Top Basketball Coach Quotes On Teamwork, Leadership & Discipline

motivational quotes Mar 18, 2024
basketball coach quotes

Inspirational basketball quotes from head coaches:

As any head coach knows, basketball is more than just a game. It's a teacher of many life lessons too.

A coach's job isn't just to help their players become better basketball players, but better people. Coaches help players get to where they can't get on their own. They help their players evolve and become better versions of themselves, both on and off the court.

Three common basketball (and life) themes that coaches teach are teamwork, leadership, and discipline. These elements are the foundation of successful basketball teams and also of personal development and growth.

Coaches must be able to teach teamwork and get their team to act as one. To believe in the "we" over the "me."

And two qualities that great coaches must have are strong leadership and discipline skills. They also must be able to teach their players how to lead and how to be self-disciplined.

Below, you'll find a collection of motivational quotes from some of the top coaches in basketball history from the NBA, WNBA, and NCAA levels about all three of these elements. 

Hear wisdom from the most successful coaches about what teamwork, leadership, and discipline mean to them and how they teach it. Use these quotes as inspiration to help you guide your players towards elevating their game, on and off the court.

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• 24 Motivational Basketball Quotes To Build Confidence >>

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Basketball Coach Quotes on Teamwork

One element that is required for success in basketball, just like many other areas of life, is teamwork. Basketball is an easy game to aim for individual success in, but team success requires sacrifice and selflessness.

This can be one of the hardest principles to convey to a team and get them to buy-in on. This is what some of the top coaches in the world have to say about teamwork:

 "To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless." - Mike Krzyzewski

"The key to teamwork is to learn a role, accept a role, and strive to become excellent playing it." - Pat Riley

"The best teams play for each other, not with each other." - Jeff Van Gundy

"It's not about any one person. You've got to get over yourself and realize that it takes a group to get this thing done." - Gregg Popovich



"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson

 "Recognize and reward players who put the team first, not just the gifted ones." - Don Meyer

"You always care about your teammates, and you care about the game." - Larry Brown

"They said you have to use your five best players but I found you win with the five who fit together the best." - Red Auerbach

"You don't have to be best friends, but you do have to be best teammates." - Tara VanDerveer

"It's not just about working hard, it's about working together. You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself." - John Calipari

"I don't need my players to like me. I need them to play for me." - Jerry Sloan

More quotes: 73 Coach John Wooden Quotes And Sayings About Basketball And Life >>


Leadership And Coaching Basketball Quotes

Another job of the head coach is to be not only be a leader, but to teach leadership. Teams that have players who lead and echo the voice of the head coach are often more successful than teams who don't have any players who take on a leadership role.

Here's how some of the best coaches in the game teach leadership and what their coaching style or philosophy is like:

“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” - Coach John Wooden

"When it comes to team dynamics – on a basketball court or in a corporate setting – maintaining a positive atmosphere is crucial." - Rick Pitino

"Coaches are basically schizophrenic. We are pessimistic to the press and among fellow coaches, but to our team, we are the eternal optimists." - Jim Valvano

"It's different as a coach because you feel responsible for a lot of people. Even though you don't take a shot, you don't get a rebound, you feel like you just want people to succeed and you want to help them any way you can." - Steve Kerr

"Only praise behavior that you want to be repeated. Never use false praise." - Dean Smith


"I don’t hire good coaches, I hire good people. If they turn out to be good coaches, too, that’s a plus." - Geno Auriemma

"To change a team you must change their comfort zone." - Doug Collins

 "I like the challenge of getting players to rise to certain levels, but that's the easy part. The biggest challenge is to get them to believe in what we're doing. They have to understand that it's okay to have good days and bad days." - Dawn Staley

"I am not going to coach you to who you are. I am going to coach you to who you should be someday." - Doc Rivers

"Coaching is like flying an airplane, there is going to be a lot of turbulence, but your job is to land the plane safely." - Chuck Daly

You might like: 50 Best Coach Pat Summitt Quotes On Basketball, Leadership and More >>



Quotes From Coaches About Discipline

A third lesson that coaches find themselves teaching about is discipline. Self-discipline to work hard, even when you don't feel like it or self-discipline to execute or make the right play when needed.

Coaches also need to know how to use discipline with their players when needed.

Here's what discipline means to some of the top coaches in history and how they teach it:

“Discipline yourself, so no one else has to.” - Pat Summitt

“Discipline is doing what you are supposed to do in the best possible manner at the time you are supposed to do it.” - Mike Krzyzewski



"Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done the best way it can be done, and do it that way every time." - Bob Knight

"Am I a control freak? No. Do I believe in organization? You bet. In discipline? In being on time and making sure everything at the hotel is ready and right? Definitely. I don't control players. I try to control the environment around the players so they can flourish." - Pat Riley

"Discipline is the highest form of love. If you really love someone, you have to give them the level of discipline they need." - Tom Izzo

"If I can't expect someone to be accountable off the floor, how can I expect them to guard a pick and roll? Or get a rebound?" - Billy Donovan

"The greatest sin a coach can commit is to allow kids to slide by. This goes for the classroom as well as the court." - Hubie Brown

Read also: Coach K Quotes On Leadership, Success, and Teamwork >>



More Motivational Quotes From Basketball Coaches

"You have a lot of ups and downs in coaching, especially, but I can't remember any bad times at this point. I mean, they're all good. A lot of tears when you lose, a lot of down times, but I can't remember any of them. They're all positive now. Even the bad times were good." - Don Nelson

"If you fail the first time that's just a chance to start over again." - Lenny Wilkens

"On a good team there are no superstars. There are great players who show they are great players by being able to play with others as a team." - Red Holzman

"We learn so much more from losing games than we do from winning." - Muffet McGraw

"Don’t brush anything under the rug. Don’t point fingers or do the blame game. A team is a family, and we’re in this together." - Erik Spoelstra

More motivational basketball quotes:

• Kobe Bryant | Michael Jordan | Steph Curry | LeBron James | Kyrie Irving | Kevin Durant Allen Iverson | Shaq | Larry Bird Phil Jackson | John Wooden | Coach Pat Summitt | Coach Jim Valvano All


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