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Using Accountability to Improve Your Coaching


I talk to coaches all over the country and one of the recurring themes that I constantly encounter is accountability. Coaches everywhere are thoroughly convinced that players today just aren’t as accountable as they were back in the day when we all played. . . and they are probably right!

However, when many of us think of accountability we immediately think of disciplining our players. They act irresponsibly and so we invoke some type of punishment in order to hold them “accountable.” While that is often necessary it is only a fraction of the ways we can use the principle of accountability to be better basketball coaches and to have more successful basketball teams.

When it comes to accountability here are 4 basketball coaching suggestions you might want to consider:


#1 Be accountable for your own behavior

Former Navy Seals Jocko Willink and Leif Babin have written a great book called “Extreme Ownership” where they constantly emphasize that there are no bad teams just bad leaders.

Are your players whining, complaining, blaming others for their mistakes and shortcomings, and always looking to take shortcuts? Is it possible they are just mirroring their coach?

Begin right now to develop the mindset that everything is a result of some action or actions that YOU took or some decision that YOU made.

#2 Exemplify whatever changes needed to made to foster improvement

Do you need your players to work harder? Then you work harder! Need players with higher basketball IQ’s? Then you work on increasing your basketball IQ – no matter how high it is already.

Need more focus? More composure? Better preparation? Better strength and conditioning? Whatever you determine your players need in order to improve should be improved and exemplified by you.

I guarantee everything will get better as soon as YOU get better first!

#3 Create a variety of ways to hold your players accountable

Instead of just making your players run suicides every time something doesn’t go as well as it should try being more proactive in your approach. Establish not only team rules and goals but center everything you do on a predetermined set of core values.

Meet with each player briefly and face to face each and every week so you can give them direct and pertinent feedback. Implement a culture of meritocracy where “winners” are rewarded and “losers” are somehow punished and apply it to both on and off the court activities.

Teach everyone in your program that all actions have some type of consequence whether it be positive or negative. After all else fails, remove the player who refuses to buy in and improve from your team so everyone else will understand that being a team member is a privilege and not a right.

#4 Get yourself a mentor

This goes hand in hand with the previous suggestions. Find someone who you greatly respect and admire; someone you would never want to disappoint and have him or her check in with you on a regular basis.

Not only will this help you stay personally and professionally on track but it will give you great insights into how your players are feeling. Don’t like long, boring meetings with your mentor? Your players probably don’t either. Don’t like to feel “bullied’ in your meetings? Your players probably don’t either.

Written By Dave Stricklin

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