When you’re the coach of a basketball team, it may be hard to comprehend just how important earning your player’s trust is to your team. Not only is it important, but it can also be difficult to accomplish.
Instead of going through an entire season without building rapport and trust with your team, make a conscious effort to do so. It goes a long way.
In this post, we highlight nine ways to earn your player’s trust.
We’re not saying you need to do all nine of these things to earn your player’s trust, but incorporating some of them into your coaching can be extremely beneficial.
Show Them You Care
Showing your team that you care about them as individuals outside of the basketball court is a huge part of basketball leadership. Your goal should be to build life skills with the young men and women that you are coaching. Not only should you be building life skills, but you should be having conversations with your players about how their lives are going. Are things at home going alright? Have they applied to college? Are they hoping to play college athletics? How can you help them accomplish their goals?
You should constantly be showing your players that you care far more about them as people than you do as basketball players.
Keep Your Promises
If you make promises to your team, you better be willing to keep them. When you tell them that you’ll buy a Gatorade for anybody that takes a charge, you better be prepared to buy a Gatorade for everyone that does it. If you promise they can have a certain day off from practice, you better be serious about giving the day off.
These promises seem trivial in nature, but by breaking them, you may start to lose their trust.
Hold All Players to the Same Standards
Nothing will make you lose your team’s trust quicker than giving star players different treatment when it comes to the standards you set for your team. Don’t suspend somebody a quarter for missing a practice, and then turn around and not suspend your star player because he contributes more points to the team. Each player on your team should be held to the same standards and should be punished accordingly when those standards are not met.
Hold Yourself to Your Players’ Standards
If you ask that your players be on time to all practices, meetings, shootarounds, etc., you need to hold yourself to those same standards. Don’t ask your players to live up to standards that you, yourself, are not willing to meet. If you do this, your players may start to resent your standards that you set.
Show Them Your Lighter Side
While this isn’t a requirement or anything, it helps your players to see that you’re human, too. When the time is right, show your players that you have a lighter side and you’re not strictly business all the time. Obviously you can’t act this way all the time, but when the time calls for it, this can help humanize yourself to your team.
Play in Open Gyms
If your fitness level and age allow it, play in open gyms with your guys. Let them see you in a light that they’re not used to seeing you in. When you’re on the court with them, you’re subjecting yourself to being on the player’s level, they usually respect that.
When you’re players reach out to you with questions, listen to what they have to say. Don’t be quick to cut them off or respond quickly. Listen to them and show them that you care what they have to say. Also, don’t be looking through your phone or staring off into space while they’re talking. Show them eye contact and listen effectively, just like you expect out of them.
Teach Them The Game
While teaching your players life skills is absolutely a goal as a coach, it’s important to remember that they are also there to learn basketball. Take time to teach your players the game. Show them the proper ways to do things. When your players start to see that your teachings and advice pay off for them as a player, their respect for your coaching will continue to grow, too.
But remember, players won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Your players should know what your expectations are for them as a player. This includes one-on-one meetings to discuss roles that you expect your players to play. If you think a player’s role is to come off the bench and distribute the basketball, but they thought you wanted them to be your top scorer, there is a communication disconnect there. Communication disconnects lead to losing trust.
Overall, each player will be different in regards to earning their trust. But by incorporating multiple methods highlighted above, you’ll be on the fast track to earning your players’ trust.