Whether ii is a basketball team or a work team, an effective coach or manager will ensure that individuals are taking initiative. Coach Lambert put it this way:
"The coach must be a teacher of good habits. Because of the rapid changing of offensive and defensive situations, players do not have much time to think. They must make quick decisions. The coach must see that initiative is developed in the players. He must see that good habits are so well established that players perform them in times of stress."
In his book with Don Yeager A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring, Coach Wooden discussed how Coach Lambert stressed initiative:
"I laugh, now, that we had no idea just how far ahead of his time Coach Lambert really was. When Nike launched their "Just Do It" slogan in 1988, I thought, "That's what Coach Lambert was saying all along!" "The doer makes mistakes," he would say. "Mistakes come from doing, but so does success." He stressed the importance of acting rather than overanalyzing.That's why fundamentals were so key for him. If your body was already conditioned to have everything else positioned as it should be, you could trust your instincts in a high-pressure game situation.
I think there is a lesson there for everyone, on or off the court: If something needs to be done, do it. If there is something you think might be beneficial for those around you, be the one to act; don't wait for someone else to do it. Take action and take initiative. It can be passing the ball, or it can be striking up a conversation with a lonely neighbor - whatever the situation, we all should have the fundamentals in line so we can seize the moment and act. And never let your fear of failure prevent you from going forward.
One of my favorite lessons from Coach Lambert is that the team that makes more mistakes is probably the team that wins the game. There are risks and there will be mistakes, but if you've conditioned for them, the victories will outweigh the losses. I firmly believe that this is true for just about any situation in athletics or in life; if your principles are solid, you can approach any opportunity with confidence."
Coach Lambert blended initiative and teamwork by insisting individual action was taken to benefit the team, not for a selfish purpose. Coach Wooden described Coach Lambert this way:
"Team spirit was his other big focus. If you didn't play in a way that lifted the team, you would be sitting on the bench, no matter who you were."