Construction Zone: Do THIS to build players that care for each other
By Greg Bach
Creating cultures where teammates genuinely care for and support each other requires a coach’s full attention.
When it all comes together – with youngsters appreciating, supporting and encouraging each other – teams can flourish.
And life-changing experiences fill the season.
Former Stanford great and WNBA champion Nicole Powell – head women’s basketball coach at Grand Canyon University in Arizona – knows how vital having that culture is at every level of sports.
She has played – and thrived – in those environments where athletes are all-in when it comes to supporting and caring for each other.
And she’s got an incredibly impactful activity that volunteer coaches of any sport, at any level, can utilize to unite their teams, too.
“At the end of each practice each child goes around and says something positive that they appreciated or liked about whoever happens to be next to them,” says Powell, a three-time All-American and two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year. “Players will see how good that feels to have that positive reinforcement from their peers and then it becomes a habit.”
Powell, a mega-talented and tireless worker during her playing days who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, points out to make sure players are standing next to a different teammate each time the activity is done during the season to ensure players get a chance to say something positive about everyone on the team.
“We need to teach kids to see the positives in others,” Powell says. “It’s a skill.”
It’s an activity that coaches can be a part of, too.
“Even as a coach you can go around and you say something positive about their effort,” she says. “I think we have to point out things that are not just performance related. It can be, ‘Tim, I really loved how you cheered on your teammates today’ or ‘I saw how many high-fives you gave today,’ or ‘I saw you cheering on Tammy.’ I think we have to point out the things that we are trying to promote, and it’s not how many points you scored or how many rebounds you got, but how hard you tried or how supportive you were and how positive you are with your teammates.”
Long-time college football coach and author of Coaching is Teaching at its Best on being a difference maker in young lives through the power of sport
Princeton basketball coach Courtney Banghart, the 2015 Naismith Coach of the Year and widely recognized as one of the game’s great leaders, on what you need to know to get the most from your young athletes
Former college soccer midfielder and long-time youth coach Jillian Carroll on inspiring young athletes to work together and perform at their best on the field and in their lives
Penn State basketball coach Patrick Chambers on using goals to keep young athletes focused, engaged and continually striving for improvement