Fostering a Team Atmosphere


“The whole (team) is greater than the sum of its parts (players).”


The One Most Important Word: "We"

The Least Important Word: "Me"

On every level of basketball, one of the most important aspects of coaching is creating and fostering a total team atmosphere and commitment. It is the difference between success and failure. Insure your players that they are going to play in a team atmosphere. Inform them that you are not going to tolerate anyone on the team that keeps others from learning, you from coaching or any other misbehavior. Get rid of the non-workers. Great teams are a result of the best players being the hardest workers. No one steps on the floor without full hustle attitude. Insist on a team effort at all times.


There is no "I" in the word "Team."

Changing a “Me” to “We” attitude is a real challenge in coaching, and is the utmost importance to success.

It is amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit. The San Antonio Spurs, 2014 NBA Champions,  fully understood that the best potential of "me" is "we." So much can learn about the importance of team play by watching the following video. They vividly illustrate that "an individual can make a difference, but a team can make a miracle." This team chemistry and love is an end product of great coaching and proper leadership.


View San Antonio Spurs Tribute - The Beautiful Game (6:20) - Click Here


Persistence a Key Success

There is an old adage that is often times quoted: “Great teams play hard, play smart and play together.” However, there is one other very important ingredient that is missing and that is “persistence.” Persistence is what enables players and teams to reach their full potential and goals. It is what separates the great ones from the mediocre ones. Most teams can play hard, play smart, and together for short periods of time. However, to be successful, they must be able to sustain this high level of effort over the course of the entire season which is no easy task.


Demand ”Best Efforts” at All Times

Habits do not change in a game. Never tolerate or ignore a player’s laid-back or apathetic attitude and efforts. All great players have one thing in common. They have great work ethics and will not be outworked by anyone. They pay attention to detail. Too much attention and recognition is paid to records and accomplishments, and not enough to the long, hard, hours, days, and years great players put into developing and refining the skills and techniques that make them so successful. In tolerating or ignoring a lack of effort and selfishness, coaches are not only cheating the team, but just as importantly, they are cheating the player and depriving them of any future opportunity to play on a higher level of the game.


Establish Significant Player Roles

Guarantee players that they will receive equal opportunities, but not equal playing time. Develop and establish significant roles and assignments for every player on the squad such as 6th Person, Defensive Stopper, Designated Inbounder, etc. Championships are never achieved without the unselfish play of the complementors on the team. Rather than scoring themselves, these role players make it possible for others to score. These supporting roles, which are vital to a total team effort, must be constantly acknowledge and reinforced by the entire coaching staff throughout the season.

To learn more about the vital importance of the 6th Person role - Click Here

Developing a Defensive Stopper - Click Here

The Need of a Good Inbounds Passer - Click Here


Real Competitors are Vital to a Team Effort

Real competitors are those special players that come to play every time they step on the court. They are a team’s hardest workers constantly battling and competing. They are not the type that scream at their teammates or officials or kick trash cans after the game. They rely on their brawn more than their brains. They dive for loose balls, take charges, fight for rebounds, etc. They just plain enjoy playing and never give up. Competitors are those players that players love to play with not against, spectators love to watch, and coaches love to coach. You cannot win without them.

To learn more about "Real Competitors" - Click Here


Team Leadership

Every team needs at least one leader. The coach on the floor. One that plays with intelligence and poise. They sacrifice and surrender “me” to “we.” This unselfish play makes their teammates better. Leaders play in the future constantly anticipating ahead of the current action. As a result, the game is actually played in slow motion to them. In thinking ahead, their heads are always in the game which allows them to play through adversity. They rarely get upset or loose their poise. On the other hand, players playing in the present, or worst yet, playing in the past, such as arguing about a bad call or upset about a teammates turnover, the game becomes more difficult and actually speeds up dramatically as they lag behind and attempt to catch up with the action.

Leaders also know their strengths and weakness and play within their limitations. Often times, a player’s lack of discipline and their ego’s get the best of them scoring at the expense of their teammates.. They will shoot three point shots when then effective range is inside the three point line. Relying on “hope” or luck rather than skill to make the shot. Selfish play is often times the result of outside pressures and influences such as parents, personal coaches and agents. However, no one likes to play with a “Ball Hog.”



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