Character Building - What is Character, Anyway?
Character building ... what are we talking about exactly? A person's character is the sum of those inner qualities that distinguish him/her from other individuals. OK, sounds good, but what do we mean by inner qualities? Well, some inner qualities are granted at birth. Have you ever noticed how some players are inherently more aggressive than others, or how some players seek leadership while others look for direction? Those are examples of inherited traits, and they are very difficult (if not impossible) to instill in another person who lacks them.The other kind of quality is the system of values that each person elects to adopt as they mature in life. Young players are generally quite impressionable. Kids spend a lot of time and energy sampling, testing and changing values. Their vacillating tastes in music, dress and hairstyles are good examples. When they meet people that appeal to them for whatever reason, they adopt certain values that person is perceived to possess. The result may be positive or negative, but the child ultimately decides if those values are added to the character set or not. It is the latter value system that a coach has an opportunity to influence. You are not going to make lions out of lambs, nor are you going to make leaders out of followers, but you can help players understand the strength that comes from within a person (or a team - ideally, there is no difference) with firmly established values. A coach can say (and demonstrate) "Here are the values that are important to me, and this is why they are important. Our team will operate under these values, and they will be followed by everyone within the context of our basketball program." You can phrase it better, perhaps, but that is the gist of it.