November 8, 2022 • Athletic AdministrationCoaching

Seven Essentials of Great Teams

If you have ever experienced the miracle of a great team as either a player or a coach, it is something that you will always remember.

Making a team a great team involves choices that are in the control of the participants. Building that team involves believing, becoming, and belonging. It is bringing together a group of people with diverse skills, beliefs, and destinies in a way that they wholeheartedly give themselves to the team so that both the individual and the group may reach their full potential. Few experiences can be as powerful in the growth of a young athlete as being part of a selfless team working toward a common goal.

essentialsMany coaches look at team spirit as an intangible thing that some teams have and others do not. It’s the leaders’ job to teach, promote and build this attitude, and not leave it to chance. The coach must use every bit of his creative energy to develop team spirit within his or her players. He or she must find opportunities to encourage teamwork and unselfishness every day.

Though many life-long relationships are fostered through athletics, some of the greatest memories an individual ever experiences are those discovered when he or she is a member of a “special” team. By correctly applying all the essentials for team building, a coach can enhance the team’s worth many times over the total sum of its parts. 

“Regardless of personal accomplishments, the only true satisfaction a player receives is the satisfaction that only comes from being part of a successful team.” — Vince Lombardi

The satisfaction of building teams and changing the lives of individual players in the process may be the most gratifying experience coaching can offer. As their leader, you have demanded commitments and a level of excellence from them that have allowed them to achieve things that they may have thought impossible. Getting a group of people to blend together and achieve greatness is an experience unique to only a few professions. Coaching is often the model for other professions as they try to bring a “team” of people toward a common goal. Look how many of the terms we use as coaches are now popular in the business world. This is more commonplace as businesses attempt to create a productive and cohesive atmosphere in the workplace.

essentialsThe building of a team becomes an exercise of passion for coaches who love their job. Coaching a great team is the next best thing to being an athlete in that situation. The steps involved in building a team are consistent and predictable. These steps are parallel whether it is building a team in sport, business, or in life. The professional histories of most coaches stem from the teams they have been associated with.

7 Essentials for Great Teams

  • Leadership
  • Guiding principles
  • Pride
  • Communication
  • Motivation
  • Persistence
  • Positive Attitude

In answering a question, of why a person would want to be a coach, Colonel Red Blaik of West Point said, “Once in a while you are lucky enough to have the thrill and satisfaction of working with a group of young men who are willing to make every sacrifice to reach a goal and then experienced the achieving of it with them. In this, believe me, there is a payment that cannot be matched in any pursuit.

This article is an excerpt from our booklet, “Great Teams, The Seven Essentials.”

The booklet, “Great Teams, The Seven Essentials” is available on our website. For support materials, go to our website –

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Content provided by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. For more information visit: