WYC 125 – The Leadership Playbook – Jamy Bechler talks Basketball & Leadership

Jamy Bechler is a professional speaker, leadership trainer and executive business coach who is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.  Before going into full-time leadership work, Jamy served for 20 years as a college basketball coach, professor and administrator. When he hung up the whistle, he didn’t stop coaching. Jamy just moved from the locker-room into the boardroom. He now travels the country motivating people and “coaching” organizations on how they can build championship teams and cultures.

Website: jamybechler.com

Book: theleadershipplaybook.com

Twitter: @CoachBechler

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‘Fish like worms. I don’t like worms, but if I want to catch fish, I need to use worms’ – Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People (paraphrased)

Cringe Moment

  • ‘You’ll be dead right’ – Wisdom is choosing your battles, don’t always need to be right

Teaching skills

  • Everything in practice needs to have a point. Scrimmages are often not effective.
  • Practice special situations for 5 to 10 minutes in every practice.
  • Fun activity: On your birthday – coach would put 2 $5 bills at midcourt – everyone would shoot half-court shots, if you made it – you got $5 and bday person got $5. If bday person made it, got all $10

Peak performance

  • ‘Every missed shot is a pass’ – Teammates encouraging each other to shoot takes away the pressure of worrying about whether to shoot or note
  • Practice being a terrible referee – Players need to practice tough situations. Bad calls are going to happen – practice them.

Building Culture

  • Core value – developing the mind – on and off the court; Integrity; Responsibility
  • 2 core values for his basketball teams: Toughness and rebounding
  • Kids pick up on the coach’s consistency – you can talk all you want about what kind of culture you want, but the kids are watching and if you aren’t consistent then your words will not hold up


  • Positional leadership – If you have 2 or 3 captains on your team, the rest of the players can use it as a crutch. Jamy did not have captains towards the end of his coaching career. They rotated game captains, but they taught that everyone was a leader. Then they engaged the upperclassmen to demonstrate leadership skills – carrying the water, etc.
  • More is expected out of your experienced and older players – but they don’t have to technically have the title of captain. They are the role models and set the tone for your culture.

Training your leaders

  • theleadershipplaybook.com – Stories about different ways leaders lead
  • Leaders – don’t need to get the whole team to do something, they need to get their closest friends to do it – The First follower theory.

The one that got away

  • Jamy’s last game he coached – they blew a 14 point lead and it cost them getting into the national tournament. They had easily beat that team earlier in the year, and they came in a little cocky and weren’t prepared.

Best stolen/borrowed idea

  • John Wooden’s unflinching standards while connecting with his players

Favorite Book/Quote

Parting Advice

  • Understand your why. And get to know your players.

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