How to Change Your Basketball Culture

Team Huddle

Taking over an established Basketball Program can be both exciting and challenging.  Exciting because you get to put your stamp on it and try out some new ideas you may have.  But it’s also challenging because someone else has already put a stamp on the program and it might take a lot to change that.  The vision you have for your program needs to be clear and spelled out for everyone involved.

We often hear about the word “Culture” now in basketball.  Coaches are always saying, “You have to change the culture” or “You need to have the right culture.”  But what is “Culture” when it refers to basketball coaching?  Webster defines Culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”   That is a lot to assess, but all of it should be carefully thought out and considered by a Head Coach.

If you are a new head coach (or just reorganizing your present program), ask yourself, “What are my values and goals for this basketball program?  How will we accomplish those goals?”  After you have come up with some ideas of which direction you want to head, write your thoughts down.  You can be as brief or as expansive as you like, but be concise in your final written presentation.  With this, you have now started to form your Basketball Culture.  

Below, I offer my explanation of the kind of culture I wanted at Sacramento’s Capital Christian High School a few years ago.  Even though they already had a pretty solid culture established, it was important for me to put my own personal touch to it.  If this gives you some idea of how to form your own Vision of Culture, great.  You may have a totally different approach than I had, and that is certainly fine too.  Come up with what works best for you.   


Our Players Are Asked to Work within the Four C’s:


  • Stay in touch with coaches and teammates.
  • Work to improve in the off-season.
  • Attend all basketball functions when possible.  

2. Citizenship:

  • Work hard in the classroom and keep good grades.
  • Be a positive leader in the classroom and in the community.

3. Competitiveness:

  • Compete to be the best at everything.
  • Handle discouragement with will power and determination.
  • Be accountable to self, teammates, and coaches.

4. Character:

  • Recognize that good habits are hard to break.
  • Continually work with urgency and pride.
  • Strive for a standard and not a prize.


Cougar Basketball Is Built On:

  1. Defense:
  • We strive to be the best defensive team in the league.
  • Defense can be consistent, while offense may come and go.
  • Defense wins championships.

2. Speed Game:

  • We want to be the best running team in the area.
  • Good conditioning is a must.
  • Desire to go hard the whole game is required.
  • Smart decisions with the ball reduce turnovers.

3. Teamwork:

  • We share the ball.
  • We pass to the open man ahead.
  • We recognize assists and good passes.
  • We celebrate a teammate’s successes and great efforts.

Our Motto: Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together.


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