Sports Team Culture
Articles and Videos
If you work with or in a team, this section is a must. We cover pre-season preparation, the development of teams, team selection, the secrets of great teams as well as all things related to building strong athlete engagement from team loyalty to building athlete responsibility. You may find our sections for our most recent articles, resources and materials, latest newsletters, or 5 Minutes with Bo Hanson video series valuable too.
In any industry, recruiting the right person to join your team is a challenging task, but when done right can be extremely rewarding. We spoke to a panel of head coaches who are experts in recruiting assistant coaches for their own programs. Think of this as the how-to for recruiting the right assistant coach, the effects it has on team culture, and why it’s part of a head coach’s role to get it right.
There’s no question that every individual has to be at their best in high-performance sport, but, if that is our only focus, we’re missing a critical ingredient essential for creating a successful team, and so the concept of being the best athlete for the team emerges.
When we look at leaders in any endeavor, we often see their success critically defined by their leadership philosophy, and when it comes to sport coaches it is exactly the same. Having a defined coaching philosophy is key to effective coaching (and leadership), but the process of developing and understanding your own philosophy is often sidelined. When your team relies on your performance as a coach as much as they do on technical execution for achieving a winning outcome, this process is a priority.
Creating and maintaining an effective team culture is critical to sustained success. So, if we define culture simply as ‘the way we behave around here’, we need to determine what is acceptable and what is not? But then as a coach, how do you sustain a culture or how do you deal with an athlete who acts in a way that opposes the culture you want?
Trust can be built through developing an understanding of one another and their position within the team. When we talk about team roles, we look at both technical and non-technical roles as being equally critical to a team’s success. While technical roles are the position an athlete plays on the field, non-technical roles refer to how the athletes make (or don’t make) a contribution to the team beyond their technical position.
The skill of decision making is closely linked to problem solving. For some athletes, making the right decisions at the right time is a well-developed skill, whilst other athletes find this process more challenging. Like any critical skill, the key to developing an individual’s decision making is to practice. So, where should an athlete practice their decision making? The answer is in training.
Captain or leadership group, how can you determine what the right structure for your team is? Who should be appointed as the leader and, what exactly does the person in the leadership role do? These were some of the critical leadership questions we unpacked in our recent open webinar, ‘Choosing Captains and Leadership Development Within Your Team’.
Going beyond what’s expected of you, is a part of what we value at Athlete Assessments. So, when it was suggested we do an aerial yoga class as our team building activity, we all jumped at the idea of getting out of our comfort zones (no pun intended…).
Darren’s contribution to Western Australia’s basketball program reflects his approach to developing and supporting athletes as they ‘form’. He explains that essentially his role is “to help athletes understand themselves, their teammates, coaches, and managers, so they can be more effective with their communications and be able to better adapt to situations.”
Here’s a positive to come out of Covid-19! Our client, Head Coach of the Utah Utes Volleyball team, Beth Launiere, took on a different challenge last year and collaborated with Leo Hopf to co-author the book, ‘Stop Competing And Start Winning: The Business Of Coaching’.
Athlete Assessments Team Day #1 2021; Team Day activity, using DISC profiling, developing communication, team work and some fun.
We are incredibly proud and excited with the news we recently received from the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD). Each year they preside over the national Excellence Awards and Athlete Assessments have just been announced as one of eight finalists in the Best Leadership Development Program Award. Prior winners range from large corporations and Australian household brands such as Coles, Blackmores Institute, Volkswagen Group, Government departments and top Universities, so it is truly an honor to be named a Finalist now and we have our fingers crossed for the winner announcement later this year.
How did we get to a point where the CEO has confidence in the people she relies on? How did a group of people become a team with shared goals and a sense of excitement about navigating the challenges that the journey might bring? The answer lies in the process and so you can see how the specialists in the people side of sport connect their people to the organization’s goals – I will take you inside our latest Team Day at Athlete Assessments.
Leadership is not anchored to a nominal position or the domain of the select few within a team, according to Sarah Leberman, Professor of Leadership at Massey University, New Zealand. Also a Fulbright Scholar and the author of highly significant research on leadership, Leberman specialises in applying the knowledge surrounding leadership to the sport space and in particular women and girls.
So, you’ve just decided on the leadership role or roles within your team. Now the journey begins! What do you want your leaders to do? How do you expect them to carry out the role? You might have your own ideas and that’s fantastic. Maybe you’ve coached a team with effective leadership, and you know what works. Or perhaps you’d like your athletes to role model someone around them. But, if you’re wondering what effective leadership looks like in sport, I’ll give you a short method that I know works well. It’s crucial to know what’s important, what impacts performance.
There are some non-negotiable principles teams need to have in place if they are to achieve success. Firstly, every unique team must have a set of values they agree to live by. Secondly, they have rules to co-operate within a framework. What’s interesting is how many of these teams fail to live their values, or only live them to some degree. The special few, live them to the degree required to achieve success.
Does your program breed toughness in your team? In this concise video, Hanson simplifies the dialogue around toughness in sport by providing a short definition of what we mean when we talk toughness. He describes what tough athletes look like, and the ways in which this attribute can separate and elevate performance. Hanson also presents effective strategies for athletes to utilize when they need to rely on their toughness and how to perform at their best when it matters the most. The video also covers techniques for coaches to facilitate toughness development with the current generation in an era that doesn’t make it easy.
Every team has a culture, some cultures support high-performance while others simply grow around dominant personalities in the team. In this video, Hanson simplifies the dialogue around culture in sport with a succinct definition of the term. He describes what culture looks like, and how to identify it in the sporting context. Together, Hanson and Antoniolli talk about a Coach’s role in guiding team culture. They question whether the team or its individual players’ level of skill and experience has a bearing on team culture. Hanson examines the fundamental components of a successful culture and explains what can happen when a team culture is left to develop on its own.
After a stellar playing career that included 4 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, Kristi Stefanoni, Head Coach of the UMass Softball Program, has solidified her position as a stellar coach with another successful year and being rewarded with the title of 2018 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
Every team needs to set aside time to re-connect, review goals and revisit values. Athlete Assessments is no different. We have four Team Days a year and the first one for 2019 saw us rock climbing, getting to know each other a little better from a DISC perspective and making some tough “Decisions” over a lunch menu!
Congratulations! You’ve just been recruited as the new Head Coach. Whatever circumstances led to your appointment, the fact remains; you need to turn this team around – fast. You’ve got to get important elements of the team on side and develop what’s left of the team culture into a culture that you want. A culture that develops growth and delivers performance. There are six non-negotiable elements to success in this situation.
Rock bands follow a formula for managing their audience’s energy. When you think about any of the live gigs you’ve been to, they follow a pretty predictable pattern. Predictable but effective. In this short video Bo Hanson shows you how to apply that formula to coaching sessions.
It’s unrealistic to expect athletes to be energized 100% of the time over the course of a training session which may be 2-3 hours long. Instead, it is our job as coaches to manage their energy in an effective way, taking into account physical development, skill acquisition and importantly, enjoyment.
It’s enjoyment and satisfaction that keeps athletes coming back.
It’s essential that most needed, least enjoyable and favorite drills are scheduled in an order that manages your athletes’ energy, ensures they make the most of every session and come back for more.
Watch this video as Bo Hanson explains: