No matter what level or age, a basketball team often rides emotional highs and lows. Earning player's respect can be difficult to achieve. But as a coach you need respect to do your job. New coaches are trying to build it, and established coaches are trying to maintain and reinforce it. Instilling trust and discipline is an struggle that all coaches face.
Here are three easy ways to get your team to respect you.
If you're able, get off of the sidelines and SHOW your players what you're talking about. Your team will benefit from the hands-on coaching and will appreciate the passion that you bring. Stick to the fundamentals of the game while playing and the team will start to see the value in those lessons. Your participation in certain drills steps up the energy and gives you chance to prove yourself.
Remind your players that basketball is a contact sport. Box your biggest center out to the arc, play tight defense on undersized guards and make everyone work for their shots. You may need some ice packs before bed, but your team will enjoy and appreciate the effort they saw from their coach.
2) Talk through philosophy and let them have input
You have your own unique coaching philosophy and should definitely let your players know what that consists of. If you can explain the bigger picture, your players are more likely to buy in and trust you. Also, allow them to ask questions as long as they are respectful. Just because your philosophy is obvious to you, they might not understand it as clear. If you allow your players to speak up, they will naturally feel more comfortable on and off the court.
Make sure they understand WHY it's important to set screens for post players. Explain WHY you're using a zone defense against your next opponent instead of man-to-man. Once your players understand there is a reason why you coach the way you do and they understand that their input is heard, they will begin to respect you more than ever.
3) Make sure discipline is a top priority
“Even the greatest players accept coaching and value the need for discipline and the order that it brings to the team”
– Dr. Jack Ramsay
This is more than just handing out rewards and punishments. A respected coach conducts practice in a professional manner. Practice should feel like it has a sense of purpose. Many of us have worked with coaches whose harsh attitude has undermined any chance of earning respect. When players can tell that their work won’t be seen or valued they will naturally slack off. This mentality can lead to lazy athletes that will look for ways to cut corners. By instilling a sense of professionalism during practice you will get the most out of your athletes and, most of all, earn trust as their leader and coach.
Now that the basketball season is kicking into overdrive, your team will be faced with new hurdles. If you have earned their respect, they will look to you for leadership. These three simple ways to build trust are just the tip of the iceberg for what you can do, but it all boils down to how hard you are willing to work for your athletes.
Want a bonus 4th way to get your players to respect you? Make sure they hear these 4 simple words!