Feelings = Function = Actions = Behavior = Performance

If we want to maximize performance and the development of a young athlete, it ultimately comes down to how they are feeling. Are they feeling inspired? Are they feeling connected with their team? Are they feeling supported and encouraged to take risks and make mistakes? Are they feeling believed in and confident that they can be successful? Or are they feeling discouraged, isolated from a group, scared of making errors, and/or responsible for their team losing?

The most important aspect of how a player is feeling is the culture created in the gym and on the court. How do your players feel when the walk on the court? How can we be intentional about creating a culture that allows players to perform their best?

What is Culture?

A set of shared beliefs, attitudes, values, goals, and behaviors that characterizes an organization and emerges over time as the result of shared experiences and leadership. 

“The way we do things here”

“How it feels when you step inside our gym”

“What players remember in ten years”



How do we create good culture?

Three elements to a culture: behaviors, systems, and practices, all guided by an overarching set of values. A great culture is what you get when all of these are aligned together. Coaches have influence on the culture, and ultimately it's a shared responsibility and ongoing effort by everyone involved. No one person can create it, though one person can certainly undermine it. 

Here are some of the things that coaches can do to influence culture

  • Discuss reactions to errors
  • Discuss communication between players (no coaching? what is acceptable, unacceptable, exceptional)
  • Practice Apparel
  • Specify how players line up or circle up
  • Specify how players line their bags up
  • Consequences for players missing practice or being late
  • Pre-practice meetings / discussions
  • Post practice discussions
  • Post game discussions
  • How warmup partners are determined
  • Captains
  • Post Tourney awards