In this paper the important learning points presented in the Psychology of Sports course will be analyzed and how they are illustrated in the movie titled

In this paper the important learning points presented in the Psychology of Sports course will be analyzed and how they are illustrated in the movie titled: “Coach Carter”. First a brief summary of the movie will be provided followed by an analysis about the role of leadership that helps the main character bring change, train the basketball team players into champions, and bring discipline in the athletes. Next, a critique of the appropriate and inappropriate strategies represented in the movie will be presented. Then a discussion will be provided on how the movie’s important messages can be applied in nursing and its implications for nursing practice. The paper will be finalized with a conclusion.
The Plot
The movie “Coach Carter” is an American biographical sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter in 2005. It is based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter (played by Samuel L. Jackson). Carter took the job to coach the basketball team at Richmond High, the high school that he attended as a student. This was also where he was one of the best athletes to ever attend a secondary education after finishing high school. The purpose of taking the job was to bring change into the poor neighborhood of Richmond but more importantly to bring change, train the basketball team players into champions, and bring discipline in the athletes. Also Coach Carter wanted to show his athletes the value of being well educated.
Before Coach Carter started to train the team he requested the athletes to sign a contract. The contract stated that the athletes will only be allowed to participate in games if they attend all their classes and practices, maintain 2.3 averages, wear a tie and suit on game days. The athletes also have to respect their team members and coaches. Ken Carter used a variety of ways to lead and motivate the team to get them on their way to the state championship. When the coach saw the athletes’ progress reports and noted that they were doing poor academically, not respecting the terms of the contract they signed at the beginning of the season, he took immediate action.
Because the athletes were doing poor academically, in order to get the attention of his athletes, school, and community, Coach Carter locked the gym and cancelled all the games until his athletes showed improvement in their grades. This caused great agitation and anger among the athletes, the school, the parents and most of the community. After long arguments about whether or not the lock should come off, the school board decided to open the gym doors and continues the season, even though the athletes did not improve their grades yet. Ken Carter was very disappointed about the decision, and he did not want to support the message conveyed that the basketball players don’t have to respect their promise and are above the law. He wanted to teach and guide them to success in the future so they do not end up in jail or dead like most teenagers from Richmond.
Coach Carter chooses to quit his job because of the school board decision; however, he revised his decision when he understood that he inspired and changed the lives of the athletes at Richmond High. When the athletes realized that they could lose Coach Carter, they did not practice and play until their academic grades improved. They returned on the basketball court to practice only when they proved academic progress. The team got to play in the state championship because of Coach Carter’s good leadership skills and determination to bring the team there. The Richmond High basketball team did not win the championship, but they won the love and affection of their community. Since they participated in the state championship, five of the basketball team players won scholarships and went to college. The main message delivered in the movie is good leadership can help people to achieve their goals.
Description and Analysis of the Chosen Topic
Coach Carter was a great leader inspiring the basketball team making them to be the best they could be, however his reactions to situations differed each time. A combination of different leadership styles were demonstrated by Ken Carter. Since he was aware that the team had discipline issues, Coach Carter at the beginning used an authoritarian type of leadership, to inflict discipline in his athletes. He did not use the same approach all the time. Because Ken Carter wanted to show his athletes that he is the authority figure and the team has to listen to him, he used controlling and commanding approaches. After a while he realized that he cannot use this approach to lead for a long time, therefore, he used the transformational leadership approach taking the visionary position where he inspires his team to follow that vision and supportively work with each other to win (Weinberg and Gould, 2015). Coach Carter was always fair and understanding; he got involved with his athletes, and always supported them. He treated his athletes with the same respect as his own children, encouraged them to never give up and always try to improve. After every game, Coach Carter talked about the positives, but focused more on the negatives, and explained to his team where they could improve to do better in the next game. Coach Carter cared for his team and wanted to ensure that they do something with their lives, whether it be a good job, college, or anywhere besides jail and death. He taught his team to be the best they could be on the court and in life.
Connection to Course Materials
In my opinion, the message delivered in the movie is the role of Coach Carter’s leadership ability to bring discipline in the athletes and show them the value of their education. Leadership is a process through which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. This process of influence usually involves facilitating motivation in others, where the leader focuses on getting individuals to collaborate to attain a common goal (Weinberg and Gould, 2015).
According to Weinberg and Gould (2015), there are different types of approaches to studying leadership. The first is the trait approach, which expresses that “successful leaders have certain personality characteristics that make it likely that they will be leaders no matter what situation they are in (Weinberg and Gould, 2015, p. 200).” The second is the behavioral approach which indicates that anyone could be a leader if they learn the behavior of other effective leaders. The third approach is the situational approach where effective leadership depends much more on the characteristic of the situation rather than on the traits and behaviors of the leaders in those situations (Weinberg and Gould, 2015). These three approaches were combined in the interactional approach that suggests that change in a group’s mindset happens when the characteristics of the leader match with the situation and that person is able to help the group attain their common goals (Gentner, 2018).
In “Coach Carter”, Ken Carter displays the behavioural approach because he introduced a contract outlining what is expected of each player if they wish to participate in games. However, he has the combination of both trait and behavioural approaches. His character indicates that he is a person who can make very good decisions in hard situations and his reactions to situations vary from one to the other. Carter coached the team to improve cohesiveness within the team, made them work hard on the court and in school, and most of all be disciplined so that they can have a bright future.
Appropriate and Inappropriate Strategies
The main message of the movie is that a good leader can influence a team to achieve common goals. There are appropriate and inappropriate strategies to deliver this message to the viewers. From my point of view, the most appropriate strategy is when Coach Carter acts in a fair and understanding manner; he gets involved with his athletes, and is always there to support them. Ken Carter shows empathy and compassion towards his athletes more specifically at times when they most needed it. He gives his athletes a second chance, knowing that people learn from their mistakes.
There are some inappropriate strategies to convey the message. The most inappropriate strategy is when Carter discovers that the progress reports show that some of the students have been skipping classes and failing academically. In order to punish the players, Carter locks the gym, and does not allow the players to practice for the championship. This strategy did not solve the problem of the players’ failing averages. Moreover this could have had severe consequences because the athletes did not study; they were out on the streets and could have ended up in jail or dead, Carter’s biggest fear.
Implications for Practice
In nursing practice, the characteristics that nurses and leaders have in common are caring and compassion. Leadership is about relationship-building, and the aforementioned skills need to overlap to ensure safe, quality care. Nurses who are not in formal leadership positions can learn to be leaders in their clinical area by cultivating a positive leadership style. They can consider using various techniques such as leadership by walking around, mentorship; continuing education can also be valuable because higher level nurse are taught leadership in school. Using these techniques, nurses in every role and at all levels can be effective leaders. There’s a need for leadership at all levels of nursing practice. Although nurses’ roles may be different according to their educational background and experience, all nurses have one common goal: to provide safe, quality patient care (Pullen and Richard, 2016).
The main message of the movie was the importance of leadership abilities in a person. This movie indicated that when individuals have confidence in their abilities and have adequate experience, they are able to reach a common goal.


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