The Wisdom of Basketball Coaches – 5 Lessons For Life

While on the surface sports seem like a competition to see who the fastest and strongest are, there are a lot of life lessons that can be learned when participating in a sport. Perhaps no sport teaches more life lessons than basketball, where you rely on your team to help get you to the mountaintop of whichever league you’re participating in.

To become the best both on and off the court, every basketball player needs a great coach. Coaches do more than make you run sprints and have you practice free throws until the sun comes up. They teach life lessons at all levels. Out of all of the great basketball coaches, here are five of the biggest life lessons that everyone can take away.

5. Empower Everyone

In basketball, much of the team may revolve around a single person who has the most talent. However, not even the best players are able to play every minute of every game. People get tired or hurt, just like in real life. With that in mind, it’s important to empower everyone on the team so that when it’s their opportunity to contribute, they have the confidence to deliver. If a coach hasn’t done a good job of building up that confidence, that player is more likely to become overwhelmed with the situation since they don’t feel like a part of the actual team. Draymond Green noted that this is Steve Kerr’s strong point, saying “it’s on everybody to come together and empower that next man.”

4. Leaders Care

The late, great Dean Smith of North Carolina basketball said that “The most important thing in good leadership is truly caring,” adding that this is true in all aspects of life. “The best leaders in any profession care about the people they lead, and the people who are being led know when the caring is genuine and when it’s faked or not there at all.” So whether you’re in the NBA Finals or leading a team of salespeople, you have to care to lead.

3. Don’t Coast On Success

We’ve all had that time where we’ve had success, only to get a bit complacent or develop an ego instantly. When this success happens, people tend to think that they were the biggest reason behind a team’s success, it can be by pure chance that all of the right pieces fell into place. You have to continue to grow as a person. As hall of fame coach Pat Riley said, “Success is often the first step toward disaster.”

2. Communicate With Trust

Communication is more important than just about any aspect of life when building relationships both professional and personal. If you can’t communicate and do so with trust, then you’ll lose those around you in a heartbeat. Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski said that you don’t get to that level of trust “when you look each other in the eye and tell the truth. If you do that on a consistent basis, the element of trust is developed…and that becomes part of your culture.”

1. Success is Measured By Effort

The final lesson to take away is that you don’t have to reach the pinnacle of success to truly succeed. Too often, people are hard on themselves because they aren’t the best in the world at what they do. Even if you’re not the best at something in your building, you’re still succeeding if you’re doing one thing: giving the best that you can. The best college basketball of all time, UCLA’s John Wooden, said that “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you were capable of becoming.” Wooden won 10 NCAA Championships, but all he remembered was the effort given, not the end result.

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