Sunday, February 24, 2013

Speak Up! Talk to Take Your Team & Your Game to the Next Level

There are two skills in today's game that are diminishing. Passing is the first. The dribble has become more powerful these days. Power can be good or bad. I see a lot of over dribbling. Penetration & Kicking has led to some poor passing habits.
The second skill I think that has diminished might surprise you. Talking. How or more importantly why would I consider talking a skill? Skill, by definition, is "the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well. We all know how to speak. I'd wager none of us remember being taught how to do it but we all do it. It is a diminishing skill in society. If I'm standing with a stranger, I will smile & say hello then it's right back to texting or tweeting. Technology has allowed us to be connected with anyone, anywhere. "Small talk" doesn't exist. On our bus trips, players will text each other seat to seat versus talking. I'm guilty of that too. That's enough sociology.
Talking is a high level skill. It separates great players. It is required to achieve greatness as a team. Here are three reasons why I think talking is so important.

#1 For Yourself As A Player

Talking keeps you mentally engaged. Jimmy Dykes says "If you can't say it you can't do it." If your mouth is moving your mind is working. You are mentally in tune with what you are doing or about to do. I want players having meaningful communication. I wrote a post on communication earlier. Players should be saying (1) what they are doing & (2) what they will do! "Mike I'm here, I have help on your left." Talk for yourself.

#2 For Your Teammates

When things are going good everyone has something to say. What about when things go wrong? A player who is comfortable talking all the time will know what to say in this situation. This doesn't have to be yelling. There is nothing more disheartening to a team for a teammate who just made a mistake to be the one yelling. A leader will point out their mistake first, then try to help fix the problem. When you're talking for yourself, you're talking for your teammates. It gives them confidence in their job that you're doing your job. If an on the ball defender hears you have help, they are less likely to feel like they are on an island. Knowing you're there is good, hearing you say you're there is better. Talk for teammates.

#3 For Your Opponents

Talking intimidates. I'm not talking about talking trash although I don't mind a little chatter but I'm talking about having to listen to your opponent talk on defense. It is a sign of a well disciplined team. They know what they are doing. It rattles weak teams. When screens are being called out early, constant talk between teammates, it's hard for an offense to work. Same for the offensive end. When teammates are talking to each other on both ends. There is a bond & sense of confidence. Talk for opponents.

Here are also a couple of thoughts on talking:

Volume of talk has to be that of the loudest gym you'll play in once DAILY. - Jimmy Dykes
Players don't talk for 3 reasons: scared, stupid or selfish
Talking makes you Faster. - Shaka Smart

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