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Locker room talk - Part #2 (The ENGINE)

Family… “the engine”

The first thing to remember about building team chemistry is to recognize that you are a TEAM. A team is a number of people organized to function cooperatively as a group.

Beyond this, your team is your FAMILY. In your basketball family, each player and coach has a specific role to play. Coaches are responsible to for the overall team strategy and direction. Players are responsible to work with, follow and execute the coach’s strategy and direction.

Think about all the different parts of a car engine. Not all the parts of the engine can be the cylinder or the battery; each part of the engine was created for a special purpose. When the parts are connected and executing their role, you have the “ultimate driving machine”.

How do I build family in the locker room???

I’m glad you asked *smile*. First off, there is no one right way to build “family” in the locker room. Each coach and player must pursue the right way to build his or her locker room accordingly.

In my experience, here’s what I believe is a good approach:


The coaches are the basketball “parents” of the team. Just like a natural parent, coaches must lead and provide for their players. Leading and providing for their players means this:

  • Get to know and allow your players to get to know you. Connecting with the players this way builds trust and helps identify strengths, weaknesses and needs of the team

  • Establish the overall strategy and direction for the team based on their strengths, weaknesses and needs. Involve the players at some level, as they are responsible to execute the strategy and direction.

  • Identify and communicate how each player’s role fits into the overall strategy and direction of the team

  • Constantly evaluate each player’s role in the overall strategy/direction and adjust accordingly during the season.


The players are the basketball “children and siblings” of the team. Just like natural children, they must obey their parents and follow their lead. Players must also get along with their teammates.

Obeying and following the coach and getting along with their teammates means this:

  • Get to know your coach and teammates by openly communicating your strengths, weaknesses and needs. In this, you help the coach develop the overall strategy and direction of the team. It also helps teammates know and trust each other.

  • At some level, work with the coach to help establish the overall strategy and direction of the team. The first way to do this is to allow the coach to know what you can and cannot do on the court. Also, understand that the coach does have the final say in what the overall strategy and direction of the team will be.

  • Understand your individual role on the team and how it fits into the overall strategy/direction. Work continuously on the specific skills of your role so you can be relied upon during the season. Work also with your teammates so your various roles can mesh together. Constantly evaluate your role and work with your coach and teammates on ways to contribute more.

  • Execute the game plan, strategy and overall direction of the team.

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