Yesterday, I had a great conversation with several of our coaches on Orange County Magic who are navigating their respective High school teams and their formation and organization challenges that are going to come up. How many players to keep on a team?
Now each coach has their own perspectives on their formation of their teams and why they do what they do. I personally didn't want to carry more than 12 players. I wanted the team to have enough to count on each other, keep rooming lists even, and to make sure that I had the 12 that were committed to the team. But there are some interesting ideas as it relates to this as I posed with my experience in High School and then going to the PAC-10 conference where I heard this term, minutes.
Before I go into that, I want to share with you what I shared with Coach Sean and Coach Ron. Some questions that I asked them to ask of their players. I did this when I was a high school coach and also with my individual meetings with players in the PAC 10 and my professional teams abroad to get my own perspective so that I could get to the heart of things as we entered into the season.
Teams are fragile. If for example you carried 12 players as was usual with my team, here is what I discovered, see if this is true with your own experiences?
Players 9-12 want to play. Players 6-8 want to start. Players 4-5 want more shots. Players 2-3 want to be the best player. And the best player wants to play at the next level. This was true of my high school teams, NCAA Division 1 and 2 and of course, even my professional teams abroad.
There is nothing wrong with this as you have been teaching your players all along to want more, to strive. It becomes a problem when it outweighs the teams needs. You know everyone needs to sacrifice for your team to be successful. Your players need to see this and feel that they are part of the solution.
Here is how I got to the heart of the matter. Try this. Ask your players these questions and see what you discover.
1. How many minutes will you average this year?
So of course, this varies if you are a high school coach because the maximum amount of minutes that you can hand out is 160 minutes (5 players x 32 minute game), if you are a college or overseas coach the maximum you can hand out is 200 minutes ( 5 players x 40 minute game). Ask your players this question, how many minutes will you average this year and then add up all those minutes. I usually discovered about 300 minutes was the norm. OK, that was impossible.
2. Next question that I would ask. Will you start?
In basketball you can only start 5 players, but the responses were usually around 9 players who believed they should or would start. Again impossible.
3. How many points are you going to average?
When I added this up, we were always going to be the highest scoring team in the country, :). I tell you. Usually added up to nearly 160 points per game. Again not impossible, but you know.
What this proved to me and my coaching staff was that we needed to really address the players that sacrifices were going to have to be made by all, roles were going to have to be embraced and rewarded, recognized by the coaching staff.
This type of early discussion allowed everyone to feel that they had a role and an important part that was going to be rewarded and recognized. These were daily efforts on our behalf to make sure we paid attention to all these little details in terms of player relations on and off the court to make sure we were centered and ready to drive toward our goals together as a team.
Before the other distractions come, you know outside expectations :)
Here is Coach Bill Parcells, I know it's a football hall of fame speech, but the message is clear about the locker room, the sacrifices that a team makes, why it is special and how winners and losers handle things. Enjoy.
Bill Parcells What Makes a Team Great
Let me know your thoughts. I love hearing from you.