6 Characteristics of a Team Ready to win a World Cup

  • November 28th, 2018
  • Tom Bean

With the Men's Hockey World Cup starting in India today, we look at the essential characteristics of a team that's ready to win a World Cup.

Healthy Culture

Every team has a culture which derives from the overall goal, values and attitudes of the team. It creates a set of norms which prescribes how teams communicate, cooperate and ultimately determines performance; in a successful team, a flourishing team culture has clear norms of the group that are recognised by everyone. It nurtures improvement, success and enjoyment.

As a coach, it's your role to create one where competition is healthy, players feel comfortable to give their thoughts and want to progress within the team.

The team that wins will have each member on the same page, striving to improve and enjoying the efforts of the team throughout the process.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

The culture flows throughout every aspect of what makes a team successful. Having the right attitude towards preparation is a necessity; by not applying yourself fully to training, it becomes a norm which evolves into part of the culture and carries over into competitive matches.

Therefore as a coach, you must make sure every piece of preparation is done. By approaching it as a process, the attitude will feed down into the rest of the team to encourage them to prepare with the same functionality.

The team who wins leaves no stone unturned and will motivate one another to prepare as well as possible, using the ultimate goal as motivation.

Keep the Hunger

After winning the 2008 Champions League final, Sir Alex Ferguson famously said on the team bus, 'Congratulations, but anyone who doesn't want to win the Champions League again next year, I will rip up his contract!' Successful teams never stop looking to improve and stay hungry regardless of previous successes.

As a coach, maintaining humility amongst your players is vital to keep them hungry - the All Blacks mantra is 'Better People Make Better All Blacks'. By bigging up past success too much and allowing people recognising themselves as of greater worth than the process, players become complacent and lose their hunger to achieve further goals.

The winning teams attitude will continue to seek progress, it will be part of their culture determined by the actions of their coach.

Find your Leaders

Trust within a team is the glue which holds a culture together. Having trust in the leaders reinforces the values and attitudes of the team, ensuring they will be maintained with everyone believing in the direction. Leadership comes from the coach, captain and even fellow teammates.

As a coach, you need to be a role model to gain trust by challenging, not threatening. When you have players who respect you and believe in your ideas, you have a group willing to follow your instructions with belief in the process.

A team with role models throughout and leaders at each level breeds trust. It gives each player an example to strive for and a motive to improve.

Recognise Every Effort

A team doesn't succeed without all parts of it working effectively. Therefore within a team culture, everyone needs to recognise the importance of each members role. When every role is understood and appreciated, it gives everybody responsibility, makes them more comfortable to experiment and ultimately less fearful of failure.

As a coach, you need to be responsible for highlighting moments and actions which might perhaps be overlooked as mundane but that actually help towards the success of the team.

The winning team will be able to recognise and appreciate the work of every team member, from the management through to the players on the bench and each will not be afraid of failing.

Know Each Other

Players should get to know each other outside of sport. Liking one another isn't a necessity, yet knowing what motivates your teammates can be transferred into the sporting environment to help the team achieve their goal. When people have fun together, the hard tasks become a lot easier and players become more willing.

Therefore as a coach, encourage socialising outside of a sporting context and advocate having fun building genuine friendships - it will translate into their performance.

The team that takes away the trophy will be a group who recognises each other on a human level and who enjoy one another's company. Having fun together will make for a healthy culture which can recognise how and when the hard work needs to be put in.

Develop these characteristics in your team and couple them with 1000's of coaching ideas to Make Coaching Easy and build a team that's ready for success!

So who is going to win the Men's Hockey World Cup 2018?


Top ranked team in the world, champions at the past two world cups, winners of the 2018 Men's Champions Trophy - Australia go into the tournament as hot favourites to win an unprecedented three world cup's in a row.

In a pool with England, Ireland and China, they will be looking to get through that unscathed. From then, their wealth of experience and mix of youth will only have eyes for the final.

Who to watch out for?

Blake Govers

Australia's most potent forward will be the marked man, especially in the Ashes of Hockey. England will know all about Govers who scored 5 goals in the English League Final a few years ago during a spell at Wimbledon HC.


Third in the 2014 World Cup, Argentina continued their rise in international hockey, taking their first ever Olympic hockey medal, and a gold one at that. Sitting just behind the Kookaburras in the world rankings, the South American's really are a force in world hockey.

As likely winners in a pool including France, New Zealand and Spain, a rematch against one of those three or one of Australia's group awaits. Could we see a shock and have the world number one and two in a quarter final clash?

Who to watch out for?

Gonzalo Pelliat

The Argentinian's go-to man when they're in need of a goal. Pelliat is lethal weapon at penalty corners and as the top scorer in 2014, expect to see plenty more in the goal tally next to his name.

The Netherlands

As runners-up in 2014, the Dutch will be hoping to go one step further this time round. Semi-final appearances in Rio 2016 and the Champions Trophy this year will not be enough to satisfy this hockey-mad nation.

They will have to battle in their pool with neighbours Germany and the Pakistan and Malaysian teams who will have a big following in India. Their route through may not be as easy as they had hoped.

Who to watch out for?

Jeroen Hertzberger

With over 200 caps, the all-time EHL top-goalscorer will be the man to lead the forward line for the dutch.


Ranked fifth in the world, the hosts may have a battle on their hands to win their pool with Belgium perhaps narrow favourites. However you can't overlook the power that the fanatical Indian crowd will have in Bhubaneshwar.

A decent second place finish in this years Champions Trophy could be a good sign for the Indian's that they are building towards going one step further in their own backyard.

Who to watch out for?

Mandeep Singh

With the most goals in the current India squad, their talismanic forward will be leading the line and will be first call at penalty corners. Expect him to get the crowd going!

The Rest

Olympic finalists Belgium go into the world cup off the back of a disappointing 5th place in the Champions Trophy, however they certainly have the firepower to go one better than their efforts were worth in Rio. Fellow europeans, Germany and Englandwill fancy themselves for a place in at least the semi-finals, yet Ireland may be inspired by their female counterparts who were shock finalists in the Women's World Cup earlier this year.

Malaysia, Pakistan and China will hope that their big followings will give them the boost they need. Canada and South Africa will be excited to see how far they can make it along with the emerging European nations, France and Spain.

See who will be crowned world champions in the final on Sunday 16th December.