There are over 500,000 high school basketball teams in the United States alone. As one of the most popular team sports, coaches at all levels have to understand how to build a basketball side that is capable of success. Team building starts even before the season begins and is easier when everyone has the same goal in mind.
Form Your Identity Early
The 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons were a team that had good players, but really latched onto the defensive style that coach Larry Brown wanted to play. The end result was a NBA Championship, beating a Los Angeles Lakers team that featured bonafide hall of fame players. This mindset was set during the Pistons’ training camp, but you can start building your team’s identity from the beginning of the season too. Giving your team the opportunity latch on to an identity before the season starts is a great way to build cohesion and excitement. Coaches agree that success is an everyday process and should be worked on every day.
Manage The Simple Things
Coaches that keep things simple, keep things fun. The more fun players are having, the closer they will be as a unit. Do not worry about bogging down your team with extensive playbooks and complicated play calls. Find plays and sets that work for your personnel and use them. At any age level, simplicity gives players the opportunity to build rapport and trust with their teammates.
Each player prepares differently, but as a coach, you should have a pregame routine down for your team as well. Let every player know when they have to arrive for games, what they need to wear and what equipment to bring. Instill in the players that this should be considered as a business trip. The more professional they act, the more prepared they will be. You want to foster a professional atmosphere, but allow your players to remain loose and comfortable. Let the players stretch and warm up individually in the locker room before taking the court as a team. Give yourself and your assistant coaches a few minutes to highlight the team’s gameplan to get every player and coach on the same page.
Team building in basketball does not have to be hard. Give your players something to aim for and they will strive for it. Start before the season starts and see how much your team will have grown by the end of the year.