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Day 6 – Believing as a Coach, Even When Your Team Does Not!

Did you know that one of the hardest aspects of coaching is to believe even when your team does not? This particular instance can occur at any time.

Maybe your team has struggled all year through lack of talent,chemistry, motivation, distractions, or injuries? Only a month remains left in the season, your team is out of post-season contention, and the motivation has evaporated out of the room.

You, the great up-and-coming coach must lead your team through the dark uncertainty of success even when your team is not helping shed any light on the journey.

How do you believe when your team does not?

– Failure breeds winning

– Stick your neck out for them

– Get back to the basics

– Challenge your players or shut them up

– Never back down

Okay, let’s see…

Failure Breeds Winning

Previously, we talked about the winning failure and what they do not teach you about winning. Remember this lecture, post it on a mirror or something, and recite it everyday. Tell yourself, “Failure is only part of the journey, but I will not fail, failing is past me, winning is on its way.”

This may sound silly or childish, but reciting something in your head over and over again will finally make you believe (or make you crazy!).

Stress this to your team. One of the hardest concepts for a coach is to stay positive and preach winning ways when your team has had a disastrous season. It happens, and it happens a lot especially when you first start coaching. Remember to stay positive! Not only stay positive, but stay positive with an exclamation point!

Push your players but constantly build up their confidence through positive feedback. A positive attitude from a coach is contagious to a team.

Stick Your Neck Out For Them!

Staying positive and cheerful is merely not enough. Stick your neck out for your players and one of two things will happen. Either they will respond and play harder for you, or they will withdraw and play with the same lack of motivation and desire. If the second scenario happens, you do not have the right personnel and likely lack recruiting. The great thing about basketball is, next season always brings new promise because your roster will change.

If you stick your neck out for your team and they respond, that is truly a great confidence builder for any coach. It means your team BELIEVES in you {!name}!

Stick your neck out by taking the blame through the media for loses. Questions will arise about the lack of production from the whole team or particular players. Defend them and instead blame yourself for the failure. Losing may not be your fault, but as a coach you are supposed to shoulder the blame no matter what.

Think of yourself as the captain of a ship. If the ship crashes, it may not be your fault – but you always go down with the ship!

Get Back to the Basics

If your team is struggling, but the motivation and desire appears to still be there, go back to the basics.

Fundamentals are likely where your team is going wrong. Turnovers, bad shots, and horrible defense are all trademarks of bad teams. Is your team struggling from any of these? If so, go back to the drawing board and teach like you are working with elementary school kids. Start with the basics, master the fundamentals, and watch your team improve.

Challenge Your Players or Shut Them up

The worse thing a coach can do for his team is give up and throw in the towel (trust me, the players will notice this cowardly move because I played on a team with a coach like this).

But staying positive is not enough! Challenge your players and your team. Push them hard and demand results. Once again, either one of two things will happen. The players will respond, work harder, and improve or they will ignore your words, rebel, and fall apart. If the later happens, bench those players and instead play the ones that are breaking their back for you.

Never Back Down

When you coach a team that is struggling to win, the remaining games may seem like a contest to pick a Christmas tree or something like that. There are some trees you like, know will fit in your house and other trees that are too large or expensive. It’s natural to hold this same attitude when studying the remaining schedule.

There are some games you think you can stay competitive in or even win, while other games are daunting and something you cannot support.

Never back down. Great teams sometimes make the mistake of overlooking teams with poor records down the stretch. You could upset a top team, completely rebuild your team’s confidence, and finish the season on a strong note.

Coming Up:

“The Ultimate Basketball Success Guide: Winning, Losing, and Everything in Between”

See you for Day # 7


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