By Joe Haefner
This was passed on to us by a coaching friend, Bud Leonard.
This is a topic I have spoken on at many camps and to quite a few young basketball players across the province. I feel that it is the basis of a good understanding and attitude toward the game of basketball. Respect is the foundation and building block to many things that are, or should be, important to you as a player and a person.
To start with, you must have self respect. Not the phony chest beating macho kind you see on the streets and on TV, but the kind that can serve you well in all that you do. Self respect doesn’t include being aggressive, a show off, or the center of attention; that is known as bravado and often denotes a “thug” or “smart alec”. Self respect is the inner assurance that you know how to do the right thing and are prepared to do so. It is that something inside you that lets you know that what you are doing or how you are playing is the ‘right way” and will end in satisfaction for you.
You must always respect your team mates. They are very important to you; they are part of your team, now and forever. In future years they will become a large part of the bank of memories you have about your basketball experience. At present you may feel that you are a better player than they are. That may be true at present, but it is up to you to help them become better! You can’t accomplish this by making fun of them and their efforts to play the game that only beats them down. What you can do is respect their efforts and show them that you care about them and need them as a team mate. Remember that nobody misses a shot, drops a pass, or runs the wrong play on purpose; and you must respect the effort they make.
Respect for your opponent is also necessary. They are players just like you, playing a game they love, just for the fun of it .If they seem to be the type of player who is a “show boater”, show them the right way to play through your style as a player. There is no need to “chirp” at them all game long, just play your game and they will learn. Your sense of self respect just may change theirs!
A great aspect of respect shown by the best players is that shown to the game officials.These men, or ladies, are mostly former players who are “giving back” to the game. They have one of the toughest jobs on the court. Yes, they will make a mistake on occasion; this is not done on purpose, just as you don’t miss a shot or fail to rebound on purpose. The more respect you show to the officials, the more respect they will have for you as a player and as a person.
Respect for the coaches is mandatory. Your coaches are there giving up their time to help you to become a better player. They were all once players and understand how difficult the game can be , how time consuming practices can be when homework needs to be done , and how much you want to win. Mostly they are there to help you succeed!
If you can master the art of respect, and show it in your play and attitude at practice and during games, your game, and your enjoyment of the game, will increase to levels you never expected.
Coach Bud Leonard.