Team Building: Erasing it's-all-about-me attitudes
By Greg Bach
Getting young basketball players to ditch it’s-all-about-me attitudes and embrace team-first mindsets requires real focus by coaches.
And clear and consistent messaging, too.
“What you emphasize is what you are encouraging,” says Raegan Pebley, head women’s basketball coach at Texas Christian University.
Coaches want youngsters playing together, supporting each other, and genuinely pulling for their teammates.
“We try to celebrate each other’s success but most importantly we really try to celebrate and make it about the team’s growth,” Pebley says. “If one person is successful or had a great game or an incredible performance there are a lot of people who helped make that happen. So we really try to focus on that because that’s a team achievement, not just one person.”
Pebley was a standout performer during her playing days at the University of Colorado, where she is one of only nine players in school history to score more than 1,000 points and grab more than 700 rebounds.
But Pebley wasn’t into numbers back then – she was into doing whatever she could to help her team win, and supporting her teammates along the way.
That mindset has never changed; she’s always been team-first all the time.
And she encourages volunteer coaches to establish that culture with their own teams – and it starts with what coaches choose to emphasize.
“If after a game you’re addressing points or rebounds or those types of statistics then that’s what is being emphasized,” Pebley says. “Therefore, you’re encouraging players to think that’s what their identity is, and that’s what they should be doing, and that’s what it’s all about. But if after a game you don’t even focus on the points and you’re focused on the controllables, which are ‘Were you a great teammate? Did you hustle? Did you execute? Did you communicate? Did you celebrate your teammates? Did you point to your passer?’ If you really focus on those types of things, then that’s what you’re encouraging and you’re going to continue to see more of that from your players.”
And you'll have a group that pulls for each other, supports each other, and plays together.
Traci Callahan, professional beach volleyball player and youth coach, on the value of providing honest feedback to young players to forge connections, drive development and deliver rewarding seasons
During these unprecedented times coaches still play an all-important role in their young athletes’ lives. Use these tips from well-known psychologist Dr. Peter Scales to stay connected, involved and help players be ready once seasons resume.
University of Iowa women’s volleyball coach Vicki Brown shares how she used visualization during her days as a youth coach to prepare teens for productive practicing
Volunteer youth coach of several sports on recognizing each young athlete's learning style and treating everyone with that all-important respect