Basketball on the Edge – Servant Leadership – Serve the common good and put the team first in every decision.

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Servant Leadership – Serve the common good and put the team first in every decision.

What does servant leadership look like for a young player on a basketball team? Here are some ways that a young player can demonstrate servant leadership as a member of a basketball team.

1. Develop a sense of connection within your team.
Work hard to connect your teammates to one another. Organize (or for young player have parents/coaches organize) gatherings outside of practices and games. A team dinner, kickball game, or going bowling can be a great way for teammates to connect off the court leading to deeper relationships and stronger bonds. A connected team is often a happier more successful team.

2. Put the team first.
This is not always easy. Can you be a great teammate even when you don’t get as much playing time as you would like? Do you cheer on your team when you are on the bench? Can you accept a lesser role if it makes the team more successful? These are the types of things servant leaders do.

3. Avoid situations that would embarrass your teammates, your coaches, and your family.
Servant leaders make good decisions even when authority figures aren’t around. If you wouldn’t tell your grandmother about it, the action you’re about to take or what you’re about to say probably isn’t a good choice! Conduct yourself in a way that everyone associated with you would be proud of.

4. Have confidence in yourself.
Knowing that you will make good decisions and can be successful helps you and your team achieve positive results on and off the court. A servant leader isn’t afraid to make mistakes. A player that is afraid to make mistakes won’t make good things happen. Don’t be afraid to step up and lead for fear you’ll be wrong. Your team needs leaders.

5. Make a commitment to your team.
How are you going to improve your game? How will you help your teammates be better? How can you best help your coaches accomplish their goals for the team. A servant leader makes a commitment to help their team be the best that it can be by going the extra mile beyond what is required.

6. Lead by example.
Talk is cheap. We learn more from what people do than from what they say. Let your teammates and coaches see your leadership reflected in the way you carry yourself every day. Strive to be the most competitive player on your team. Work hard in practice. Work hard in school. Be dedicated to your teammates, coaches, and family. Hold yourself to a standard that makes you a role model for others around you both on and off the court.

7. Find a need and fill it.
Does your coach need someone to carry the water bottles? Clean up the locker room? Guard the opposition’s best player? Step up and fill the need. Does a teammate need help remembering the offense? Help studying for a test? A friend to talk to after a tough loss? Step up and fill the need. Look for opportunities to serve others in your family and community as well.

8. Communicate with everyone.
Be sure to be inclusive in your communication. Cliques among teammates can be very destructive to team success. Be the player that bridges the gap between teammates and brings everyone together. Leaving out just one teammate can be the start of a problem that drags down the whole team. Teams that are “together” have more fun and are more successful than those where lines of communication are broken.

9. Be a friend as well as a teammate.
Building bonds with your teammates off the court allows you to know them in ways you can’t during team activities. You won’t be best friends with all your teammates, and some you may have difficulty with no matter what you do, but by reaching out to them you’ll build team chemistry and get everyone striving towards the same goals.

10. Respect goes both ways.
To be a servant leader you must respect the leaders around you. How you interact with coaches, parents, and teachers will impact your ability to act as a servant leader among your teammates. If you have a healthy respect for those in leadership positions you will be modeling how your teammates can follow your lead. No one will follow someone who says one thing, but does another. If you disrespect coaches, parents, or teachers, or if you don’t compete hard at all times your teammates will have a hard time respecting you as a servant leader.

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