Oftentimes as coaches we desire to have a player-led team.
A team where players:
– Communicate consistently
– Elevate team culture
– Take responsibility for their actions
– Hold each other accountable to team standards on and off the court
But as we strive for a player-led team, there’s a key question we must ask ourselves…
Do our players have a voice?
I ask that because PGC founder Dick DeVenzio once said: “If the only way you lead is by example, then you’re a poor leader.”
Unfortunately sometimes that’s the only thing we’ve asked our players to do…
Lead by example.
And too often in the practices I’ve watched the only voice in the gym tends to be that of the coach.
Our players need a voice.
And I’m not talking about the basic communication that happens within drills and practices.
I’m talking about our players ability to assess a situation and ask: What does the team need right now?
This is something ALL of our players are capable of and often they know better than we do.
So let’s give them the opportunity.
Take time in your practices and workouts where players get 30 seconds, 60 seconds, to huddle up together and engage with one another while you’re stepping back.
They get to be the voice.
Watch and listen.
The important part is you give them the space, the time, the opportunity and then mentor and guide them along the way.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t “feel perfect” the first time. It probably won’t — just continue the exercise.
Build in times for your players to have a voice at each meeting and practice.
Remember, we must intentionally develop and mentor our leaders if we want to reap the rewards of a player-led team.
A player-led team starts with players having a voice.