So much goes into winning and losing basketball games. Coaches and teams prepare to the best of their ability, but sometimes the ball bounces in the other team’s favor. Wins remain joyous, while losses hurt for days.

Coaches have a number of elements to consider in this regard, including how to get a team to think like champions.

20 Keys To Winning Basketball Games and Championships

Developing a winning basketball program often comes down to the details. Here’s a list of 20 keys to creating the right culture to start winning championships this season!

1.  Find the Correct People, Program, School or Location

The first step in this process is hiring the right coaches. You’ll want a loyal group that shares your vision for the team. Beyond that, you’ll need to consider the school, including elements like atmosphere, community, and the reality of competition. Beyond that, when assembling your roster, remember, hard working players lead to winning basketball.

2. Have Well-Defined Roles

It’s important to have well-defined roles in your program. Everyone should be connected and understand where they fit. For players, it’s important to understand not everyone can be the star. Role players often hold the key to winning basketball championships. Also, think about how you’ll manage your summer requirements, as well as the players’ participation in other sports.

3. Get Out of Their Way

A key factor in winning basketball is letting the players play. Don’t “over coach” or over complicate the game. Don’t panic. And perhaps most importantly, be willing to change your approach.

4. When Picking Your Team Look For Players Who:
  • Score and Handle The Ball
  • Shoot Free Throws Well
  • Handle Pressure

Players will excel in what you emphasize.

5. Understand That Success Is NOT Immediate

As the cliche goes, Rome was not built in a take. Take time to teach the skills and approaches you want your players to master.

6. Pick A Style You Believe In

When it comes down to developing your basketball philosophy, pick one that fits you and your personality. That will make it easier to sell to your players. Remember, there’s more than one way to develop a winning basketball team. Be ready to adjust the system with different groups each season.

7. Find A Common Goal / Theme

Examine your expectations in preseason and be ready to change as the need arises. Loop in all the voices involved in your program, including assistant coaches, players, families, even school administration. Set clear and attainable goals for the team and individual players.

8. Plan For IT

Creating a winning basketball culture and competition for championships takes buy-in and preparation. Keep realistic expectations but push your players to get better every day. Put your players in situations where they can succeed.

9. Once You Get To The BIG Game Act Like You Belong

Once you and your program has made it to the highest level, stay in your routine. Control what is in your ability to control and block out all the noise. The players will feel ready if you’ve prepared them along the way.

10. Rest

Keep in mind the grind. Fatigue can make a coward of anyone, so limit long practice sessions in season. Shorten and streamline your approaches. Don’t overtrain your players–that’ll lead to burnout.

11. Be Aggressive

That said, be aggressive in your style and approach. Incorporate innovation and instill the idea that no one can give you a win, you must take it.

12. Give Them a Reason To Win

Give your players something to believe in preseason by finding a hook. Consider things like emotion, the underdog story, or program history.

13. Keep Learning

As a coach, always keep learning. Communities like the one at helps find like-minded coaches willing to share approaches and in successes.

14. Outside Evaluation

Find someone outside your program to help you evaluate your approach. A fresh set of eyes might find a new angle that you haven’t considered.

15 . Over Prepare

Coaches should over prepare and out work their opponents. This is done though scouting, pouring over reports and tapes, then relaying that information in the classroom to players.

16. WIN

Teach your players how to win and how to handle adversity. It’ll help pull victories from the jaws of defeat and help grab wins in unlikely scenarios.

17. Expect The Unexpected

If it can happen, it will happen. Try to control outside factors as much as possible, but understand you won’t be able to control everything. One of the hallmarks of a winning basketball team is it’s depth, so develop that as best you can.

18. Find Leaders

Filling out your roster is the most important part of the preparation process, but picking the right captains remains a high priority for winning programs. Talk on and off the court with your leaders to help foster that communication. This will model healthy relationships for your players.

19. Visualize

Visualize the winning your local or state basketball championship. See it, then sell that vision to the players in your locker room.

20. Be Lucky


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1434 Building a Winning Program and all it Entails

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.