Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Players, NOW is the time for you mentally prepare for the type of season you want to have. Here are four simple (but not always easy) steps to have your most fulfilling year this season.
1. Decide NOW what you want your team's season to look like.
It’s way too often that I meet players who wait until the season has already started to really begin thinking about what they want the year to look like. By that point, it’s too late to decide to be special. That decision needs to be made in advance, so the vision can be cultivated. And once there's a vision, you can begin to implement a plan to accomplish those goals.
Former Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry may have said it best: “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”
2. Take responsibility for yourself.
Special teams are made up of special players, and special players take responsibility for their own improvement. Special players challenge themselves to be wild animals - those ready to fend for themselves - and not zoo animals - those who depend on someone else for food. Average players wait for a coach to open a gym in order to go “work out”. Special players don’t need a coach to get better.
Set the standard for hard work in your program and show what it means to do more than your share. Don't make someone else do it for you.
3. Be a star in your role.
One of my all-time favorite quotes comes courtesy of Doc Rivers: “Not everyone can be the star, but you can be a star in your role.” Too many basketball players (and people in general) are only interested in what he/she thinks is best for himself/herself instead of trying to figure out what’s best for the team.
Players, ask to meet with your coach and talk about your role for the upcoming year. Find out where your coach thinks you can currently help the team the most and begin working on those things every day! A meeting like that is also a great time to let your coach know any additional roles you’d like to play. Then ask for feedback on what you’d need to do in order to fill that role as well.
Every coach wants to put players on the floor that he/she trusts, and one of the easiest ways for a player to earn that trust is to put in the time to become a star in their role.
4. Be a great teammate ... NOW.
Being a great teammate isn’t just an in-season task. That’s what typical teammates do, and teams can’t be special if they’re made up of typical teammates. Special teams are made up of great teammates.
Becoming a great teammate isn’t a difficult task either; it just requires you to be intentional in your relationships with your teammates. It’s the little things that matter in setting the foundation of a great teammate. Send a text to see how someone’s vacation was. Offer to pick up the guy who’s missed the last couple of workouts. Plan a night out with everyone. Most importantly, be an example of the teammate you want them to be. It will be contagious.
These four steps may seem simple. And the truth is, they really are. It's just that most players don't invest the time it takes to go from typical to special. Now's the time to change that mindset on your team. No excuses this year. Stand out. Be special.