Developing A Strategic Vision For a TEAM

Written by: Chris Hungerford



Time to read 6 min

Often, we, the coaches will be asked to present to the club a “strategy" and "the vision” for the team and if this forms part of the interview process it can determine whether or not the coach is going to get a job and train a team or not.

The strategic vision should contain all of the next goals:

1. A time frame (often 3-5 years);
2. A clear vision for what the team is to achieve within that time frame
3. The team’s values (principles that guide all actions of the team)
4. The important elements to achieve success (e.g. selection of players, medical support, conditioning, etc)

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A Time Frame


A time frame

A coach has to be very careful when asked to set a time frame in which he plans to achieve some of the goals. Neglecting the level of the basketball team that you are going to train, a coach needs to have good scouting on the team. A good team scouting means:

1. Individual quality of the players - You need to know what are the individual strengths and weaknesses, what is their skill set, and what are their tendencies both on offense and defense. Knowing what they lack is the first step toward creating an individual development plan.

2. The Chemistry - Maybe the single most important thing on a team of any team sport is the chemistry of the team. If the players have good relationships developed between themselves, not to mention if they all are good friends, more than a half job for the coach is done. These teams often may lack in talent than some other teams but are performing better just because of the bonds they have.

3. The Character - it is easy to train a less talented group that is ready to go to war every day than a group of "all-stars" who do not like to train, play and fight. You can teach a player a defensive stance but you can't teach a will to defend a basket.


4. Review the overall performance of the team in the last 3-5 years - Knowing how they achieved in a period of the time is going to tell you if there is a need for a big change or for just smaller adjustments in order to try and make good things better.

5. Speak with players or coaches that have been involved with the team - But be informed of the status of those people because if they let the team in a bad way the information that you get is not objective.

A clear vision, an ultimate objective, for what the team goals is to accomplish within that time frame


The ultimate goals of the team

This might be complicated from time to time especially if the person asking for success does not understand the value of the team and by that its reach. If you are an artist with the words, and you have the power to persuade people, try to set a little below objective goals for your team, but tend to work with them as if you promised a championship.

Often people expect too much out of everything and your job is to relieve the team of the pressure of that kind. But you have to unleash Hell upon them in the gym just to deplete 100% out of them because that is the only way on the basketball highway.

Besides, if you give 100% of yourself, and your team does the same, whatever is the result you know everybody gave whatever they had.

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The team’s principles that will guide all the actions of the team


Basketball community

Every team has its own values. Win or lose, some teams are going to stick with their identity no matter what. Development of the strong community, something that everybody in the organization can relate to is very important, and sometimes the main driving force for the team. If the team already has the strong sense of togetherness, it will take time for any coach to fit in because he comes form the "outside" world. In these situation, only thing that coach can do is to be patient and to work hard. In time, this approach will be recognized.

The other elements important to achieve a team success (e.g. selection of players, medical support, conditioning etc);


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Every team needs a strong support system in order to be successful. Is the gym good, how big it is, is it new, are there enough balls, training aids, coaching aids, medical staff, weights room, pool, assistant coaches, specialized coaches, fans... all of this stuff is very important because it is going to speed up the process of getting your team in shape.

If you do not have all the things I've just mentioned, your job is to fight for them. Maybe they can dig up the pool for you, but u can always ask, grind, and bite for better balls, training aids, some bars, and weights. Try to acquire smaller stuff but aim higher and higher.

As the help comes, team results will come and that is all you need to persuade people to help you.

Factors that are out of our reach

1. Player contracts

If you are about to start working with a team that has contracts with their players, one of the things that you need to know is how long are some of these players going to be with the organization. You need to make a plan for who is accountable and who is not, who is going to be the first option, and who is going to be benched.

Starting next season, college basketball is going to be overrun with managers. This move by the league is justified because we all know that there was a lot of dirty play involved in the recruitment of the high school player over the years.

2. Injury

Any team can be affected by the player's injuries. Teams can be able to reduce the frequency of some injuries but this is largely out of the coach’s control. The coach can try to enable the team by having his players be able to play across a number of positions or game styles.

Considering where the coach assesses the team to currently be and the factors that can influence the performance, the coach selects an objective strategic vision. Whilst it may be tempting to simply predict winning the championship in the future, the imagined vision that the coach sets will also model the basis of assessment of their performance. The coach all by himself cannot realize the strategic vision and they need to have everybody in the organization to strive toward the vision.

3. Define roles

Make individuals accountable for performing their roles - if the roles are clearer, everybody inside the organization (including support staff) can hold each other accountable.

Endorse a good performance and do not judge a success by the number of won games.

Winning or losing an XYZ number of games is an indicator that most people use to assess the performance of a team and its coach, but that metrics system is all wrong.

The coach must prize team performance using metrics that are more meaningful toward achieving the ultimate objective within the time that he set.

The coach’s plan for the team should be relatively unchanged, although strategies and time frames certainly may vary as circumstances can change over the course of time. You can never know how young players may develop, or serious injuries may impact performances at a given moment.

Final Thought

Depending on the level of basketball and the structural organization of the team, these questions may not be asked by the chairman or school principal, but maybe there will be some parents who will be interested in your vision as a coach. Every one of us should have a vision and a time frame in which we are going to evaluate our own work. We all need a plan, we all need to work as hard as we can and we have to fight for our team in every way possible. One good ball, a few cones, and one defensive mannequin are going to make a change. Our kids deserve the extra effort no matter how talented they are.

To find more information about how to develop a good team plan, go rent a DVD by clicking on the link below:


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