Getting Your Team to Buy In

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Franciscan University of Steubenville head basketball coach John Lamanna is focusing on 4 main virtues this year.

They are called the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Wisdom.

The team focuses on a virtue for the week and at each practice he names a Practice Captain.

The Practice Captain has the responsibility of speaking at the beginning of that practice on a concrete example of how that virtue has been lived out either by himself or someone else on campus.


John Lamanna

This gives every player the opportunity to share what the virtue means to them in their particular life.

It helps them make the virtue more “their own” because they have to speak about it to their teammates.

Coach Lamanna does an amazing job of mentoring his players.

He dedicates about 20 minutes to each and every player every week to discuss faith, academics, family and basketball.


Here is a short video where Coach Lamanna speaks about his basketball program:


On a side note, Franciscan University will play an exhibition game at University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena in November of 2014.

We spoke with two of Coach Lamanna's players about the Practice Captain initiative to get their insight.


Caleb Knorr

Caleb Knorr - Junior Forward from Austin, MN

At the beginning of practice, everyone gathers around the Practice Captain and he talks about the virtue that we are focusing on. Then each player shares what they are offering the practice for, for example one of our teammates his grandfather died so the players offered their practice up for him and fore the repose of the soul of his grandfather. This brings our team so much closer together.

Then the Practice Captain leads the team in prayer and then we go.

The virtue I had was Prudence - right wisdom applied to action.

I shared that we need to stay focused, have a clear mind, an active mind willing to learn, every day we can become great, we can improve, we have to be active in learning and if we do it every day we will be successful.


Garrison Holmes

Garrison Holmes - Freshman Guard from Temecula, CA

We start off practice by getting in a circle and we give everyone a hug so if we got after it the last practice with somebody, well that’s over, we’re family again. We start fresh.

The virtue I had to speak on when I was Practice Captain was Justice which is always giving people what they deserve. I spoke the week before our first game so we had been going at it for about a month a half, all practices and no games so it gets rough after a while.

We’ve been working hard for about a month and a half, giving people what they deserve, it would be unjust to let up, unjust to let that month of work go to waste, whether we are up by 30 or down by 30 it is unjust to not work hard for the team we are playing against, so even in life outside it is just to give someone a helping hand when they are in need.


Doing something every day to focus on virtue and getting your players involved - you can't go wrong!

Virtue = Strength, Lou Judd 
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