“The culture is an incredibly strong force, and the only way to reach them is to change the way they see themselves.”

Chapter 7 Takeaways:

  • Contagious Culture

Culture is the coaching buzzword.

Schools are the macrocosm of athletics programs. Particularly, at the secondary-level where the pool of student-athletes is within certain geographic districts. The make-up of sports teams tend to have common characteristics reflecting the socio-economics of the community.

So, let’s take it to the school. This chapter cites an example of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program); an alternative free-open enrollment school primarily located for low-income communities. Frustrated from bureaucracy and limited resources for the disenfranchised public city schools; two individuals Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin looked to create a school of their own with one goal in mind – attend college.

Fighting preconceived notions and limited financial support, culture became paramount to developing a clear mission for success.

“This is KIPP culture. It covers how to walk, how to talk (they work on the three-inch voice, the twelve-inch voice, and the room voice), how to sit at a desk (forward, upright, no pencil in hand), how to look at a teacher or classmate who’s speaking (called tracking: head up, eyes on them, shoulders toward the speaker), and even how to negotiate the bathroom (use four or five sheets of toilet paper, one squirt of soap to wash hands).” 

It came became an inundated commitment to detail and “KIPP-nosis.” With schools first opening their doors in the late 1990s to latest statistics taken by 2008, there were sixty-six schools from Los Angeles to New York serving over 16,000 students with 80% of graduating students enrolled in college.

In-Depth on Details

“Everything is everything.”

  • Classrooms were named after colleges
  • School Violations = School Stoppage
    • Teachers and students have a meeting to immediately address issue
  • Classmates are called “Teammates”
  • Reference college as often as possible – grading, socializing, or punctuality
  • College visits start at the grade they are enrolled

This all leads back to creating a culture. Surrounding students with primal cues of the objective and sustaining to strict adherence to standards that appear to have produced results.

Ok, let’s translate and transfer this to basketball football – consider The Patriot Way

“The Patriot Way ain’t nothing but winning, man. That’s it.”

– Kevin Faulk

Culture stems from concepts. Culture comes from consistency. Culture can become contagious.

If the behaviors consistently align to concepts; culture can become larger than coaching.

At the end of the day, these concepts are what we define to the team to win, man.

Coaching Application

What cues exist surrounding your program, where concepts match culture?





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