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. 

Holding Others Accountable – Proactively vs. Reactively

Look at any championship team and you’ll find one common denominator: they have a group of individuals willing to hold each other accountable if they ever see performance dip under a set standard. Being able to respectfully hold your teammates accountable and help them maximize their potential is a sign of a great teammate.  In today’s terminology this can also be referred to as “having each others back.” Great teammates always have each other’s back, always pushing them ahead and never letting them fall back.

In this lesson, try to specifically focus on the lesson of your players holding each other accountable; proactively rather then reactively. Here’s the difference:

A teammate is ineligible.

Proactive: teammates engage the teammate all season long and recognize the players grades are beginning to slip and they help the player so the player never becomes ineligible.

Reactive: teammates hear that their fellow teammate is ineligible and they begin to work with their teammate to help get him eligible again and back playing.

There’s an altercation on the court and both players get ejected.

            Proactive: teammates see their teammate trash-talking all game long with a certain player. They can tell emotions are starting to run high and the teammates talk to the player and calm him down before any altercation ensues.

            Reactive: teammates ignore all the actions leading up to the altercation but run to side of their teammate because they “now have their teammates” back” and help break up the situation.

Conversation Starters:

-Ask the players to grade themselves on how they currently do as a team on holding each other accountable. Have them grade themselves on a scale of 1-5 (1 = poor & 5 = excellent)Examine the score. Why did they give themselves that score? If the score was high, ask them to give you examples of when they successfully held each other accountable. If the score was low, ask them to explain why they don’t believe they do a great job currently holding others accountable.

-After discussion, ask them to grade themselves once again on a scale of 1-5 on how they currently do holding each other accountable: proactively. (a reactive teammate addresses the teammate on why they were 10-mins late to practice. A proactive teammate makes sure by reminding their teammate and making sure they have a ride that they will not be late under any circumstances).

Examine the score.


Teaching Illustrations/Demonstrations

-Have the starting point guard and shooting guard stand alongside you. Have both players tell you on average how many hours a day they think about or play the game of basketball? Do the math and figure out how many hours a year they think about or play basketball. For exp: player thinks about basketball 4 hours a day, that’s 28 hours a week & 1460 hours a year. Safe to say when they invest 1460 hours a year into the game of basketball, they are pretty invested in the sport (the reason for the hours is to illustrate how important basketball is in their life).Point guards need shooting guards to make shots in order to get assists. Shooting guards need point guards to pass them the ball to help them make shots. So the point guard’s performance directly effects the shooting guard and vice-versa. So when the performance isn’t meeting the standard from either player, its directly effecting the other person. If the player went out the night before the game and was throwing erratic passes during the game or missing badly on their shot, that teammates decision to go out the night before is having an immediate impact on the team. When you consider that you spend 1460 hours a year thinking about basketball having a player not meeting their standard should be unacceptable and great teammates don’t allow it. It is your business and it needs to be addressed.

Lesson: to often, young & immature players don’t understand how the decisions their teammates make effect them and the goals they’re trying to achieve. You hear statements like “that’s him” “I’m not his Dad” “I’m not going to tell him how he should live his life,” etc. all the while the decisions by their teammates are effecting their team and all the hard work they’ve put in to achieve their goals. Get the players to understand how they impact each other give them permission to hold each other accountable, in a respectful manner.

-Ask the team to communicate a resolution to the following scenario (open-discussion):The captains are leading the stretching before practice when one of the players is goofing around and acting up. One of the captains asks the player to knock-it-off and focus but the player rather then listening to the captain challenges the captain and begins talking back and being disrespectful.How should the captain handle the situation?

Lesson: Use this example as a great time to stimulate conversation among the team. Challenge the team to think through the scenario and present solutions (there is no right or wrong per se’ – this is about engaging in healthy discussion and evaluating the consequences of the suggested solutions).

Note – in this scenario, I communicate that the most effective approach would be for the fellow captains and teammates to speak up in support of the captain to collectively as a team, hold the player accountable and to avoid a 1-on-1 back and forth between two teammates.



-It is better to be hated for what you are then loved for what you are not.
-Only the person who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.
-It’s easier to prevent bad habits then to break them.
-Discipline yourself so others don’t have to.


Learning Traits:

-Not afraid to confront situations needing to be confronted.
-Approach the situation with peers out of a place of love and wanting to support.
-Hold yourself to higher standards.
-Be consistent
-Ask others to hold you accountable.


Action Items:

-Have each player over the next week say “I got you. Thanks” to their teammate if their teammate calls them out.

-At the end of the week, ask each player to list out 3-things they did that was worthy of being called out and/or held accountable. Then ask the player if anyone held them accountable and then have the player tell the team he gives them permission to hold him accountable moving forward.