This article was written by Tigh Compton who is in his fifth season (13-14) as an assistant coach at the University of Pikeville. While being on the bench at UPIKE, he has helped guide the Bears to the 2011 NAIA Division I National Championship, as well as the 2014 Mid-South Conference Championship.
The Importance of Trust
There may not be a more crucial ingredient for success than TRUST. In basketball, trust has to be a two-way street. Players and coaches alike must trust each other on several different levels if we want to experience any kind of long-term success. Trust must be present amongst teammates, coaches, and all support staff. Let us take a look at the roles of both the player and the coach when it comes to developing trust.
Players must trust that the coach has their best interest in mind at all times. Players that buy into a “win first” mentality must know that the coach is always thinking of what is best for the team and their chances of being successful.
When players trust in their coach, you begin to get more energy, effort, and focus on the practice court and in games. When players trust their teammates, you begin to see the teamwork and execution that is necessary to help the team reach its full potential.
Earning Your Player's Trust
As a basketball coach, how do you earn your players’ trust? Some players are tougher to win over than others, but in the end it is all about the relationships you are able to build with them. Players do not care how much you know until they know how much you care!
By showing your players respect, listening to them and communicating effectively, always being honest and following through with your promises, etc., you are showing your team how much you care about developing a genuine relationship with them. Show your team that you care about them no matter what their game averages are, and you are on your way to reaching the level of trust between player and coach that is necessary for your team to reach its full potential.
Developing Trust Between Players
In my opinion, the hardest trust to develop is trust between teammates. It is our job as coaches to find ways to develop this. By creating a culture of trust from top to bottom in your program, you are inviting every member of the team to “buy-in” to a team first mentality.
When the players develop a team first mentality the sky becomes the limit. A win at all costs mentality that is all about what is on the front of the jersey, not what is on the back. To reach this mentality, it takes a tremendous amount of leadership and sacrifice from everyone in the program.
Player Leadership Roles
Once your players trust one another, the leaders on your team become very important. It is the responsibility of the leaders on your team to help the coaching staff manage all of the different personalities and egos that are part of your program. With trust comes responsibility and expectation.
Players must expect and accept the responsibility placed on them by their coaches to help create a team first culture. Pat Riley said it best when he said, “There are only two options regarding commitment. You are either in or out. There is no in-between.” Leaders must take personal ownership of their team.
Teams that reach their full potential are the teams that learn to trust one another. As a coach, make sure you are developing the right type of relationships with your players. Make sure they know that you care about them and their development off the court as much as you do their production on the court. When it comes to earning trust, nothing will take your further than the relationships you build to last a lifetime.