Rule of the 1/3

30 Sep

Written by Kevin Sutton

Assistant Coach Georgetown

One of today’s buzz words when trying to build a team/culture is “buy in”.  Every coach is trying to get their players to “buy in”. Early in my coaching career I had the unbelievable opportunity to attend a Temple University practice conducted by Hall of Fame Coach John Chaney.

The topic of the day for Coach Chaney was ” are you buying what I am selling?”. Coach Chaney said, ” if you trust me, if you believe in me and if you listen to me, then you will buy what I am selling you. If you don’t, then you won’t”.  He finished by saying, this is a fact of life. “Buy in” begins and ends with trust! “Buy in” is an indication of a person’s commitment level.

As coaches trying to get your players to “buy in” to you, your program, your style of play, your culture.  Remember the rule of the 1/3.

The rule of the 1/3 says that 1/3 of the group will “buy in” into the coaching staff right away. They trust you, they believe in you, they know that you want them to be successful. We will call this group 1.  Group 2 is the 1/3 of the team that wants to “buy in”. They do things the coach wants them to do, but they need to be convinced more, motivated more, taught more why “buy in” will not only help the team, but each individual as well.  We will call them Group 2.  The last 1/3 of the team is the group that does not want to “buy in”. They have trust issues, they question everything. They don’t believe in the coach, the process or anything about the program.  This is group 3.

Through my experiences as a coach I have learned that too many coaches focus on Group 3 trying to get them to “buy in”.  In actuality the group that the coach needs to focus their attention on is Group 2. The coach just needs to “sell” them more persuasively, or motivate them more creatively.  When the coach gets group 2 to “buy in” they now have 2/3’s of the team “bought in” to the staff, to the program, to the culture.

Now that 2/3’s of the team has “bought in” the coaching staff can focus their attention on getting 1/2 of group 3 to “buy in”. The coaching staff and 2/3’s of the team will see certain members of group 3 starting to believe in, starting to move in the direction that is more in line with majority of the team.

At this point it should clear to the coaching staff that those last members of group 3 are not going to “buy in” so they need to be “BOUGHT OUT”!  

The rule of 1/3 can be a helpful tool when you are trying to get “buy in”.

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