Last night, Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors climbed to 44-4, which is officially the best start in NBA history. Their win over the Knicks last night moved them 1 game ahead of the historic 1995-96 Chicago Bulls pace, who ended the season with a 72-10 record.
Watch them on the court and you see a team that meshes on so many levels, and catch them off the court and you see a group of guys that genuinely enjoy being around each other, laughing and goofing around but know when it buckle it down come crunch time. That kind of chemistry is rare in the NBA where individuals and big personalities are often valued over team dynamics.
That’s not the case with the Warriors. What Kerr has done with the franchise since taking over a few seasons ago is remarkable for someone who came in with no previous coaching experience at all. Kerr’s previous stops include a stint as a TV analyst for TNT and Yahoo! before taking over as the GM for the Phoenix Suns for a few seasons before returning to his TV analyst role. In May of 2014, Kerr took the reigns as the head coach at Golden State.
The video may be a few years old, but the advice from Kerr on fostering team chemistry is timeless. According to Kerr, the best way to foster team chemistry is to keep things light, and use plenty of humor. But it all starts with having the right people in place.
“It’s so much more likely to happen, this ‘magic’ that you see sometimes with teams, it’s more likely to happen if you’ve just got good people,” Kerr explained. He then added, “how do you foster good chemistry with bad guys? I don’t know.”
Then Kerr dived into how humor can play a vital role in fostering team chemistry.
“You can foster it through humor. I mention that we play music a lot during our warm-ups, and it’s amazing to see the bounce to their step when you turn the music on.” Kerr explained.
“We try to mix it up. So if it’s someone’s birthday, then we play their playlist, or if they had a great game, then they get to pick. Or we’ll tell them that it’s the coach’s choice today…and then they get to mock that choice of music. We had ‘White Guy Wednesday’ last week, so it was all Tom Petty, and U2.”
“But just stuff like that, and the video stuff that I mentioned. Teams watch a lot of video for strategy purposes and so we have a few guys that go online and try to find funny stuff that might apply to us, or stuff that happens in a game, and we try to keep them laughing and having fun.”
Kerr went on to note that they are “constantly trying to find ways to keep it light, keep it fun, keep them entertained, and every once in a while we’ll have an outing on the road where we’ll go see a movie. The more that you can generate a good vibe, however that is, the more likely you are to develop chemistry.”