How to Create Team Culture
What’s more important for the success of a soccer team: a few players scoring goals or a team fighting as a unit?
You might think scoring goals, right? Without scoring goals, a team can’t win.
However, the team will consistently underperform when not working together in practice and on the pitch.
Successful teams have a mutually accepted guiding philosophy. This philosophy or culture consists of the team’s norms, values, and goals.
Long-term success is not merely the result of talent but the culture of a team, such as:
- The ability to work together
- Mutual respect
- Each team member feels a part of the whole
- Holding team members responsible for their actions
- Being supportive of each other
- Working towards a common objective
- Focusing on “we” over “me.”
- Committing to doing things the right way
Individual talent without a strong team culture never relates to team success.
Without a strong team culture, players play for themselves. Even though they want the team to win, they are more concerned with their stats, branding, or NIL deals.
Players on the bench become mere spectators. Other players are lax during the games. There is no cohesion. In other words, there are 11 players on the field instead of one team.
Team culture is not something built all at once. Each day, each player must contribute to the growing team culture.
For example, the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) has been dominant in women’s soccer for over a decade. New players joined the team each year, and those players bought into the team’s goals and mindset, which contributed to the team’s legacy.
However, the 2022 U.S. squad has floundered throughout the season as they prepare for the 2024 Women’s World Cup. The team lost three consecutive big matches, including defeats to England and Spain. This marks the first time the U.S. team has lost three consecutive games since 1993.
Two-time World Cup winner Carli Lloyd said that the current USWNT lost the winning mentality and positive culture that once embodied the team.
LLOYD: “The winning culture and mentality that has carried on from generation to generation within the USWNT has been fizzling away. I said it when I retired. I saw it slipping away. Players have to embody that. That’s been our DNA since the 80s, but not so much anymore.”
In the past, Llyod has criticized players for focusing more on themselves and building their brand rather than winning…
“Wanting to win has taken on a different meaning. The rest of the world doesn’t fear us anymore. They used to lose the game before it started,” Lloyd said.
For a team to reach its potential, each member must be committed to a positive team culture and build upon that culture daily.
Team culture is what helps talented teams become championship teams…
A positive culture starts with accountability. Not only does each member need to be responsible for their actions on the field, but they should also support their teammates to become the best versions of themselves.
To build a positive team culture, make a personal contract with a teammate to challenge and support each other during every practice and game.
This type of positivity will spread to other teammates as a result.
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