🏆 Fountains and Drains

In the world of sports, and life for that matter, athletes (and us as coaches) have two choices: We can be fountains or drains.

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Fountain and Drains

In the world of sports, and life for that matter, athletes (and us as coaches) have two choices:

  1. We can be fountains

  2. We can be drains

It is about the energy that you bring to your team.

Every day.

And it is something we can control.

In our basketball program, we have three pillars that we emphasize all of the time. The three pillars of our program are:

  1. No Deposit - No Return

  2. We > Me

  3. Positive Energy Giver

Every successful team we have had had contagious energy, which was led by a few and fed through the entire team.

And we celebrate these players each season with our Tiger Pride Award.

This simple idea speaks volumes about team dynamics, culture, and leadership.

Winning teams have a contagious positive energy. This energy comes from energy givers who feed others and impact the overall culture of the program. These players can be called “Fountains.”

Fountains: The Energy Boosters

Fountains are your go-to energy boosters. They bring a positive vibe, keeping the team's spirits high. Their enthusiasm is infectious; they make practices lively and games more intense. These athletes add value beyond their skills – they're morale boosters, vital for any team aiming high. They are often “Spark Plugs.”

On the other hand, we can also have players whose energy is contagious in a bad way. These athletes can be called “Drains.”

Drains: The Energy Zappers

They may be talented, but their negativity can pull the team down. A careless word or a lack of spirit from them can ripple through the team, dampening the overall energy. It's a subtle yet powerful impact that can shift the team's focus from winning to getting through the day. Many times, your drains display this through poor body language.

What is our challenge as coaches and leaders?

Our job as coaches is to nurture fountains and help drains flip their switch.

It's about balance and understanding each athlete's influence on team morale.

It’s about discussing energy and its importance in a successful team. We are what we emphasize. If you emphasize positive energy, you have the best chance of making it contagious for your team.

Recognizing and addressing the drains is crucial – it can turn a struggling team into a champion.


Evaluate your team. Identify the fountains and drains.

Work on amplifying those positive energies and converting the negative ones.

It's more than just skills – it's about the spirit, the collective drive towards success.

Remember, the best teams have abundant fountains, whereas drains are an exception, not the rule.

Good luck, and keep building those positive vibes!

Looking for more?


🎥 Video: Check out the Ted Talk of Lucy Howe talking about the Three Secrets of Resilient People.

🎙️ Podcast: Coach Collins and I discuss the concept of Leadership and Adversity in this Basketball Leadership Podcast episode.

🆇 ICYMI: Last week’s post had over 400,000 views. Check out the 10 Most Important Things I Have Learned as a Coach


“If you can't accept losing, you can't win."

Vince Lombardi

"Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

Vernon Law



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