Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge will write a regular column for thewest.com.au during the NBL season.
Leadership is absolutely critical to a successful team, it’s one of the foundations to success and if a group of players doesn’t have someone to look up to, that’s when they start to struggle.
To me leadership comes from those who sacrifice their own needs and make commitments to get things done, and that’s why I, with the support of the playing group and our management, chose Damian Martin as the new co-captain of the Perth Wildcats.
I remember back in 2003 when I was coaching the national junior team, we had all 12 players write down on a piece of paper who they wanted to captain the side, and 12 out of 12 pieces of paper came back to me saying they wanted Damian Martin as captain. So of course I had a crack at Damo because obviously he voted for himself!
However, he responded by saying, “that’s because I want to do the job, I’m the best person for the job, I back myself.”
To me that just shows how much confidence he has in himself and that he’s been a leader from a young age.
However here at the Wildcats everyone who captains the club has to earn that title. Shawn Redhage earned the right to be captain, and then Brad Robbins earned the right to be a co-captain, and that model has worked really well for us. It was a natural progression with Robbo retiring for Damo to be his logical replacement as a leader of the team, and the thing with Damo is he wanted it so badly, and I think at 28 years of age he has certainly earned the right.
I think one of the great attributes common to leaders is that they have learned from adversity, you get knocked down seven times, you get up eight times, and that is true of Damian Martin. He fell short of playing for the Boomers at the Olympics and he has responded by working harder, fighting harder and as a result he is mentally stronger.
What makes him a great role model is that he makes the effort plays, he gets rebounds, causes loose balls and gets deflections, as opposed to racking up big scores. He is a winner naturally, nearly every team he has been involved with has been a successful team, and as our starting point guard he is the engine room of our team, It’s a big reason why we are successful, and as a result he has earned the right to demand lofty standards of his team mates.
Damo will captain alongside Shawn Redhage who is one of the most disciplined, organised and dedicate people you could ever have, so as a partnership of captains they will work very well together.
Our leadership group is rounded out by Kevin Lisch and Greg Hire who are both potential captains of the club, but for now it’s Damo’s time to shine.
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