Q & A Forum
Experienced coaches are ready to answer your basketball questions! Visit our forum
How to Improve Team Bonding and Teach an Important Lesson- By Jeff Haefner
We suggest that all coaches (especially youth coaches) incorporate "life lessons" into their basketball practices.
Ironically, the "life lesson" we'd like to share with you today also helps improve team bonding! So it's a win - win for everyone involved.
Before getting into the specifics, I'd first like to explain what we mean by "life lessons" and why you should use them in your practices...
We believe it's important to consciously teach "life lessons" because not only will this help you win more games -- but more importantly this sets a good example for your players and helps them develop into happy and successful people.
Whether you realize it or not, basketball coaches have a HUGE influence on their players. You have an opportunity to have a very positive impact on something much bigger and more important than basketball.
By teaching these "life lessons" you also improve your basketball team and win more games. But that's not the intent. The intent is just to do the "right thing" as a basketball coach. Winning is simply a pleasant by-product of doing the "right thing".
In this article, we'll be discussing one specific "life lesson" that is very important and also improves team bonding!
But before we get into that, let's further explain what exactly we mean by "life lessons".
What is a life lesson?
You can actually call it whatever you want - laws of life, truths of life, keys to success, or whatever you prefer.
But when we say "life lessons", we are referring to ideals to live by. These are the things that are truly important in life. These are the things that make people truly successful and happy.
For example, some of the following ideals and concepts are traits you'll find in truly happy and highly successful people:
- Honesty - always tell the truth
- Be proactive (life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it)
- Work hard
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Getting your priorities straight (family, school, etc)
- Don't complain; focus your energy on the positive things.
Now let's get into a specific lesson you can teach that helps improve your team bonding.
The core of the lesson is to simply teach your players the joy of giving and serving others. This is a very simple thing.
One of the truths in life is that great happiness and success comes from giving and serving others. You'll rarely find a genuinely happy person that doesn't give out to others and provides a positive to impact in other people's lives.
You can easily help your players discover this joy by arranging a team project. You simply organize an event where your team provides a service to others.
There are thousands of ways that your team can provide a great service to the community and humanity.
You could raise money for sick kids. You could volunteer to serve food to homeless people. You could have your team visit a children's hospital. You could even have your players teach a group of less privileged kids the joy of basketball. Provide a camp for young kids that can't afford to pay.
Let me tell you a story about my daughter that illustrated how this concept can have a profound effect....
One day after work, I asked my three year old daughter if she wanted to do something nice for mom. She said yes! So without my wife knowing, we went to the flower shop and picked out some flowers. We then went home and with a big smile on her face, my daughter carried in the flowers and gave them to her mother. It was big a surprise. They both had HUGE smiles on their faces. It was such a small thing but I think my daughter is getting hooked on the idea of doing something nice to make others happy. It was a big hit!
This is the same concept for your team. You just need to figure out a way to put your players in a genuine situation to make someone else happy. It's contagious.
There are tons of websites out there to give you ideas. Here are just a few websites but you should also submit your ideas at the end of this article too.
The key to make this work is to put your players in a situation where they can help someone and then see the look on the other persons face. If you get a genuine smile going both directions, it was successful. But in order for it to be genuine, your players need to believe and buy into the cause.
For some players, this small experience can stimulate them to continue helping others on their own. For other players, this won't sink in until they are adults and mature enough to understand the joy of giving.
Either way, almost all players will remember the event because it's such a unique and positive thing.
They feel good about it and since everyone on your team was involved they develop an unspoken bond.
The type of team bonding this can potentially produce is priceless!
Give it a shot and don't procrastinate. All coaches should teach the joy of giving.
It might sound cheesy, but it works. You have the opportunity to do something positive. So do it!
Please submit your ideas on positive services that your team can provide. The more ideas the better...