Creating Team Cultures

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With the basketball season just around the corner, coaches need to start planning and making several decisions. Although most of these decisions will be in relation to the team, its playing style and their goals for the coming year, one of the most important decisions will be the conscious decision to foster a team culture.

Some coaches, who are staying with the same team and/or club as they were in last year have already begun the process, but for other coaches, this should be at the forefront of their mind.

Personally, I will be involved with multiple teams this year as a first year coach and one of my main challenges is going to be creating an identity that both the players and me, as the coach, are happy and satisfied with.

In order to create or build this new team identity or culture, it must always begin with the coaching staff. Thankfully, I am working with great people that understand this process and are already buying into this concept.

Establishing the culture with the coaching staff is important because your team of coaches will be around the players a lot and having positive coaches who have bought in to selling the same vision as the head coach is really important. Your players will feed off this energy and be ready to jump on board.

In order to create this culture within the teams, coaches must allow an environment where everyone’s opinion and thoughts are welcomed. As a head coach, it doesn’t mean that you have to like what is being said, or do what is being said, but you do have to allow your coaches to speak and listen to them. Your assistants or teams must feel comfortable to speak their mind when they have something to say.

Within the International programme that I am involved with, I’m happy with the point that we’re at and the contributions that are coming across right now.

One of my favourite parts about the International programme is the pre- and post-practice meetings, where we come together as a staff and discuss several elements of the practice and the team. What we want to do? Are we on the right path to getting to our goals? Do we need to change anything? Are we communicating effectively? etc.

Fortunately, I am involved with a great coaching staff who all speak their mind and are able to back up their arguments or points with logical facts. The great part about this is that once we make a decision, everyone is on board with the decision straight away.

In sports and in life, your success is determined by those that you spend your time around. When you seek out positive and like minded people, you are putting yourself in a position to remain positive and driven.

If you have ever listened to Jordan Spieth (a 22 year old golfer, who has won two out of four majors and finished top five in the other two) during an interview, usually post-round, he always uses the pronoun “we” in his answers.

Highly regarded as one of the most humble players in the PGA, Spieth sees himself as part of a team, with other “teammates” including his caddie, his coach, his trainer, his manager, and his parents, just to name a few.

On TV we see Jordan hitting the shot, but we don’t see the interaction of Jordan and his caddie, Michael Greller, helping him in his decision as to what club to use, where to hit the ball, how to hit the ball, and all other items related to Jordan’s preparation. Oh, by the way, his caddie is also carrying around Jordan’s 45 pound bag on his back for four straight days, much of it not flat land, about 7 miles each day. That’s not even including the day(s) of practice rounds leading up to one tournament.

Successful organisations embody the fact that it is not the individual that creates success. They understand that success is the sum of all parts being involved and realise that without the “we”, they would never fulfill their full potential.

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