By Kyle Ohman, cofounder of BasketballHQ.com.
Coaches are always talking about players stepping up and becoming leaders on the team. They are looking for players to help them lead the team in the way that it should go.
Without having player leadership the team’s success is going to be very limited. Maybe you are a player that wants to be a leader on his or her team, but isn’t quite sure of what to do, or perhaps you are a coach or parent who can pass this along to a specific player.
We usually associate the best or most skilled player as the leader of the team, but that is not always the case. You don’t have to be the best player on your team to step up and lead. However, there are certain things that you should do as a player if you want to be a leader of your team. Here are 3 things that you can do to become a better leader on your team.
Lead by Example
If you are going to be a good leader you must be willing to lead with your actions. Your teammates aren’t going to listen to what you have to say if they know that you aren’t doing it yourself. For example, if you aren’t in the gym or on the field working on your game regularly, you won’t be able to encourage your teammates to be working on theirs.
Be the player that is the first one to practice, and also the last one to leave. Your teammates will notice this, and it will add more value to your words when you speak. They will recognize the effort that you are giving and realize that you are invested in the team and in them.
Build Your Teammates Up
It is important that you learn to speak to your teammates the right way. Talk to them in a way that is going to encourage them and build them up, not tear them down. There are going to be times when you need to get on your teammates, but do it in a way that they know that you still care about them, and that you are doing it to help the team. They will be much more likely to listen to what you are saying, and then do their best to change.
Anytime that you have a chance to encourage your teammates you should take it. If someone is playing well or has just made a great play, let them know. Tell them, “good job!” or “keep up the good work” – it will go a long ways. This will only make them want to play harder and it will promote team unity.
Staying consistent as a leader is probably one of the hardest things to do because there are going to be days that you just don’t feel like it. It might be after a tough loss or a hard practice and you just want to be left alone. However, these are the most important times that you must be a leader, because everyone else is watching you to see what you will do.
It won’t be easy, but it is important that you are consistent with what you say and do whether it is during good times or tough times. The tough times are when you can really set yourself up as a leader of the team and gain the respect of your teammates.
If you look at great teams in any sport you will recognize that those teams have great player leaders. Coaches can only do so much, and they need players that are willing to step up and help bring the rest of the team along. Don’t sit in the back and follow anymore. Be willing to step up for your team and be the kind of leader that your team needs!
Kyle Ohman was a thousand point scorer at Liberty University (div. 1) and was ranked the 19th best shooter in the country by Fox Sports his senior year. Kyle has also played professionally in Spain. Most recently he coached a high school team that played on a national level and beat the 12th ranked team in the nation. Coach Ohman is the Co-Owner and founder of BasketballHQ.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.