Purpose: to establish a standard by increasing the level of integrity and improve the character of all athletes: one player and one day at a time.

The more you pour into today’s player, the more they have to give. 

Choosing Who You Surround Yourself With (Mentorship)

A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. The barrier of entry to become a mentor is very low, in fact, we are ALL mentors in some capacity. We just vary in how well we perform in the task of mentorship.

Mentoring and coaching, although similar, are not the same. Mentors are coaches but coaches aren’t necessarily mentors. Mentoring is relational while coaching is functional.

This is important to note as you work to maximize your mentorship within your program from the coaches down to the players. A player may “coach” up a teammate in practice or during a game, but mentoring must involve a relationship and will usually expand beyond games & practices.

All great players have mentors who’ve helped them become great. All great teams have great mentors who help pour in each other’s life on & off the court.


Conversation Starters:

-Ask the players to share who they consider to be their biggest mentor (outside of their Mother or Father).   Have them give two reasons or examples of their mentorship and impact on their life.

-Have the player’s share about a person they’ve mentored.   What did they do? Why did they do it? Did they see a change in the other person?

-Story –There’s an ancient parable about the lion and the sheep.   A lioness gave birth to a baby lion. The moment the baby lion was born, a big wind came through and swept the baby lion down the mountain among a field of sheep. The mother lion needed to stay with her other children so she remained with the other lions.The baby lion not knowing who he was or where he came from, quickly became part of the sheep community. The sheep took care of this baby lion, fed him, bathed him and comforted him. The lion, although looking like a lion began adapting to the sheep and acting like the sheep. He never roared, he would gaze the fields with his “family” and he would play with the other sheep.One day a grown-up lion was walking alongside the field when he noticed a fellow lion in the midst of the sheet playing. He was shocked. He had never seen sheep act so comfortable around a lion. At that point, the lion finally grabbed a hold of the young lion to which the young lion began panicking “please don’t harm me, I’m just a young sheep” he said. The older lion couldn’t comprehend the words coming out of this lion’s mouth, you are not a sheep, you are a lion.”

The older lion decided to lead the young lion down to a lake in the valley, where the young lion was able to see his reflection and similarity to the older lion. It was at that moment, the young lion had a revelation that he was indeed a lion and from that point forward began thinking and behaving like a lion.

Lesson: Sometimes we need others to help us to see the things inside us, that we can’t see for ourselves. A mentor has an ability to bring the best out of others through encouragement, guidance and instruction.

Are you a lion currently surrounded by sheep and need a fellow lion to help bring the best out of you?


Teaching Illustrations/Demonstrations:

-They say you’re a collection of the 5 people you spend the most time alongside. Have each player think of their 5 best friends, write on a card each of their five friends most recent GPA’s and 1-2 activities they participate in outside of school.   Have the player identify where they fall in line with those five friends?Lesson: where the player ranks in his/her friends has a big impact on their growth. If they’re circle of people are performing lower then them, then they should look at add a few more higher performing mentors into their circle to keep challenging them. If they are performing under their friends, they should use that as an eye-opener to begin emulating some of their habits to improve their own performance.

-On December 9th I got up at 3:30 a.m., stretched, ate a Power Bar, and pinned 5 little “energy gel” packets to my running shorts. At 4:10 a.m. I entered the lobby of my hotel in Honolulu with about 60 other runners from my team and we started to walk toward the starting line.I must admit I’ve never walked down the dark misty streets of Honolulu at 4:30 in the morning. And I wasn’t alone. It was there that I met over 20,000 others stretching, running in place and trying to protect themselves from the light rain coming down. I placed myself next to the sign marked “4 hour finishers” and waited … You see- I had a goal. I wanted to run this marathon in 4 hours and 15 minutes. I knew that to do that, I needed to average about a 9 and a half minute pace throughout the race.

Fireworks erupted at 5:00 a.m. and the crowd started to move. It wasn’t until 5:05 that I even crossed the starting line. I was surrounded by people all trying to find their pace. I had no concept of what pace I was at. I assumed it was good … until … I hit the 2 mile mark and saw the time. It had been 21½ minutes; I was 3 and a half minutes behind.



I was mad! These people all around me were a bunch of liars! They lined up at the 4 hour finish section… but were running at a pace that would have them finishing in over 5 hours.

It’s funny how when all the people around you are all doing the same thing you tell yourself that you must be doing all right, even if you aren’t.  I had gone with the flow and consequently strayed from the time that I had disciplined myself to keep for months. It’s amazing how much we sometimes gage our success by the people around us … mistakenly so.

That’s when I learned my first lesson: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU CHOOSE TO SURROUND YOURSELF WITH.

I needed to make up for lost time. I picked up my pace to sub-nine-minute miles, passing people right and left. At the five-mile mark we went through the center of Honolulu. People stood on both sides of the street cheering. Groups supporting many of the racers held signs, blew horns and shouted cries of praise. During that stretch I found myself soaring on the encouragement from others.


It’s amazing what encouragement from others can do. I beat my time by over a minute during that mile stretch.

That’s when I learned my second lesson. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH ENCOURAGERS.

By mile 17 the excitement of the race started to fade as my legs ached. 20 miles. 21 miles. How I wished I could stop. And I could. After all, we had a ton of folks in our group that were walking and running. Why not just stop and walk? Walking is not so bad … is it?

Around mile 23 I started the great uphill at Diamond Head. What a stupid place to put a hill. Everything in my body said quit. My mind fought, “Press on …press on!” I thought of the people on my team. I thought of the people at home that were waiting eagerly to find out if I hit my goal. I had hundreds of people that knew that I was trying to run this race in 4 hours and 15 minutes. If I quit… they would know!

I finally told myself, “Jonathan …do you want to let these people down? Do you want to run another one of these things? NO WAY! Okay, then don’t stop … If you stop … you have to run another one!” I kept going.

As I neared the finish line the streets were lined with screaming people, encouraging me to move on.

My weary 31-year-old body crossed the finish line, making a time of 4:11:26, running the whole way. My goal was accomplished, thanks to the encouragement of others.

Lesson: is filled all throughout that story. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes but they all pour into the person helping get the most out of them.



-The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches but to reveal to them their own.
-A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, then you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you.
-All people need is a little help, a little hope and someone who believes in them.
-We all need someone who will make us do what we can.



-Mentors are willing to share skills, knowledge and expertise.
-Mentors demonstrate positive attitudes. & strive to be a positive role model.
-Mentors show a personal interest in the mentoring relationship
-Mentors strive to better themselves not just those they mentor.
-Mentors provide guidance and constructive feedback.


Action Items:

-Challenge the team to add the phrase: “let me know if I can ever help you” each & every time they say bye to one another.

-Have each player identify a player on the team they will make a better effort to “mentor” for the rest of the season and to communicate that person to you. Between you and that player, at seasons end, you can circle back around to gauge how well that player performed in their mentor role.

-Implement Mentor Monday’s – as a Coach you announce/spotlight a mentoring type activity you’ve witnessed throughout the previous week.