we’re working at it, then we should be getting better from week to week, month to month, match to match. There should be improvement.”

You can read the entire article by clicking here

Kevin Eastman

Special athletes hold themselves accountable…

…don’t blame others first; instead, they look first for what they contributed (or did not contribute) to the situation.

…don’t complain; instead they look for ways to correct things that aren’t working.

…don’t procrastinate; get things done now.

…always give more than they ask of others.

…always look to take on as much as they can handle, rather than look to pass things on to others all the time.

…are constantly trying to improve their game as they can bring more to the team and constantly fulfill their role.

…are self starters and study the game (and themselves) enough to know what needs to be done; then do about doing it.

…do the un-required work, knowing that it simply needs to be done — extra reps, extra weights, extra film watching, etc. without constantly needing to be told by a coach.

…hold others accountable for their jobs and roles because they know the importance of accountability as it relates to winning; this creates a collective responsibility.

…always be among the most trusted players on the team — by coaches and players.

Characteristics a coach needs. One or more are characteristics that I think may be overlooked.

1. Respect -­‐ I believe that the greater respect the coach commands, the easier it is to ensure buy-­‐in from his or her players. And the more often you can get your team to buy in, the more you’re going to see them do what you want them to do. I’ve always tried to gain respect by outworking others in the business and trying to learn as much as I can at the place and position I’m in. Work ethic and this continuing search for knowledge have been keys to my ability to gain respect.

2. Relationships -­‐ I believe relationships are the foundation for success in any field. As a coach, you need to get to know your team, get to know about your team, talk to your players in good times and bad, let your players know you care about them, and develop a trust with your players.

3. Curiosity -­‐ It seems to me that the most successful people in any business have an insatiable intellectual curiosity about their field. They talk to the best in the business, they read about others, they listen to CDs and DVDs, they want to know what the best are doing and how it can relate to them and their programs, and they are curious to know what you know and how it can fit in to enhance their program or business.

4. Ability to motivate -­‐ Motivation is an aspect of coaching that requires coaches to constantly “read” what’s needed for their team and any given player on a daily basis. It also requires a great deal of thought and study in order to find new ways to accomplish these tasks. Find out what makes a player tick and then create ways to motivate him to get the most out of him each day. And be able to recognize when it’s a new day that needs a new motivator -­‐-­‐ even for the same player who responded yesterday!

“No matter how much we know on any subject, there’s always more to learn. Make the time to read, to study, and to think; each of these is important to your development. We all need to keep up with what’s going on in our field, too. I’ve found that news and magazine articles can be as helpful as books in this regard. The key is to keep searching so that you stay gain knowledge, improve, and stay relevant!”

Coaches expect and demand things of our players — especially those things they can control like attitude, effort and intensity. And then he talked about how we must demand it of ourselves first:

1. Coaches must maintain their intensity everyday.
2. A coach can never get bored.
3. The intensity that a coach brings to the floor helps the player have a more intense workout.
4. Coaches have body language too. Be careful of your body language, and how it could be interpreted by your players.

These are a few of my takeaways from my latest reading on Texas A & M women’s assistant Bob Starkey’s HoopThoughts. If it is not on your regular reading list, I recommend to add it. There are great articles on all aspects of coaching basketball.


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