I hate to break it to you but the savior of your team is not walking through the door in the next few days. You may be at the point in your season where you’re struggling to find a way to get over the hump. You may be wishing and praying you could just have one more special player and if you did everything would be different.
That player is not walking in.
That’s OK – because the reality is everything you need is already in the room.
In almost every instance in sports what is needed most is for the individuals in the room to each raise their game to another level. Teams must find a way to be more locked in, work to sharpen their game, raise their level of effort and become more disciplined.
What Would Happen If Your Team Increased A Star?
I don’t like star ratings but for teaching purposes they can help illustrate a point. If you have a team filled with a bunch of two-stars, three-stars and a couple four-stars; what would your team look like if each player increased a star? Your team filled with two-stars, three-stars, and four-stars would become a team filled with three-stars, four-stars, and a couple five-stars. Your team would look completely different.
So maybe what’s needed is not the savior walking through the door, but rather each of your players raising their game to the next level. This is often easier said than done, but it can be done. How do your players raise their game? This is where character comes into play. I’ll explain.
Do Your Players Have The Right Traits?
It’s interesting, when I ask players to explain what they think coaches are wanting when coaches reference wanting “good character kids” – I almost always get the same answer; “they don’t want kids getting in trouble, having bad grades, being disrespectful”
Although players aren’t wrong in their assumption, they aren’t totally right. I’d argue those things pertaining to character are so obvious, it’s not what coaches are referring too. No coach wants trouble-makers, poor students and disrespectful teammates, it doesn’t even need to be said. The truth is, when coaches say they want kids with good character, what they are saying is: “they want kids with good character traits.”
This is so important, let me say it twice; when coaches reference wanting kids with good character “they want kids with good character traits.”
So when it comes time for each of our players to raise the level of their game, “increase a star-rating” it’ll depend on the players character (their character traits) if that will happen. Lets say a basketball player needs to improve his or her ability to beat the press; specifically passing out of a 2-man trap. Unfortunately, this player doesn’t have the best character traits. This player is often described by teammates and coaches as stubborn (hard-headed and thinks they know it all), arrogant (thinks they’re a little better than they really are), lazy (only put’s in work when they have to and tries to cut-corners) and is careless (not very responsible, focused and disciplined). The chances of a person with these character traits raising their game to become a little sharper will be very slim. Their character traits (which equates to their character) isn’t the character needed for success.
Now take that same player and flip each one of those traits and you’ll see a completely different player. Instead of the four-traits listed above (stubborn, arrogant, lazy and careless) the player has the following: coachable, humble, hardworking and detail-oriented. Those are traits associated with winners. There is no doubt a player who is coachable, humble, hardworking and detail-oriented will show the ability to make major improvements, raise their game and learn new skills (like being able to better beat the press and pass out of a 2-man trap). How would they not get better, their character is good, getting better is what they’re all about.
The character traits, which make up the “character” of a player, continue to be the biggest difference-makers in sport.
As coaches we need to continue focusing on developing stronger and better character because it’s essential for success. As players we need to continue examining our own character and working for ways to grow our character.
As nice as it may be, the savior of a player most likely is not walking through that door; but it’s OK because you already have everything you need in the room.
There are teams all over who don’t connect with each other. There are programs where players don’t develop characer or leadership skills. As a result, they never reach their full potential or fully develop meaningful relationships.
Don’t let this happen to you!
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Have fun and #LeadEmUp