Saint Patrick Basketball
Every great team has two vital ingredients: Respect for one another and discipline. The great thing about that combination is that you don’t have to worry about discipline if you have respect. If the players really care about each other – not just for show but with a genuine respect for each other – they will play their roles properly.
I have discussed with the last seven coaches who have won the Illinois state championship about what was the most important characteristic of their championship teams. The word that popped up with each coach was UNSELFISHNESS. Guys weren’t worried about their scoring stats, internet rankings, or playing time. They were concerned primarily about the team. A team of unselfish players can accomplish extraordinary things together. I believe unselfishness is the number one thing exhibited by all great teams.
This is absolutely one of the most difficult things to do in today’s society. We are fragmented and individualistic. Our iPods, head phones, and personal computers isolate us into our own little worlds. It’s easy to get caught up in the thinking that it is all about “me” and not the team.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a process; working together is success.” – Pat Riley, Miami Heat
True success is achieved when our main concern is the good of others and the building up of the team.
A good team player…
1. Gives 100%
2. Shows courage off the field.
3. Makes no mental mistakes.
4. Cares about the team above all else.
5. Demonstrates loyalty to all.
“When your team operates like a strong family, you can’t be knocked out by one punch.” - Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
It’s human nature to be competitive and territorial. On a team, players can be so focused on their own success that they celebrate when someone else on the team fails. Competition on a team for roles and playing time isn’t a negative thing; it can motivate players to work harder. But when they g et so focused on themselves and fail to work for the good of the team, everyone loses.
We’re all human, and we all want to feel good about ourselves. That’s why, when someone else doesn’t do well, in a perverse way it can make us feel better about ourselves. That’s an immature way of thinking, but it’s a reality. We have to work on our team skills every day.
“A friend is always loyal, and a teammate is born to help in time of need.” – Larry Bird
If you do what the team needs and let your dreams and desires be shaped as you give to and support others, things will work out well for the team and for you. Teamwork is a constant balancing act between self-interest and group interest. We all have self-interest and there will always be some players who have a hard time buying into the team concept – they’re in it for themselves. If the majority of players care about the team, they can model that for the ones who don’t quite get it. But if the majority is concerned mostly about themselves, we will end up with nothing but chaos.
One thing I’ve always embraced is that you can influence people who will listen. If we could get past the issue of our differences and simply listen to each other, we’d be more likely to move forward. If people find us open and receptive, they’re apt to say, “He’s a nice person; I think I’d like to get to know him more. I’m going to see what makes him tick.” Being part of a team means that you have to be willing to listen if you’re ever going to be heard. I think that’s very important.
- What can you do today that will make you a better member of your team?
- Have you noticed somebody in our program who has exhibited unselfish teamwork? Talk to that person and tell them how much you appreciate it.
- Is there someone on the team that you don’t know that well that you can reach out to in the hallways, gym, or cafeteria?
- What do you do when you see someone on your team being self-absorbed vs. being unselfish?