In a previous post, we mentioned the importance of visioneering and highlighted this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Every great endeavor begins with a vision of something greater than yourself, but until it’s shared and internalized by the team, it will get no traction. So, as a coach, you are responsible to create (or at least mold) your team’s vision. You are the captain of that ship after all.
Commit to the Art
Coaching is an art and you have to embrace it as such. Anyone can learn a skill and teach it. Anyone can put in an offense. Anyone can fill out the book and shake a ref’s hand. But, coaching is something completely different. A coach understands that there are no little things: it all counts, each basketball drill in practice, each substitution, each decision. Coach like your an artist… because you are.
Commit to the Brand
Your team should have an identity that it embraces and respects. It probably already has a name and a logo, you need to develop a culture to go along with it. It matters little what that brand is – it will depend on your philosophy and your players. And, every player, parent, and coach should be able to recite your brand message, your tagline.
Since everything matters (see first point), part of the art is designing practices, meetings, events that all point to that brand. That brand is who you are as a team and everything you do should further develop that message.
Commit to the Culture
You must intentionally create a culture for your team otherwise a default culture will just naturally wander into view (and, you may not like those wandering cultures). There are many traits of a good team culture. Here are a few:
- Players must be accountable to the team, the organization/school, and the coaches.
- Players must be unconditionally bought in. Players who are engaged only when they are playing well, getting enough playing time, or scoring their desired amount of points are not bought in.
- Hard work must be engaged, not avoided.
- Discipline must be a pervasive trait amongst the players, coaches, trainers, parents, and anyone else associated with the program.
Each of these commitments is a plank in your team’s ship. Once it’s built, will it be something you’re proud of or something you make excuses for? You are building regardless, so you might as well build a ship that can train young men and women to build their own ships of vision, discipline, resolve, and commitment. That’s what coaching is all about anyway.
Once you build that ship, the wins will take care of themselves.