ATHLETES: 25 TIPS FOR BECOMING A BETTER LEADER
1- Don’t blame anyone, ever. If times get tough, put the team on your back and say, “I should/could have done more.” And understand and believe in that statement – you can always lead everyone to do more. Never throw your teammates or coaches under the bus. Even if they probably deserve it, your reactions publically will only make the situation worse. If necessarily, pull them aside one-on-one.
2- Realize that it’s up to you. If you are a junior or a senior- you NEED to become a leader. If you are one of the most talented players on the team, you NEED to be a leader. The lockerroom is waiting for someone to SPEAK UP and STEP UP—this starts with you!
3- During tough times ENCOURAGE those teammates or units that are failing. Urge them to keep fighting!! Support them. Tell them you have their back and know what they are capable of. Offer to join them for extra practice time. Let them know that you believe in them and these tough times will soon pass.
4- “I may not say much but when I speak, people listen.” – If these words come out of your mouth that means you need to SPEAK more often. That means people respect you. That means you have a responsibility.
5- Invite the team or your position group to your house – extra time together away from the faclility helps TREMENDOUSLY. Cook dinner, play video games, watch sports, watch movies, whatever. ANY time that you spend together helps, initiate the effort! Do it on a consistent basis. Set up a weekly tradition.
6- Leadership is contagious!! Leaders create other leaders. It starts with one—let that be you. Your leadership will cause a ripple effect in your team. If you bring relentless and positive energy to everything that you do they will begin to mirror you.
7- Eliminate distractions that are holding you back – junk food, video games, academic issues, partying, drama. When players see their leaders becoming more serious, they will also begin to sacrifice and make smarter decisions. What you will gain in the future by cutting those distractions will motivate you.
8- Initiate extra offseason work—bring the energy, set the pace! Have a positive and relentless attitude!! Personal and team improvements happen in the offseason—not during your season! Set the schedule, set the standards, set the positive attitude.
9- Help your team build trust in each other – no championships are won when a team lacks trust in each other. To be successful, you need teammates that trust each other and a coaching staff who trusts their players. Show your teammates that you trust them. Give your coaches a reason to trust you. Trust begins with simply being where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there!
10- Come 15 min early and stay 15 min late – Come to the weightroom or film room on off days and bring your unit or teammates to do quality work, put in the same effort as if your coaches are there. Multiply the extra time by the number of teammates who join you—it adds up quickly!
11- Show that you CARE – You care about the team and you care about WINNING! Once you decide to quit on your team and just put in minimum effort so will everyone else.
12- Be in the lockerroom as much as you can, create an environment where team wants to be. Music, attitude, conversation—create a positive environment that people want to hang out in.
13- Academics – call out younger players who are slipping to get it together – raise expectations for them to be responsible!! They will follow your lead. Make it cool to be on the Honor Roll!
14- Realize and be sensitive that teammates may have outside issues (family, depression, addiction, injury) going on. Be a listener or supporter. Pull troubled teammates aside. Any distractions off-the-field can keep you away from success; do what you can to help your teammates who are going through off-the-field troubles.
15- Fights are the biggest reason for suspensions and expulsions – When you see teammates scuffling on or off-campus, break it up or diffuse the situation! If 1 player fights, usually everyone fights. Be the calming voice in heated situations. You want teammates who are committed and focused enough on winning to walk away.
16- Go by your coach’s offices for 10 minutes a few times a week – spend time with the assistants and coordinators. Get to know your coaches. Ask them what you can be doing to get better.
17- Hold your teammates to high expectations in every area – if you are successful, they’ll listen!
18- You can be more influential than your coaches, realize that your messages are heard—good and bad.
19- Cut the nonsense at inappropriate times (meetings, practice, film, lift). If your teammates see that you are serious when you need to be, they will focus too.
20- Help with recruiting talent once on a college campus—host top recruits, be positive. The coaches are working their butts off to bring in the best players and if you want to win, you should be doing so as well.
21- Eliminate the negativity in the lockerroom. Establish a NO TOLERANCE attitude for complaining and backstabbing among teammates. Negativity never will win championships. Cut it off immediately! Help feuding teammates to get to the root of their problems and to put them behind them.
22- Get over losses – be positive and move on – brighter days ahead. Get those around you to believe! Frustration makes quitting easier, get your teammates to PUSH PAST that layer of frustration and focus on doing better the next time.
23- Get the fans involved, you will need them all season! Appreciate them at school, invite them to games, pump up crowd at key times. Win or lose, thank them for coming!
24- Talk to your coaches if you or a teammate has a major issue that could hurt team (legal, health, academic, eligibility)—the quicker they hear it, the quicker they can address it – it is what is best for the team.
25- Praise teammates when they do something great. If you are a leader in front of the media, do it publicly. Don’t overdo it but make a point to pat teammates on the back for their improvements. People like recognition and once they begin to get it, they will strive for even more. Motivate the backups and practice players, they don’t get much acknowledgement for their hard work.