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Culture Series - Pt. 1/5

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”


In this five part series about building a Positive Team Culture, I will share some insight into what I have learned from some amazing coaches at the professional, high school, and youth levels. I will also share practical examples that I have used with the teams I coached (only the really good stuff, not the things that failed miserably haha!)

Most people reading this know that I LOVE basketball and coaching so I will use basketball examples that can be applied to most team settings: work, sports, family, friend groups, etc.

Coaching is so much fun because every season you get a new group of players on your team! Your job as coach is to serve every member on your team by meeting each individual where they are, challenging them to be the best they can be, while fully supporting them at the same time. At the start of the season, most players will have an invisible shield up to protect them and rightfully so. A lot of them do not know me, my coaching style, and what to expect. It needs to be very clear from day one that my attitude will be consistent every single day regardless if I feel great or just having an ok day. It’s one thing to communicate that, but it’s another thing to show up everyday and demonstrate it. That’s how trust is built and because of that, the invisible shield will slowly be lowered and/or completely dropped.

It’s also important to voice to your team that this is a collaboration and we will work together. The perceived power dynamic of head coach and player is something that I try to eliminate as quickly as possible. They all know that playing time is based on their effort, attitude, focus, and type of teammates they are. They also learn that I will start or sub in players that do all of the culture things we ask to prove how important those behaviors are to our team's success. Outside of that, I don’t want them to be fearful of making a mistake or not feeling like they belong. If they sign up to play on our team, then they are one of us and we got their back. Showing up and giving your best is a life lesson that we all are constantly being tested on. Showing you care by lifting everyone up is the #1 ingredient to creating a championship culture.

Great leaders invest time to learn about the people on their team by asking questions. I suggest asking these questions to the people on your team regardless if it's a new team or one you have been on for a long time.

  1. What is your biggest strength?

  2. What skill would you like to improve?

  3. Why do you play basketball….what drives you?

  4. How do you prefer to be communicated to after you make a mistake and a coach wants to provide feedback (1 on 1 conversation off to the side, in front of the team directly after it happens, etc.)?

  5. What is one thing the coaching staff should know about you in order for us to coach you the best?

This personalized approach to leading a group of people is worth the groundwork it takes to gather the information. Why?

Because it shows you CARE!!!

And once your team knows you genuinely care, they will fight for you and their teammates, because they know you will do the same for all of them.


Thank you for reading and please feel free to reach out if I can help in anyway!

Sending positive vibes,

Dan Horwitz

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