Google+ Followers

Friday, March 26, 2010

THE GREAT ONES TAKE IT PERSONAL

Each month on his website, Don Yaeger, a four-time New York Times best-selling author and award-winning motivational speaker, shares one of his 16 Characteristics of Greatness through the eyes of a great winner from the world of sports. At the end of the e-newsletter, find tips on how to apply this winning characteristic to your life. The 16 Characteristics of Greatness are incredible and we share it with our team in great detail to start each season. Here is an article Don wrote on Coach K to talk about characteristic #1 -- It's Personal:

The truly Great hate to lose more than they love to win.
As March Madness heads into its second weekend, we're reminded how awesome and how humbling the great game of college basketball can be. Duke's head coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team plays in its 19th Sweet Sixteen game on Friday, has felt both the emotional peaks (three national championships) and valleys of the game's post-season.

It was in one of those valleys that Coach Krzyzewski, (affectionately known as Coach K), experienced a career-changing moment. At the end of the 1983 season, his third as Duke's coach, the Blue Devils were wrapping up a less-than-mediocre year. They were headed to the ACC Tournament where they had to face No. 2 ranked Virginia in the first round.

Duke didn't just get beat -- they got pummeled. The final score was 109-66, the worst loss the Blue Devils had ever suffered in the ACC tournament.

Later that night, Coach K agreed to meet a few friends at a restaurant. As he was walking toward the table, one of those friends actually grabbed all the knives off the table and laughed, "Coach, we don't want you to do anything rash." Trying to make light of the situation, another friend lifted his glass of water and offered a mock toast: "Here's to a night let's soon forget."

Coach K didn't laugh off the loss and he didn't join the toast. Instead, he lifted his own glass and said, "Here's to a night we will never forget." He wanted to make sure that the sting of losing that night was something that stayed with him throughout his career. He never wanted to have another game like that one.

The next fall, Coach K welcomed his team back at the start of the basketball season. At that first practice, he walked them on to the court and above their heads, in bright red, the scoreboard was lit with the numbers 109-66, reminding them of the last game from the previous season. Their coach wanted his players to remember how badly they had been beaten, and wanted them to remember how much it hurt. He started off a new season by remembering the pain of the previous one's ending.

That next season, Duke won 13 more games than the one before. The following year, they made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. And the year after that, they played for the National Championship against the University of Louisville Cardinals.

Coach K will tell you that the moment when he went from good to Great wasn't in a championship game. That moment came in... a loss. And it was not just any loss, but one of the worst in his career. That painful moment was one he wanted to make personal for each and every one of his players. He made sure they remembered how much losing hurt and, by making that loss personal, made sure they would work overtime to never experience that feeling again.

Tips from the Great Ones

Coach K believed that if his team did not hurt from their loss and remember the pain, they wouldn't learn from their mistakes. He made the loss to Virginia personal to himself and to the team. Since then, under Coach K's leadership, Duke has won eleven ACC Championships, three NCAA Championships, and earned ten Final Four appearances -- the third highest number of Final Four showings in history.

The agony of defeat can do wonders for improvement. Bill Gates has said, "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning."

Coach K makes sure his team learns from losses by instituting a "no-excuses" rule. It would have been easy for Duke's coach to have excused his team's loss to Virginia, which was led by 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson. But no excuse was offered. As Krzyzewski has shown by example, the truly Great don't explain failure away. Instead, they internalize it. They use it as fuel to make them better. And the better you are at something, the better you want to be.

Society looks at failure with a scornful eye. School, work, friends, even family can make us feel guilty about failure, but those moments can also teach us to do whatever we can to avoid it in the future. Losses are only harmful if the opportunity is wasted -- if we don't gain experience for the next time around.

Everyday we must learn from our mistakes, offering no excuses for them while striving constantly to be better. By taking Duke's loss against Virginia personally, Coach K was able to motivate his team while taking himself from being a good coach to one who espouses Greatness.

Check out Don's website -- I guarantee you won't be disappointed:

SPECIAL SYMPOSIUM DESIGNED FOR ASSISTANT COACHES

One of my favorite people in the business is Felicia Hall Allen. I first met Felicia when we hired her to come in and work with our basketball team over six years ago. She is as good as I've ever seen at creating a team atmosphere and centering your team towards common goals. she had a great deal to do with our stretch of five consecutive Final Fours. She brings amazing energy the second she walks into the room. She is also someone who greatly cares about the game and more importantly, those who play and coach it. That's why I'm not surprised that she came up with the idea to have the Assistant Coaches Professional Development Symposium. I'm not sure if there has ever been a weekend put together that directly deals with all the issues involved in becoming and growing as an assistant coach.

I'm very honored to be one of the speakers in the first year of this event but I'm even more excited to listen and learn from some of the other speakers including Al Brown (Duke), Stephanie Glance (Tennessee), Tim Eatman (Arkansas), Kelly Bond (Texas A&M), Carlene Mitchell (Rutgers), Lisa Cermignano (Illinois), Jackie Smith Carson (James Madison), Bobbie Kelsey (Stanford), Karen Aston (Charlotte), Coquese Washington (Penn State).
Symposium Topics:

Position Yourself as a Valuable Part of the Program
Add value to your head coach, the program and the players on the team. Demonstrate that your skills and expertise reach beyond your job description. Understand that promoting your Boss promotes You.
....
Think Like a Head Coach
Know what your head coach wants and deliver it. Exceed your head coach's expectations, by staying "wired" to their voice, thoughts and approach to the game.
....
Recruiting... Find the Right Fit
Recruiting is more than identifying & spotting talent. Learn to identify the right players for your Coach's system. Work smart, be more efficient with your time and above all . . . be ethical.
....
The Art of a Good Practice Coach
Become more involved in communicating the vision of your head coach during practice. Be in tune with your head coach and know when to assert yourself and when to be quiet. Be aware of the pre- and post- practice work that should be done.
....
Presenting a Scouting Report
Master your presentation skills. Get comfortable with your voice. Know details of the game plan Present your insights while communicating using your coach's terminology.
....
Be an Effective On the Bench Coach
Transition from spectator to coach during the game. Become an active participant, motivator and tactical thinker.

Get more details and what I think will be a special weekend at: http://bit.ly/csuePH

Thursday, March 25, 2010

THE STRENGTH OF A SYMBOL

I came across this story on ESPN.com this morning beautifully written by Andy Katz on the relationship of a coach and a player. What is unique is that the coach is Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and the player was a 36 financial consultant named Ross Deutsch. They met at Michael Jordan's Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas in 1997. The story speaks directly to what coaching is all about though is sometimes forgotten in the eyes of fans, administrators and even we as coaches.

"The Strength of a Symbol" by Andy Katz: http://bit.ly/8X03bH

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

7 ESSENTIAL BEHAVIORS OF EXEUCTION

There are seven essential behaviors that form the first building block of execution:

1. Know your people and your business.
2. Insist on realism.
3. Set clear goals and priorities.
4. Follow through.
5. Reward the doers!
6. Expand people’s capabilities.
7. Know yourself!

From "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

IMPROVE YOURSELF = IMPROVE YOUR TEAM

The following comes from "Self-Improvement 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know" by John C. Maxwell:

Founding father Ben Franklin said, “By improving yourself, the world is made better. Be not afraid of growing too slowly. Be afraid only of standing still. Forget your mistakes, but remember what they taught you.” So how do you become better tomorrow? By becoming better today. The secret of your success can be found in your daily agenda. Here is what I suggest you do to keep growing and leading up:

1.Learn your craft today
...
On a wall in the office of a huge tree farm hangs a sign. It says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty-five years ago. The second best time is today.” There is no time like the present to become an expert at your craft.
...
A friend of the poet Longfellow asked the secret of his continued interest in life. Pointing to a nearby apple tree, Longfellow said, “The purpose of that apple tree is to grow a little new wood each year. That is what I plan to do.”
...
You may not be where you’re supposed to be. You may not be what you want to be. You don’t have to be what you used to be. And you don’t have to ever arrive. You just need to learn to be the best you can be right now. As Napoleon Hill said, “You can’t change where you started, but you can change the direction you are going. It’s not what you are going to do, but it’s what you are doing now that counts.”

2.Talk your craft today
...
Talking to peers is wonderful, but if you don’t also make an effort to strategically talk your craft with those ahead of you in experience and skill, then you’re really missing learning opportunities. Douglas Randlett meets regularly with a group of retired multimillionaires so that he can learn from them. Before he retired, Major League Baseball player Tony Gwynn was known to talk hitting with anybody who had knowledge about it. Every time he saw Ted Williams, they talked hitting.
...
3.Practice your craft today
...
William Osler, the physician who wrote The Principles and Practice of Medicine in 1892, once told a group of medical students: “Banish the future. Live only for the hour and its allotted work. Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day; for surely our plain duty is, as Carlyle says, “Not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
...
The only way to improve is to practice your craft until you know it inside and out.

THOUGHTS ON POINT GUARD PLAY

The following are some notes that our Tae Tae LeBlanc (a Lady Tiger point guard) took at Don Meyer's Perimeter Camp in 2005. The experience for Tae Tae was excellent and made a huge difference in her approach and made her a bigger player:

2 Kinds of point guards
-Intuitive – see where the player should be and throws it there
-Sensing – throws the ball where the player is

Point Guard: seeing everything on the floor
-Full court look at the net
-Half court look at the rim, post, action
-When catching an outlet pass or attacking the post, see the biggest part of the floor – see as much as the floor as possible
-Know my dance move
-Go until somebody stops you
-On made basket get the outlet on the left side of the floor
-Drive the front hand – puts in jail with second step
-Crossover driver – puts in jail with first move

Coach has three jobs
-Give me what I need not what I want
-Get me to want what I need
-Let me play – figure it out for myself

Three things I do
-Drive to the basket
- Shoot off the dribble going to my right
-Hustle

3 Things I like to do better
-Use left hand
-Communicate on the floor
-Become a better shooter

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TODAY

Speaking of Coach Dale Brown and his positive attitude, below is passout that he annually gave our team -- and one that we will pass out to our team in our season ending team meeting tomorrow:

"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
"One of these days is YESTERDAY, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed or erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.
"The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise, and its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

"This leaves only one day, TODAY. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities - Yesterday and Tomorrow - that we break down."It is not the experience of Today that drives us mad, it is remorse and bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore… Live this one full TODAY."

11 BENEFITS OF BEING POSITIVE

The following list comes from Jon Gordon but thoughts on being positive always remind me of the most positive person I know, Dale Brown:

Over the years I've done a lot of research on the positive effects of being positive and the negative affects of being negative. The research is clear. It really does pay to be positive and the benefits include enhanced health and longevity, happiness, career advancement, athletic performance, team building and financial success. Being positive is not just a nice way to live. It’s the way to live. In this spirit here are 11 benefits of being positive.

1. Positive People Live Longer - In a study of nuns, those that regularly expressed positive emotions lived on average 10 years longer. (The Nun Study)

2. Positive work environments outperform negative work environments. (Daniel Goleman)

3. Positive, optimistic sales people sell more than pessimistic sales people. (Martin Seligman)

4. Positive leaders are able to make better decisions under pressure. (Heartmath.org)

5. Marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of

positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. (John Gottman)

6. Positive people who regularly express positive emotions are more resilient when facing stress, challenges and adversity. (Several Studies)

7. Positive people are able to maintain a broader perspective and see the big picture which helps them identify solutions where as negative people maintain a narrower perspective and tend to focus on problems. (Barbara Fredrickson)

8. Positive thoughts and emotions counter the negative effects of stress. For example, you can't be thankful and stressed at the same time. (Several Studies)

9. Positive emotions such as gratitude and appreciation help athletes perform at a higher level. (Heartmath.org)

10. Positive people have more friends which is a key factor of happiness and longevity. (Robert D. Putnam)

11. Positive and popular leaders are more likely to garner the support of others and receive pay raises and promotions and achieve greater success in the workplace. (Several Studies)

QUOTES ON GOALS

“All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want, that you’ve thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar. Each day you go to the construction shed and pull out the blueprint to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind.”
—Stephen Covey

“Meeting a goal takes dedication, effort and sacrifice and all that it takes to turn a goal into a dream is TIME.”
--Craig Lock

“Goals are new, forward-moving objectives. They magnetize you toward them.”
—Mark Victor Hansen

“Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”
—Paul J. Meyer

“In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.”
—Jim Rohn

“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.”
—Mario Andretti

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”
—Og Mandino

Thursday, March 18, 2010

TEACHING THOUGHTS FROM KEVIN EASTMAN

You can’t be tired and you can’t be bored. It’s not easy getting better. It takes work and discipline. We have a choice of pain of discipline or pain of regret.

Workout discipline:
•Maximum intensity on every repetition.
•Machine like mechanics
•Focus on every repetition - we’re going to take one shot 500 times.

Philosophy:
•Becoming a good shooter is lots of reps.
•Becoming a great shooter is lots of reps at game speed from game spots at a game angle.

Theory of two:
•It takes two minutes to show any skill.
•It takes two weeks doing it every single day to get comfortable with the skill.
•It takes two months working on a skill everyday to get good enough to execute in a game.

Shooting form:
•Be ready on the catch.
•Ten toes to the rim (if you have ten toes to the rim you will be square to the basket).
•Only change his form if the shot doesn’t go in. Make him the best worst form shooter.
•Two second rule: As soon as it’s 1 cm into our players fingers I’m counting one two. Players don’t have a great understanding of game speed when working out.
•The better the shooter you are, the better your shot fake needs to be. Definition of a shot fake is a real shot that you don’t shoot.

Free-throws:
•Shoot free-throws until you miss, and count how many in a row.
•Players tend to fall forward rather than backward.
Give your players statistical feedback:
•When you chart your players’ shots give them percentages for free-throws, lay-ups, jump shots and three-point shots.
•Break it down so they know what to work on.
•Players can be receptive to stats.

Make time to practice shooting:
•You will be surprised how little your guys shoot during practice when you exclude shooting drills.
•We recorded how many shots our players took in a 2.5 hour practice:
•Paul Pierce – 16.
•Ricky Davis – 13.
•Al Jefferson – 7.
•During an hour pickup we shoot on average 12.8 shots per player.
•Average number of shots taken in a game is 16 per player.

My goal right now is to get everything you can teach in the game down to three bullet points. It makes it easier for players to take in:

For shooting:
•Perfect feet.
•Ready for catch.
•Perfect follow through.

Coaches must maintain their intensity everyday:
•A coach can never get bored.
•The intensity that a coach brings to the floor helps the player have a more intense workout.
•Coaches have body language too. Be careful of your body language, and how it could be interpreted by your players.

Three things skill development can do for you:
•It can create a career.
•It can improve a career.
•It can revitalize a career.

DEALING WITH PEOPLE AND PROBLEMS

Courtesy Coach Eric Musselman comes some thoughts from Mike Dunlap who has a set system to deal with people and their problems:

1. Empathy – validate their trouble
2. Ask the Power Question:
.....a. What are you/we going to do about this?
.....b. 30% more information is remembered when you touch their forearm during
conversation.
3. Choices – have them come up with ways to fix this…. choices…. good or bad.
4. Consequences – What are their choices going to do to the situation?
5. Statement of Confidence – what Avenue they are going to take to change things!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"THERE'S WINNING AND THEN THERE IS MISERY"

From Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee comes an article on Stanford's Tara VanDeveer:

Tara VanDeveer is like the parent who drops off the kid at kindergarten and demands straight A's. Never mind that grades aren't even recorded until the following year, when the little tykes give up their booster seats and swap crayons for pencils.

There are never any excuses, and no sick days, either. This is a woman who became a conditioning freak before fitting into mesh uniforms became fashionable.

VanDerveer, whose No. 2-ranked Cardinal is expected to reach the NCAA Sacramento Regional March 27 and 29 at Arco Arena, is a hybrid of Lakers coaches past and present. She balances Phil Jackson's egalitarian offense with Pat Riley's bruising, chip-on-theshoulder, one-dimensional existence.

Remember Riley's enduring mantra? There is winning. And there is misery.

Read the rest of this article: http://bit.ly/ctg2Ul

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ATTENTION TO DETAILS

The following comes from Smartfootball.com and speaks of Nick Saban's attention to detail in phases of his sport.

How they will handle the coin toss
Which side of the field do they want to def;end (wind, weather, etc);
Whether they want to go on offense or defense first;
When they will go for two;
When they will get into their two-minute offense, and how they will handle field goals with the wind and late in the half, etc;
When they will and won’t go for it on fourth down;
And then player specifics, including exactly how many plays each will play before their backup will come in (for defensive line rotation, for example), how many carries or touches certain players should have or are limited to, and so on.

He said the point is to decide all of this stuff before the game ever starts. I’m sure much of it gets discussed earlier in the week too, but the point is to have it all finalized.

Interestingly, Saban noted that Charlie Weis mentioned — and he could confirm that he did this when he worked for him — that Belichick still conducts this same 45 minute meeting where, no doubt, the infamous fourth down play was decided there. It seems a bit wild to think that they discuss that possibility every week (though they do so from a high level of generality, no doubt), but I believe Saban on such a point.

It’s a lesson to all coaches: Always good to prepare, and for head coaches, whether they like the meeting or not it’s good to have your whole staff involved to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Read this article at: http://bit.ly/cy5dnv

ZONE OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS

From Coach Don Meyer, here are some key components to ponder in regard to your attack of zone defenses:

#1 Why are they zoning you?
.....--Is it their strength
.....--Is it because they are weak defensively

#2 Determine how you are going to attack
.....--Use your philosophy (conserviative or attack)
.....--Your opponent's philosophy

#3 Your personel (utilization)
.....--Who can penetrate
.....--Who can shoot

#4 Your opponent's personel
.....--Who do we want to attack

EMPHASIS OF ZONE ATTACK

#1 Play great defense to create easy baskets
.....--Attack zone before it sets up

#2 Handle ball with patience
.....--Remove idea that every pass has to be an assit

#3 Inside penetration
.....--Dribble
.....--Pass
.....--Offensive Boards

#4 Shot Discipline
.....--What, Who, Where, When

NOTES ON POST PLAY

The following are just a few notes that Sylvia Fowles took while attending Coach Don Meyer's Post Camp four years ago:

Four things the pro’s want
1) Low Body Balance base On Support
..... --Straight head moves (medium- low- lateral)
..... --Post player get lower and lower every move you make
2) Be compact with your game because you can be more explosive
3) Economy of motion
4) Tight with your game

Three things to have a good team
1)
Conditioning
2) Fundamentals
3) Team spirit

Making a Mistake
1) Recognize
2) Admit
3) Learn
4) Forget

Note Taking (The 3 R’s)
1)
Retrieve
2) Review- go over (stay with it)
3) Retain

Three things that stop you in basketball
1) Fear
2) Doubt
3) Worry

Bank Shot Rule
1) If I can see half the rim exposed I can bank the shot
2) If there’s more then half the rim exposed or no rim exposed I will not bank the shot
3) Target- ball it on the way down
4) Don’t be short on a bank shot
5) The peak of the shot should be at the top of the basket
6) 80% of all shots are missed short
7) Don’t shoot fast but get ready to shoot fast
8) Get the work done before I catch the ball- hands up, knees bent
9) Negative motion
10) Everything I’m doing is to speed up my shot

DAILY REFLECTIONS FOR HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE

From Stephen Covey:

You can buy people’s hands, but you can’t buy their hearts. Their hearts is where their enthusiasm, their loyalty is. You can buy their backs, but you can’t buy their brains. That’s where their creativity is, their ingenuity, their resourcefulness.

I am personally persuaded that the essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities.

Effective people are not problem-minded; they are opportunity minded. They feed opportunity and starve problems.

You can’t be successful with other people if you haven’t paid the price of success with yourself.

If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, than to be understood.

“Time management” is really a misnomer — the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.

Between stimulus and response is our greatest power — the freedom to choose.

PHIL BECKNER'S 100 THINGS I'VE LEARNED

Phil Beckner, an assistant coach at Weber State University recently shared with me, "100 Things I’ve Learned from Coaching at the College Level." I think it is a great thing that Coach Beckner keeps a list of things he's learned.

It is similar to what I do via the advice I got from Coach Don Meyer a few decades ago about keeping a journal. Coach Meyer would tell us "I'm not talking about a diary. It's not about what you did today. It's a journal -- write down thoughts of importance and lessons learned."

Thanks to Coach Beckner for sharing:

COACHING
4) Great question to ask yourself everyday “What does my team need right now?”-Herb Sendek
11) “Never lose a chemistry guy” –Doc Rivers

19) If you stat it, chart it, or emphasize it, it will be important to your team (deflections, charges, turnovers)

22) There are plenty of great coaches out there willing to help you if you just ask

25) “Let mad go” -Chuck Daly… it doesn't bother the players as much as you

TEAM
38) Toughness is one of the most underrated characteristics of good teams! You need speed, talent, athleticism, and skill but toughness gets you through the year

PLAYERS
49) Players love hearing about the “next level”. Study, and research what the great players do and have info, articles, examples for them. This helps get your point across.

RECRUITING
52) Recruit high character kids...bad kids will be bad kids

SHOOTING
65) During shooting workouts w/players emphasize WHERE they should be shooting from. Game shots, from game spots, at game speed…especially shots they get in your offense.

66) NEVER over coach shooting! Keep it simple! Kevin Eastman only coaches “perfect feet, perfect follow through”. Find out what’s most important for your shooters and leave it at 1 or 2 things.

BASKETBALL
81) 3 keys to be in every game: transition defense, rebounding, turnovers!

92) Rebounding-the more you chase the more you get.

THE RULE OF THREE

A special thanks to Coach Creighton Burns for this article on "The Rule of Three." Certainly it relates to self-improvement but I think it is also important in regard to teaching. We can sometimes go into a game and have too many goals and objectives for our team. How many things can you effectively go over in a time out or at half-time? Less is more.

The United States Marine Corps believes strongly in what they call “The Rule of Three.” They've found that implementing this rule saves lives, gets more done faster and more efficiently.

An article on The Corps in INC. Magazine says, “The rule dictates that a person should limit his or her attention to three tasks or goals. When applied to strategizing, the rule prescribes boiling a world of infinite possibilities down to three alternative courses of action. Anything more and a marine can become overextended and confused. The marines experimented with a rule of four and found that effectiveness plummeted.”

I've always believed that three is a powerful number. We find it in some very significant places.

The most powerful physical structure is a triangle or pyramid. In fact, it's the building block of Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. For Christians—it's the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then, of course, we have Mind, Body, Spirit. Three is a powerful number metaphysically—a number of completion.

As we become immersed in the ocean of information, possibilities, directions and the like, it becomes even more important for us to focus on the things that are truly important to us—the things that will make a difference in the quality of our lives.

Three things can easily be remembered. Any more than that and retention suffers. We can all sharpen our focus and get better results by using the Rule of Three in our daily lives.

List the three most important values in your life. What's really important to you? If you make this list, you'll place yourself in the top one percent of all the people on the planet because very few ever do this. Your decisions will become infinitely easier because your values are clear.

What are your three primary missions? These are different than goals. Goals can be measured. They can be completed. A mission is your vision of something that you'll never say is done—at least not in this lifetime.

Make a list of your three most important goals. It's great to have lots of goals but which ones are worthy of your best attention and efforts? Remember, you can have anything you want in your life.

You just can't have EVERYTHING you want.

What three things would you like to master? Three things at which you want to become an expert. Maybe it's speaking in public. Perhaps you want to learn another language. Or maybe you want to become a masterful parent. It's your life and you get to decide.

By making good use of the Rule of Three, you'll sharpen your focus, increase your effectiveness and experience greater fulfillment in all that you do.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BRIAN TRACY: THE FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP

From Brian Tracy's email newsletter:

The most important quality of leadership, the one quality for which you want to be known, is extraordinary performance, with the goal of achieving extraordinary results. These results then serve as an inspiration to others to perform at equally exceptional levels. People ascribe leadership to those men and women who they feel can most enable them to achieve important goals or objectives.

Why People Respect You
We develop great perceptions of those men and women we can count on to help us achieve what is important to us. Men and women who make great sales, or who establish admirable sales records, develop influence in the minds and hearts of their coworkers and superiors. They are spoken about in the most positive way.

The Halo Effect
Men and women who are responsible for companies or departments that achieve high levels of profitability also develop charisma. They develop what is called the "halo effect." They are perceived by others to be extraordinary men and women who are capable of great things. Their shortcomings are often overlooked, while their strong points are overemphasized. They become charismatic.

The Source of Charisma
Charisma actually comes from working on yourself. It comes from liking and accepting yourself unconditionally as you do and say the specific things that develop within you a powerful, charismatic personality.

Be Determined and Purposeful
When you set clear goals and become determined and purposeful, backing those goals with unshakable self-confidence, you develop charisma. When you are enthusiastic and excited about what you are doing, when you are totally committed to achieving something worthwhile, you radiate charisma. When you take the time to study and become an expert at what you do, and then prepare thoroughly for any opportunity to use your knowledge, skill or experience, the perception that others have of you goes straight up.

Accept Complete Responsibility
When you take complete responsibility and accept ownership, without making excuses or blaming others, you experience a sense of control that leads to the personal power that is the foundation of charisma. When you look like a winner in every respect, when you have the kind of external image that others admire, you build your charisma. When you develop your character by setting high standards and then disciplining yourself to live consistent with the highest principles you know, you become the kind of person who is admired and respected everywhere. You become the kind of person who radiates charisma to others.

Focus on Results
Finally, when you concentrate your energies on achieving the results that you have been hired to accomplish, the results that others expect of you, you develop the reputation for performance and achievement that inevitably leads to the perception of charisma.

You can develop the kind of charisma that opens doors for you by going to work on yourself, consistently and persistently, and becoming the kind of person everyone can admire and look up to. That's what charisma is all about.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, ask yourself every day, "What is the one thing that I and only I can do, that if done well, will make a real difference to my company?" Whatever your answer, go to work on that.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

OFF-SEASON WORK SETS THE STAGE

This comes from an article by Jon Nyatawa, Special for USA TODAY:

A year ago, Nebraska ended a season of disappointment with maybe its most frustrating display. The 'Huskers lost a second-round WNIT game at New Mexico 54-43, making 11 shots and committing 17 turnovers.

The postgame feeling "was horrible," Turner remembered.

But at that point, Yori was already thinking ahead. The preparation for next season starts now, she told a dejected group slated to return all but one player.

The players listened. For the first time, every returnee stayed on campus for both five-week summer school sessions. They worked out together constantly. They played pickup games, including every other Sunday driving 50 miles to play members of the Creighton women's team.

The 'Huskers also split into small groups, each mini-team making sure all of its members worked to improve.

"For the most part, everybody bought into it," Kelley said. "Everybody had a really good attitude, hence we're (undefeated)."

Is it really that simple?

In many ways, Yori says it is. "I've said it a lot: What we did in the offseason was what set us up to have this kind of season."

But Nebraska still had work to do as practice began in October. Defense was at the top of the list.

Yori's seven previous Nebraska teams all were in the lower half of the Big 12 in scoring defense and opponents' field goal percentage.

Hoping to reverse the trend, Yori devoted several preseason practices to perfecting the basic principles of her help-and-recover man-to-man defense, something that requires five individuals executing flawlessly.

Any mistake? Everybody ran.

"Before, we talked about it a lot, showed film a lot," Yori said. "Finally, this year, I said we've got to penalize them for our breakdowns. ... Some of them didn't like it very much early on."

But all say they're better for it. The 'Huskers might not have pulled out a 65-56 win Jan. 17 at Baylor if they hadn't held the Bears to one field goal in the final five minutes. They forced eight turnovers in the last eight minutes Feb. 10 in a 67-60 win at Kansas. Three days later, they finished an 82-78 win at Missouri with five consecutive takeaways.

They clinched the Big 12 regular-season title Feb. 24 with a 16-point victory at Oklahoma, mainly because the Sooners managed one free throw after taking a 63-62 lead with 3:33 remaining.

Read the entire article at: http://bit.ly/bAnGhN

Monday, March 8, 2010

THE ONE SECOND ADVANTAGE

Great post from Chad Songy of the Point Guard College:

During our five-day Director's Team Training Camp recently held just outside Toronto, I was introduced to several new ideas while in the midst of some sharp basketball minds. One of these minds was Coach Mike MacKay, Manager of Coach Education and Development for Canada Basketball. I picked up several 'golden nuggets' from Coach MacKay, including the idea of the 'One Second Advantage'.

As basketball players we should always try to gain a one second advantage. We can do so by using screens, moving on penetration, moving defenders with fakes, etc. Often that one second advantage is the difference between getting a great shot and having a shot contested or coming up with an empty possession and not even getting a shot off at all.

While it's important to create that one second advantage, it's equally as important to maintain it. The following are some habits that cause players to lose their one second advantage:

•where a one second advantage is created by moving a defender with a jab fake, losing it by driving wide around the defender allowing the defender to recover
•catching a pass with straight legs, then forces the player to have to bend down to load for the shot (which takes one second) and losing their one second advantage for that open shot
•off the ball, standing still on penetration and therefore not gaining the one second advantage from the space or separation that's created when the helping defender hedges to slow down that penetration

I found this concept really beneficial, but it wasn't until my participation in the drill below, that I truly understood the value of being aware of your one second advantage by continually catching the ball with loaded legs.

Read the rest of this post at Chad's blog: http://ow.ly/1fyQn

Sunday, March 7, 2010

ADVERSITY HELPS FOCUS

Nothing focuses the mind like crisis. Throughout history, the most extraordinary acts of genius have often come in the depths of turmoil. The atom was split during the height of World War II, when American scientists were racing the Nazis on the nuclear front, and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon because of the breakneck space race NASA had with the Soviet Union. On a smaller scale, we’ve all seen football teams that struggle to get anything done for three and a half quarters only to mount miraculous game-winning drives at the end. It happens all the time. When your back is against the wall and you know you have only one chance to win or lose, your senses become keener and your performance elevates. As a coach you always try to get your players to give 100 percent on every play of every game, but I’m not na├»ve enough to believe they did it. When we found ourselves behind of tied in the final minutes of a game, I could see our players dig deeper, focus more intently, and find something within themselves that pushed their performance up a notch. It’s human nature. When it’s now or never, everyone tends to focus on “now.”

From "Wins, Losses, and Lessons" by Lou Holtz

SURE WAYS FOR PLAYERS TO IMPROVE SHOOTING

From Coach Eric Musselman:

1. Shooters must get open to receive the ball. (Many shooters do not have this skill).
2. Shooters must exhibit good shot selection. (Bad shot selection lowers shooting percentage).
3. Shooting form must be consistent.
4. Good shooters CONCENTRATE on the shot and focus on thetarget.
5. Good shooters have CONFIDENCE in their shooting ability.
6. Good shooters maintain GOOD BALANCE on the shot.
6. Become a good passer. Good shooters are often double-teamed and have opportunities for assists to teammates.
7. Acknowledge the pass you receive from a teammate.

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

After a disappointing outing in the SEC Tournament, I was in my office this morning breaking down the tape of our Vanderbilt loss when I got my Brian Tracy email newsletter. Talk about perfect timing! Great thoughts from Brian on attitude and perspective:

The most important application of the law of cause and effect in your life is this: thoughts are causes, and conditions are effects. What this means is that your thought is creative. You create your world by the way you think. Nothing in your world has any meaning except for the meaning you give by how you think about it and talk about it. If you don't care about something, it has no effect on your emotions and actions.

How to be Happy
Many thousands of people have been interviewed over the years to find out what they think about most of the time. Can you guess what the most successful and happy people think about all day long? The answer is simple. Happy healthy people think about what they want, and how to get it, most of the time. When you think and talk about what you want, and how to get it, you feel happier and in greater control of your life.

How to be Unhappy
What do unhappy people think and talk about most of the time? Unfortunately, they think and talk about things they don't want. They think and talk about their problems and pains, and the people they don't like. Sometimes, their whole lives revolve around their complaints and criticisms. And the more they think and talk about what they don't want, the unhappier they become.

The Most Important Quality
Based on many psychological tests, the happiest people seem to have a special quality that enables them to live a better life than average. Can you guess what it is? It is the quality of optimism! The best news about optimism is that it is a learnable quality. You can learn to be a more positive, confident, and optimistic person by thinking the way optimists do—most of the time.

Look for the Good
Optimists seem to have different ways of dealing with the world that set them apart from the average. First, as we mentioned, they keep their minds on what they want, and keep looking for ways to get it. They are clear about their goals and they are confident that they will accomplish them, sooner or later. Second, optimists look for the good in every problem or difficulty. When things go wrong, as they often do, they say, "That's good!" and then set about finding something positive about the situation.

Seek the Valuable Lesson
The third quality of optimists is that they seek the valuable lesson in every setback or reversal. Rather than getting upset and blaming someone else for what has happened, they take control over their emotions by saying, "What can I learn from this experience?" Fully 95% of everything you do is determined by your habits, good or bad. When you repeatedly look for the good and seek the valuable lesson in every obstacle or disappointment, you very soon develop the habit of thinking like an optimist. As a result, you feel happier, healthier, and more in control of your world.

The Body-Mind Connection
More and more doctors are coming to the conclusion that 80% or more of all diseases and ailments are psychosomatic in origin. This means that "psycho," the mind, makes "soma," the body, sick. You do not get sick from what you are eating, but from what is eating you.

Action Exercise
Resolve from now on to see your glass of life half full rather than half empty. Give thanks for your many blessings in life rather than worrying or complaining about the things you do not have. Assume the best of intentions on the part of everyone around you.


Check out Brian's home page at: http://www.briantracy.com/

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

WHY WE WIN: THE IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

"Why We Win" is a fascinating book written by TV analyst Billy Packer along with Roland Lazenby. The preface of the book for Packer is to ask the same variety of questions to a series of outstanding coaches. The list of coaches include Red Auerback, Ara Parseghian, Bob Knight, Joe Gibbs, Pat Summitt, Dean Smith, Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Tommy Lasorda and Mike Krzyzewski, just to name a few. Here is an example of one of the questions and a few responses.

What’s more important, pregame preparation or in-game adjustments?

Anson Dorrance: “I think preparation is the absolute. All things you do before the game begins are certainly more important that whatever happens during the soccer game.”

Bob Knight: “I think preparation. I think in-game adjustments are the most overrated thing in coaching. The team that’s willing to prepare to win is going to be the team that wins. Most everybody plays to win, but it’s preparing to win that I think is the most important thing in successful play.”

Mike Krzyzewski: "Pre-game preparation is much more important as far as the coach and player relationship, in that I find most players, if they start a game and don’t have the proper mind-set, it’s very difficult to turn that around."

WHAT LEADERS DO

1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.

2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breath it.

3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.

4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency, and credit.

5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.

6. Leaders probe and push with a curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.

7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.

8. Leaders celebrate.

From the book "Winning" by Jack Welch with Suzie Welch

WOODEN ON THE PROCESS AND PRACTICE

The following comes from "Today Matters" by John Maxwell:

I mentioned earlier in the chapter that I fulfilled my lifelong dream of spending half a day with John Wooden. He is an amazing man. He coached basketball for over forty years. And, in all those years, he had only one losing season (his first). He led his UCLA teams to four undefeated seasons and a record ten NCAA championships, including seven in a row. No wonder he is called the Wizard of Westwood (the Los Angeles suburb where the UCLA campus is situated).

Before I went to see him, I spent three weeks rereading his books and devouring every bit of information I could about him. Then, on the appointed day, I met him for lunch at a little diner near his home where he eats regularly. When we met, he was ninety-two years old. But you wouldn’t know it to talk to him. He’s alert. And he is sharp!

As we ate, I must have asked him a thousand questions, and he answered them all graciously. I wanted to learn as much as I could about his leadership. I wanted to know why he thought he had been able to win as he did. He said he attributed it to four things: (1) analyzing players, (2) getting them to fulfill their roles as part of the team, (3) paying attention to fundamentals and details, (4) working well with others. I also wanted to know what he missed most about coaching. At first his answer surprised me.

“Practice,” he said. “It wasn’t the acclaim or the championships.” Then I remembered a quote from him I had read before our meeting. I later went back to reread it:

“I have often been asked when I first started dreaming about winning a national championship. Was it at Indiana State Teachers College or after I arrived at UCLA? Perhaps while I was a college player? I never dreamed about winning a national championship.”

“What I was dreaming about each year, if you want to call it that, was trying to produce the best basketball team we could be. My thoughts were directed toward preparation, our journey, not the results of the effort (such as winning national championships). That would simply have shifted my attention to the wrong area, hoping for something out of my control. Hoping doesn’t make it happen.”

Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring much more than you could ever hope for.

We talked more about practice, and he said, “What you do in practice is going to determine your level of success. I used to tell my players, ‘You have to give 100 percent every day. Whatever you don’t give, you can’t make up for tomorrow. If you give only 75 percent today, you can’t give 125 percent tomorrow to make up for it.’”

5 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF COMPLAINING

Another great email from Jon Gordon:

To help you break out of a “complaining” rut here are five things you can do instead of complain. These tips will help you realize you are not powerless. You have the power to choose your beliefs and actions. And in your focus on the positive instead of the negative you'll find the faith, strength and confidence to take on life’s challenges and identify the solutions to your complaints.

1. Practice Gratitude
Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us. It's also physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. Two thoughts cannot occupy our mind at the same time. If you are focusing on gratitude, you can't be negative. You can also energize and engage your coworkers by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.

2. Praise Others
Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them and watch as they create more success as a result. Of course, point out their mistakes so they can learn and grow, but make sure you give three times as much praise as criticism.

3. Focus on Success
Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day. The one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Focus on your success, and you'll look forward to creating more success tomorrow.

4. Let Go
Focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control. You’ll be amazed that when you stop trying to control everything, it all somehow works out. Surrender is the answer.

5. Pray
Scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity. When you are faced with the urge to complain or you are feeling stressed to the max, stop, be still, plug-in to the ultimate power, and recharge.

Check out Jon's website at: http://www.jongordon.com/