Recently I asked my Twitter followers, “Tweet me your top coaching concern for this season & I’ll answer in my next article.”
Coaches responded with great questions! So I decided to devote an entire blog post to each question and publish my answers as a series, both written and audio. You can find the link for this article’s audio recording at the bottom of the page.
Here are the 4 questions that I’ll be answering over the next week:
Question #2 from Andy Rochon @AJRochon22 “@JimBurson biggest concern in my new program is ridding of cancerous attitudes? It’s 2 players but one of them affects the entire teams composure and then other questions everything I say.”
Russie @rustler2195 “@JimBurson what’s more important in a team, plays or how individuals play?”
The simple answer: How individuals play as a team is the most important. That’s a simple answer, but it’s not easy to do. What you run is important; but how you run it and who runs it is the most important. The individuals must want to get better and learn to play as a team. You’ll only get better if all 12 players believe in each other. You need to work on this at several levels.
Make sure every player feels important.
You must develop the kind of relationships in which every player feels accepted. The way you can make this happen is that you, the coach, must appreciate each player for who he is and what his role can contribute to the team. You must also make sure that each player understands the contribution of every other player in addition to his own contribution.
In particular, make sure that your stars and best players appreciate the substitutes, the assistants, the manager and all the other team members. Not only must they appreciate them, they must know how to genuinely lift them up — the bench players, the supporting players and everyone else. Because if they don’t, the team cannot become all it can be, regardless of how good an individual player is.
You teach individuals. You coach teams.
The corollary is that the plays cannot work well if the individuals don’t play well. If individuals don’t play well, individual plays cannot be successful. You must know each player’s strengths and weaknesses and help them get better. This requires knowledge of teaching and having a teaching process that can adjust to the different learning styles that your players will have.
Running plays should fit your players’ strengths and fit your players’ attitudes. Even if you believe in running a certain play, if your players don’t get it or they don’t believe in it, then it’s not going to work.
“Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”
- Organizational Behavior (2008) French, Raynor, Rees et al
It’s about individuals coming together. Individuals that run the plays make the plays better when they come together.
You need to talk about synergism. Let’s say that each player has a value of two points. When you multiply that by the five players on the floor, the total is ten points. However, when they play well together, the value is much more than ten points.
You can’t do that just by running the play. Making the players better makes the plays better.
Five players running around the floor shooting baskets will never be worth more than ten points. As they learn how to work together, as they learn how each player contributes to the whole, as they become a team, then their value steadily and significantly increases. The sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts.
Plays? or individual players? You’ve got to have them both. But you’ve got to learn how to fit them together. You have got to lift the individual players and develop the individual players. You must trust your players and believe in them.
Execution of plays by well-organized individuals who have great skill and judgement is what it’s all about.
What are your thoughts about this question? Share them in the “Leave a Reply” comments box below. (Scroll down.)
Listen to – and download – an audio recording of this article.
Click here (6.4mb; 6:37)
Next up: Question #2 from @AJRochon22 “@JimBurson biggest concern in my new program is ridding of cancerous attitudes? It’s 2 players but one of them affects the entire teams composure and then other questions everything I say.” I’ll publish my answer to this in a couple of days. Click here to subscribe now (it’s free) so you don’t miss any of the answers.
Photo: “Basketball” © V. Yakobchuk www.fotolia.com