The ONE PLAY that demands team buy-in…

Recently, a collegiate basketball game displayed that the starting forwards scored 41 of the team’s 66 points, 62% of the total points. Without seeing the game, one might imagine that these individuals were either dominating post players or excellent shooters.

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either. 

It is often the actions that cannot be quantified that lead a team to success. Team success is a direct result of superior execution of its members. The most cohesive teams consist of individuals who have a strong understanding of their roles in order to make the entire team better. What this collegiate team successfully did, was execute the “Pick & Roll.” 

Every offensive possession by this team was centered on the Pick & Roll. As their point guard approached the 3-point arc, a pick was set on the defender to provide the ball carrier with space. This triggered the motion offense where the defenders struggled to maintain their man-to-man defensive coverage. Several crisp passes, or a back-screen later, and the forward who set the pick usually found the ball in his hands with a simple lay-up.

Each player must “buy in” to the game plan for the Pick & Roll to work.

(check out here 8 negatives of the pick & roll). Players must make the efforts necessary to execute the critical actions of success that may even go individually unnoticed in the box score.  If the play breaks down enough, it can cause a lack of trust in the system or the teammates, which is why complete “buy-in” is paramount! Remember though, that the best number that doesn’t lie is the “w.”

 Brain FosterAuthor: Brian Foster is a graduate student in Sport Psychology. His thesis is focused on Optimism and Psychological Momentum in Sport. He can be reached at



Rob Bell revised slide3Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness.  His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell  or contact

Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .

Leave a Reply

Anti-Spam Quiz:


Sign up for Mental Toughness