November 10, 2020 • FeaturesFrom the BenchWinning Hoops

10 Ways To Track Success For Players

Players today, for the most part, are stronger and quicker and have many other abilities that are off the charts. However, has their power of attitude increased for the better? has their toughness increased? In many years coaching basketball, I have seen a massive decline in attitudes, coachability, focus, and bench conduct with players. Also, poor attitudes by some adults and poor language by both adults and students seem to be on the rise.

Players, and, for that matter all of us, must change for the better with the power attitude and a better understanding of caring for all people. Tracking success is geared for players but will help everyone improve their game and, hopefully, their lives. It is designed to help not only basketball players but all athletes, in the workforce and the teaching world.

High-level athletes possess the following attributes: responsibility, commitment, accountability, and focus. This is a mindset to constantly improve upon.

Everyone has heard the term “storm the court” as the crowd rushes the basketball floor after a huge, upset victory. “Storm the court has a different meaning for me. I want my players to take this term to “storm” the classroom, their meetings, the locker room, with practice, the pre-game, and the game itself with energy, a positive attitude, a tremendous effort, being a great teammate, excellent listening skills, and a will to “win the day.”

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Toughness is a word that’s used all the time. However, very few know the true meaning of it. Toughness is a way of life for top players. They have a “drive” to be successful in basketball and more importantly in life. Tough top players have a mindset and a winning attitude to win daily. That mindset consists of:

  • A love for practice
  • A desire to win every drill at practice
  • An embrace for the true meaning of team
  • A desire to help others become better
  • A knack for avoiding trouble
  • A desire to train year around 

The #10ForGold just might help athletes feel better with themselves and with teammates and coaches. These 10 concepts will improve anyone’s game with drive, energy, work ethic, and skills. Their games will improve with the “winning edge.” These lifelong lessons will improve everyone’s life and will certainly help pave the way towards success. The #10ForGold concepts are the following:

  1. Positive Attitude — The “power of attitude” can belong to all of us. Everyone talks about a player’s drive. But what about a player’s attitude to drive? A positive attitude can be a #FocusIssue with discipline to “win the day.” This is what tough players and workers do and believe in:
      • Understand and accept their role
      • Listen with tremendous eye contact
      • Are coachable and believe criticism and praise improves their game
      • They understand mistakes still happen. They keep working hard and learn
      • They show the entire staff they are a huge part of the team and work to help everyone be successful.Preparing to win is your own personal attitude. This positive attitude will help so many and leads them on a path towards success. Toughness with a solid attitude is your ticket! Win with attitude! Be strong in both the classroom and on the court.
  2. Coachability — It’s simple. Listen, learn, and go to work. Be coachable at home, in the classroom, on the job, and on the court.Coachable players understand their role on the team and work hard to improve that role. I have seen many players improve their role and move up the ladder. I have also seen many stay the same. Coach John Wooden believed strongly in role players to help his UCLA program. He often told many, “champions never complain because they’re too busy getting better.” Several years ago I had the great honor to speak to a pro basketball team on toughness. They were the best listeners I have ever had. Why? They all wanted to get better!Your coachability is a preparation to win. it is a daily commitment for life. There is a “no whining zone” for winners. The coaches are in charge while the player in charge to practice hard and play the game. Be a competitor who is 100 percent coachable!
  3. #4ForLife — There are four important life-controlling lessons we can incorporate into our daily lives: focus, attitude, preparation, effort. Top players and top workers thrive on these lessons.How is your focus with everything? Is your attitude positive? are you prepared daily at school, at work, and at practice? How is your effort on a daily basis? Focus, attitude preparation, and effort can help all of us win the day! Believe in yourself with a powerful work ethic and the #4ForLife will bring out your talent in whatever you do.
  4. Academic Success — This is a tough subject for many. I have lost some very talented players because of their lack of attitude and motivation to perform in the classroom. Academics are certainly a top priority for any program. The #4ForLife will undoubtedly help with everyone having success in the classroom. Most players know their strengths and weaknesses on the court. Strengths within each class will help define their weak points. Students must use these strengths to plan an attack with their weaknesses. Most importantly, everyone must attend class and be tough and prepared. One of the best positive in life is total organization. Successful students are well-organized with all subjects. being on time is call time commitment and is vital for staying on track.Enjoy successful wins in every class. If trouble happens, remember there is always another day to succeed. Do not hesitate to seek help from coaches, teammates, friends, and teachers. Believe that a way will be made by working hard.Academic toughness is helped by 100 percent attendance, being early and sitting in front of the class, and contributing regularly. Intensity, effort, pride, and relentlessness with all classes and subjects with a “never give up” attitude.
  5. OneTeam Matters — My definition of OneTeam is any team that embraces #TeamAttitude, #TeamEgo, and #Teamwork. Work ethic is there every day and they believe in “win every day.”There is no question about it — a team working together for the total program is a winning program. They work together, win together, and lose together. Individuals who are unhappy, selfish, and envious can destroy the morale of any team. Individual success is team success. OneTeam is not a collection of individuals but rather a team on and off the court with a winning attitude. OneTeam’s togetherness will: develop a desire to achieve; set team goals which include work with a passion to get better on the court and in the classroom; care and police one another; not miss class; help one another with time management; promote training like champions.Everyone has team commitments and team obligations. Bad attitudes are not tolerated. They will be handled first with warnings and then the staff will make some tough decisions. OneTeam always keeps digging to get better. A huge part of OneTeam’s make-up is to contribute daily to the team’s success and to accept the role of each player. Confidence is built each day with coachability and hard work. They believe in a class act. Thus, a team together will build a winning culture that continues year after year. OneTeam’s work is all about heart.
  6. Work Ethic/Competitor — Work ethic is essential to get ahead and find success. Many have this and will continue their hard work for the rest of their lives. SO many have a great start, but lose consistency and get tired. Work ethic takes energy and confidence. Great leadership shows the way and it rubs off on many. Basketball players need a power work attitude with their conditioning, their classroom studies, and the steady work they need for their game. successful people from all walks of life have a built-in work ethic attitude that wins each and every day. Loyalty is huge with OneTeam. It is a value that successful organizations develop and work on daily.Work ethic is a choice with discipline that:
    • Understands and believes in time management
    • Is totally focused
    • Has a desire to improve daily
    • Is dedicated
    • Has goals to reachBelieve in yourself. Believe in your motivation and go to work.Competitors want to win and are totally motivated to get better every day. Their mental toughness is off the charts. Competitor’s preparation leads the way to build their confidence. Thus, they get the job done. Their performance is watched by many with their workouts and their games. Their theme is “I left it all out there!”To compete at a high-level one must:
    • Have a positive attitude with life, their workouts, and games
    • Be a self-motivator
    • Be committed to goals to win
    • Know how to maintain concentrationLarry Bird stands tall with a work ethic and was a tremendous competitor. He won every day with hard work and dedication. This competitive edge began in high school and was his trademark in both college and his pro career. He heard many times he was from a small town, can’t run, can’t jump, a step slow, and can’t play against bigger players. His answer was “when the time comes, I will deal with it.” I guess he did! He always wanted to get better and worked on his weaknesses relentlessly. He liked to practice in the summer alone so he could not be bothered. His shooting routing was outstanding and he stated, “I shoot until I feel good.” He believed in practicing hard and smart, being prepared, and playing strong.
      Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

      We have all watched the success of the Miami Heat’s sensational young player, Tyler Herro. His work ethic as a young player was outstanding, which also helped him develop as a tough competitor. We can learn the true meaning of work ethic and competitive spirit through both Bird and Herro.

  7. Organization — Organization is a life-time skill that points so many toward success. Those who have this skill know exactly what I am talking about. Players today must understand the meaning of life’s organization with everything. Academics and basketball work are full-time jobs and organization will build confidence and success. The keys toward success with organization include time management, priorities being done first, and total focus.
    A daily planning book is essential for the day’s projects and always looking ahead with preparation. Setting targets and goals takes structure and planning with organization. Organize your home, apartment, workspace, filing cabinets, clothes, car — everything! The bottom line is to continue and make organization a habit. This habit will save you time, being prepared and you’ll never late. Believe me: organization is always a “win each day” skill.
  8. Drive with Toughness — It is a daily quality they use to work hard with all their goals. Rewards might be money for some, but athletes with this “power of drive” is all about winning, especially winning each day. This drive might come from a failure leading to a challenge to work harder, embracing responsibility, and a hunger for achieving goals.

    » RELATED: 10 Ways to Track Success for Coaches

    Some of my players have had or have a drive that is consistent with a winning attitude in the classroom and on the court. Others start out with a drive that they lose with setbacks or discipline problems.

    The great Jerry West said it best, “you can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days you feel good.” Develop your own drive and it will rub off on many others!

  9. Fundamentals — Fundamentals will always remain the key to success. if you don’t practice the basics and do not gain complete control of these basic skills, it will be difficult to reach higher levels of your game. Re-visit fundamentals often. The basics always reinforce critical techniques and will avoid developing bad habits. Always work on shooting form, two-hand pass to a target, dribbling with change of pace, and rebounding techniques.These skills and more will lead to better total vision, footwork, quickness, and confidence to name a few. As an example of blocking out, many times coaches on all levels ask the question, “who is blocking out?” Blocking out is a fundamental rebounding technique in basketball. It is also an important part of team defense. Good rebounders, good ball-handlers, good shooters with great attitudes with fundamentals are valuable to any team.
    Reviewing basketball basics will help any player with advanced fundamentals that include: offensive and defensive movement; screening and accepting screens; two-step quickness which can become three-step quickness; total vision; and shooting with confidence.A powerful fundamental is the skill of communication. Coaches plead with teams all the time to talk. We need more basketball talk at practice and during games. Conditioning is also a fundamental project that top players use throughout the year.
  10. Caring Attitude — Caring about your teammates and coaches builds a culture of trust and genuine caring for the team and the entire program. This is family! Study great players who were tough and talented, but still cared deeply for all their teammates. Everyone has to evaluate the program and occasionally will need help.Caring starts with respecting yourself and building your loyalty and aiding everyone in the program towards a successful path! Great players put the team above themselves. This is not easy. No organization will be successful without caring. Selfish attitudes destroy cultures! A successful culture takes everyone to supply this caring attitude. Working together is a common goal for champions. This produces the “win each day” mentality.

A winning team’s culture takes all hands on deck with responsibility, accountability, trust, and a positive caring attitude. Be OneTeam!