This one word has more influence over a team than any other. Let me explain why.
1) Leadership WILL influence its followers regardless of whether its good or bad.
2) Leadership can come from anyone.
3) Leadership will ultimately be the reason why your team succeeds OR fails to reach its potential.
Let's talk about these points.
The first point is for coaches and upperclassmen. You better be able to walk the talk. If you aren't the best example for the others to follow it won't matter what you say. You won't have the respect or the loyalty to get the very best of the team.
The second is not to get so caught up in the titles. Some of the greatest moments of leadership have come from someone who wasn't the "boss" or the "captain" but just one of the crew. There is a time to be a follower and a time to be a leader. Respect should be universal, and everyone should be valued.
The actions of an effective team starts with great leadership. Great leadership is the catalyst that fosters motivation, chemistry, trust, and most importantly, teamwork.
It creates a learning environment that will continue to build every year.
Once that develops coaches will be able to give more ownership to the upperclassmen that can set the example and hold their peers accountable to the standard that has already been established. The underclassmen can see what is expected of them and then grow from a follower to a leader in the future.
If you want to see the best example of leadership, come and watch our seniors Jamie Thornton and Erica Perry this upcoming season. They have grown up in this program, learned the expectations, and have set a higher standard for Montana State Women's Basketball. My job has become a whole lot easier.
I am stepping back and letting this leadership rise.