We’re excited to roll out the Lead ‘Em Up program with the South Hagerstown (SH) Boys Varsity Basketball program. During the course of the season we will be going through the full Lead ‘Em Up program with; covering 12-sessions in total.
We (Adam Bradley) will be doing a running blog capturing the week-by-week breakdown of our leadership program with South Hagerstown; what we covered, how we’re growing and more.
So if you’ve ever wondered what you should do with your team throughout the season, how to facilitate an in-season leadership program or what exercises in Lead ‘Em Up to use when, this running blog will serve as a guide you can follow.
Week One- 11/23/2021
This was week one with South Hagerstown. I worked with South Hagerstown years ago, but with all new faces on the roster, it felt brand new. Coach Chad Brashears and I connected a few months ago and he expressed his desire to go all in this year with Lead ‘Em Up, so we lined up the full 12-session program. In my opinion, theres nothing sweeter than a coach who’s excited and passionate about developing their players into leaders and Coach Brashears is all-in.
The team just got trimmed down to the final roster last week, so this is the first week of official practice. Our session today ran from 5:15-6:15 with the boys scheduled to jump on the court for practice at 6:30.
As an introductory/tip-off session, we started with the four player commitments. I always tell the athletes, I don’t like wasting peoples time, so in order for us to get the most of out of our time together, they need to commit to their part. In Lead ‘Em Up we have four player commitments (Lean In – Cool Off – Speak Up (Alexa) – Clap Big (9-Clap)). I got the boys committed to doing their part.
From there we spent the final 50-minutes going through the Green Team foundation. As I told the boys, my hope and expectation was for them to learn the Green Team at such a level if they had to teach their parents later tonight, they could! So whatever they needed to do learn it like that, they needed to do it.
Each player was seated at a desk with a notepad, pen/pencil and was locked in. We were in the wrestling room, away from everyone else and free from distractions. I taught using the whiteboard and relied on the players to carry the conversation.
During the Green Team teaching I also shared about our Green Awards. I introduced our Green Verification program, our MVG Trophy award and our Chick-Fil-A Green 13 National Award. The awards got the room excited. No surprise, everybody wants to win awards and the chance to win FREE Chick-Fil-A for a YEAR… got all the boys out of their seat.
I always want to resist the urge to share to much on week one. The tendency is to go through more than what you need to because you’re excited but I want to remember it’s a long season and we’ll have time to cover everything we teach.
Once we completed the 7-Rules of the Green Team, we wrapped things up for the day. I gave a quick preview of next week and then 9-clapped to finish the session.
Each player walked out with some Lead ‘Em Up stickers so they can start reppin’ what we’re doing. We’re going to continue building next week but I can already tell, the boys are ALL-IN. I can feel it.
Stay with us as we go through the season. #BLEEDGREEN (and it always works out nicely when the school colors has green – not a prerequisite but it’s nice when it works out that way)
Week Two – 11/30/21
As I do every week, I spent 2-3 minutes quickly going through what we covered the week before to help remind them and bring their mind back to Lead ‘Em Up.
Week two consisted of going deeper on the green team and making sure we all know exactly what it means to be green on this team.
Most teams have standards and values they want to live by but I’ve found many of them fail to take the next step of turning that standard or value from being subjective to objective. For example, a team wants to be a team built on the foundation of “hard work” – but what does that exactly mean? What does it look like? I could ask all 15 players on our basketball team to define and describe hard-working and I would get 15 different definitions. This holds true for our “green team” as well. We can say we want to be green and build a green team but until we define it clearly and collectively, it remains open to interpretation which will cause us never to be on the same page.
So in order for us to get on the same page we engaged our players in an exercise called Green Standards We listed out all the green traits we came up with during our week one discussion and paired the group off to narrow the list down through a fun debate style discussion. We were targeting to the land on the top five or six traits the players valued the most.
Once we’ve identified those top green traits we need to go through and start to finding them.
The thing I love so much about the green team and green standards is that this is 100% player driven. My role is serve as a facilitator guiding them to help find the learning themselves. And once the players go through Green Standards, defining the Green Team, when it comes time to reinforce and hold them accountable, the process becomes easier as we’re simply holding them accountable to what they’ve told us they want.
Once we gathered all of our Green Standards notes we moved on to the next concept called lifeguarding. Lifeguarding is how we teach our athletes to embrace accountability, or as we like to say, “simply having each other‘s back”. We go into the lifeguards right after green standards because we need to hold each other to that standard and we need to embrace the role of being a lifeguard in order to do that.
As I told the players these first two weeks were “foundation-setting” for our season long program. Through Lead ‘Em Up we’ve got a variety of fun games competitions interactive exercises all of which we will get to but we need to establish where we’re trying to go and why it’s important.
Session two lasted 50-mins. We hosted the session in a classroom, utilizing the whiteboard for the discussion facilitation. Every player was in attendance as well as the Head Coach. And my daughter Georgia who’s becoming my little Lead ‘Em Up assistant 🙂
Week 3 was a fun week.
We started out our third session by handing out our custom Green Standard sheets to each player from the discussion/exercise we went through in week two. We spent some time reviewing the Green Standards and refreshing our memory on each of the traits and their new supported definition. Green Standards allows us to be on the exact same page for how we need to show and perform, eliminating any of the gray area.
Now when we say we want you to show up Green… everyone knows what’s expected and how it looks.
From there we moved out of the classroom and stepped in the hallway so we had some more room to move around. I took the boys through an exercise called Same Page. Same Page is an exercise that does exactly what the title says, helps get us on the “same page.” Specifically its an exercise that is fun, interactive and builds on the 6th rule of the Green Team, “You have to fight everyday to build a green team.” This exercise teaches us the premise of what it looks like and feels like to “fight for your team.”
The boys were all in. Tons of laughs, tons of interaction and at the end the lesson hit everyone in the heart.
Lastly we started game planning for the weeks ahead. I have travel the next two weeks so we won’t have a session until I return. When I return, we’ll be doing our first round of Green Verifications (where we verify athletes Green).
We discussed at length (longer than I expected and that was a good thing) how we wanted to handle the nomination process. We typically allow the players to anonymously nominate a select number of athletes (we’ll be verifying 3 athletes a month). But the guys didn’t want it to be nominated but rather be more open and transparent. So discussed the best way to do that because the one thing we want to avoid is a “groupthink” voting where players just end up voting for who everyone else is voting for. So we came to the conclusion of a hybrid approach; players will write their nominations anonymously and then once collected, each player will share who they voted for.
This is all in preparation for our next fourth session.
We’ll keep you posted how verification goes… It’ll be fun.