“The Four Things Necessary To Grow Your Bench”

December 6, 2019

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With about 8 to 10 games under your belt, most playing time rotations are getting clear.  That leaves us with an important matter that remains which applies both to basketball and the business world:  Developing your bench.

Every “team” in both of these worlds usually has 2 groups of performers: A “core” group and a “supporting” group. The focus of this blog is on what I feel are 4 key ways to develop your supporting cast and max out your team’s performance.

  1. COACH THEM HARD – This doesn’t mean to designate a different “nitpick” person every day.  Coaching your bench people hard means holding them to the same standard as your starters.  They need to know that you are sincerely interested in getting them better (and getting them ready).
  2. NURTURE THEM – Since their “moments of performance” are limited, their mistakes end up being highlighted.  Make sure you catch them doing something right and let them know about it.  It may be as little as a loose ball dive in a 3 minute stretch when they’re in the game.  If that loose ball recovery led to a pass which leads to a huge 3 point shot – that was a a big contribution.
  3. CHALLENGE THEM – Sit down with them and get specific:  “Here’s the 1 or 2 things we need you to continue to improve on over the next month”.  This statement is a great place to start.  Now you’re both on the same page on how they can chip in to the greater mission.
  4. DEVELOP THEM – Make sure each one of them has a “skill routine” – one that reflects the things they’ll need to do when their number is called to go into the game.  Not only will their game improve, but the “shared time” will strengthen the bonds with you and your staff.  Stay consistent with this routine REGARDLESS of their in game performance.  If you make the skill time “conditional” you’ll eventually lose them.

Here’s the toughest thing about coming off the bench: STAYING READY FOR THE MOMENT THAT IS COMING, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHEN”.  Doing the 4 things mentioned above may not solve every issue with your supporting cast.  But in the sports OR business world, your supporting cast must know that you care, and that you want them to be “stars in their roles”.  Doc Rivers says it best: “This is the role we need you to play for us right now, and we can’t win without you doing it”.

Good luck in your upcoming games – or upcoming business quarter.  Maximize your crew!

In Hoops,

Alan 🏀

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