Team Identity
A Needed Ingredient in a Championship Team

This article on team identity has been contributed by Kyle Ohman from

If you look at any championship level team in pretty much any sport, you will quickly realize that each team has their own unique identity. They know their personnel, have a strong game plan, and do their best to maximize their strengths.

Unfortunately for a lot of teams and coaches though, there is no team identity. This leaves players unsure of what is expected of them and what they should be doing on the court. So the question is, how do you find your team’s identity and then how do you implement it?

The reason why a lot of teams don’t have an identity is because it is not always the easiest thing to do. There are some non-negotiables that every team should have, but after that a lot of the time it comes down to trial and error.

  • Are you going to play fast or walk it up?
  • What defense will work best?
  • What type of plays are going to get your best players shots in spots where they are comfortable?
  • What players fit best together?

These are just some of the questions that come with trying to figure out your team’s identity.

This article is going to give you four ways that you can use to help you figure out your team’s identity, and then also implement it.

Team Identity

A player’s job is to play/win the game and a coach’s job is to put them in the best position possible to do that. So the first thing that you need to do as a coach is to sit down and evaluate your team. Ask yourself questions like:

  • what are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What do your best players do well?
  • Do you have a deep bench?

Questions like these will help you figure out what game plan is going to give your team the best chance to win, and will bring you one step closer to finding your identity.

Team Identity

Team Identity

Regardless of what type of style your team plays there are certain areas that are non-negotiables. If you want to have a winning program you can’t spend all your time working on attitude and effort. This needs to be something that every player on your team must bring. If not, they may not be a good fit for your program, regardless of skill level. Whether it is doing basketball drills or in a live game situation, every player needs to work their hardest and play with a winning attitude.

Team Identity
Clear Communication

When it comes to the non-negotiables and the game plan of your team, you need to clearly communicate it with your players. A player should never be able to say, “I didn’t know.” There needs to be a clear line of communication to your players. If your players fully understand what you expect from them, things will go a lot clearer. This goes for style of play as well as attitude and effort. Be clear in what you are looking for and reward the players that are choosing to buy into the team’s identity.

Team Identity

There are no days off from doing something the right way. Whether it is day one or day one hundred, if a player does something that conflicts with the team’s identity, it needs to be addressed; from the best player on the team to the last man on the bench. No exceptions.

Once you have clearly communicated the game plan, it is time for accountability. Every player on your team (regardless of playing time or role) needs to be held responsible for knowing and executing your game plan.

This is not always the easiest thing to do, and it is definitely something that is going to take time. However, once your players are fully aware of what you expect from them, you can really start seeing growth in your program.

Kyle Ohman is the co-Founder of, Basketball HQ LLC

“My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back.”