Roles Clarification: 3 Kinds of Players

Clarifying roles and reinforcing those roles might be the most important thing you can do as a coach to help ensure your team’s success.  Believe it or not it is human nature to want have and want boundaries in the workplace!  In fact it is essential in fostering the success of your individual player and team.  Every position has specific tasks matched to specific abilities or needs on a team.  A great coach should start a season with “Roles and Goals” for each team member and by doing this you will find that players will make less mistakes and have a clear vision of what the coach/team needs from him.

Players can be defined in 3 basic ways:

1.  Players who don’t want the ball and can’t take high-pressure situations. Niche Players

2. Players who want the ball in these situations but shouldn’t have it.  The Grinders

3. Players who want the ball and should have the ball in these situations.  The Catalyst

The coach must first figure who is who and who can do what on the team.  Make a list of which of your players fit into these categories and begin to reinforce this in practice every day.  Be brutally honest but with tact, to explain how clarifying roles will help identify specific tasks, lead to synergy, and process success in the end.  Coaches have to explain the value of each, reinforce the value of each, and finally make sure that the individual know that “less will be more” by fulfilling these roles.

Niche Players are your team players who try hard or are your workers who just may not have enough skill to come through in the clutch. They are behind the curve in the area(s) of skill level, athleticism, or basketball IQ therefore not having the confidence in high pressure situations to come through for the team.  These players need more boundaries, more clarification, and simplification of their roles on the team.  Do one job really well type of players.  A coach will needs to make sure that the right people are in the right places which will lead to compound interest on behalf of the team.

Every team has a seat on the bench for a Grinder.  Grinders play harder than anyone on the team usually.  They are your Coaches Award Winners every year who get there early and leave late.  They typically have a bit more skill level than Niche Players and do all the dirty work.  They out hustle others, take charges, dive for 50/50 balls, screen, rebound, defend, screen out, communicate on both ends of the floor, and are not worried about scoring but are willing to do whatever-it-takes to win.  They make great coaches down the road!  Grinders are like a compass and will give your team direction as a coach on the floor but is not the guy who take over a game.

The Catalyst is clearly your best player!  The Catalyst is your MVP and the guy your team will have to rely upon to win.  He may not be your best defender but will most likely take the most shots, lead you in scoring, and will need to be counted on in the clutch. Along with the head coach, a Catalyst must be held to the highest standards on the team and cannot have bad practices.  Catalysts need to be leaders and occasionally need to be taught how to bring synergy to the team.  Catalysts know how to make everyone on the team better through performance, practice, communication, responsibility, and influence.

Figure out where the players on your team fit into these 3 positions and start reinforcing these roles.  Demonstrate the value that simplifying each player’s role has on the success of your team.  In every drill, practice, and game, as a coach you need to make sure that value is reinforced, tasks/roles are simplified, and you will see synergy develop fast.

Best of luck!!