It can often be heard, 'winning cures all that is wrong'. I strongly disagree and would argue winning only works as a counterintuitive measure for building a winning culture. We frequently see coaches who are winning in their first couple of years failing to continually reflect upon programs and search for ways to build a positive environment. In order to truly build a culture within any program winning should be viewed as a bi-product of the culture itself. There are really four secrets to developing a winning culture for any basketball program.
First. Selecting the right people. Hiring committees must do their homework in the hiring process. It is critical to a culture to hire the right leader. It then becomes a valuable piece to place the right athletes on the team. There are a number of athletic players in every school, but are they all right for your team? Evaluate athletes based on personality traits which are conducive to a positive environment then work to marry them with the right skill set. Obviously, the right person isn't someone with a winning personality, but can't dribble a ball. Instead, if there are two players who can dribble the ball selection should be made based on their personality traits. Only positive people will harbor a positive culture!
Second. Train towards fundamentals. Once you have selected the right people, it is vital that all training has a fundamental approach. Without fundamentals there is no foundation to build upon. Training also includes positive emotions in a competitive world. A winning basketball culture is not a trait born into, but rather a trait that is taught.
Third. Advancement. Players like co-workers in a work setting like to know that have a meaning and a purpose. Those who know advancement is possible with hard work, dedication, and proper training will show loyalty to the program. If players on the team exhibit the right characteristics they should be made examples of. This happens in forms of advancement. Junior varsity players may become varsity athletes. Freshman coaches can advance to be varsity first assistants. Advancement is the right thing to do in a winning culture.
Finally. Recognize and Reward. I don't mean hand out suckers or soda pops every time someone does something right. Winning cultures are far from Pavlov's theory. Yet, reward winning behaviors with opportunity. The opportunity may come in form of advancement, playing time, naming a 'captain', selecting a parent coach for a week. It is only after a program achieves these four steps will it change a culture.