March Madness did live up to its expectation. My two favorite teams made it to the final four. Kentucky and Wisconsin are my favorites. I had picked Kentucky to win, however Wisconsin was clearly hungrier and wanted it more.
After Wisconsin won a fierce match against Kentucky, what transpired after left me shaking my head. How could Coach Calapari let his team walk away without shaking hands with Wisconsin’s players? I understand that the players will be upset when you lose a big game, but sportsmanship is the ultimate reason why we play the sport. I was surprised that Coach Calapari would let some of his players walked off the court. As a coach, he is the leader and leaders should hold their people to a high standard.
I’ve been coaching for three years and I always stress the importance to our players that we will win and lose graciously. While we will be upset, we will honor our opponent and respect them, because they earned the win. I will never tolerate anyone on my team disrespecting our opponent.
What ensued made matters worse. During the press interview, one of the star players for Kentucky was heard saying profanity on live microphone. I find that inexcusably rude and disrespectful. What did Coach Calapari teach his player? It is unimaginable that they could be high draft picks entering the NBA draft when they don’t have the basic manners needed. I put this back on Coach Calapari’s shoulders, that he needs to step up and rectify this. We expect better from his players and know that they need to be held to a standard like everyone else. The loss was a huge disappointment, but the is totally unacceptable.
As a leader, you need to make sure that your team understands that they are upholding a certain standard. That any unsportsmanlike conduct will be dealt with accordingly and no stone will be left unturned. As an athlete, they are role models whether they like it or not. They need to step up and be accounted for.
If you’re the head coach, what would you do? How would you provide an effective feedback? I felt that the moment it happened was the perfect time to teach your players a lesson. It is more impactful to deal with it right after it happens than doing a postmortem. As Vince Lombardi says, “The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.” With that said, the leader should be the role model and carry the team in good and bad times.