When we’re coaching basketball, it’s easy for us to constantly get wrapped up in the X’s and O’s of the game. We spend countless hours trying to figure out how we can gain a competitive advantage on our opponents.
We get frustrated when players don’t execute properly, or don’t go as hard as we’d like them to, and we may even punish our players with sitting on the bench, pushups, wind sprints, etc.
But while it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of execution, effort, and all of those important aspects of the game, there’s one thing that trumps all when it comes to important things to say to your players.
I CARE ABOUT YOU.
This sentence can mean so much to your players. Obviously, it takes action, not just words, to show that you care. But your players should know that you truly care about them as a person.
For that reason, nothing done on the court should carry over to your relationship off the court. You should be providing them with the tools to be successful members of society once the ball stops bouncing for them.
Get to know your players. Ask them things like:
- What they’re thinking about doing once their basketball career is over?
- Where do they want to go to college?
- What are they interested in studying?
- Is everything going okay at home?
- How is school going? Are there any subjects that you’re struggling with?
- How are you doing personally? Is there anything bothering you? How can I help?
Again, letting them know that you truly care about them is a tactic that goes far beyond basketball. When you develop personal relationships with your players, they will be more willing to accept your criticism, more willing to play hard for you, and ultimately, you’ll be a lifelong mentor to them.
Coaching is about so much more than trying to make a basketball team better. It’s about trying to make people better, and if the basketball team improves, that’s a bonus.
Remember the phrase, ‘I CARE ABOUT YOU’ and showcase to your players that you truly mean it.