Truly great basketball programs are known for their distinct and specific culture. They don’t solely focus on the end result of individual games, but they also embrace the importance of the journey and daily improvement. These programs are defined by having coaches and players who focus on becoming culture thermostats and not culture thermometers.
Here are three C’s to help you set the thermostat for your program as you journey on the path to being a culture keeper as a player or coach.
1. They're Committed
Culture keepers are fully committed to the task at hand. They know that teams are like families and that they have good days and frustrating ones. They demonstrate this gold standard of commitment by not allowing circumstances, feelings, or emotions to determine their commitment on a day-to-day basis.
Bob Ladouceur, the highly successful football coach at De La Salle High School, put it this way for his program: “Our tradition [culture] calls for a commitment to accountability. This is not an assumption – this is a promise that I will be there for you, and I can count on you being there for me.”
2. They're Competitive
Culture keepers understand the importance of being competitive and developing the best version of themselves. This means building the habit of giving their best effort, every single time, even when it’s not easy or convenient. Their competitiveness is bigger than simple scoreboard wins.
As the great Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometimes thing, it's an all the time thing. You don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time."
As a culture keeper of their program, you must use your role to help implement the competitive mindset Coach Lombardi is describing. Fight for your program’s culture every day and help develop it in the lives of others.
4. They're Contagious
There’s an old adage that says that certain things are “better caught than taught.” That is unequivocally true when it comes to the culture of a team. No culture is truly special if those keeping the culture don’t help spread it to others.
Research has proven that growth is contagious. That means that as coaches and players grow in their own ability to demonstrate excellence in attitude, effort, and investment with their program, others around them will begin to reach their own goals, too. True success is then realized when this special, sustainable culture is built and then passed on to others.
While each C may seem simple on the surface, many programs possess a very unhealthy culture and there is no secret ingredient to make each of them happen. Rather, it’s a conscious, daily effort that each culture keeper must make if they want to see a deep, long-lasting impact on their team.
Just like John Wooden once said, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”