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Culture Series - Pt. 3/5

“Teams that stay positive together, win together.” - Jon Gordon


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!)

Teams are formed to accomplish something that would be very difficult or impossible to do individually. In order for a team to “play together” they need to know each other's strengths. Instead of focusing on things people on your team can’t do, focus on what they can do! Not everyone can be a star, but everyone can star in their role. We ask that whatever you are capable of doing, you bring that with you every day and impact the team in a positive way.

As a coaching staff, we constantly had quick 1 on 1 conversations praising the strengths of every player on our team, for example:

- Some players were extremely fast and we encouraged them to always sprint back on defense to prevent the other team from having a wide open transition layup. Try to win every sprinting drill that we do to push yourself and your teammates.

- Some players were really good passers and we encouraged them to keep their head up and look for opportunities to pass to open teammates. We made sure these players memorized our plays so they knew where all of their teammates would be so they could make passes on time and on target.

- Our team manager did a great job of watching game film of our games and asked him to share his thoughts with the coaching staff. He pumped the team up before our last game with a motivational speech!

- Some players were very good at defense and we encouraged them to slide thier feet, keep their hands straight up on defense, and not let the other team score. In practice, we asked them to lead defensive drills so our team pushed themselves to be better defenders.


We had a “Leadership Team” that any player could join. These players took an extra leadership role by meeting with the coaching staff before practice. The six leadership team members were assigned different tasks such as:

- Give as many high fives as you possibly can throughout practice today

- Bring a lot of energy by using positive talk and clapping

- Help a teammate improve a skill if they are struggling during a drill

- Make sure we huddle up after shooting fouls

- Sprint over to any teammates that falls over and help them up

- Make sure everyone is focused when we go over offense/defense and help any teammates that are confused

All of these small intentional leadership opportunities added up throughout the season. By the end of the season, everyone was comfortable and confident doing everything they could to help the team by using their strengths!

Playing together is ingredient #3 in building a championship culture!


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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