What would you rather have, a team full of talent with poor attitudes, or a team with low talent and great attitudes? For some this may be a difficult choice, but for the majority of coaches (myself included) the choice is easy. I’ll take the team of great attitudes over talent. This week we’ll analyze the talent vs attitude debate and discuss why attitude is critical to success.

All coaches want talented players. At the high school level, talent is not always under the control of the coaches. Attitude is much more under the control of the coach than talent level is. Talent can win you games, but character and attitude win championships. Obviously, you must have a combination of the two in order to win big . I would rather invest my time is a group of athletes who were motivated, coachable, hard-working, disciplined, and great teammates over a selfish group of talented athletes.

“Attitude and chemistry are the factors that can kick people up to higher levels of winning, no matter what talent they have.” Coach Jerry Wainwright

A bit of advice for all the players out there: coaches will select players with less talent but have more dedication to the team over a selfishly talented individual.

As I mentioned previously, attitude is under the control of the coach. In order to foster a positive team attitude and culture the coach needs to establish the standards to which all players will be held and communicate them clearly. When the team is selected these values and standards must not be overlooked simply because of a player’s talent level. If there are any players who have attitude or behavior problems, the coach should work on addressing them prior to tryouts.  A coach should never just ignore the issue and hope the player resolves it on their own. If a coach makes a valid attempt to help the player and the player refuses to change, that player must be let go. No one individual is above the team, and the team’s attitude and culture should not be compromised for one individual.

“Bad apples are more detrimental to a team that team leaders are positive.”

Players should strive to show commitment to their teammates. By doing so, they are illustrating a positive team first attitude. Players must have a great work ethic, and show that they are coachable. A player can illustrate this by looking their coach in the eye, displaying good body language, following instructions, and serving as an extension of the coach on the floor.

Coaches absolutely must surround themselves with high energy people. There can’t be any people who drain the energy of the team allowed to associate with it. Just as being positive is contagious, so is a negative attitude. Simply put: bad attitudes from players, coaches, or staff cannot be tolerated.

Being positive is a choice and teams take on the personality of their head coach. The responsibility of creating a great team attitude and culture falls on the head coach.

It always bears repeating, “That which gets praised, gets repeated.”

Would you prefer attitude over talent? What are some ways you cultivate a positive attitude within your organization?

As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!