Four Keys to Building a Championship Culture

in International Sport Coaching Journal
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  • 1 University of Windsor
  • | 2 McGill University
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Winning a national championship is a rare feat; winning five consecutive championships is extraordinary. One such example has recently occurred with the University of Windsor women’s basketball team which competes in the Canadian interuniversity sports league. The team’s head coach, Chantal Vallée, has a combined regular season and playoff winning percentage greater than 80%, including winning five consecutive Canadian national championships. Even more astounding is that before her appointment the school had only four winning seasons in their 50-year history, and had never hosted a playoff game. The purpose of this paper is to explain the remarkable turnaround of this program. This article will provide both the “what” (Enacting The Vision; Athlete Empowerment; Teaching Life Skills; Lifelong Learning and Personal Reflection) and the “how” (blueprint) of the transformation of the University of Windsor women’s basketball into a perennial national contender.

Chantal Vallée is the head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Windsor in Canada. She holds a master’s degree in sport psychology with a focus on building successful programs. She has received 12 conference and 2 national coach of the year awards, produced 4 national team members, and has won 5 national titles. In her last seven seasons, she has maintained a 93% winning percentage.

Gordon Bloom is an associate professor and director of the Sport Psychology Research Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology & Physical Education at McGill University in Canada. He has developed an internationally recognized coaching research program that deals with aspects of knowledge, leadership, and mentoring that are employed by coaches to help create a positive environment for excellence and participation in sport.

Address author correspondence to Gordon A. Bloom at gordon.bloom@ mcgill.ca.
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