by Arron MacDonald
Coach MacDonald is known for his belief in developing players as better leaders and team-mates, here he takes a quick dive into a podcast which threw a couple of ideas forwards to help improve the culture on your team...
Just a quick post from me today…
I heard an excellent podcast recently from the Hardwood Hustle, and there were two compelling ideas from it which really stuck with me – and I had to immediately pass on to the teams I’m working with:
I don’t want to take too much away from the podcast, as it’s excellent, but just to dive-in for a moment on my two key takeaways.
“Beat the coach” was focusing on one key interaction that every coach and player can relate to… something isn’t going right in training, and the coach blows the whistle to talk to everyone about it.
They simply asked, “Why?”
Why is it that players don’t make a habit out of beating the coach to the whistle to attempt to fix the problem themselves?
As they dived into this, I couldn’t help but reflect on my leadership style and the teams I’ve coached, and while I’ve always tried to empower players to be leaders, I’ve found the same problems repeating themselves:
The guys on the Hardwood Hustle dived into some of this, and suggested something which I’d never heard before – but I’ve already stolen from them (with pride).
They suggested addressing the players to tell them to focus on three key areas of communication only:
Again, I don’t want to take too much away from the podcast, and the way the first two points were explained were really compelling… but it’s the third I was drawn to…
Echoing a team-mate or coach who’s trying to move the leadership situation forwards within a team setting is a vital way of showing that you support them, and that you’re a good team-mate. It can also stop the leaders in the team from suffering with leadership burnout.
I was fortunate enough to be in a session with the Colchester Basketball Academy on the same day I’d heard the podcast, and Coach Sadler was kind enough to allow me the opportunity to share this with the team.
Not only did the noise levels go up in that training session, so too did the energy and the focus. The next day, they put on their performance of the season to-date, in a convincing win in the Academies League.
While I’m not suggesting that the focus on their communication was the primary difference-maker in the game, I can say the word I heard the most throughout the game was “echo”, as the leaders in the team used the phrase itself as a reminder to ensure that the team were in-sync on both ends of the floor.
It was great for me personally to see that kind of impact immediately, and it’s a message I’ve already passed along to two other teams I work with – to positive impact.
I’d recommend listening to the podcast with a notepad to hand – and good luck implementing this with your team - and don't forget, we offer Leadership and Teamwork mini-camps where this is just one of the exercises we run with your team - if you'd be interested, please get in touch!