Basketball is a long season. Throughout the course of the year, there are ups and downs. It's easy to stay motivated and disciplined when your team is doing well and the wins are racking up. However, many teams experience times during the year when it seems like nothing is going right. No matter what you do, you can't find a way to win, and you can't find a way to fix it. The popular phrase from any coach is: stay positive.
I've said it many times as a coach, whether I was part of a team that lost many consecutive games or a team that lost a game they should have won in the midst of a successful season. But to fully critique how a player might understand it, I finally put myself in the shoes of a player.
What would I think if a coach told me to stay positive?
The first impression, and the one coaches don't want their players to get, is to be happy and cheerful regardless of their situation. Personally, I don't want my players to feel like winning is the only measure of success. However, I also don't want them to be happy with losing. There is a difference between the two. Each game provides a chance for self and team evaluation.
Did I do my job to help our team have the best chance of winning? Did my team play together and play the game the right way? Was there a lack of trust between me, my teammates, and the coaching staff?
And this is where staying positive comes in to play during a rough stretch in the season. Staying positive means continuing to do your job as a player day in and day out; continuing to do your part to make sure your team reaches its full potential and plays at its highest level once the end of the season comes.
In the end, that's how success as a team is found. Not by wins and losses, but by a cooperative effort between coaches and players to reach their highest ability as a team.