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How Basketball Coaches Get Players to "Buy In"

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A very important aspect of successful coaching that often goes unnoticed is the process of creating what is called "buy in" amongst the players. We've all seen athletes at every level of play that seemingly didn't reach their full potential because there was an apparent disconnect between a coach and his players. Without that connection, a coach is often going to feel like he is just beating his head up against a wall and is going to be extremely frustrated and stressed out.

Kevin Eastman, formerly the head coach at Washington State and now an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, often speaks at coaching clinics on the importance of this subject and lists five things that he feels are crucial to creating buy in:

1. Thoroughly study the game
2. Thoroughly study your own system
3. Catch your players doing something right
4. Bring it every day
5. Tell players the truth

Now let's look at these steps one by one and a little clarification to each.

Thoroughly study the game. Players aren't going to completely buy in to the program until they completely buy in to the coach. Players must be absolutely convinced that you thoroughly know the game and all the intricacies involved. Keep reading, keep networking and commit to being a lifelong learner. The more you know, the more your players will respect you and the quicker they will buy in.

Thoroughly study your own system. Granted, you want to help your players become better all-around players, but to increase their confidence they need to improve in their current situations. What do your players need to do to succeed within the parameters of your own system? What do they need to add to their skill sets or what skills do they need to strengthen and improve? One of the biggest wastes of time is to work extremely hard at becoming very good at something that is totally useless and unnecessary!

Catch your players doing something right. Possibly the greatest motivational principle ever discovered is simply what gets recognized and rewarded gets done. There are lots of players who will crawl over broken glass for their coach if they are convinced that he believes in them and appreciates the effort they are putting in to improve. Make it a habit to catch every player doing something right during every work out and then compliment them on it. Remember, what gets recognized and rewarded gets done!

Bring it every day. Players' attitudes usually reflect the attitudes of their coaches. Model what you want your players to be. Do you want high energy, intensity and enthusiasm fromyour players? Then you need to give it to them as well! How can you expect them to be hard working and focused if you are just going through the motions and thinking about something other than the task at hand?

Tell players the truth. All truth all the time and then use video and stats to confirm what you tell them. Some players won't like or appreciate it because others have "lied" to them for years by telling them what they wanted to hear instead of what they need to hear. However, those who do like and appreciate your honesty and then take your coaching and instruction to heart are the ones who will continue to improve and have the chance to be special players someday.

Creating buy in amongst your players is not something that can be done easily overnight but is something that is started and then constantly built upon day after day, work out after work out. No matter how much time and effort is required, the results are well worth it!

Agree or disagree?

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