Coach responsibility as a Cultural Leader

This weekend I met Adam Blicher for the second time in my life. Adam is a fascinating guy who works as a Sports & Performance Psychology Consultant. He is the type of man who can change your entire perspective about life after only one conversation.

I met him because I attended his classes during Danish A-level coaching certification process. During the course, I found out that we share most of the same values.

One of the courses was Cultural leadership. What is this? It is all about our role and responsibility as coaches and cultural leaders. How we act, what we say and the way we respect and share our values and beliefs will contribute to players education.

We can create an ethical culture if we create a proper environment where players will train their core values at the same time.

Now I will quote Adam from his article “The responsibility of the Cultural Leaders”:

“Inconsistent standards will lead to a poor environment where the opportunity for player growth will be limited significantly.”

As a parent, if my kid will practice a sport, I will always try to look if the team or club environment is the right one. I don’t know if he, or she, will be a professional player in the end, but I know that I want him, or her, to be a good person with strong character, passion for excellence, an integrity person with solid core values.

I don’t believe that there are parents in this world who don’t want the best for their kids, but the questions are: Do they know that a way to develop the kid’s core values is through sport? Do they understand how the environment should look like for their kids to reach the full development as a human being, and as an athlete? Or worse, do they know that an inconsistent environment will do the opposite for their kids?

I do believe that most of the people don’t know this.

During the classes, Adam gave us a tool, a template, about how to create an environment for achieving the goals in cultural leadership. I believe it could be a compelling and helpful model for the coaches, parents, and clubs.

In the following, I will present you an example of what how to be set up a healthy environment that will develop some of the most important core values for the players:

*if you read from a phone, please rotate it to view all the 4 columns

Core value Concrete behavior of the player Demands for the Club Coach behavior


–          Plan the day in details

–          Wake-up early in the morning and go to sleep early in the evening

–          No marks under six at school

–          Homework finished before the practice

–          Do not miss the morning workouts

–          Be in time at the practice

–          The practice will only end when the plan has been reached and not at an established hour.

–          Open facilities in the morning

–          Flexible training hours

–          Check for the player plans

–          To be at the gym all the time for help

–          Communicate with player’s teachers

–          Practice more with the player when he has difficulties

Responsibility –          The player should be aware of his weakness and strengths and to admit both

–          Bring a water bottle at the practice

–          Bring proper shoes and clothes at the practice

–          Never miss a practice, always be in time

–          Finishing homework before practice

–          Adopt a polite attitude and language

–          When the player comes to practice always, they have to salute teammates and coaches.

–          Provide a study room for players –          Communicate with the players who are their weakness and strengths and explain to them a way to get better

–          Clear expectations about what to bring for practice

–          Promoting a positive and polite environment

Integrity –          The player should be aware that mistake is allowed.

–          Any error should be assumed.

–          Respect the teammates and the coaches

–          If it’s a player fault in anything happened, he should step forward and take responsibility

–          Always give help to a teammate who asks for it.

–          Open facilities

–          Study room for players

–          Make the players aware that mistake is allowed and is the only way to progress

–          When someone makes a mistake coach should help him with a solution

–          Always keep a promise

–          Always be in the gym before players

–          Praise the one who admits his mistakes

–          Always highlight the player’s accomplishments

Independence –          Showing up before practice/staying afterward practicing by himself

–          Filled water bottle and proper clothes

–          If a player does not understand something he asks for help

–          Be there in time

–          Open facilities –          Making the players aware of what and how they can practice, what they need to evaluate for the self-initiated training.

–          Praise the ones who ask for help

–          Clear expectations about what to bring for practice.

Confidence –          The player should be aware of his weakness and strengths

–          Always ask questions to the teammates or coaches

–          Motivate the teammates after their mistakes.

–          Praise the teammates for their accomplishments

–          Never complain to teammates for their mistakes

–          Open facilities

–          Flexible training hours

–          Use the players in the game to maximize their strengths

–          Help the players to improve their weaknesses

–          Always ask their questions

–          Praise one’s accomplishments

–          Motivate the players after each mistake.

Resiliency –          Never complain to the referees

–          Ask for feedback and help after a defeat.

–          The practice will only end when the plan has been reached and not at an established hour. Never miss the morning practices

–          Plan the day in details

–          Open facilities

–          Flexible practice hours

–          After a defeat work with the player at his mistake

–          Check for the player plans and help him with optimization

–          To be in the gym all the time before the players.


The above template is only an example and the way I see it for a basketball environment, but you can set it in unlimited ways.

An environment like this one, with well-train coaches for teaching excellence in tactics, technic and physical preparation for basketball, all doubled by a continuous mental training for players, will lead to successful athletes and human beings.

Now, if you can look sports environment like this, understanding this is the right way how it should be done, let me ask you some questions.

As a PARENT, is this the right environment where your kid must practice for reaching his maximum potential?

As a COACH, can you create this kind of environment for your team?

As a CLUB or ORGANIZATION, are you aware of how a professional environment should look?

I know the right answer to these questions.

I will let you decide which one is yours.

And when you find it, my message for you is straight: “MAKE IT HAPPEN!”


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