What is happening to Women's College Basketball?
There are three core things every championship level team does on a consistent basis. There many things championship teams do, but these three things can be found in any championship team, successful business, or high-achieving organization.
1. Give 100%
This may sound like like rah-rah speak, but this is something that high-performing teams do consistently. The great Geno Auriemma said, "The difference between a really good player and a great player is that great players don't get tired. What makes them a great player is that when a good player gets tired, the great player keeps going." You can coach ball screens, defense, bumping cutters, and all of those wonderful things that form a team concept. However, the one primary differentiator is that all players on the team are giving 100% every single day in practice and team sessions.
In a basic ball handling drill, you want to see players giving 100% effort, or a defensive slide drill, you want to see all of your players giving maximal effort. The teams that have to coach energy typically find themselves in games they should be winning, but end up on the losing end. Don't let effort be the deciding factor in a successful season versus a subpar season.
2. Listening Attentively
In any practice or team function, championship teams are listening attentively because coaches are always teaching. Championship teams have players that are eager to learn, eager to find their way into an expanded role, and listening attentively is one way to get there. I like to tell my younger athletes that are just starting out, listening is the easiest part of the game. It's tough to break a press, it's tough to score on great defense, it's tough to shoot with a hand constantly in your face - it's easy to listen. Listening is where the learning begins, the drills are where the learning is applied. It all starts with listening.
This same principle applies to the classroom, in the home and in the community. Listening is where the learning starts.
3. Always Pick Up Your Teammates
This is often easier said than done. There are egos that come and go throughout the season, feuds, arguments, and disagreements. If you make it a habit to pick up your teammates with small daily actions, this can grow into a great and positive habit. Always offering encouragement, or help to your teammates can go along way. What would your team look like if everyone was picking each other up, offering encouragement and help? "Keeping taking that, that's your shot" or "Nice try, you'll get the next one" are simple ways to pick your teammates up and give encouragement.
In younger organizations, we typically see an athlete make a mistake and the team will jump on them and complain. These are the behaviors we want to minimize and eliminate as soon as possible and replace them with encouragement and support. Make it a habit to continually having your players pick their teammates up regardless of the situation.
Championship teams don't always have the best athletes, or most skilled players, they do have the best teammates. Teammates that give 100% regardless of the situation, are constantly listening attentively, and helping their teammates up at every chance.
Take an audit of your next practice, and see how your athletes behave when a player makes a mistake. Are they helpful, do they give 100% in every drill, and do they listen attentively during team huddles between drills and breaks?
Rising Stars Basketball