As a speaker who used to be a basketball coach, I realize that basketball provides a number of lessons that apply to life and business.
One of the most important lessons is found in a simple phrase like, “screen left.”
If you have ever watched a basketball game, live or on television, you will notice that the single most common play in the screen and roll – where the ball-handler gets a screen from a teammate so he can turn the corner and score or pass to the screener.
This is an effective offensive strategy for two reasons:
1. It forces the defense to make decisions
2. It requires the defense to communicate
Imagine that you are guarding the man with the ball, and just as he changes speed and bursts toward the goal, you get hit by a screener – and find your face planted in the chest of a 260-pound post player.
Now, there are a number of different ways for teams to defend the pick and roll…
Some teams will choose to “trap” the ball-handler.
Some teams will choose to “show and go under” the screen, so that the screeners man will step out and play the ball for just a moment while the ball-handler’s man will run under the to protect the lane and keep the ball away from the basket.
But regardless of how they choose to defend screens, you can bet that good teams invest a great deal of time in their practices working on how they are going to communicate and defend that action in games.
It is in their pregame talks and practices that teams and their coaches decide how they will defend the screen and roll…
But the decision about “how” is only part of the equation!
The most important part of defending a screen and roll is the players’ willingness to communicate and execute that plan.
Decisions cannot be executed unless people communicate with each other!
If you are defending the ball, you NEED your teammate to call out “Screen Left!” so you know to execute the defensive maneuver that your team has decided upon.
Without that communication, the defense breaks down, and you end up eating some guy’s jersey numbers because nobody was telling you what was in your blind spot!
And in business, in life, we all have blind spots!
You have to depend on your teammates to see what you cannot – and to talk and help out when you are put in difficult situations.
Winning teammates are committed to talking to each other and doing more than is expected, with enthusiasm…
Every industry experiences their own version of screens – every company has problems or issues that can be anticipated and avoided.
What are the “screens” or recurring issues that you and your team could plan for?
Intentional planning and communication allows you to ultimately become successful as a team.
As an athlete, if you found yourself in a situation where your teammate is about to get screened, it is your duty to communicate and call out, “Screen Left!” to announce the danger that waits in his or her blind spot.
To perform well, you trust your teammates to talk, and take action based on their comments.
It is that culture of two-way communication that creates winners – both on and off the court. Teammates must listen for and trust that others will help cover their “blind spot” and call out the screens that are placed in their path.
And that trust demands that you, as a good teammate, must also always be alert and tell the truth to help your teammates!
If you or your coworkers haven’t been calling out screens and looking out for your teammates, The Ten Commandments of Winning Teammates is a tremendous story that shares ten vital lessons that will make you more successful – both in your personal and your professional life.
Life is a team sport – and winning teams have winning teammates.
Either that, or they fall down a lot after running into an unexpected screen!