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November 28, 2022   |   Tagged Leadership,

Basketball Initiative-- What it is and why you need it

Basketball intentional workouts

Understanding Basketball Initiative

Imagine you want to build a house. You must begin with a plan--an architectural, structural, and foundational plan—where to build, how to build, what materials, and who will do the work. In basketball, you need a plan—what skills to develop, what coaches and programs to work with, and a bigger dream and goal to aim for.

Initiative is crucial for sports. Unlike building a house, you can’t turn your student athlete over to a coach and get the product you want. Many parents make this mistake. They think of their student as raw material to be shaped and modeled by an expert into a premiere athlete. Coaches have the same trouble, they want to treat their players like inanimate objects, like clay, that need to be molded by their hand.

Instead, your work as a parent is to help your son or daughter become their own architect of their future--to provide them with the resources and the tools to drive their own initiative and advance their own dreams. Your work as a coach is to create dynamic players who with their own spark of creation and inspiration work with you to create a legacy team.

Here are some ways parents, coaches and student-athletes can move the initiative to where it can make the greatest impact.

What is initiative?

Initiative is connected to many amazing words: innovative, capability, and creativity. The word came out of the Latin meaning beginning. It means the power to take the lead.

What is initiative for sports?
Sports require power and energy. Who is driving this for the athlete? If an athlete has no internal power, and no initiative, they will not gain much momentum. If an athlete must be energized from the outside to work hard, to set goals, and to be a better player, this will lead to an energy crisis.

Sports initiative requires athletes to set big goals with the discipline and passion to commit to these goals.


  • Confidence
  • Passion
  • Commitment

How confident is the student-athlete?
Confidence is the mindset that you can achieve what you want to achieve. Confident means you can understand you need to improve and you can advocate for yourself to get the help and do the work necessary to improve those deficits. Confident athletes take initiative.

How passionate is the student-athlete about their sport?
One of the biggest energy crises is a lack of passion. If your son or daughter LOVES basketball—rejoice! This is the engine behind big dreams. Passion is a heart issue. A kid who doesn’t have their heart in the game can’t succeed. A passion crisis is a serious issue. Sadly, too many parents and coaches don’t know how to solve a passion crisis. Great sorrow is when a son or daughter is missing passion or when their passion is going in a destructive direction. This requires wisdom and discernment to fix. Initiative is impossible without passion.

How committed is the athlete?
Commitment is like glue—the stronger your commitment, the more follow-through you will have. A student-athlete can have passion without commitment. Commitment is self-discipline and patience. Commitment is the discipline to do what is difficult, especially during difficulty. Commitment is the patience to weather the long journey of the dream. Helping a student build the muscles necessary for commitment will give them the ability to take the initiative.

Basketball Initiative
The science of basketball talent acquisition is straightforward. There are certain skills you must have at if you want to excel at this game.

Each requires initiative to build to the highest level.

Hard skills—these are defined by talent experts as the physical skills necessary to play the sport well. For basketball, this is ball handling, shooting, rebounding, passing, and court movement.

Soft skills--- these are defined by talent experts as the ability to use hard skills for optimum success. Not only how to shoot the ball but when, where, under pressure, and for the best outcome.

Athletic ability—this is strength, speed, and agility. How high can you jump, how fast can you run, how quick can you move, how strong can you defend, and how much stamina do you have?

Mindset—the mind matters most. Some coaches call athletes headcases—they get in their head and cannot achieve. They let their thoughts interrupt their abilities. They need a mindset reset. Mindset leads to initiative. Nothing advances without a strong, resilient, mentally tough mindset.

Leadership—Basketball is a team sport. Leadership is not the ability to tell others what to do. Great leaders build programs where each person seeks the initiative to make the team stronger.

Initiative Heals Procrastination:

Initiative is the opposite of procrastination. Why do people procrastinate? The biggest reason is they have created a habit of avoiding the difficult. They are afraid of pain, they withhold dealing with the pain for as long as possible, then in a rush of nervous energy, get everything done at the last minute.

Initiative heals procrastination through confidence and courage. A person who procrastinates fears making the wrong decision and has a strong need to be perfect. Deal with your fear of failure, of your need to be perfect, and you will begin to create a new habit of initiative.

Thank you, NBC Basketball student-athletes for loving basketball enough to work hard, for loving life enough to give your very best, for serving others, not just serving yourself. You are the hope for the future, and we are thankful that you have the courage and initiative to make the game of basketball and the game of life better.

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