Great coaches effectively communicate with their teams so that they players know how the coaching staff envisions the team to play. As the season progresses, teams further their strengths and start to lessen their weaknesses to grow as a team. However, creating a “Championship Culture” is more that just wins and losses.
To create a “Championship Culture” players need to know what the coach thinks is imperative and do their best on a daily basis to carry out this vision.
So it is simple. The coaching staff communicates their vision and players execute the plan. Every player knows what their coach thinks is really important….don’t they?
Think about your experiences as a player or coach. Have you ever been a part of a team where an aspect of the game was discussed in a half time talk. film session or in practice on an occasional basis, but then expected of each member of the team each and every possession?
It seems that if a particular aspect of the game is such an important factor for the coaching staff to expect his/her team to execute, then it should be constantly reinforced throughout the season.
Not only should it be reinforced for the duration of the season but It should be reinforced on several different levels: During practice, during competition, post game and film sessions.
How is this done? Through constant emphasis in your terminology, time allocation and the use of unique stats, exclusive to your program, to support your coaching philosophy.
1. During practice – Be sure to compete in areas that your find the most important to your program’s success (i.e. rebounding) and develop creative means to gauge your prowess in this area. For instance, if rebounding is the most important statistic for the coaching staff, do not just rely on total rebounds or rebounding margin for evaluating how good of a rebounding team you are. Have your coaching staff come up with “support stats”. These stats could be total blockouts, offensive rebounds given up, balls kept alive, etc. and constantly make sure your team knows that these are just as, if not more important than the player who grabs the rebound. In addition, have the forethought to realize that if your team in shooting great from the field on a particular night, then there obviously will not be many offensive rebounding opportunities for them. Creating a group of useful, creative and logical support stats will prove to your team that you find these stats to be of the utmost importance and will help to create a certain culture based upon whatever the coaching staff emphasizes. In this case the importance of rebounding correlates to a culture based on toughness and the importance of winning the battle on the glass on each possession.
2. During competition – Continually evaluate with your team how the “game within the game” is going. During timeouts, have support stats ready to present to your team. Assistant coaches and managers are invaluable in this area. Again using the important support stats that you use during practice (i.e., short rebounds, long rebounds, block outs, 50/50 rebounds) all help to paint a picture for your team and to emphasize the importance of rebounding. Touch on this area during your halftime talk as well and/or even have players grade the rebounding performance at the half to keep them aware and focused on rebounding. Keeping the players involved and accountable at all times is key to create your culture.
3. Post game – Emphasizing rebounding to the team during the post game talk and with the media. No matter how we try to keep our players away from the media, they will inevitably read/hear the coach’s quotes. What better way to use the media to your advantage and emphasize the culture of the program by letting them see your support stats in print or hear it on the radio. It makes the emphasis even more real for them because it is tangible and reiterates to them that the support stats must be important if the coach discussed them with the media.
4. Film session – Watch and discuss numerous examples of great, good and poor examples of support stats. Be careful to not dwell on the negative aspects of the support stats, as coaches sometimes do. This can have a unintended consequence and create a culture of fear or negativity around the program. Showing the techniques on film from games or practices is very important because as the saying goes, “the film doesn’t lie.” Being direct, honest, and hopefully positive can allow players to make strides in improving.
Lastly, use support stats to reward players who are being productive. Come up with positive rewards or recognition for players who are helping to create the culture you wish to instill in the program. You will be surprised how much fun the players can have with “owning” the culture and before you know it, they will begin to emphasize to each other the aspect(s) you have deemed as important.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo