Be the Leader
“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born, that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” —Warren Bennis
I can remember when I first got the coaching itch. It happened when I was coming off my Freshmen season in Chapel Hill and I went home for a few months during the summer. That summer I was in the gym so much that I should have just put a cot on the sideline.
My coach asked me if I would let kids from the team workout with me. I said sure and this is where the love affair with coaching began. You see up until that point I thought of myself as a team captain, a starter and a good ball player. Heck I even officiated recreation league and high school team summer camps, so I thought of myself as a referee. I never thought of myself as a coach until that first group of 9th graders came through the gym doors. Until coach introduced me as an assistant. Even hearing those words sent shivers down my back and caused me to clench my brow, I mean I was looking for one of the other assistants to walk in. Here I was 1 year out of high school and being called a coach. Once I came to the realization he was talking about me that word “assistant” caused a smile to grow between my lips.
All I ever wanted to do was hoop, but from that day in the gym I realized I now had a responsibility. I had to set the example in each drill by executing it flawlessly. I had to be the one to touch over the line during sprints. I had to focus on the instructions being given and not tell jokes to distract others. At that moment I felt the weight of the program on my shoulders. At that moment I accepted the idea that other people’s future depended on my performance. Because of that I had to do things differently. I had to share my knowledge and help others execute drills at my level. I am sure most coaches have had a moment like this. That moment when you realize who you are and what your role truly is on this planet. I learned that as a coach it was my responsibility to set the tone for my players. Scary. Empowering. What do you do next though?
I touch on this in my book How to Coach Basketball: 5 Actions You Must Take To Improve Your Team. Here is an excerpt:
Since you are reading this you are already taking ownership over your team and their development. The most important development starts with you. You need to start small though. Starting small will keep you energized and excited to complete the next task. Starting small will also keep you from getting overwhelmed and discouraged. It is about giving yourself pieces on which you can build. Eating a hippopotamus might seem overwhelming because of it’s massive size right? But really you would eat it the same way you would eat an apple. One bite at a time. So let’s talk about your first bite.
We will start with a self assessment. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. You can also type this if you create two columns. Simplicity is key here so do not over complicate this process. On the left side put “Strengths” and on the right side put “Opportunities”. We will call this your “SO Chart”, like “So You Can Be a Better Coach” chart. You must be painfully honest with yourself as you are answering these questions. The answers to these questions are as vital to your success as oxygen is to breathing…continue reading here
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“You are your only opponent”
Coach Thomas Wilkins
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