How to Change a Team’s Culture

The Hive, powered by RITTER Sports Performance, brings the best coaches, education and resources directly to you. Here’s a sneak peek from The Hive of Chris Ritter interviewing Mark Gangloff, head coach at the University of North Carolina on how he’s approaching changing UNC’s team culture in his first year.

A high performing culture isn’t a foreign concept to someone like Mark Gangloff. He’s been a multiple time Olympian and a member of some of the most successful collegiate programs as a swimmer in the history of the sport.

Having been an elite athlete and around many others in the sport, Gangloff knows that it takes consistency in your craft, to have success.

But in his role as coach, the team success is no longer on his own ability to be consistent in the pool, but rather his athletes’.

Judging by the Women’s jump in the ACC standings (from 7th to 4th place in just a year!) and entering the Men’s ACC meet this week, I think it’s fair to say we’re only at the beginning of what Gangloff will be able to accomplish at UNC.

“Back to the basics.”

It’s something you commonly hear coaches say but what does it really mean or for that matter look like when you’re taking over a program in your first year and trying to change the culture to what you want as a head coach?

For Gangloff the core values he gave to his athletes and staff were pretty basic: honesty, respectfulness and integrity.

That’s what the “basics” look like for UNC this past year and by the results it’s actually led to better swimming as a result.

Honesty can be hard, for both a coach and a swimmer. This is where having a good working relationship is huge but also for the coach to understand the power in honest feedback and knowing to make sure to direct it towards the goal so an athlete doesn’t feel like it’s a personal attack.

Gangloff has been a part of taking a program from the bottom of a conference to the top before, at his previous position at the University of Missouri. He knows what it takes and he’s already seeing the fruits of his, the athletes’ and staffs’ labor from year one.

What’s the next step for you as a coach?

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