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Coach Carter Essay

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Submitted By dinesh786
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Movies not only serve as a source of relaxation but also inspires people in many different ways. ‘Coach Carter’ is a movie that really has many valuable lessons on leadership qualities, motivation, team work, communication and goal setting. Here, I’m going to elaborate the way these concepts are integrated into the movie along with gripping real life examples and some valuable quotes. Economic recession happens periodically and employees would be laid off from the company during that time. Some of the companies equip their employees with vital skills during recession period and improve the organization’s prospect. This in turn would increase the loyalty and organizational commitment of the employees. The same concept is applied here in ‘Coach Carter’.

Carter owns a sports shop and he was asked by his former high school, an inner city public school in Richmond, California train their defeated basketball team for a handsome salary. Carter’s first encounter with the Richmond’s team was while playing against St. Francis where his son is a freshmen. He observed that the team was undisciplined. Later while visiting the current basketball coach, Carter found that the team had inner group conflicts too. After giving a thought Carter accepted the ‘really tough’ job as the team was unruly and had inner Group conflicts. Once Carter was formally introduced to the team he produced a contract to the team and asked the team members to formally accept it. But the team members were really frustrated after seeing the contract as strict conditions were mentioned in them. The contract included following conditions – to maintain 2.3 GPA, use of word ‘nigger’ is prohibited, to attend all the classes and sit in the first row, to wear jackets and ties during team games. Carter was particular to implement these specific goals as he believed that working on these goals would make them successful both in sports and academics. Specific goals are better than generalized goals as it would allow us to focus clearly on the things to be done. Goal setting theory was followed by Carter in this case. Carter also insisted in maintaining a mutual respect between the team members and himself. He believed that maintaining mutual respect would help the team in many ways. The team members were shocked on seeing this contract and 2 of the best players in the team walked out immediately and one of the team member (Cruz) behaved unruly and walked out of the gym. This is clearly against the team ethics. If a person is against the contract the person should express it in an organized manner to the concerned person. When a person enters the organization a set of norms will be given to him in a similar manner. If the employees follow those religiously it would benefit both the organization and the employees.

Carter’s son Damien, a freshman who attended St. Francis was frustrated over his dad’s decision to coach Richmond high school as he will not be able to be trained by his dad who is a great basketball player. He decided to move from St. Francis to Richmond high school. Initially Carter was reluctant to accept his decision but he couldn’t stop Damien from entering the Richmond high school. But throughout the training Carter was never partial to his soon which clearly defined the Carter’s leadership qualities. Later the team played the first game against Hercules under Carton as the coach and they won it. Before the commencement of the game Coach motivated the team by explaining them that although the team had little exposure to defense practice they ran a lot in the training and asked them to do the same in the game. Communication played a major role here as mentioned in the text. Through Face to Face communication Carter came to know that the team members were really motivated and good to play the game. And during the break in the game Richmond’s were trailing by few points and Carter judged that the opponents were really exhausted and brought in Damien spontaneously. He played a vital role in the team’s success. Decision making played a major role as Carter was quick enough to bring in a new person under pressure. In organizations decision making plays a major role and decides the fate of the firm. A good decision pushes the firm to the next level while a poor decision pulls the company down. Decision making is a powerful tool which should be used by each and every individual. Personally for me the biggest decision I made in my life is when I planned to pursue my masters in USA. This decision is the biggest leap for me in my life as I have never been out of my home country. After the game, Carter came with Performance evaluation of the team in that particular game and he pointed out the statistics to a particular player and he responded something else. Carter was immediate to shoot him back with exact statistics. Performance evaluation is very important in all the organizations and feedback is also equally important which inspires people to a great extent other than remaining silent. For instance when I was working as a systems engineer in my company my manager used to give me appraisal rating according to the work done by me for that particular quarter. My manager used to discuss a lot about my performance with me and point out my pros and cons which improved me a lot both personally and in work.

Cruz walked out of the team post Carter’s tenure as coach owing to disagreement with the contract provided by the coach. After the team’s win against the Hercules Cruz was inspired to join the team and came for the training. But Carter gave him a Hercules task to complete if he wants to join Cruz in the team. Carter wanted Cruz to complete 2500 pushups and 1000 suicides within a week which was really a tough task. In this case he used Fear as a motivating factor. Fear is a powerful motivation factor for many people. Here I want to state a quote on fear delivered by H.P. Lovecraft which goes like “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”. Cruz knows that if he is not completing all these within a week he will be not be a part of the team. By the end of week Cruz would be few short of Carter’s expectations. Carter tells Cruz to move out of the gym as he wasn’t able to complete the task. Team members know that Cruz has potential to be a part of the team and complete the remaining task on behalf of him. This is one of the most beautiful scene I came across while watching the movie. Climate of trust is very important among the team members. Team members trusted Cruz’s potential and helped him. Team members should be willing to help others in the organizations which is very healthy for both the team and the company. For instance, in an organization if a person is unavailable due to some personal reasons the other people in the team should put extra effort and complete the work. CARTER DISAPPOINTED AND GYM WAS SHUTDOWN
Common purpose of any team is to complete the task successfully or win in any given situation. Effective teams really put a lot of time and effort to achieve the goal and the same is taking place in Richmond basketball team under the coach Carter. Carter defined the goals before beginning the practice session for the team but he came to know that although the team is winning continuously their academic records are really poor. He came to know this through the progress report provided by the professors. He was frustrated after seeing the report and he was worried on the team member’s academic prospects. So he wanted to take some drastic measures to discipline the team academically. He did that by shutting down the gym and made the players to study in the library under the guidance of the professors. This made a big news among the Richmond community professors and the parents. The high school’s principal was also against this decision and instructed Carter to change his mind. But Carter was very adamant on his goals which he set in the beginning. As the team was winning continuously Carter could have been easily pleased but he was not carried away and took necessary steps to make the students succeed in their academics. He was very firm in the long term organization goals rather than short term success. He wanted the students to enter the college and be successful in life as he left that if that isn’t happening they might end up being unsuccessful. As the team was winning continuously the players were arrogant which also itched Carter to an extent. Here we could see that Carter values discipline more than anything else. Discipline plays a very important role in all the organizations. If an employee is disciplined it would benefit both the organization and the employee. Disciplined employees would always abide the firm’s rules and regulations. If an organization is carried away by the immediate success then it would fail to take notice of the specific goals which the firm would have set in the beginning. An effective manager should never lose sight of a long term goal and carried away by the temporary wins. He should equip the employees with necessary skills so that even if they lose temporarily they might catch up in the end. In this film similar scenario is faced by Coach Carter as the team neglected the academics completely and focused only on the games. This irked the coach and he decided to impart a lesson to the students by acting harsh against them. He not only shutdown the gym but also he never allowed the players to participate in important games.

Cruz’s cousin was shot on the streets and he died miserably. Cruz was helpless and went to Carter for help. He gave him shelter and helped him out in that difficult situation. A firm would face a similar situation many times when the employees face any personal difficulty. At that time the company should come forward to help them which increases the perceived organizational support (POS) of an employee. For instance when I was employed my company helped me out while I was ill for a specific period of time. This increased the POS and I really worked better than I was working, after returning back from a sabbatical. These things really value in a firm and if an employee feels that his/ her company is concerned about them they would really put an extra effort and work harder. In Coach Carter, Cruz is also facing the similar situation. Although he was a part of the team he really disliked the coach but after this incident his attitude took a 360 degree turn.

The school board and the parents were against Carter’s decision of locking the gym. So they decided to organize a meeting against Carter and put him in the spotlight. Carter was firm in his stand and board members ended the lock out by voting against him. The chairman of the board and the principal were the only 2 people who voted in favor of him. Carter was broken and decided to quit as he took all the effort for the betterment of the employees but he was forbidden. He went back to the gym to collect all his goods but he was surprised by seeing all the students in the gym studying under professor’s guidance. The students were able to relate with the Carter’s goal which showed clearly the commitment towards him. In organization if the employees are able to relate with the organizations goals it displays their organizational commitment. Organizational commitment is very important as there is a direct relation between commitment and the productivity. An employee with high organizational commitment won’t give silly excuses for his/her absence and his/her work will be more productive to the company rather than who has no/less commitment. Even if the company is not in a very good condition the employees with high commitment will try resolving it putting their best effort or interacting with the concerned officials (VOICE) or remain in the company waiting for the conditions to improve (LOYALTY). If the person has less organizational commitment he / she would leave the company (EXIT) or the person would put less effort and allow the conditions to worsen (NEGLECT). In ‘Coach Carter’ the players realized the goal of attaining success both in games and academics. They attained success in games and after the Carter’s decision to shut down the gym they started putting efforts in studies too. Finally they received their grades and Carter was very pleased with the results.

Carter allowed the team to participate in the games as he was happy with the team member’s academic performance and they eventually won it which took them to the state high school champion playoffs. Richmond team never played in a state tournament before this and this is a great prestige for them. Richmond team won 17 games in the season whereas they had 4 wins in the last season which is a dramatic improvement. Richmond team faced the St. Francis high school team who are the champions and they had a superstar NBA prospect who can pip any state team alone. Richmond team was very confident before playing the game. Once the game started St. Francis were in full control of the game though Richmond tried very hard. During the first break of the game Richmond was trailing by 15 points than St. Francis. Richmond players and Carter were really frustrated after this. During the break Carter played a perfect leadership role by motivating them so that the players will be pumped up. Here I want to remember a famous leadership quote stated by Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States “The best executive is the one who has enough sense to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it”. The other main aspect during this motivation was the way Carter allocated the roles to each member of the team. If allocation of roles is not done in a team, members wouldn’t know the work they have to perform in the team. Each member would be doing a work which might not be necessary for the team. This might result in a role conflict. This is a vital role in any organization. In any organization if the roles are clearly defined to the employees by the manager or immediate supervisor the employees will work accordingly. For instance when I was employed by my company I was given training in Java platform but when I was allocated a project after my training I was asked to work in mainframe platform as that was the only occupancy available. I had no Mainframe skills as I was basically from electronics background so I spoke with my manager regarding this and requested him to change my platform. So I was allocated a different role in Java platform and I was able to do a good work in my team putting the best of my efforts. This enhanced both myself and my team. If my manager wouldn’t have accepted my request I would have struggled working in Mainframe platform and I might have indulged in Social Loafing. Coming to the movie, once the game started after the break, Richmond team was really pumped up after the inspiring words by Carter. Richmond took the game under their control and started shooting the balls perfectly. The score was almost equal till the end of the game but the last 30 seconds of the game changed the result favorable to St. Francis team. Richmond lost the game by a point to St. Francis and eventually the entire Richmond community was disappointed. As this movie is based on basketball and the team has faced a failure I want to state a quote made by Basketball superstar Michael Jordan “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. But Carter was proud of the team and gave an inspiring speech to the players. He told them that the Richmond has achieved a lot in the last 4 months and that he was proud of the team. He also thanked the team which inspired the players a lot. Many of the team members went on to be successful in college and received scholarships too.

Carter played a role of leader to the perfection. He inspired, motivated, trained, cultivated discipline and pumped up the team during the tenure of him as coach which made the team successful. Another thing to notice within this team is the self-efficacy. Even while they are losing they had a belief that they could always make it up in the next game. Self – Efficacy is very important character of all the employees in an organization. Person with high self – efficacy will be positive and will be vital for the company. An effective leader will communicate and involve in Human resource management. Carter did both the process effectively. He communicated with the team effectively and kept on inspiring the team which proves that he is an effective coach. Winning is not everything because even when the team lost, the coach inspired and pumped up the team. Finally I’m concluding my essay on this extraordinary film by borrowing a quote on the leadership from John Maxwell who states that “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. I believe that Carter is the perfect fit for the above quote. He had specific goals and made the team members to follow without any compromise. ‘Coach Carter’ is an inspiration for all the aspiring leaders irrespective of the field the people serve. I strongly believe that Human skills is most important among the management skills as a leader with strong human skills will be able to understand, communicate, motivate and support other people. ‘Coach Carter’ is a great movie by all standards and it is no surprise that the movie is celebrated!!!

[ 1 ]. Edberg, Henrik. "22 Inspirational Quotes on Fear." Practical Happiness Awesomeness Advice That Works The Positivity Blog RSS. Positivity Blog, 15 May 2007. Web. 25 Mar. 2014
[ 2 ]. Kruse, Kevin. "100 Best Quotes on Leadership." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
[ 3 ]. Kruse, Kevin. "Top 100 Inspirational Quotes." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 May 2013. Web. 23 Mar. 2014.
[ 4 ]. Kruse, Kevin. "100 Best Quotes on Leadership." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

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