5 & 2

Set the Table

“Why are we spending time working on our handshakes, I know how to shake someone’s hands,” is something your players may be thinking and something we’ve heard many times in Lead ‘Em Up.

It’s always in this moment we’re able to share powerful reminders as to why something as “small” as a handshake deserves our attention. There’s three reminders in particular:

1 – Despite claims to know how to properly shake someone’s hands, most young people don’t do it consistently at a high level. Therefore the handshake reps will allow them to be more consistent.

2 – Mastering this “small” detail will help them become a more detailed-oriented person. If you don’t care about the small details of your life, the chances you’ll be a player who pays attention to the small details of the game or as an athlete, is slim.

3 – Whether on a job interview, talking to a college scout or interviewing with a professional team; if the position is between you and another person and all else is equal (grades, resume, measurements), they will always go back to the person that gave them more confidence. That confidence is built with a professional greeting; a handshake with strong eye contact.

Does it matter? It could be the one thing that matters most.

"“After going through the 5&2 exercise, every time I shake someone’s hand, I find myself saying to myself “5&2,” it’s going to be with me forever”"
High School 4-Star Varsity basketball player

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Lesson Plan

Player Growth Areas

Exercise Length

Language Guide


A firm, yet friendly handshake with your full hand (5 fingers) with direct eye contact (2 eyes)

Example Video

See 5 & 2 in action below to get a better understanding of how to teach the the Exercise.

Shareable Graphics

Share these in the locker room, coaches office or on social media.

Exercise Reminder Card

To emphasize and reinforce the lessons learned in this exercise with your players, download and share this graphic with them 24 hours after completing the exercise.

Quiz Questions

Quiz Questions

Use these questions below to engage after you have taught the exercise.

  • Why does something as small as a handshake matter?
  • What are the two primary ingredients needed to help you win during any introduction?
  • Which impression is the longest impression?
Quiz Questions

At Home

Coaches, use the below question, reflection, and action to engage parents, guardians, and other family members in the lessons learned in this exercise.

Suggestions on how to use: Email to parents the day you have taught this lesson, add it to the materials you send home, or text it to text message threads with your players.

  • Question: What does 5 & 2 mean and why does making a good first impression matter?
  • Reflection: Why is it important to care about and master the small details in life?
  • Action: For the rest of the week choose one person per day who you could greet with a strong 5 & 2 handshake and do so.
Quiz Questions

Coach’s Reflection

Coach, take a moment to reflect on the lesson and how you can lead by example to your players. 

Coach, how mindful are you of your first impression each day? Take a moment to reflect upon who you typically interact with on a daily basis, how can you be more intentional about making sure it is a positive interaction for the other party?