Recently heard TJ Rosene from PGC Basketball talk about the “Ladder”. The idea is that as a person advances or grows they bring someone else with them up the “ladder”. It’s not enough just to head up by yourself. The truly great leaders bring others with them and widen their impact.
I’ve written before about what it takes to be a great teammate, but this concept of the “Ladder” crystallizes what players can do to help themselves, their teammates, and their team. It’s great that you as an individual player work hard, but can you get your teammates to do the same? Maybe just pushing teammates in practice by playing hard against them will work. Maybe you need to bring some vocal encouragement to get your teammates going. Maybe you need to challenge a teammate face to face to get them to buy in to the program. Leaders try to impact as many people as possible and influence them to act in a way that benefits the entire group. A leader needs followers, but they must first earn the trust of those around them through their dedication and determination. Ask yourself every day, “As I climb the ladder who can I bring with me?”
Coaches have a responsibility to bring others with them up the “Ladder” too. First and foremost, this means the players they are coaching. If a coach isn’t growing his or her players or can’t get them to buy what he or she is selling no one is going anywhere on the court. Great coaches lead their players to greater heights than they thought possible. Coaches must also bring players up the “Ladder” by developing them as people. There is nothing more satisfying as a coach than to see a player years after you coached them and hear about the success they have achieved in life outside of basketball. Players only bounce a ball for so long and then the real world intrudes. Great coaches prepare players not just for the game ahead, but also for when the ball stops bouncing.
Coaches can help bring other coaches up the “Ladder”. A head coach should help their assistants to grow by giving them opportunities and responsibilities. By delegating, the head coach is accelerating the growth curve for his or her assistants. The head coach should be helping to groom the assistant to one day take over their own program. Coaches should share knowledge. The internet is a testament to the willingness of coaches all over the country to share what they know with their fellow coaches. When the game is taught better, we all benefit, players, coaches, and parents!
Too often in our society people climb the ladder by stepping on or over someone else. Let’s try to change that mentality and bring others with us as we climb the “Ladder”.
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