How to Build Team Chemistry in Basketball

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quick guide on Building Team Chemistry in basketball

Written By Lamar Hull @ Google+

basketball team chemistry

As a basketball coach, maintaining basketball team chemistry is more crucial than the X’s and O’s of your team’s success throughout the season. Considering the fact that seasons are long and each player will at some point experience their own ups and downs, ensuring that the team plays as a single unit will play an instrumental role in the team’s success.

Individual players tend to get frustrated when they miss consecutive shots or their playing time is limited. It’s during such times that players need to see the bigger picture of team success rather than individual needs. Therefore, team chemistry should be considered a higher priority over individual goals for the team to experience long-term satisfaction. Let’s talk about the benefits of team chemistry, this disadvantages of not having team chemistry, and how to build basketball team chemistry on and off the court. 

Benefits of Building Basketball Team Chemistry

#1 It Maximizes Player Talents and Team Productivity:

Great team chemistry in basketball enables players to play at a higher level within the team’s system regardless of their individual skills. Think about the San Antonio Spurs. They have an aging team, but somehow they are always good ever year with the same players. Leonard is developing in to a superstar, but isn’t quite there yet. With that said, they have to lean on their team chemistry to defeat those teams who have mega-superstars. Popovich has a great recipe for success in regards to team chemistry. I would say the Spurs have the best team chemistry in the NBA, but the new look Warriors are right there with them.

Team chemistry builds individual and team confidence and makes the players willing to work extra hard for each other, such as; sacrificing their body by diving for a loose ball and making the extra pass. In essence, a team with great team chemistry has players who care more about the success of the team rather than individual performance.

#2 It Eliminates Player Absenteeism:

A team with great team chemistry is characterized by low absenteeism rates because every player feels like they are a part of the team and contribute to the team’s success. Players think more about the success of the team. This way, the players will rather miss an invitation to an event rather than the team’s training session.

#3 It Makes an entire Season Enjoyable:

A team with great team chemistry is characterized by players who love and appreciate each other. Coach Bob Mckillop’s system of team chemistry is one of the best in the country. As a player, I loved spending every minute with my teammates. Mckillop preached TCC (trust, commitment, and care) and every player embraced TCC and that’s why Davidson’s basketball program will be successful for years to come. The team will be more like a second family for each other.

trust commitment care


Disadvantages of Not Building Team Chemistry

#1 Individualism:

If team chemistry is not built, players will tend to focus more on their personal needs and interest while neglecting team goals. Players will always want to showcase their individual skills at the expense of team results. As a coach, I really get frustrated when I see teams lose and that one player is at the scorer’s table asking how many points he had. I wouldn’t care how many points I scored if we didn’t win the game!

#2 Absenteeism:

As I mentioned with the benefits of basketball team chemistry, absenteeism can also be a disadvantage if there is no team chemistry structure. Lack of team chemistry means that players do not feel like they are a part of the family. The players on the bench should feel like they are contributing to the team’s success. No team chemistry, means players will not have the urge or desire to train or work hard with and for their teammates. Nothing will excite their emotions and feelings to fight and work as a unit.

#3 Personal Needs Over Team Goals:

Players that don’t get to experience team chemistry will suppress team goals and focus on personal needs. I have seen players consistently not be able to make the team outings because they are too focused on their personal needs and it shows how they interact with their teammates in practice and on the court. 

team success

How to Build Team Chemistry on the Court

#1 Emphasize on Team Goals Instead of Individuality:

Emphasize on things such as rebounding and defense because great teams rebound and defend well as one unit. Winning champions means that the team defends well as a whole. Set common group goals that all players will work to achieve as a team, and suppress individual goals.

Apart from setting team goals, team chemistry can also be built through a technique known as Equal Opportunity Offense where offense isn’t run through specific players but instead a player who is open for a good shot should take it. This technique ensures that no player feels marginalized. Players also have to know their strengths in this type of system to take the shots that fits their skill set. 

#2 Build Effective Communication:

Effective communication between the coach and the players and among the players themselves, especially during games, is key to building team chemistry. The coach should be effective in communicating each player’s role on the team. Additionally, players need to be free to communicate their feelings and ideas rather than holding back. If a player is making repeated mistakes on the court, the player should be provided with coaching advice and how to improve in that specific area in order to avoid making the same mistakes.

#3 Role Acceptance:

Every team member has a role to play. To build great team chemistry on any basketball team, make sure all players understand their respective roles. A coach should communicate to his or her players their respective roles and get them to buy in on how they individually can contribute to the team’s chemistry and success. For example, the captain should act as the team leader and other players should view him or her as such both on and off the court.

Building Team Chemistry During Practice & Off the Court

#1 Assign Partners:

When running partner drills during workout sessions, take it upon yourself as the coach to pair players who wouldn’t choose each other if they were allowed to choose their own partners. The more interaction a player has with different players, the better the team’s chemistry. This becomes more important especially when there are new players brought in.

#2 Outdoor Activities Together:

Although this might not make them play better together during games, doing team building activities together will help build team chemistry. Some of the things the players can do together include: having post-game dinner to talk about highlights and challenges, going to the movies as a team, volunteering together to help others who are in need, and more. 


At this point, you should know how important it is to build team chemistry in basketball or in any team environment. As a coach, you already know this! Great team chemistry makes or breaks your season! I love coaching and I know you do to that is why you are reading this article, don’t miss out on opportunities to build great team chemistry on and off the court, so that your team’s success is satisfying. 

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