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  • Jack Fleming

You Can’t Fix What You Fake

The San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich so often uses the phrase “you’ve got to get over yourself’ with his players, but as coaches sometimes the most difficult thing is being accountable to ourselves. We are the supposed ‘expert’ to our players, and provide feedback, expect ownership to their mistakes and immediate corrections.

The day to day information players receive from their coach places them in a constant state of reflection and evaluation, as coaches are we leading by example? Ken Blanchard said “feedback is the breakfast of champions”, however this does not always have to come from others. If we don’t have the courage to admit our mistakes, let go of our ego we will not have an opportunity to grow and learn.

The social media is a world of image management, a highlight reel, a false sense of reality that everybody is living the perfect live and coaching a perfect game. I highly recommend the book Extreme Ownership: How US Navy Seals Lead & Win by Jocko Willink to drive this point home, that we are responsible for everything that happens in our life. Ownership is power, it means we have the opportunity to grow and improve.

As coaches building trust and relationships with your players is so critical, and even admitting your mistakes to them gives permission to be imperfect and trust the process. This is challenging, but if we choose courage over comfort we might find our greatest opportunities for growth.

Here’s a quick strategy you can use to continue the growth of a coach and as people, in order to progress just like we demand of our players.


What areas in your coaching do you need to wake up to? What have been some of your greatest errors? If you are not sure ask somebody you trust, or even your players. What is my biggest flaw as a coach? Here are a few of mine (there are hundreds more):

  • Trying to do too many things (too many pick and roll coverages, trying to cover too much at practice etc.)

  • Not enough 1 on 1 conversations with players, how they’re progressing and checking in with their own evaluation.

  • Bringing my basketball mind into time spent with my closest relationships, not being present enough.

  • Checking social media constantly, like some kind of cigarette addict.


Now that you have taken extreme ownership of areas for improvement, don’t beat yourself up. This is great information, now how can you take action to improve? Leaders lead from the front, so how can you show up differently today with your team? Here are my quick action steps, for the next week:

  • Have a 3–5 minute meeting with 3 players on Sunday before practice, with 2–5 questions and suggestions.

  • Have 3 priorities for my next game, nothing else. Drive those points home that are the keys to winning, and coach them really well.

  • Be PRESENT: spend technology free time with my closest relationships 2x90mins next week .

  • Only check social media 3x per day, nothing before 11am.

Talk is cheap, the only reason I have wrote about myself is because I want some public accountability. You can’t fix what you fake, Brene Brown says in Daring Greatly “courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”. I hope this provides you a platform to take action, to conquer your challenges and would love to hear about your own extreme ownership.

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