On Thursday morning in Alpharetta, Georgia, I walked into Milton High School hearing the familiar sounds of balls bouncing, shots swishing through the nets, and the monotonous sound of the shooting machine launching balls at timed intervals, to help players improve their individual games. These sounds brought back memories of my days as a Head Coach and Division I assistant and the time invested in making sure we were evaluating the right young men to be a part of our program not just for four years, but a LIFETIME.
After my introduction to the group by Coach Allen Whitehart, who created Life After Basketball (LAB) Academy, I proceeded to talk about my background and to discuss the three types of players that are in most, if not, all locker rooms.
The first is Uncommitted. These players, in my opinion, are distractions. They find a way to disrupt and downplay the significance of everything going on in your program. These players are chemistry killers and have a way of chipping away and destroying your culture. If these players are not identified and addressed immediately, by the leader, your tenure will be short-lived. In most cases, leaders see these players and ask them to leave or help them move on. If you gamble and keep an uncommitted player, you risk your culture in the locker room as well as your tenure as the leader.
The second is Interested. These players do exactly what you put down on paper or the board and rarely, if ever, do anything more than what is asked of them. These players can easily be swayed either way and can be a positive or a negative in your locker room as well. As a leader, you need to find these players and like the Uncommitted, you need to plan on whether to keep them or help them move on. In my experiences, most Interested players wanted to know that a leader and staff cared for them and wanted to make a mutual investment in the players overall development on and off the court.
The third is Committed. These players are always seeking, discovering, studying and developing their talents. They are always wanting to learn and find more ways to do everything possible to make themselves successful on and off the court. Committed players are actively seeking out other players to help them be successful. Finally, the Committed players protect the culture and values in the locker room, lead by example and help to be a catalyst in championship programs.
As you prepare for the upcoming season, I hope you have already determined which types of players are a part of your program. If so, you are well on your way to creating the team, program and culture that you desire to coach.