Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Kind of Team Do You Need To Succeed?

March Madness is coming to an end in college basketball; it's a great time for basketball fans and students of leadership.  This is a great time of year to learn how leaders build winning teams and systems.  What's interesting, is the principles of winning basketball are pretty uniform if you listen to successful coaches - play tough defense, share the ball, play with intensity, and take care of the ball.  The subtle differences in how to achieve these principles changes who coaches recruit to their teams.  Here are a few examples from interviews I've heard on ESPN radio the last couple of weeks:

Ben Howland - UCLA:  "Winning is 99% the players.  You need to get players who know how to play and win."

Bo Ryan - Wisconsin:  "We're the most efficient team in college basketball.  We like to work the shot clock to reduce the numbers of possessions in a game.  We need kids who don't panic and can handle themselves under pressure.  We recruit smart kids who value each possession."

Jamie Dixon -Pittsburgh "We modeled our program after Connecticut because we knew we were going to have to been them to win the Big East one day.  We started to recruit kids who were tough and would play hard nosed defense; we wanted kids who wouldn't back down."

John Calipari - Kentucky "I'll take talent over experience all the time.  I'll teach them how to work together, play together, and win together."

Mike Krzyzcski - Duke "When your best players are the hardest workers - the guys who do the tough stuff like play defense, take charges, rebounds, and get on the floor after loose balls - it raises the level of effort of the whole team.  Kyle does that for us; we look for that kind of player.  It makes coaching a lot easier when you have those kinds of leaders."

Each Coach has a clear philosophy on how they want to play to win.  This allows them to select a specific kind of skill set and attitude for their coaching style and system.

Do you have a clear philosophy on how your team will win and what kind of team you will need to succeed?

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