Glue is an adhesive, “a force that exists in the area of contact between unlike bodies and that acts to unite them.” Simply put: glue holds stuff together!
Who is the glue on your team? Who holds your team together? Who keeps the team focused when times are tough? Who does all of the little things to make your team successful—dives for loose balls, sets solid screens, takes the charge, hits crucial free throws and pesters on defense? Who does not worry about how many points he scores or how much he plays, but thinks only of the team’s success? Who wonders if he fulfilled his role and did everything within his power to contribute? Every team needs a “glue” player like this, one who will make necessary sacrifices that hold the team together.
A 2009 article in the New York Times, entitled “The No Stats All-Star,” focuses on former Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier (now with the Miami Heat), and while the author doesn’t use the same terminology, he establishes Battier #31 as the glue of his team. Despite the fact that Battier hadn’t put up huge or even above par stats, he was an invaluable member of that team and played a major role in their success. Bottom line—Battier is a proven winner. He has won at every level. Although he was a decorated high school and college player, he never put up big numbers; his points and rebounding averages were nothing remarkable. Yet, he won three state titles in high school, tied the record for most wins in college (131) and won a college National Championship while at Duke. Although he has yet to win an NBA title, the Memphis Grizzlies improved from 23-59 (his rookie year in the league) to 50-32 in his third season. The year before he arrived in Houston, the Rockets were 34-48; during Battier’s third Rocket season, they went 55-27, including an impressive streak of 22 wins. Coincidence? No way.
So how does Battier make such a strong impact? He isn’t flashy; he rarely makes ESPN’s Sports Center highlights; and the only noteworthy number in his stats columns is minutes played.
It’s because he is a glue guy—the epitome of a team player–an impressive teammate in every sense of the word, who takes pride in doing the little things to help his team win. He is the guy every coach wants to have on his team and with whom every player wants to play. Trust that the value of a glue guy is tremendous; Battier makes $6 million a year. (Glue players are paramount during the playoffs.)
If you want your team to make a serious run at a conference or league or state championship, either give a sincere thank you to your team’s glue guy, or become one yourself.
Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally-renowned Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boy’s basketball program. A performance consultant for Nike Basketball as well as the head conditioning coach for the annual McDonald’s All-American game, the Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Summer Skills Academies, Stein is also a camp coach at the prestigious NBA Players Association’s Top 100 Camp and the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. You can follow Stein at twitter.com/AlanStein, strongerteam.com and Facebook.com/StrongerTeam.