The first and most important goal for our program is to establish a culture which fosters a hard working, team-oriented, and positive environment. Secondly, we must assemble and develop a coaching staff who is committed to advancing this culture and the daily improvement of student-athletes as people, students, and athletes through passionate integrity for their craft and the people they coach. Next, we must recruit student-athletes who can excel in this culture and help build a competitive program. Finally, we must remain focused on a daily basis towards improving ourselves and each other in every facet of the human experience.
These four goals are fairly general, but they encompass the scope of what is important to building a successful program. Each of these goals can be broken down more specifically.
Having the right culture is the most important part of building any organization. Whether it’s a team or a business, a culture that promotes the right environment allows for a wider variety of people to become part of that environment and still be successful. A team without a culture will develop it’s own culture. This culture can take a number of different forms, none of which are usually very conducive towards success.
The coach must set this example and demand this example be followed from the beginning. Once the culture is established, most people who join the team will fall in line with the established norm. If a decision is made to recruit one or two people who will likely rebel against the culture, the coach must be willing to deal with any rebellion early and often. If the culture is allowed to be violated, then the environment that once guided every thought and action is gone.
This culture is best supported through an excellent staff of assistants. These assistants must be committed to maintaining this environment. They must work every day to be loyal to the established culture. They must be willing to speak up at appropriate times when they feel that the head coach has made an error. When topics are open for discussion, they must be able to speak openly and honestly about their points of view regarding the topic at hand. Their input is extremely valuable towards the daily improvement of the different facets of the program. They must be able and willing to help our current student-athletes along their journey towards success in our program. They must also be able to sell our program to prospective student-athletes in an honest fashion.
Once a coaching staff is in place, we must go out and recruit good players. The importance of recruiting has already been outlined in other areas of this portfolio. In short, we must recruit players who can fit into the culture as well as be successful and productive individuals on and off the court.
Finally, we must be focused and committed to improving every day at what we do. Whether we are working to be better people, better students, or better athletes, we must strive every day to do better than we did the day before. In our staff meetings, we must challenge each other to improve as well as finding the best ways to help our players improve. As a result, we all must be open to evaluating ourselves as well as each other in an honest yet respectful dialogue that is focused solely around the consistent betterment of the program.
We must always be looking to improve in all areas. How can we improve as people and as coaches? How can we recruit better? How can we teach better? How can we scout better?
How can we help our players be better people? How can we help players be more successful in the classroom? How can we help our players be quicker or stronger? How can we help our players be more skilled? How can we help them better understand what we’re trying to accomplish as a team? How can we help them be more confident as people and as players? How can we help them help each other? How can we remove obstacles out of their way to help them be more successful? How can we build better relationships with our players?
Each one of these questions should be answered very regularly for every player. If not every day, at least every week, we will have discussions about each of these questions for each player. We must constantly be striving to better ourselves and our team. This requires significant time and effort, but it is the reason why we coach.