The Importance of a 'Glue Guy'
Who is the glue on your team?
Who holds your team together? Who keeps the team focused when times are tough? Who does all of the little things to make your team successful--takes charges, dives for loose balls, hits crucial free throws, is a pest on defense, and sets solid screens? Who doesn’t worry about how many points he scores or how much he plays but rather if the team wins and if he did everything within his role to contribute?
Every team needs a player like this, a player who will make all of the sacrifices necessary to be the glue that holds the team together. Glue players are paramount during the playoffs.
I read an interesting article in the New York Times that parallels this thought. The article was called "The No Stats All Star" and it focused on Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets. While they didn’t use the same terminology per say, it is obvious that Shane Battier is the glue of that team.
Despite the fact that he doesn’t put up huge stats (actually his box score stats are mediocre at best) he is an invaluable member of that team and plays a major role in their success. Bottom line; Shane is a proven winner. He has won at every level. Although he was a decorated high school and college player, he never put up big numbers; his points and rebounding averages were nothing to write home about.
Yet, Battier won three state titles in high school, tied the record for most wins in college (131) as well as won a college national championship while at Duke. Although he is yet to win an NBA title, the Grizzlies improved from 23-59 his rookie year to 50-32 in his third season. The year before he arrived in Houston the Rockets were 34-48 and his third year there went 55-27; including an impressive stretch of 22 wins in row. Coincidence? No way.
So how does he do it? He isn’t flashy, he is rarely on the SportsCenter highlights, and the only big number in the stat column is minutes played. So how does he have such a strong impact? How does he win so much?
It’s because he is a glue guy. Shane is the epitome of a team player. He is an impressive teammate in every sense of the word and he takes pride in doing the little things to help his team win. He is the guy every coach wants to have on his team and every player wants to play with. And trust me; there is tremendous value in being a glue guy. Shane makes $6 million a year.
Montrose Christian Academy places great value on winning. In the preseason, their guys play pickup games for an hour or two after study hall, weights, and individual skill development. You know the only stat they keep track of? Wins.
Every player gets awarded one point when their team wins. So regardless of who is on the court, five guys will get one point after each victory. Teams change every day, but they keep the same point system throughout the entire preseason (10-12 weeks). At the end of preseason they tally it up and see who won the most games. And true to form, the glue guys always end up at the top of that list! And they end up playing more during the season.
Remember, it is not always the five best players who play; it is the five players who play the best together. So you may not be the most talented guy on your team, but if you can prove you are the glue, day in and day out, you will play. And you will play even more during playoffs.
If you want your team to make a serious run at a conference or league or state championship; I suggest you either say a sincere thank you to your team’s glue guy; or you become one yourself.
Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the Head Strength and Conditioning coach for the nationally renowned, Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boys basketball program. He spent 7 years serving a similar position with the Montrose Christian basketball program. Alan brings a wealth of valuable experience to his training arsenal after years of extensive work with elite high school, college, and NBA players.
His passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make him one of the nation's leading experts on productive training for basketball players. Alan is a performance consultant for Nike Basketball as well as the head conditioning coach for the annual McDonald's All American game, the Jordan Brand All American Classic, and the Nike Summer Skills Academies. Alan is a camp coach at the prestigious NBA Players Association's Top 100 Camp as well as the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. Alan has filmed over a dozen DVDs on improving performance and is a sought after lecturer at basketball camps and clinics across the world. He has been featured in Winning Hoops, Time Out, Dime, SI.com, SLAMonline.com, American Basketball Quarterly, Stack, Men's Health, HOOP, and FIBA Assist Magazine.