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. 

Maximizing your Communication

Whether you’re on the court, the locker room or in the classroom, great leaders and teammates know how to communicate effectively. They know how to relay messages from their coaches to their teammates, express their emotions effectively, speak encouragement to their teammates, respectfully address situations needing to be addressed and communicate with their coaches about situations regarding the team.

The inability to communicate and communicate effectively has proven the ability to destroy relationships and prevent great players from ever becoming great teammates and in turn creating great teams.

Conversation Starters:

-Ask the players to identify a recent time where a mis-communication occurred (school, team, friends, in their relationship, parents, etc.) that caused both parties to not be on the same page. Have a few players stand up and share those instances.Why did the mis-communication take place? How could it have been avoided? What was the consequence of the mis-communication (argument, something not getting done, tension, etc.). What would’ve been a better way to handle it next time?

-Story – A guy pulls up to a gas station and the gas station attendant comes out and says, “sir, do you realize you have two penguins in the back seat of your car?”   The guy replies: “yeah, I do, I don’t know where they came from, they were there when I left the house this morning.” The gas station attendant shaking his head in disbelief says, “well I think you need to take them to the zoo ASAP.”The next day the same guy comes back to the gas station and once again has the penguins in the backseat but this time they’re wearing sunglasses. The gas station attendant comes out and says: “sir, I thought I told you to take the penguins to the zoo yesterday?” To which the guys answers: “I did exactly what you said and since we had such a great time today we’re going to the beach.” (End of Story)

Lesson: Thankfully this story wasn’t intended to be funny but intended to serve a point. We all understand what the gas station attendant intended when he told the guy to take the penguins to the zoo, unfortunately the guy who heard the message interpreted it completely different. So often we say things to our teammates and we know exactly what we’re trying to communicate, unfortunately they take it completely wrong. Its usually neither persons “fault” but rather each person failing to communicate on the same page. Encourage your players to be very clear with their communication. Encourage your players to ask their teammates for confirmation that they fully understand the instructions and point trying to be communicated.

Teaching Illustrations/Demonstrations:

-Telephone game: relay a message that is 25-30 words in length (example sentence: “Coach Jones needs everyone on Tuesday to meet in the weight room at 3:00 for a lifting session and then on Wednesday meet in room 105B to watch film until 4:30.)Communicate the sentence to one player and ask them to share it with a teammate, then have that teammate share it with another teammate, etc.… On two different occasions, stop the telephone conversation for a minute or two to bring up something else with the intent of “distracting” and “interrupting” the telephone game.   At the end of the game evaluate your teams ability to communicate and relay the message from one teammate to the next.

Lesson: if the team successfully relayed the message then terrific job! Praise them. In most cases, the team will not. Ask the team, why weren’t they able to be successful? Did they lack focus? Are they not accustom to retaining information and having to relay it to others? Was it difficult?

Great teams and great leaders know how to communicate and can effectively relay a message from one person to another. If Coach asks you to relay a message to your teammates its important you’re able to do that with a high level of accuracy.

-Play a sports themed game of “Catch Phrase” – give a player a list of sports themes (Rebounds, Free Throws, Backcourt, Sideline, Net, 3 in the Key, Box Out, etc.…) give each player 30 seconds to see how many things they can correctly describe to their teammates and get them to guess what they’re saying. Have 3-4 players compete against each other to see who can correctly describe the most words in 30-seconds . Compile a lengthy list of words so all four players can participate. Player describing the word can’t say the word or say things that rhyme with the word.

Lesson: This provides the athletes an opportunity to communicate with their team. It forces the player to figure out alternate ways to communicate a message and gives their teammates an opportunity to work on their comprehension of their teammates message. In many cases, this will be very challenging for some players and for those that find this challenging they are individuals the Character Coach should look to work to develop.


-Say what you mean, mean what you say as long as you never say it mean.
-Communication works for those that work at it.
-Relationships go as communication goes.

Learning Traits:

-Great communicators know how to mold the message perfectly for their audience.
-Great communicators listen, so they in return can communicate better.
-Great communicators are always prepared.
-Great communicators work at becoming a better communicator
-Great communicators are sincere and their audience knows it.

Action Items:

-Say no sir, yes sir, no ma’am, yes ma’am for the rest of the season.
-Reduce headphone use on team functions to encourage communication.
-Have players ask for communication acknowledgements from their teammates: “Does that work for you?” “Are we on the same page?” “You feel me?”
-Put a major emphasis on communication weekly at practice.
-Give out practice communication awards. Todays top-communicator was: (insert name) – grade communication on enthusiasm, engagement, encouragement, teaching moments.