Four Tips to Build a Cohesive Team in the Off-Season

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Basketball is one of the ultimate team sports and building a cohesive team doesn't stop when the season ends. No matter how talented players are, they will find it nearly impossible to win if they do not understand how to function together as a team. As a basketball coach, one of the most important things you must do in the off-season is get your players to build trust in each other. Without access to your team and players on a daily basis, this will be more difficult than during the season. To help you out, here is a look at four tips to build a cohesive basketball team as we approach the off-season.

1. Stress the Importance of Winning AND Losing as a Team

One of the key concepts that successful teams embrace is that wins and losses are both team efforts. This not only applies during the season but in the off-season as well! Even after the last game is played, it's important to make sure that everyone understands that your team will always win or lose as a team. By continuously stressing that everything that happens good or bad is a function of the team rather than individual performances, you will help to strengthen the team unity that bonds your players together.

With the Dr. Dish Training Management System, you can now track each one of your players' progress throughout the off-season. However, to build a cohesive team, you can ALSO track the team's progress as a whole. This way players can hold each other accountable, root each other on, and accomplish their goals TOGETHER. A great example would be to hold a 100,000 shot goal for the ENTIRE team to achieve by a specific date. Players are much more likely to encourage their teammates to get up shots every day to acheive their goal together as opposed to an individual goal. By providing an incentive like a pizza party it also adds an element of fun. This type of tracking data with verified accountability is found no place other than Dr. Dish!

2. Hold Team Activities Off The Court

If you ever find yourself struggling to create team unity with your players in the off-season, one of the best things you can do is to start putting together team activities off the court. As mentioned above as an incentive to completing their Dr. Dish goal, you could take your team bowling or host a pizza party. Other ideas could be to have them work together on a community service project or take them to the movies. Each activity that your team does together off the court will help to make them function together better on the court.

These types of activities will help players bond and give them more reason to train together on the court and organize open gyms to improve their game. It will also help build better comradery in the program overall. 

3. Have The Same Rules For Everybody

No other sport stresses teamwork and chemistry like basketball does. You can be the most talented player on the court, but that does not mean you are guaranteed to win by any means. One way to ensure the team gels in the off-season is to make it clear that no one player is above another. Whether it be a lack of focus or for disciplinary reasons, everybody plays by the same set of rules. Take Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski for example. He recently suspended his star player Grayson Allen indefinitely for on-court disciplinary reasons. This sent a message to the rest of the team that no one is above the law. If Coach K does this at the highest level of basketball, this practice should be employed at all levels.

While above is an example during the season, this concept is just as important to stress in the off-season as well. While some players may be participating in other sports, it's important to keep each player as accountable as the next regardless of skill level to ensure that all players trust you as a coach. By using the Dr. Dish Training Management System, players no longer have any excuses and cannot fake their results. 

4. Stress Open Communication

Many times the between losing and winning basketball teams is not talent alone. Rather, it is the ability of the players on the team to communicate effectively. The best basketball teams have players who are never silent on the court. They are constantly talking to each other on the court. They call out screens. They huddle up and boost each other’s spirits between plays. They talk to each other as they sprint back on defense. You will never hear a winning team that is quiet on the court.

It's also extremely important to continue stressing open communication in the off-season because coaches and players don't see each other on a daily basis. However, with the Dr. Dish app and Training Management System, as a coach, you can communicate with your players as much as you'd like from wherever you are. Between sending each player customized drills and workouts through Skill Builder, or sharing a daily inspirational quote to the entire team, Dr. Dish provides much more than just a shooting machine for your program. 


Teamwork does not happen overnight. You need to constantly stress the importance of teamwork and cohesiveness - especially in the off-season. If you constantly reinforce the importance of team unity, your team will become a cohesive unit that succeeds next season. These four tips can help bring your team together and Dr. Dish is here to help with our Training Management System and Skill Builder capabilities!

To learn more about our Training Management System set up your Free Account today! To learn more about Skill Builder and schedule a demo, click here.

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