The Basketball Podcast: EP 306 with Jamy Bechler on Failing Forward

RELEASE DATE : 07/02/2024

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, author, podcast host, speaker and leadership consultant Jamy Bechler joins the Basketball Podcast to share insights on failing forward, coachability, and modern leadership.

Jamy Bechler combines his unique experiences as a championship athletic director, college basketball coach and executive business trainer to help take you and your team’s results and leadership to the next level. He is a professional speaker, author, podcast host, and leadership consultant who works with teams ranging from major corporations to the NBA.

Jamy spent 20 years in organized athletics as a college basketball coach and athletic administrator. He now leads leaders and is a coach to coaches as a team consultant and leadership trainer. He is the host of the popular “Success is a Choice” podcast and is the author of six eBooks and four published books including “The Bus Trip” and “The Captain”.

His on-demand program ( helps athletes understand how to be better teammates and more positive leaders so their team can have a stronger culture. You can learn more about him at

Listen Here:

Jamy Bechler Quotes:

“Leaders are always learning. You never have arrived . . Almost every person that I’ve interviewed, they have some kind of a failure story, some kind of an obstacle story or a challenge they had to overcome. And I think a big thing is understanding that we’re all going to fail.”

[On getting fired] “The very first thing you have to do is decide, do I want to be bitter or better? . . You are going to be better or worse five years from now, in whatever profession you’re in, based upon your decision right now . . So, that was a failure career-wise. But we deal with failures or obstacles all the time. Are we looking at those as opportunities to get better?”

“We’re going to receive criticism. We’re going to receive feedback, negative feedback. Sometimes we’re going to receive inputs or suggestions that we don’t like . . How do we deal with this? How do we process this? How do we respond to the input, the criticism, even the innocent suggestions?”

“As coaches, we’re not very good at this [responding to criticism]. We’re very good at telling our kids they should be coachable. We’re not very good at growing, learning, developing, and being coachable ourselves . . Is it my fault he turned the ball over? No, but it is my responsibility. And I think as leaders, as coaches, a lot of times we play this blame game . .We don’t take it upon ourselves to say it’s my responsibility . .   it might not be my fault, but it is 100% my responsibility to find ways to find solutions, to move us forward, to find ways to coach people up.”

“We have to constantly and continually learn new things, be adaptable, adjust to things. So that’s the same way with people giving us suggestions. We have to constantly learn from people and see where other people are coming from. Can I adapt that to our current situation? Just because it worked in the past doesn’t mean it’s going to work moving forward . . it’s just a constant habit where you’re constantly on the lookout for, how can I get better?”

“Mental toughness is the ability to recognize that there’s a challenge and recognize that maybe there’s a better way. Recognize and be self-aware, and then be able to be resilient, be able to bounce back or be able to take another course of action. It’s not always about controlling our initial thoughts, but more controlling our second thought.”

“We can’t take the same template. We can’t take that same approach with somebody else. And so, we need to be very intentional. I would say sit down with your assistants, sit down with the people around you, write down on paper for every one of my players: this is how I should communicate with them, this is what motivates them the best or inspires them the best. Revisit that every once in a while. Are they having issues? Am I able to communicate the same way when things are going well as when things aren’t going well?”

“I like to think of it as positional leadership . . they don’t help the team out by talking to the coach about stuff. It starts with the coach. The coach has to help educate that player about in their program what is good and what’s bad, how you can be a liaison . . You should be able to say, ‘These are some things that you can handle on your own. These are some things that in the locker room you should be able to deal with. And we’re going to help train you on how to deal with these things. When a player does this or your friend does this or a teammate does this, this is what would be helpful for how you can manage that situation.’

”Where we fall short as coaches is we don’t educate our captains . . We expect them to know how to be a captain because you get A’s in class and you’re a starter. So, you know how to be a captain. No, these kids don’t know how to be captains. They don’t know how to hold their teammates accountable. They don’t know how to talk to their teammates or their friends when things are tough. We need to help them with that.”

“How many kids do we have at the end of the bench that we assume are going to be good teammates just because they’re good kids? There are a lot of good kids that are terrible teammates because they have egos and they don’t like sitting on the bench. It doesn’t make them a bad kid, it makes them human. Nobody likes to sit on the bench while everybody else is out there having fun or getting the glory. We have to, number one, teach it, but then we have to reinforce when we have to reward and reinforce those behaviors. If I’m asking you to sacrifice and sit on the bench, I’m going to catch you being good.”

“Culture is where your players are, not where your coach is. Your true culture is when your players are gathered together without a coach. That’s when your true culture comes out. Your culture truly is what those players’ conversations are, how they’re responding and acting when the coach isn’t around.”

Jamy Bechler Breakdown:

1:00 – Best Version of Themselves

6:00 – Concept of Coachability

11:00 – Players

13:00 – Filtering the Information

17:00 – Pursuit of Excellence

24:00 – Intentional Communication

28:09 – Modern Way of Communicating

31:00 – Leadership

36:00 – Looked Back in the Mirror

41:00 – Moments on the Bench

44:00 – Sports Team

46:00 – Bus Trip

52:30 – Leadership Development

56:00 – Conclusion

Jamy Bechler Selected Links from the Podcast:

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