Recruiting the Culture

Recruiting the Culture

Yesterday was a big day for a lot of high school athletes who signed their National Letter of Intent to play at the collegiate level. The recruiting process is so intense and at times overwhelming—I’m sure it’s a relief for them to finally sign on the dotted line!

For you coaches, recruiting is a constant focus. You continually pound the pavement, looking to keep the pipeline full of prospects. While talent is obviously important, it’s even more crucial to recruit athletes who will fit into your current team culture.


Like Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Talent will get you so far, but talented players who don’t fit your culture will hinder your team from reaching its goals. As you know, just one player causing issues can destroy the overall chemistry.


Smart coaches realize that it’s not about signing all the most talented players, but rather attracting talented players who will thrive in the team culture. These coaches search for the right players, not the best players.


For example, watching a basketball game recently I noticed that the players on one team had no visible tattoos, while the other team had players with many. Something as simple as that reflects team culture and coaches must realize that regardless of talent, athletes who aren’t comfortable in a particular culture will become a detriment to the team’s success.


What is your culture, coach? And as you evaluate talent, what kinds of questions will you ask or observations will you make to ensure that the athletes you sign will continue to foster the team culture you want?