Teams with talented players have an (obvious) advantage, but they are not guaranteed success.
Talent is not enough by itself to win a championship.
Basketball is a team game. Thus teamwork is an essential ingredient to success.
Players must put the team first.
A great player can win any game. A great team can win every game.
If you have talent, you need teamwork to maximize it.
If you are short on talent, you need teamwork to over-achieve.
7 Pillars of Teamwork:
- Lead your teammates. Coaches cannot be the only leaders on the team. Leadership must come from the players, on and off the court, at every practice and every game.
- Elevate your teammates: If you aren’t making your teammates better; you are making them worse. Players need to raise the level of their teammates through their enthusiasm, encouragement and through working hard by example.
- Respect your teammates: You don’t have to be BFF’s with every teammate. But you do have to respect every teammate. The starting point guard needs to respect the last player on the bench (and vice versa). Respect them as a person; respect their role.
- Trust your teammates: You have to trust that your teammates know, accept and embrace their role. You have to have full confidence that they will be in position on ‘help defense’ and trust they’ll make the shot when you give them the extra pass.
- Discipline your teammates: Players need to police each other on and off the court. Coaches can’t be everywhere. Coaches can’t see everything. Players need to ‘fix’ poor behavior internally.
- Back your teammates: A team is a family. Would you let someone pick on your little brother at the park? I hope not. If your teammate ever gets in a bind, on or off the court, they need to know you have their back.
- Challenge your teammates: Competition amongst teammates is invaluable. If you are the ‘back-up’ point guard, you should challenge for that starting position every single day. Not challenging your teammates during practice is selfish. Competition should bring out the best in everyone.
Championship teams are never built exclusively with extraordinary players. They are built primarily with ordinary players doing extraordinary things together.