A team to call your own
It is a common maxim in sports that a unified team will have better chemistry and be able to win together. This unity is often forged through a strong team culture or identity, which gives the coaching staff and players a sense of belonging and the opportunity to strive for something bigger. For youngsters, these can be incorporated from the onset.
Culture: Teams have to begin by building a winning culture, centered on the right values. By emphasizing teamwork, effort and respect, good teams are able to build an environment of trust and strong interpersonal relationships.
Team colors and jerseys: This is definitely not a trivial matter, with team colors and jerseys representing everything that a team stands for. The leprechaun of Boston and the Lakers’ purple and gold have come to symbolize success within the NBA, with players keen to carry on the legacy of greatness. By allowing players some autonomy in jersey or logo design, coaches are able to instill a sense of ownership within their teams.
Style of play: Players need to buy into the team’s style of play. Be it a bruising off-ball screen-heavy offense where the screener does the heavy lifting but gets little of the shine, or a grueling full court press that requires maximum effort in every possession, playing within a team system can be tough and appear unrewarding in the short run. By getting players to believe in the game plan and to give it their best, players learn to take pride in doing the little things that lead to victory.
Standards and expectations: Beyond just playing style, donning a team’s jersey requires you to uphold team standards with pride and confidence. If you choose to wear team gear outside of practice and game situations, you have to make sure that your play and conduct live up to what your team and coach would expect.