• Play Like a Champion

Coaches are Charged with Creating a Positive Team Culture

Coach Jim creates a positive team culture

In the aftermath of last week’s blog post depicting a clear example of a toxic team culture in the sport world, Play Like a Champion Today would like to provide a reminder to coaches that it is up to you to create a positive team culture in youth sport by making the atmosphere fun, fair, inclusive and wholly developmental in nature. When coaches create a positive team culture they nurture young athletes to become the best version of themselves.

How do coaches create a positive culture?

# 1: Coaches should work to create a fun atmosphere on their teams in their practices and games.

# 2: Coaches should communicate effectively with everyone on the team: players, others coaches and parents. Consistent, positive communication every practice with the team on the value of the team displaying sportsmanship and other “Champion” characteristics is critical. Communication with parents on how the coach will lead the team and how the parents should be positive in the stands will elevate the entire sport environment.

Play Like a Champion would like to share an example of excellent communication from a Fort Worth Basketball coach to his team families. We applaud this communication and point to it as a positive example for coaches everywhere to emulate.

Email Subject: SAS Red Basketball Team

Welcome to the boys’ SAS Red 6th grade basketball team. Eric and I will be ministering (coaching) them.

If you have older children, then you may be familiar with middle school basketball and know that it, more than other sports, seems to be the one that can be most contentious between coaches, parents/fans, and ultimately players. The players take their cues from their coaches and then their parents, as far as their behavior on the court goes and what is acceptable. Eric and I will do our utmost to be a good example to the boys in how we interact with other coaches, especially with the referees, and with players on the other team (our only comments to players on the other team will be to congratulate them when they make a good play or shot against us), and we are asking us, as parents, to do the same thing. As a result, we believe the boys will have the right examples of how to exhibit good sportsmanship on the court and change the culture that tends to pervade in middle school basketball.

Eric and I look forward to ministering and coaching these boys. This is a developmental league, and as such, all the boys will play substantially the same amount of time in every game. We want very much for the boys to win their games, but win the right way. More than anything, we look forward to using the sport of basketball as a venue to help these older boys take one more step to becoming young men of character.

We will ask/help the boys set team goals and personal goals for the season (G), we will ask/help them foster positive relationships with one another, with coaches, with referees, and with their opponents (R), we will ask/help them take ownership of this team and this season, this is their game, not ours (O), and ultimately, they/we will all come out winners in the process, on all scoreboards (W). That is Play Like A Champion Today’s GROW approach to youth sports, which at least one parent of each boy is required to attend a PLACT workshop, in order for their child to play sports in the Diocese.

Thank you for trusting your son with Eric and me.



Talk with your team about their Goals to give them Ownership of their play and build positive team Relationships

This communication began the season setting this basketball team up for overall success. In the team’s first practice, Coach Jim spent the first 15 minutes discussing with the team how they would apply the GROW approach. The athletes gave Coach Jim their attention and discussed what they believe it meant to GROW. When practice began, Coach Jim said that it was honestly the best practice he had ever had in all his years of coaching, where all the kids worked really hard and had fun.

Coaches communicate with your athletes what you believe as a Play Like a Champion coach. Communicate with your athletes' families so they know how you will lead your team and so they know the proper attitude and behavior that is expected of them in supporting a positive team culture.

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