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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

JOHN MAXWELL ON DEALING WITH RELATIONAL DIFFICULTIES

The following comes from The John Maxwell Co. - "For Leadership Growth:"

Following a 34-17 loss on October 2nd, Santonio Holmes, wide receiver and team captain for the New York Jets, suggested fault for the defeat lay with his team’s quarterback and offensive linemen. In venting his frustration, Holmes violated a team rule to keep criticism of fellow players internal to the organization. The wide receiver’s comments raised the ire of teammates who publicly voiced their disapproval of his leadership. When asked by the media about the effect of his critical remarks, Holmes defended himself and remained largely unapologetic.

The seeds of dissension sown by Holmes eventually sprouted into full-blown discord, culminating in an embarrassing display of disunity during the Jets’ final game. Entering the last contest of their regular season, the Jets needed to beat the hapless Miami Dolphins to have hope of making the playoffs. Throughout the game, Santonio Holmes appeared distracted and unmotivated to his teammates. When they questioned his lackluster attitude, Holmes erupted, shouting at teammates and provoking an altercation in the huddle. Exasperated by the situation, coaches chose to bench Holmes for the closing minutes of the 19-17 loss, despite his prodigious playmaking ability.

The way Santonio Holmes behaved during the 2011 season serves as a case study for how NOT to address problems on a team. Leaders should never let the situation mean more than the relationship. Holmes may have had every right to feel disappointed in the performances of his teammates, but his manner of response disrupted team chemistry by wrecking relationships.

Three Steps for Dealing with Relational Difficulties
As a leader, the first step in dealing with relational difficulties is to acknowledge problems privately. In complaining to the media about the play of his teammates, Holmes communicated more than dissatisfaction with their performance; he also expressed disrespect. People have a hard time handling criticism, but if delivered behind closed doors, in private conversation, they may respond constructively to it. However, when leaders disparage a teammate in public, they always damage their relationship with him or her.

Once the problem has been voiced, leaders must be willing to seek or extend forgiveness. When asked about his critical comments, Santonio Holmes offered an unremorseful and disingenuous apology. “If anybody feels bad about [my comments] then I’m sorry, but as a captain, that’s my job to point it out amongst ourselves.” In his so-called “apology,” Holmes essentially placed additional blame on his teammates for “feeling bad,” or taking offense, to his criticisms.

After a rift has occurred, leaders have to verbally commit to cooperate in repairing the relationship. Instead of putting in overtime to shore up his bond with teammates, Holmes did just the opposite. Leading up to the team’s last game, quarterback Mark Sanchez called for two extra meetings between the quarterbacks and wide receivers to improve their in-game cohesiveness. Holmes came to the first one, but sat in the back and complained throughout about having to attend. He then skipped the second meeting.

Closing Thought
As leaders, ideally we want to rebuild trust and restore relationships with teammates. However, in some cases, trust may be irrevocably broken. As a leader, at what point can you justify giving up on a work relationship?

PERSEVERE -- KEEP PUSHING

Yesterday I read the following tweet from my friend and CEO of Point Guard College, Dena Evans:

@dena10: "Just before u break through the sound barrier is when the cockpit shakes the most." -Chuck Yeager in interview after record-setting flight

This morning, via my Brian Tracy daily email quote I got this one:

"Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad... when the business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at their lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner."

- Walt Disney

Message: Keep pushing through...perseverance is a major characteristic trait of those that succeed.

BUILD CONFIDENCE FACTORS INTO YOUR PRACTICE


I got this from Coach Creighton Burns' most recent newsletter.  I am a big believer that practice is the singular most important developmental tool in the success or lack thereof with your team.  Obviously your ability to teach, instruct and motivate are important, but as Coach Burns points out, what are you doing in and with your practice format that helps develop confidence.  I believe that true confidence can only come from demonstrated performance so a well-thought out practice will finds ways to create areas where athletes can demonstrate success.  Here are some great pointers from Coach Burns:

Building and maintaining confidence is a daily practice. Here are some suggestions that apply to you as a coach AND can help your athletes build their confidence:

1. Be prepared! The more prepared you feel, the higher and more stable your confidence level. Make everything more precise: your practice plans, your diet, your game-day preparation and your sleep schedule.

2. Tune into your confidence formula. What kinds of practices make you feel the most confident? What drills? Is there a particular person whose advice gives you confidence?

3. Set realistic yet challenging goals. Have daily, weekly and monthly performance goals and keep a record of your results. These should be goals you have full control over – as opposed to winning and losing – which are not in your control.

4. Get fit! Top performers know the connection between feeling confident and being physically fit.

5. Build strong, supportive self-talk. Do this in the same way you build physical strength: through repetition.. Confidence is a FEELING – as such it is powerfully influenced by what you think, what you say to yourself and how you act! Negative or sloppy thinking tears away at precious confidence levels.

6. Learn from failures, then dump them. If you have a bad loss or practice, face it, take away whatever positive lessons you can, then forget about it. Leave the past failures behind. Don’t carry mistakes with you – correct them, then move on.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

YOU MUST THINK OR FAIL

The Success Strategies of Henry Baldwin Hyde -- founder of The Equitable (take from Selling Power July/August 1997)

WORK HARD...When a reporter asked Hyde for the secrets of his success, he replied, “In order to succeed you must rise earlier, sit up later, and work harder and more skillfully than those around you.” Hyde believed that there was pure genius in hard work saying: “You may say that this is a hard life. It may or may not be hard, according to disposition of the individual. The successful man derives more pleasure and real satisfaction from his hard-working life than ever comes to the one who neglects his business and suffers the penalty which such neglect brings.”

IMPROVE EVERYTHING...Hyde made it a practice to thoroughly investigate each department. From time to time he would review the work flow, question the validity of established routines and systems, analyze records, watch workers do their jobs, scrutinize his managers’ performance and make suggestions for improvement.

INNOVATE...In 1987 he purchased land to build the first office building for The Equitable. At that time there was not a single office building in New York with passenger elevators. Against the advice of experts, Hyde ordered the elevators and proved that the new technology increased efficiency and enhanced the company’s image.

LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMER...Hyde was an enthusiastic salesperson and enjoyed spending time in the field. He traveled extensively through the country, visiting agents’ offices. He listened to customers and often encouraged his agents to use listening as a sales tool saying, “Don’t talk too much. The tongue is a dagger which often assassinates success.”

INVEST YOUR TIME WISELY...Hyde firmly believe that time was more important than money. He told his staff, “At the close of each day, think of what you have done, and not how much time you have wasted. You can do a great work if you will never let a day pass without gathering some valuable result, and you will be surprised at the end of the year by the progress you made.”

THINK BIG...Hyde didn’t hide his ambition and encouraged others to aim high, saying, “It is astonishing how much more a man can do if he has in his mind a definite object that he is striving to accomplish than if his efforts lack purpose and concentration.”

“Think! If you don’t think, you deserve to be a failure. Perhaps you say you haven’t time to think — you have too much work to do. But heedless work is profitless. You must think or fail. Take your choice.”

THE SUPREME QUALITY OF LEADERSHIP

“To be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, you must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestioned integrity. Without it, no real success is possible whether it is in a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thursday, January 26, 2012

THE COACHES

One of my favorite things in my office is a framed written piece called "The Coaches," by Bill Libby.  It was given to me by Coach Dale Brown back when I worked for him.  It hung on my office wall while I worked for him and at one point Coach Sue Gunter told me how much she liked it so I gave it to her to hang in her office.  When she passed away, I reclaimed and it has remained on my office wall where ever I worked.  After a difficult loss tonight, I took the time to read it once again:

Coaching is a difficult job, and there is no clear way to succeed in it. One cannot copy another who is a winner, for there seems to be some subtle, secret chemistry of personality that enables a person to lead successfully, and no one really knows what it is. Those who have succeeded and those who have failed represent all kinds – young and old, inexperienced and experienced, hard and soft, tough and gentle, good-natured and foul-tempered, proud and profane, articulate and inarticulate, even dedicated and casual. Most are dedicated, some more than others, but dedication alone is not enough. Some are smarter than others, but intelligence is not enough. All want to win, but some want to win more than others, and just wanting is not enough in any event. Even winning is often not enough. Losers almost always get fired, but winners get fired, too.

He is out in the open being judged publicly almost every day or night for six, seven, or eight months a year by those who may or may not be qualified to judge him. And every victory and every defeat is recorded constantly in print or on the air and periodically totaled up.

The coach has no place to hide. He cannot just let the job go for a while or do a bad job and assume no one will notice as most of us can. He cannot satisfy everyone. Seldom can he even satisfy very many. Rarely can he even satisfy himself. If he wins once, he must win the next time, too. In the end, almost certainly, he will be fired.

They plot victories, suffer defeats, endure criticism from within and without, and brook rumors that they are on their way in here and out there. They neglect their families, travel endlessly, and live alone in a spotlight surrounded by others.

Theirs may be the worst profession – unreasonably demanding and insecure and full of unrelenting pressures. Why do they put up with it? Why do they do it? A few retire, but most hang on desperately, almost unreasoningly. Why? Having seen them hired and hailed as geniuses at gaudy party-like press conferences and having seen them fired with pat phrases such as “fool” or “incompetent,” I have wondered about them. Having seen them exultant in victory and depressed by defeat, I have sympathized with them. Having seen some broken by the job and others die from it, I have been moved to write this book.

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR "QUARTERBACK"

The following comes "Run to Daylight" by Vince Lombardi.  Coach Lombardi is talking about all the characteristics you'd like to find in a quarterback and you can actually translate it into point guard play on the basketball side:

Because of the enormous load he must carry in the way we play the game in this league, you spend more time with your quarterback and his back-up man than you do with any of the others.  Without a good quarterback, you just don't operate.

His I.Q. must be above average, because he must not only be able to absorb the coach's game plan each week but he must also have a thorough knowledge of what everyone does on every play, and he must know the opponent, the qualities and characteristics of each individual on the other team.

He should be strong physically and able to take punishment when those 270-pounders unload on him, and he should have enough height to see his receivers over those opposing linemen.

A quarterback must have great poise, too, and he must not be panicked by what the defense does or his own offense fails to do.  he must know the characteristic fakes and patterns of his ends and backs and anticipate the break before the receiver makes it.  Then there are those times when, by the nature of its rush, the defense overextends and leaves itself open to a run, so the quarterback who can also run has a great advantage.

If you find all this in one man you have found a special person, and each year you try.

WHAT OFF THE COURT EXPERIENCES ARE YOU CREATING FOR YOUR TEAM?

The following comes from a great book I'm reading "Your Greatest Victory" by Ken Rohlf -- great read for anyone that coaches any sport on any level.  I obviously love this passage because it deals with one of my mentors, Coach Dale Brown.  I made a couple of trips with the Tigers to Angola and I can you tell you it's a powerful experience.  Here is Ken talking about choices:

You have created the life you’re experiencing right now by the choices and decisions you’ve made or those that you have failed to make. You have absolute control over these choices as well as your actions, your reactions and the thoughts you think. Taking full responsibility means that you cause all of your experiences. If there is anything in your life that is not exactly how you want it to be, it’s up to you to change the outcome. You are solely responsible. Don’t blame others for circumstances that cannot be changed. Rather, what is most important is accepting the way things are and understanding that the choices and decisions you make impact what happens from this point forward in your life.
 
Former Louisiana State University men’s basketball coach Dale Brown always stressed the importance of making good choices to the players on his teams. So that each one of his classes was able to have the experience, every fourth season, Brown’s LSU teams would hold a practice at Angola Prison. Angola, located in Louisiana, and aptly nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the South,” is known for being one of the fiercest prisons in the United States. At the end of practice, to drive his point home about the importance of making good choices, Brown would have his players sit in a solitary confinement cell, walk them past the inmates located on death row, and, to make sure he got through to his team, Brown had each player briefly sit in the prison’s electric chair.  These inmates, Brown would preach to his team, have created the life they have by the choices and decisions they made. The choices you make, big and small, will be critical to the life you experience.

Order your copy: http://www.yourgreatestvictory.com/index.php?id=1

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

THINKING OF YOU TODAY COACH YOW



"I feel like I had zero control over getting cancer, but I have 100 percent control over how I will respond to dealing with cancer."
-Coach Kay Yow

I can vividly remember coaching at LSU and being in the regionals in Fresno, California along with UConn, Florida State and North Carolina State.  I was sitting in my hotel room with my wife Sherie and we were watching ESPN doing a special on Coach Yow and her battle with breast cancer.  The report talked about the struggles and pain of treatment as well as her fight to continue to coach her team.  Part of the report was her actually having a treatment in the charter plane on the way to Fresno.  Sherie looked at me and simply said, "What an amazing woman."

Though her camps and recruiting and working for Coach Gunter, I had come to know Coach Yow on a professional basis -- and "professional" would be a great way to describe her.  She coached the game with great integrity -- always willing to help anyone in any way.

Two months after watching that special on ESPN, Sherie was diagnosed with breast cancer and Kay Yow immediately became a much larger hero for her.  We discussed it in our home and decided to take Sherie's fight public to help raise awareness and support for this horrible disease.  We begin in our own small way working for and assisting local organizations along with the Kay Yow Foundation.  The following year at Final Four in Tampa, Sherie and I had the privilege and honor to speak at the tip-off luncheon for the Kow Yow Foundation.

For Sherie, it was a double thrill because she finally got the opportunity to meet Coach Yow who treated her as if she had known her all her life -- a trait that both made her and Coach Gunter special.  As for me? Well Coach Yow wanted to talk basketball.  "Tell me about your team?"

During my address at the tip-off I said the following:

"It is always difficult during these times to understand why God would allow something as horrible as cancer to evade those we love."  I then looked at Coach Yow and said, "But I know why he picked you.  And while the burden is more than I can understand I am so thankful for your courage and leadership.  I only hope you know what you mean to so many.  We love you."
 
WE STILL LOVE YOU!
http://www.kayyow.com/

Monday, January 23, 2012

BRIAN BILLICK: BE A COMMUNICATOR

This is a series of thoughts from "Competitive Leadership: 12 Principles for Success" by Brian Billick. Part VII deals with being a communicator:

“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that is have been accomplished.”
-George Bernard Shaw

During the course of a season, for example, I sometimes use a movie clip from a popular film to emphasize a particular point.

Without question, the telephone is potentially one of the most effective communication tools a person can employ.

Remember that “how” you say something can be more important than “what” you say.

Anytime you can insert color and movement to animate your subject matter, it can increase your players’ ability to comprehend and retain the game plan almost ten fold.

Steps for an effective presentation:

Step #1: The first step is to identify the objectives of your presentation.

Step #2: Your nest step is to know your audience.

Step #3: Next, you need to define what you’re going to do.

Step #4: Your fourth step is to gather information on your subject.

Step #5: Once you have gathered the information for your presentation, you need to organize your material.

Step #6: Your next step is to develop your presentation — shape all your ideas.

Step #7: When you reach a point where you have basically defined the points you are going to make in your presentation and the order in which you plan to make them, you need to decide what kind of visuals you will use to enhance your talk.

Step #8: You final step is to rehearse your presentation.

Ideas are like eggs — they can be served in several ways.

...the single greatest attribute of an effective leader: the ability to listen.
 
The ability to listen is a learned skill that requires considerable personal commitment to develop.

Work at listening. Listening is hard work. Effective listening requires that you apply yourself.

...when you take the time to document what you are doing, you bring clarity and definition to the situation in a way that verbalizing along cannot accomplish.

--Rules for writing:

--Write the way you speak.

--Get to the point.

--Be clear and concise.

--Be positive.

--Create visuals.

It is my style to challenge an associate’s point of view, even if I strongly believe in it. This approach is designed to find out how strongly he or she believes in their opinions. In other words, I want to test the courage of their convictions.

As a leader, if your memory is poor or inadequate, you are at a distinct disadvantage when communicating — either as a sender or a reciever.

Steps to improve your memory:

--Repetition. Repeat what you want to remember.

--Visualization. Make strong and very specific images.

--Association. Associate information with something you already know.

--Exaggeration. Assign something embellished (can be comical).

--Linking. Picturing information with something you already know.

--Acronyms. Use of a memorable word or phase by using first letters.

--Rhyming. Use of rhyming words for association.

--Key words. Recall of information through use of key words.

Much of the communicating you do is wordless. In fact, over 90 percent of your communication is nonverbal.

How you say something sometimes convey more meaning than what you actually say.
 
The final major category of nonverbal communication involves the way you dress and how you groom yourself.

“Give it to them loud and dirty, that way they will remember it.”
-George S. Patton

BRIAN TRACY: PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS

Some great thoughts from Brian Tracy:

Get Better Results than Ever Before
There are several principles of military strategy that you can apply to your business, every single day. These can help you to think better and get better results than ever before.

Do the Unexpected
One really helpful military principle that can be applied to business is the Principle of Surprise. The principle of surprise says, "do the unexpected!" In sales and marketing, this means to be continually seeking ways to out-flank or upset your competition.

Do the Opposite of Before
Sometimes doing exactly the opposite of what you have been doing up till now can turn out to be the perfect solution. The natural tendency for a person, when they find themselves in a hole, is to dig deeper. In many cases, the solution is to go and dig somewhere else. Remember, the first law of holes is, "When you find yourself in one, stop digging."

Follow-up and Follow-Through
A second military principle that applies to business is the Principle of Exploitation. The principle of exploitation emphasizes the importance of follow-up and follow-through. In business, this means that, when you get an opportunity, you exploit it to the fullest extent possible. If you have a great promotional idea or product or service, you sell all you can. You take advantage of your idea or breakthrough and use every opportunity to capitalize on it.

Work Harmoniously With Others
The third principle of military strategy that applies to personal and corporate thinking is the Principle of Cooperation. In business, this is often called the principle of synergy. In military terms, this is often called the principle of "concerted action." In business terms, your ability to work effectively and harmoniously with other individuals and groups is more responsible for your success than any other quality.

Win the Cooperation of Key People
A key part of strategic thinking is for you to identify the individuals, groups and organizations whose cooperation you will require to achieve your goals. Make a list of them and then organize the list in order of importance. Then ask yourself, "How am I going to win their cooperation?"

Answer Everyone's Favorite Question
Everybody wants to know, "what's in it for me?" The effective executive is always looking for ways to help or assist others knowing that this is the only sure way to create within them a desire to help you to achieve your goals.

By doing the unexpected, by following up and following through, and by constantly looking for ways to get other people to cooperate with you, you will accomplish more in a shorter time than you might ever have imagined.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

THE BASKETBALL DIARIES

7:10 AM (Monday) January 23, 2012
Back in the office after a few hours of sleep and it's time to do it all over again.  Our next game is on Thursday and I have the scout so that will be my priority today.  This will also be the final post of the Basketball Diaries -- an idea from Greg Brown.  We sincerely hope that you got something from it.  It was different and unique in terms of what we normally blog.  For our team, we started the Basketball Diaries coming off of a win last Sunday, captured an overtime victory on Thursday and than grabbed a road win yesterday, so from that point it's been a great week.  And in the true Seinfeld fashion we will join with George and get out on a high note.



12:49 AM (Monday) January 23, 2012
Well, we are just pulling back on to campus after a flight delay getting back.  It's amazing what a victory does for energy.  Our players seem wide awake right now chattering and laughing after a long day that started with a 7:30 AM Walk Through.  If this was a weekday game I'd be in the office for awhile tonight breaking down tape.  But because tomorrow is our mandatroy NCAA day off I can head home and get a fresh start tomorrow.

6:38 PM (Sunday) January 22, 2012
We are sitting at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia only to find that our flight is late.  The problem is that we have a quick connection in Charlotte so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  The good news is we can enjoy our wait in the airport after a solid win over Marshall University this afternoon.  Airport delays are a big part of coaching whether it is team travel or recruiting trips.  It's easy to get frustrated but it won't get your plane to the gate any quicker.

Back to the game...we played well and competed against a good, tough Marshall team.  We have been working throughout the season to cut back on our turnovers and have had little success in getting our numbers reduced.  Couple that with the fact that Marshall is athletic, aggressive and extends their defense full court for the entire 40 minutes and certainly it was a concern for our staff.  Instead, our team turned in a season low 8-turnover outing.  We were sure and strong with the ball and did a great job of passing away from the defense.

Another area that we pushed with our team was to defend without fouling.  Marshall does an excellent job of getting to the free throw line -- I mean about 27 times a game!  They do a great job of getting to the rim in transition, look to penetrate in half-court, and crash the offensive boards -- with all three of these areas creating opportunities for the defense to foul.  We talked to our team about playing with their feet and working hard to take away penetration.  But when penetration did occur, "wall up" and make them shoot over us.  Again, our team did a great job of executing and we limited Marshall to only 6 free throws for the game.

For me personally, it was a great return to the Henderson Center.  After coaching a Southern Conference Championship team with Judy Southard, I moved on to LSU and had not been back to the Marshall campus since.  I was fortunate to have a lot of friends and family here cheering us on. 

One supporting "fan" was very special for me.  It was my junior high school coach and mentor Allen Osborne, the legendary high school coach at Poca High School.  Much I've learned about this game I've learned from Allen.  He has been with me throughout my career and it always means a lot to me when he comes to watch one of my teams play.  Allen taught me not just what to teach but how to teach.  To this day he remains the person I call first for advice on anything in my professional or personal life.  That's Allen pictured to the left with my mother-in-law Marvel Hammicks at the game today.

Following the game we took our team to Chilli's to eat.  There's something special and enjoyable about being with your team after it plays well.  Our team knows that we certainly have a lot to work on and areas that we must improve -- but they also know that they competed today and road wins in C-USA are huge.  In fact, they were feeling so good that they told the staff at Chilli's that today was the birthday of Khalilah Mitchell -- a member of our staff.  Of course it wasn't but she played along.  Team bonding!


9:48 AM (Sunday) January 22, 2012
Walk Through is in the books as is the pre-game meal and the waiting game begins. The best thing about today is the 1:00 PM tip.  It was great walking into the Henderson Center.  It's changed a little bit.  They've adjusted the seating and added some stuff on the walls to represent the tradition; thought I wish there was a greater appreciation for women's basketball here.  They had some great players in the 70's and 80's.  Karen Pelhrey was one of the most prolific scores in the history of Marshall (men or women) and Judy Southard (whom I worked for) won five consecutive conference championships. 

One of my favorite things about the Henderson Center is the huge portrait of Cam Henderson that hangs in the end zone.  It's one of the things that has remained constant since the opening of the building.  Coach Henderson is one of the games all-time greats.  He was not only a great basketball coach but a great football coach as well.  His biggest contribution to the game was as the inventor of the rule-break.  He dictated lanes for players to fill in transition.  One of my prized collections in my library at home is a rare book titled "The Cam Henderson Story." 

In some ways much has changed on the Marshall campus since I was last hear but much is still the same as well.  I got a chill when we bused by Ole Main.  Well, time to iron some clothes -- and pass some more time.

6:22 AM (Sunday) January 22, 2012
An early rise this morning in Huntington, West Virginia with a 7:30 AM Walk Through time.  A lot of teams would not take their early time but we always did at LSU and Coach Williams has the same philosophy here at UCF.  Let's get 'em up, get 'em going, and get 'em to start thinking about the game today.

Our thought for the day comes the book "Run To Daylight" from Vince Lombardi: "I know of no way but to persit."

On a personal note, I am excited this morning to head back to the Marshall campus,  It will be my first visit to the Cam Henderson Center since I was an assistant at Marshall University over 25 years ago.

9:34 PM (Saturday) January 21, 2012
After getting checked in to the hotel it is time to meet with the team.  We give them about 30 minutes to get settled in which allows us time to set up the video equipment in a meeting room here at the hotel.  One of the things that I believe is important to have road success is to have routines.  Your team should be concentrating on our game plan and our opponent and not changes in the schedule.  Greg was responsible for the Marshall scout so he ran the meeting which included a video report as well as going over the written report.  The written report is again always the same.  There is a cover sheet followed by a sheet of stats that we believe are important.  The third page is primary notes on team offensive play followed by a page of notes on team defensive play.  Then comes two pages of individual player notes.  The individual player notes will speak to each player's strengths and weaknesses and how we will defend her.

As for the scouting video, it is broken down into chapters as well.  Generally the video will have transition offense, man offense, zone offense, transition defense, man defense, zone defense, press defense and special situations.  Within each of those groups are more subheadings.  Such as in man defense, we will have clips of ball pressure, ball screen defense, off ball screen defense and post defense.  We think by showing the clips in this manner that our players can really concentrate on certain areas and get more out of the video.  The video itself usually is about 20 minutes but last longer in actual viewing as our staff makes points throughout the showing.

Of course, our players have their notebooks with them and are expected to take notes and encouraged to ask questions.  The session ends with Coach Williams addressing the team and giving them some key thoughts for the night.  She encourages them to get settled in quickly so they can rest.  Tomorrow will come soon enough and we all know what that means -- GAME DAY!

6:32 PM (Saturday) January 21, 2012
We've pulled off the Barboursville exit to eat at O'Charley's and it's been a nice drive down I-64 for me.  I was born and raised in Charleston and could see the patch of houses in our neighborhood in North Charleston across the Kanawha River.  A little further down the road and we drove past the Institute, West Virginia exit and home of West Virginia State College where I was an assistant coach for a three years including a NAIA National Runner-Up season.  Still further down the road and we drove past the Teays Valley exit where my parents live to this day.  There were a few more landmarks along the way that brought back some great memories but I think you get the picture -- you can come home!

5:22 PM (Saturday) January 21, 2012
On the ground in Charleston, West Virginia.  There are not to many experiences in terms of flying than landing at Yeager Airport.  They literally shaved the top of a mountain off and built the airport.  Being a native of Charleston I've flown in and out of this airport quite a bit but it is still a little unnerving when you come in and you see the tops of mountains on each side and than bang -- you hit the runway.  All in all it was a great flight.  Ironically, my mother-in-law who came to visit us this weekend was on our flight back into Charleston so I got to spend some more time with her which was great.

11:05 AM (Saturday) January, 21, 2012
A good, crisp practice this morning by our team.  I loved the energy we had, especially from our senior captain Aisha Patrick.  You can tell as we get deep into the C-USA play that she understands that this her last go around and she wants to make it count.  It helps so much when your best player brings it everyday in practice -- when they have the sense of urgency.

There are a lot of reasons to not have a good practice today.  We're sore and tired from the rigors of play this season...we had an overtime battle on Thursday night...it's 72 degrees outside on a sunny Saturday in Orlando...we have to go back to the dorms and pack for this road trip after practice.

There is only one reason to have a good practice today.  Because we want to be the best we can be -- that's Pat!



8:20 AM (Saturday) January 21, 2012
With some time before heading to practice, thought I'd give you a partial tour of my office.  I spend a lot of time in my office so how it looks is important to me.  Obviously the most important thing is for it to be functional so that it can help me maintain organization allowing me to be as efficient as possible.

But I also have some reminders up throughout the office.  Photos and items to remind of where I've been and why I am where I am.  On top of my filing cabinet I have a shoe collection from some pretty good players that I've been honored to have coached.  The shoes belong to Shaquille O'Neal, Syliva Fowles and Temeka Johnson.  And I bet you can easily guess whom each shoe belongs.  To the left of the shoes is a WNBA basketball that has been signed by every player I've coached that has went to the WNBA. I think there's around 15 signatures on it -- so far.

Across from the desk is a book shelf that I look directly at everyday that includes a bobblehead of Coach Sue Gunter and some shoes that were especially made by Nike to honor her after she passed away.  I certainly learned basketball from Coach Gunter but also learned a lot about life from her as well -- and I promise you that is exactly what her players would say.  I like the location of the bobblehead because it is something that I easily see each day looking up from my desk.

I also have a framed photo of General George S. Patton, Jr.  He is someone who I have been fascinated with for some time.  I own around 20 books that are associated with him or battles that he has fought.  The writing on the photo comes from the last scene in the movie "Patton" and is aptly titled "Fleeting Glory."  It is a reminder to me to quickly move on from success and to continue to keep my eyes straight ahead.

A photo of our staff at LSU can be found in my office as well.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, has had a more profound effect on me as a coach and, more importantly, as a person than my relationship with Coach Dale Brown.  I've said it often but working for Coach Brown has made me a better coach, a better person, a better friend, and a better husband.  It's how he coaches -- how he teaches.  He continues to mentor me to this day and I feel blessed that he came into my life.

Finally, directly behind my desk is a group of photos and items including a couple of photos of my best friend and biggest supporter -- my wife Sherie.  There is also a bobblehead and photo with a message from Coach Don Meyer who has meant a great deal to me.  There is also a framed photo of Coach Gunter.  To the right you will see a cardboard photo of the late Stu Aberdeen who once coached at Marshall University.  As a freshman student at Marshall I took a basketball coaching class from him where he taught the role of a coach in molding young people.  He had a quote that said, "In so much as you shape the man, you shape the world."  After taking his class I knew I wanted to coach.  And ironically, this afternoon we will catch a plane and fly to West Virginia where we will play Marshall tomorrow.

6:39 AM (Saturday) January 21, 2012
In the office early on a Saturday morning.  Prepping for a morning practice before heading to the airport for our road game.  Morning readings are done and our thought for the day is:  "Success demands singleness of purpose." -Vince Lombardi

In the Maxwell Daily Reader, it talks about the value of time and a great quote in the reading comes from Charles Spezzano who says, "The phase spending your time is not a metaphor -- it's how life works."

4:26 PM (Friday) January 20, 2012
I've spent the past couple of hours getting a head start on my next scout which is SMU whom we will play next Thursday.  But I thought I'd take a break and give you an inside look at what goes behind the scenes in the UCF locker room on game night.


After stretching and getting some game shooting in, the team will come into the locker room.  At the point, there will be a player assigned to go over keys areas of our game that we want to emphasize.  This past game, junior Kayli Keough was in charge.  She actually gets up in front of the marker board and gives a verbal scouting report to the team.  This is the first time I've seen this done and I really like it.  It involves the players at a higher level and creates leadership building and promotes player communication.  It has been great to watch throughout the season as each player gets up front and gives the game plan.  You can see their confidence rise when the get up a second time.
After that we have a team prayer and head to the floor for our official pre-game warm-up.  When we return the coach in charge of the scout gives the match-ups.  Since Rice was my scout, I was responsible.  I simply tell each player who she is defending and that player has to respond by telling me a couple of things about who she is guarding including defensive instructions.  For instance I could say, "Pat you have #12,"  She would respond by saying, "She runs the floor well in transition so I have to find her early and pick up her.  She's gets most of her shots off dribble penetration so I want to influence her to her left and make sure I don't bail her out with a foul if I do get beat.  I need to closeout on her as a driver and make sure I block her out."
After the match-ups, Coach Williams reviews the game plan giving important details in key parts of the game.  She will go over our process goals and then remind the team of what we are doing defensively on made and missed shots as well as in special situations.  She also has some motivational words for the team with a short story or quote before the game.  I can see now why Coach Williams' teams have always played hard.  She exudes confidence and intensity when she talks.  Her voice and body language commands the attention of the players -- and it's the same in timeouts.  And after she is done, we break with "Compete" and head to the floor to do battle.


2:19 PM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Just finished a late lunch at Tailgaters.  Khalilah Mitchell and I took our Marketing Department there for lunch to thank them for the great job they did in our UKnight for Education game which we broke the school's single game attendance mark.  I literally love Gene, Tyler and Samantha!  They not only have a great work ethic but they genuinely care about each sport and the student-athletes.  They have a great imagination which is really important in their line of work.  We are extremely fortunate to have them on our team!!!

12:35 PM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Practice for today is in the books.  The first order of business was to watch some video clips from last night's game vs. Rice.  Specifically we looked at our turnovers, where and how they occurred and how we can correct them.  From there it was up to the practice floor.  We started today with pre-practice; as always on the perimeter end we concentrated on some ball handling drills and on finishing in traffic.  One of our problems last night was not going to the rim strong and either not finishing or travelling.  Hopefully today was the start of shoring that up a little.

Last night we had four starters that played 41 minutes and another that played 36 so from that point, most of our practice was a mental one.  We walked through some areas of offense and defense that needed corrected and Greg started laying out some of the game plan for our Marshall game.

We finished out practice with the remainder of our team going against our male scrimmage guys.  We took them through a couple of whole method drills including 4/4 No Dribble to work on our motion cutting and screening.  Then we worked on 5/4 Open Perimeter which is a great drill to work on our help and recover out of our man defense.

9:15 AM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Dena Evans is a dear friend of mine -- but she is also someone that I respect professionally at the highest of levels.  She is the CEO of Point Guard College and one of those people that I refer to as a "difference maker" in the sport of basketball.  She has recently started a new blog www.keystothegym.com .  Here is video clip on the difference between being a dribbler and a ball handler with a classic reference to the great Dick DeVenzio.  We are sending this to our players via email today!

8:03 AM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Morning readings are done and our thought for the day is: "A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations." -Patricia Neal

In my Maxwell Daily Reader, the passage today dealt with developing relationship before leading.  It goes back to the old saying, "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  I think this is critically important in coaching.  As a coach, you should look for "relationship development moments."  You might run into a student-athlete walking through campus....take an opportunity to sit down beside one at the airport waiting for a flight...or, as I like to do, have them stop by the office.  The key? Talk about things other than basketball.  Find out what's going on in their life.  How's their family?  How are classes going?  I like to have them over to my house.  The more you know about them (and they know about you) the better we can all grow together.

7:02 AM (Friday) January 20, 2012
I had an absolute Seinfeld moment last night.  Leaving the office around 1:30 in the morning and obviously a little tired with an overtime game still racing in my head.  I could blame it on that or the fact that I was driving my wife's car yesterday -- and forgot that I was looking for that one to drive home.  We have a five-story parking garage here at the arena and I got a little cardio in before stumbling upon my car.  I'm just thankful I didn't have to sacrifice any goldfish in the process.


12:48 AM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Offensive charting is complete.  It took a little longer to chart turnovers -- especially when you have 26.  Still, it's important to do so.  One of the things that Bob Knight would often talk about was the ability to understand those things that go into the losing of basketball games.  If you can understand those things only then can you begin to correct them.  And once you correct them you can move forward to better levels of execution. Tomorrow morning we will watch each turnover and discuss why it occurred and how we can eliminate it.  Of course you must back that up with practice work as well. 

12:10 AM (Friday) January 20, 2012
Finishing up with some of the video breakdown and as I've mentioned before, I really like the Possession Evaluation Chart that we got from Dean Smith at North Carolina.  You can scroll down for more information.

The Possession Evaluation Chart tonight shows just how close the game was as both teams were nearly identical up and down all the categories.  After shooting 50% in the first half and 44% for the game, our Points Per Possession still fell far below where we'd like for it to be.  Of course there is one reason for that -- turnovers.  Each turnover counts as a possession and it's a possession with 0 points.  We must continue to work with our team in the fundamental phases of the game including passing, dribbling and footwork but we have to get them to completely understand the importance of a possession.  When they understand how vital each possession is, then they will come to truly value the ball.

As I've mentioned often, I believe it's a "process" and we must continue down that path to look for ways to improve our team.

11:12 PM (Thursday) Janaury 19, 2012
I was walking through the hall and heard the bouncing of a basketball coming from our practice facility and walked out to see Meghan Keough shooting.  Here is a freshman, after a game, going to the practice facility to work on her game -- absolutely the highlight of my evening.

In fact, I had to share the following story with her:

I was excited to join the men’s coaching staff at LSU. Besides working for Dale Brown I would have the opportunity to coach Chris Jackson. Chris was coming off of a freshman year where he was named All-American and broke the NCAA scoring record for all freshman by averaging 30.2 points a game — as a freshmen! In fact, in 2007, ESPN named him the best freshman of all-time in the history of college basketball.

In our second home game of the season, we defeated McNeese State 85-49 in a night game. Chris had 27 points that night on 10 of 15 shooting from the floor. But he had missed a couple of shots he thought he shouldn’t have and he had missed a free throw.

After talking to the team I left the locker room with long-time LSU assistant Johnny Jones. We were standing in the hall when Chris walked by us with a basketball, still wearing his sweaty uniform from that night.

I looked at Johnny and said “Where’s CJ going?”

He replied, “To the practice gym to shoot.”

I said, “Are you kidding me. Right after we played?”

Johnny said, “Absolutely! That shooting performance wasn’t good enough for him. He’s such a perfectionist and takes how he shoots and how he plays personally. He’ll be in there at least two hours tonight.”

10:50 PM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
It really doesn't have anything to do with our game tonight or the diary but I saw this quote on Pat Williams facebook page today and wanted to make sure to share with you:

"It's not about collecting talent. It's about building a TEAM. Some players fit better into one system or style of play than they do in another." - Bill Belichick

10:21 PM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
As coaches, you tell your players that they play the game with all they got -- that you need their absolute best for 40 minutes...well tonight we needed 45 minutes to defeat Rice 65-63.  It was one of those games where you "win ugly."  I've always struggled with those.  As weird as it sounds I've never been about winning.  I want to play hard and to play well -- do that consistently enough and the winning will take care of itself.  It goes back to being "process oriented."  The process is "how you play."  The final score is the "result."  You have to be careful with getting too happy with wins when you play poorly -- it will disguise things you truly need to work on.  The same can be true of a tough loss where you played well.

We did not solve our turnover problem.  We dished out 26 and it lead to 17 points for Rice.  And of course, as I mentioned earlier, the points off turnovers would lead to paint points for which Rice had 29 in 45 minutes.  I thought what we did do well was to defend them without fouling.  They only shot 10 free throws for 45 minutes and half of what they usually shoot in a 40 minute game.

Offensively we shot 50% in the first half but then struggled a bit at the beginning of the second half with our zone offensive execution and ended up shooting 44.3% for the game.  A huge key in finding a way to win was outrebounding them 46-33.

It certainly wasn't the type of game we wanted or thought it would be, but finding a way to pull out the victory will hopefully give us the energy we need to correct some things before head on the road.  We had some nice leads in the second half and we need to learn the importance of a sense of urgency at those times.  It may not seem like it, but when you are up 49-40 with about 10 minutes to play, a couple of stops and good offensive possessions can put you in a great position to win.  Unfortunately we are not at the point yet where we can sustain a high level of execution and we will go to work on that tomorrow.

Well, time to watch some video!

5:40 PM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
As tip off looms ever so close, let's take a look at some areas of importance for us tonight if we are to have some success on the court.

One of the things I like to do in scouting is to do a comparative stat report on wins vs. losses.  It almost always tells a story of what is important for a team to be successful.  Two things really stood out for our opponent tonight.  The first was that in wins, they scored 30.8 Points in the Paint and in losses that number was significantly lower at 20.5.  Another key stat was that they scored 21.9 Points Off of Turnovers in victory while only 12.0 in games they lost.

One of the problematic areas for our team has been our inability to take care of the ball.  So certainly that has been an emphasis the past few days.  If we are unable to take care of the ball we can contribute to the points off turnovers (which also often time contributes to their points in the paint). 

There was also a difference in 2nd Chance Points where they scored 15.9 in wins and 11.5 in losses -- again, many of those lead to paint points.  So the past two days we have stressed taking care of the ball and blocking out.  Of course the key is to take it to the floor and execute.  But I do think it helps if you stress that which is important.  If I could repeat an early diary quote from Coach Don Meyer, "It's not what you teach, it's what you emphasize."

Practice this week dealt with things we could do offensively to better take care of the ball.  Our opponent will most likely press for 40 minutes so we made a couple of minor adjustments to our press offense to hopefully help us attack in that area.  In the half-court, we continue to work on key concepts such as spacing and proper dribble usage.

Defensively we are looking to take away paint points.  Ironically, I've always believed the offense has a lot to do with good defense.  Good defense starts in transition and transition defense is always better when the offense:

1. Takes care of the ball
2. Takes good shots
3. Has good floor balance

There are some other things of importance in our half-court defense that we hope will help us take away some paint points.  Greg is incredible at putting together a defensive game plan.

I think when we come back together tonight in our diary we would hope that we would

1. Limit their paint points to 22 or less
2. Hold them to 12 or less 2nd chance points
3. Limit our turnovers to 17 or less

Another key stat is that they get to the free throw line for at least 20 free throw attempts a game -- but they've done this in wins and losses.  We want to get back defensively, ready to defend and not bail them out on penetration -- again, easier said than done against this team.

Now obviously that is easier said then done.  What has to be considered is the opponent knows what they do well and will have a game plan to try and exert their will on us -- and that's what it comes down to -- a team out executing the other for longer periods of time.  We certainly have a worthy opponent tonight and that creates a great challenge.  Talk to you later

4:02 PM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
Well, the final preparations are complete.  Coach Brown would say the "Hay's in the barn," and I've used, "The cake is in the oven."  Either way, the game plan is in and it is really a waiting game now.  For home games, we have our Shoot-A-Round at 2:00 PM (for a 7:00 PM tip off) followed by our pre-game meal at 3:00 PM.  We actually watched some video today at 1:00 before our Shoot-A-Round.  I thought our focus and energy level was excellent today but that doesn't always translate to success.  Still, as a coach, I know I'd rather go into a game with a good walk-through than not. 

For Shoot-A-Round, we break down into perimeters and posts and do game situation shooting for 15 minutes.  That is followed by offense and defense review.  Coach Brown will have one group going over defensive details for tonight's game and I will have another group going over our offensive game plane.  And then they will switch ends.  After that we take about 30 minutes to go over the game plan 5/5.  We usually finish with a little shooting.

Pre-game meal for a night game is going to consist primarily of salad, chicken, potatoes and pasta.  The food's always great.  Kim Boes is our Director of Basketball Operations and is one of the best in the business.  It is amazing the amount of responsibility that rest on the shoulders of a DOBO but you'd never know it here.  Kim runs things in such a way that they are seamless.  I'm sure it is a high stress level for her along with a great deal of work, but like the great DOBOs in the business, she never lets the staff or players know.

I'm in the office now with a little jazz playing and actually pulling stats and a roster to do some preliminary work on my next scout which is SMU.  I have to stay busy right now.



9:18 AM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
Game Day -- when the game is tipped off in the evening -- makes for the longest day for a coach.  While there is still measures of preparation to be made, you wake up with anxiety to play.  People always ask me if I'm "nervous" on game day and my answer is always "No, but I am anxious."  Game day tends to be a little more quieter than most.  Not as much traffic in the office.  This morning I am going through some clips on our opponent tonight as we will watch a little more tape today at 1:00 followed by our 2:00 Walk Through.  It will also be a good time to get some paper work done.  I have a fairly high stack of vouchers to turn in for recruiting travel I've made recently.  I will also knock out a few recruiting notes and get them in the mail.  There's a ton of stuff not related to the game tonight that will get done today -- all those things in coaching that the common fan doesn't realize has to be done. 

But all the time I'll be watch the clock.

8:01 AM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
I've got to take some time out today to congratulate our men's team on their great win over Memphis last night.  I think I'll quote John Denton from Knights Insider when he wrote: "This was a snapshot moment that will forever be etched into the history of UCF basketball - the Knights showing grit and resolve down the stretch, finding a way to finally beat Memphis in the closing seconds and then celebrating with a joyous fanbase that had stormed the court."

I've been blessed in my career on the women's side (as well as the men) to work with other staffs that have not only been cooperative but mutually respected each other and the difficult jobs we have in coaching on the collegiate level.  I've had a few instances where the group on the other side were completely disrespectful of our efforts and were less than cooperative.  At UCF the two staffs share offices on the same floor -- in fact you come through the same door to get to both programs.  Both staff's care greatly about the other and openly cheer for each other.  It's a wonderful environment and there will be two staff's happy today about the big victory last night!

6:45 AM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
Morning readings are done.  Our thought for today is “What you want to do, and what you can do, is limited only by what you can dream.” -Mike Melville.

The passage from The Maxwell Daily Reader today is what John Maxwell refers to as the 30-Second Rule.  Summarized it means take thirty seconds with each person you meet today to add value to them.

6:08 AM (Thursday) January 19, 2012
Game Day! Play until the whisle blows!

4:20 PM (Wednesday) January 18, 2012
Watching more tape on Rice -- as a coach you always feel you can watch a little more -- hopefully pick up one little thing that might help.  But I think I'll take a break to let you know where the overload of change in my draw goes.  I posted a picture yesterday to show that my drawer runneth over with loose change (you can scroll down and see the picture and read the little blurb).

For years I have let change pile up in my drawer and then gather it and pass it on to a child -- usually a child of someone in our basketball family.  The past few years that recipient has been Riley Braud who is the daughter of two of my dearest friends in Baton Rouge, Renee' and Stan Braud.  Even now I gather the change and mail it to Riley back at her home in Baton Rouge.  I once gave Riley a huge piggy bank as a gift and just assumed that she was dropping the coins in there.

Then, as Paul Harvey would say, I learned the rest of the story.

I asked Renee' how much money Riley had shoved in her piggy bank.  She explained that they would take Riley to the bank and deposit some in a savings account created for her and the rest was up to her on how she spent it.  Even they were surprised when they found out that Riley took every additional penny to school with her and put it in a big container where the school kids could make donations to other children in need!  Every additional penny!  She saved none for herself or bought herself anything! Poor thing was robbing her own piggy bank for the poor -- LOL! 

Last fall, Chico Garcia, a former LSU cheerleader and current LSU cheerleading coach was in a horrible boating accident.  It has been an incredibly difficult road to recovery for him and his courage has inspired a lot of people in the Baton Rouge community.  When Riley found out, she decided that they should start collecting money to help Chico -- what a kid!  She even made a jar for her home so that her parents and two sisters and friends could pitch in!

You can read more about Chico's story here:

Of course she may have taken the donating thing to far -- actually stealing a $20 bill from her sister and placing it in the container - LOL! Mom and dad were able to fish it out and give it back to it's rightful owner.

Love me some Riley Boo!!!  Get ready Riley, got some change coming your way!

1:49 PM (Wednesday) January 18, 2012
Back from an extended lunch at Tailgaters, enjoying the conversation and catching up with a dear friend, Lynn Bria.  Lynn is the head coach at Stetson University and took time on her day off to watch us practice.  I always respect a coach that is constantly looking to learn.  Lynn could've easily stayed at home and relaxed today but instead chose to come visit with us.  Lynn and I are both natives of West Virginia -- both born in Charleston.  We both had the honor of working with Judy Southard at Marshall University (though at different times).  In fact, Judy refers to us as her son and daughter.  When I was at LSU, Lynn would often come stay at the house.  She was one of Coach Gunter's favorites.  So you could imagine that our lunch dealt with basketball and memories.

P.S.  If my wife is reading this blog, I had a salad!

12:30 PM (Wednesday) January 18, 2012
Preparation for our next game is complete in terms of practice though we will watch some more video tomorrow and have our Walk Thru segment.  One of the things that I think has a long term effect on the improvement of our players and their skill development is our Pre-Practice segment.  We start every day with anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes with Greg working with the post players and myself and Coach Fortune working with the perimeter players.  Let me start by saying that Greg is excellent working with the post players -- it's a clinic everyday...I hope that they understand the level of expertise that they are are getting down on that end. 

With our high number of turnovers, we continue to work on ball handling in parts of our pre-practice.  Today we utilized some overload principles where we work with more than one ball.  We started out doing some 2 Ball Stationary Dribbling In this segment we have a leader that takes them through a variety of dribbling maneuvers with each using two basketballs.  This allows them to utilize the strong and weak hand at the same time.  We have a leader that calls out a maneuver and the team must give an echo yell in return.  We do this for about two minutes.

video

From here we move to a drill we call the Alford Drill.  We actually got the base of the drill from a Steve Alford drill video many years ago.  You start at half-court and dribble to the corner then to the lane, the elbow, back to the baseline, the corner and finish at the other side of half-court.  To make the drill more challenging we added some cones down the sideline and have them utilizing two basketballs.  Sometimes we will do this drill in a slow, controlled fashion and at other times we want them pushing the ball through as quickly as possible.

video
We finished up our disadvantage work with 2/0 w/2 Balls.  In this drill we partner them up with each set having a tennis ball and a heavy trainer ball.  We want them down in their stance making a one-handed push passes.  It the coach calls "change" they must instantly go from making the right-hand pass to the left-hand pass.  They should also be calling out the name of the person they are passing to.
video


9:14 AM (Wednesday) January 18, 2012
Out of a great meeting with Greg to design our practice this morning.  It might be my favorite part of the day.  I really enjoyed putting a practice plan together and it's magnified doing it with Greg and talking about the game and what we need to teach.

We strongly believe that the structure and organization of a practice session is without a doubt the biggest determinant for the success or lack of success of our team. We tell our team that our practice time will strongly lay the ground work for the kind of season we can expect to have.

What we do, how well we do it and our total approach to practice, both mentally and physically, will greatly enhance or hinder our ability to reach the goals of our program. There are several aspects to our practice program that must be addressed. They are preparation, teaching structure, repetition, teaching emphasis, overload drills, emphasis of the day, practice outline, practice statistics and practice video.

So, as with a game plan, the key is to now go out and execute the plan!


6:36 AM (Wednesday) January 18, 2012
The "Thought for the Day" is posted.  I actually read it last night from Ken Rohlf's book "Your Greatest Victory."  The quote is from Satchel Paige: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"  One of the benefits of coaching is that I think it keeps you feeling younger than you really are -- from working with young people.  It's also your attitude -- a state of mind.

As for my passage today from the Maxwell Daily Reader, it makes the point that we must take time to understand people.  As John Maxwell points out "Becoming a highly relational person brings individual and team success."

Have a great day everyone!

6:12 AM (Wednesday) January 18,2012
When Greg and I sat out to put together this week long diary, we were excited about what we could share with our readers.  We said from the beginning that we wanted to be transparent and try to give everyone and inside look as to what it looks like to be a college coach for a week -- at least the two of us.  However, transparency has reared it's ugly head and bit me in the butt.  Little did I know that my wife read the blog -- especially the meals.  Needless to say Pop-tarts and Pepsi Max for breakfast and the "mile-long hoagie with chips" for lunch wasn't cutting it at the Starkey home.  The result?  Well you can see it.  Aquafina water with Crystal Light and an Adkins Bar!  The "Summer of George" for me is over!

9:08 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012

Home early -- mother-in-law safely in tow and have some time for a little reading.  Really looking forward to pouring into "Your Greatest Victory" tonight.  The book was written by my friend Ken Rohlf who put an amazing amount of time and energy into this project.  I promise you when the diary closes up on Sunday you can expect some blog post from this book!

7:18 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Heading out a little earlier than usual -- but have to head to the airport to pick up the mother-in-law.  I can imagine there are a few snickers out there but the truth is, I've got a great mother-in-law!  Great father-in-law as well.  With it being in-season I won't have much time to spend with her this week but always love for her to visit.


One more thing, when reaching into my drawer for my car keys I came across an overflow of change.  It's actually a common occurrence -- I take the change from my pocket or my backpack and throw it in the drawer -- been doing it for sometime.  You may think this is a pretty boring entry but check back tomorrow and I'll share a great story about a great kid and where the money ends up going! 



7:01 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Well, I've finalized our complete Rice Scouting Clips for tomorrow...we showed some key clips today before practice and will watch the rest tomorrow before practice.  I've said it before but I really enjoy watching (and more importantly) studying tape.  Of course it helps your team but it's a great way to learn about the game. There are some base parts to the game of basketball but a variety of ways to achieve them and you can learn this from video.  I also love watching a good player or a good team play -- until it hits me that we have to compete against them!


4:41 PM (Tuesday) January 17. 2012
Obviously spilling out from his standing me up for lunch, Greg and I nearly came to blows when arguing the merits of our individual writing pens -- no doubt Coach Meyer would be proud of us taking a stand.  It started with one of our associates Brett Fink announced he was making a run to Office Max (notice how we name drop brands like an episode of Seinfield).  Greg wanted to know what pen I was ordering so I took one of mine in for him to sample.  After scribbling a little he looks to Brett and says, "If you can't find mine and I'll take these."  You know what I mean -- like he would be settling for my pen if his weren't available.  For those keeping score it's a Pentel Energel -- medium tip -- great writing tool.  I think Greg is dipping a feather in a well of ink.

3:18 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Just got back from a good meal at Tailgaters which is yet another restaurant located across the street from our office.  For the second day in a row Coach Brown has stood me up and I've been forced to eat alone.  I mean George wouldn't stand up Jerry -- and in this equation Coach Brown must be George!  Obviously we have issues that must be ironed out.  Some good wings -- though not to the level of Sammy's in Baton Rouge -- and it's time to knock out a few more clips for our Rice scouting video.

2:29 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012


12:54 PM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Practice is done for today -- on the court.  When you practice in preparation for your next opponent you replay parts of practice all day.  You are not only thinking about how strong your game plan is, but how strong is your back up plan.  I think it's critical as a basketball coach to make sure that you have the best plan available for your team but you have to know that any time you play a good team or in a game of importance things are going to happen where you have to have another means to succeed.  It might mean a different substitution pattern because of an injury...it might mean that your opponent throws something out there you haven't seen before...or it could mean that something you are doing isn't working as you had thought.

Possibly you are trapping ball screens but they are making great reads and slipping to the rim and working the ball inside -- you'd better have another way of defending ball screens that you've work on.  The best basketball systems that I've been a part of or have observed have one thing in common -- flexibility in their system.

9:45 AM (Tuesday) Janaury 17, 2012
Time to head to practice...will start with some film first in our film room and then look for some carry over on the court.  Our team has had great physical energy the past two weeks -- we need to make sure we match it mentally as we put our game plan in.  Here is our player passout for the day (click to make it larger):


8:01 AM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Off to a good start this morning...Pepsi Max and vitamins starting to take effect!  Just posted the Thought For Today: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” -Epictetus

Ironically I opened my Maxwell Daily Reader and today's passage was also about communication.  I loved this quote Maxwell had in there from Coach Bill Walsh: "Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise, and nothing is more lame than a cookie-cutter compliment."  Perfect thought for me to take in to practice.

Also just finished a 30 minute film session with Greg to go some key points for practice today in regard to our game plan for Rice.  Rice has some key areas that we need to make a few adjustments for and those will begin today with about 10 minutes of film before practice and then taking those adjustments to the practice floor.

6:40 AM (Tuesday) January 17, 2012
Made it in to work safely this morning -- no easy task thanks to my lack of discipline.  You see one of my absolute worse habits of driving is pushing my vehicle to brink of an empty gas tank -- I do it all the time.  So far it hasn't bit me in the butt but this morning I had to have come extremely close.  The needle was on the left hand side of E!  The gas station is literally 1/4 of a mile from the arena so I had a tension-filled drive.  But the ole Jeep made it...pull in and got her some fuel -- me too (Pop-tart and Pepsi Max).  One thing's for sure -- I know Kramer would be proud!!! Looking forward to another great day of being a coach!

8:35 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Majority of tape is done...have poured through six games now and ready to put scout clips in order.  We will actually watch two segments of Rice's game tomorrow before practice and watch the rest of the scout clips Wednesday before practice.  Tomorrow we want to work specific on some key areas of importance that will take two days of preparation. 

Ready to head out the door and walk into two of our players, Sarah Green and Bryeasha Blair, heading to the practice gym to get some shots in -- going home smiling for the second night in a row!!!

7:14 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Just took a 30 minute break to spend some time with J.P. Clark of the UCF Men's Basketball staff -- love this guy!  He's one of those young coaches that you know are going to be special one day.  He has tons of energy and enthusiasm, cares about the game and it's history, and has a tireless work ethic -- not sure he ever goes home.  He also is helping spearhead the Coaching U Live Newsletter.  He was sharing with me all the people on board and the various concepts they will use to help get great information out to coaches on all levels.  They have a tremendous vision that includes technology that will best assist us all to become better teachers.  The first newsletter comes out on Wednesday -- I can guarantee you I signed up and I find it hard to believe that anyone coaching wouldn't.  It's free information from some of the great minds in the game.  I also wouldn't hesitate if I coached a sport other than basketball.  Teaching is teaching and they are going to share information on that as well as organization, motivation and much more.  If you haven't signed up yet, here's the link:


5:30 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Still pouring over tape on Rice to prepare our game plan.  Just finished a meeting with Coach Williams and Coach Brown talking about things we need to work on in practice this week to implement how we want to attack.  Today was our NCAA mandatory day off for our team.  I love the rule.  I think it is great that student-athletes get an entire day away from practice, weights, meetings and everything else and can relax and just be students on campus.  Today they got a double bonus with it being a holiday and they got a day off from being a student as well (though we certainly hope they found time to do some studying).  The day off is also great for our staff.  It gives us a great opportunity to prepare and get caught up in the office in a variety of areas.  During conference play, with us playing on Thursday and Sunday, our day off comes on Monday -- the perfect day to plan out the week.  Well, I still have about two more hours of tape to go through so back to work!

5:03 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Just got back from a run to the yogart shop located right beside Jimmy John's.  Litterly 45 seconds from my desk.  There are so many neat places right here connected
http://youtu.be/NIr6v5LYPdc


1:23 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Stood up by Greg for lunch today (he had a business lunch to attend) but still made it to our primary lunch location - Jimmy John's.  If you go to eat with Greg, he's going to ask you what your "go-to" is?  You know, like a player has a "go-to" move when she has to score, what is your "go-to" order when you have to beat back starvation.  The funny thing is I really do have a "go-to" at restaurants.  Unlike my wife who needs time to read the menu and orders something different each trip.

For me at Jimmy John's, the "go-to" is the Bootlegger -- or ole #14 if you want to get the order through a bit quicker (hold the tomatoes please).  Jimmy John's is perfect for us because it is actually built into our arena.  We can walk to it in about 45 seconds.  They turn out the order quick and we are back in the office in 30 minutes.  As coaches we are always looking for speed aren't we. 

And of course, being on the UCF Campus there is always a view...the photo below comes from the booth at Jimmy John's!


12:46 PM (Monday) January 16, 2012


11:51 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
It seems I rely a lot on things I've learned from my mentors -- good thing I've had some great ones.  At LSU, I learned a great deal from Skip Bertman who really went out of his way to teach me to be a better coach.  One of the key points he would try to get across to all coaches was to understand the importance of EVERYONE in the department. He would say, "at some point, each person in the department will be the absolute most important person at some crucial time."  He would give examples of ticket takers, custodians, maintenance workers, and everyone else that keeps the team moving forward.

At this very moment, Khalilah Mitchell is the most important person in the UCF women's basketball program.  She has a ton of responsibilities including the operation of our XOS Video Editing system.  30 minutes ago I encountered a problem that I was unable to solve and so I desperately needed Khalilah to solve it.

Of course Khalilah holds a special place in my heart.  She also played for me at LSU for five years.  In fact, the Lady Tigers made it to the Final Four all five years she played.  She had great enthusiasm and a wonderful work ethic and she has brought those things to her professional life -- glad she's still on my team!


10:45 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
As my junior high coach and mentor Allen Osborne would say, I needed to "pause for the cause."  The cause was to have a conversation with a former player.  Two other mentors in my past Dale Brown and Sue Gunter had a policy that they not only shared but demanded of their staff as well and that was to drop everything when a player or former player came by or called.  To them it is about relationships first!

The former player in this case was Temeka Johnson.  She is currently playing in Russia so our communication was direct message through Twitter at first and then via email.  I'm proud at this point of my career to be on Temeka's HOPE Foundation Board of Director's.  Her foundation has done some incredible things.  For instance, Temeka wrote a book a year ago titled "Decisions, Decisions, Decisions."  It's a children's book that got rave reviews and sold at an amazing rate.  The proceeds go to a scholarship in her late-grandmother's name.  Ms. Mae (as she was to me) was a teacher and an educator so Meek has started the scholarship for those majoring in Education.  The reason for our conversation today is that she wanted to email me the first draft of her second children's book to read -- which she did --- and I did.  It's going to be an amazing book.

I've said it over and over and over -- there's not a better day for a coach when they hear from a former player!

9:42 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Among many things that I have in common with Greg is a love for Seinfeld.  Both Greg and I are fanatics.  There's probably not a day that doesn't go by that something doesn't happen in our office, at practice or on the road that we can't relate back to a Seinfeld episode.  In fact, when Greg first came up with this idea and I asked him what would we be blogging about.  He laughed and said, "Nothing.  It will be a blog about nothing."


8:33 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
On to the next one!  Time to turn my attention to completing our scout on our next opponent, the Rice Owls.  At UCF, Greg and I handle the scouting.  We alternate the scouting assignments.  Greg had the Southern Miss scout from yesterday's game, I'll have the Rice scout for Thursday and then it will be Greg's turn again with Marshall this weekend.  We are fortunate to have all the technology you could need to breakdown video here at UCF.  Our program uses XOS which is utilized by a lot of NBA and WNBA teams as well as a lot of collegiate football and basketball teams.  It was the same program we used at LSU which made my transition seamless in that area.  Later I will take a break and talk about some of the things I'll be looking for as we breakdown video but for the rest of the morning I will be glued to this screen on the wall.


7:03 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you have probably already read my "Thought for the Day."

 “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
-Dr. Martin Luther King

I picked this "thought" for two reasons, with the first to honor the tremendous accomplishments of Dr. King.  Last night in the office I was having a conversation with one of our players, Racine Davis, and I was trying to point out to her the importance of learning and understanding history.  Maybe it's me, but it seems each class of players that I coach, become less interested in history.  Not just the dates -- but the people and what was accomplished, and how all these years later it has a great effect on them and their lives.

The second reason is that this particular quote by Dr. King speaks to servant leadership.  It is a concept that we preach to our team via the lessons both Greg and I have received from Coach Don Meyer.  If we can make this a permanent attitude, we will be great teammates -- on the court and off.

6:22 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
I would imagine all of you that goes to work have their morning traditions.  For me, the first thing I'm going to do when I get in the office is turn on my ITunes on my computer.  I love music.  You'll almost always hear music in my office and my car.  My next order of business will be to type my "Thought of the Day" which I do via Twitter and on my Facebook page as well. I then take a few minutes and read a daily passage from John Maxwell's "The Maxwell Daily Reader."  This morning's passage speaks about managing your attitude on a daily basis and how we must understand that we control our attitudes.  After than it is pretty much the same breakfast everyday -- Pepsi Max, Pop-tart and my vitamins.  I'm actually not sure of the effects on the body that comes from chasing vitamins down with a Pepsi Max but it's what I do.

5:31 AM (Monday) January 16, 2012
Why I don't need an alarm clock!!!
video

Each morning, beginning around 5:00 AM, I will feel a wet, cold nose on my face.  My dog Miles will be on the side of the bed trying to get my attention -- he's hungry!  It's amazing how his inner clock works.  I usually don't feed him until after I shower and shave which will put it closer to 5:30 but he obviously has figured out that the sooner he wakes me the sooner the process can begin.  If we can convince our team to pursue rebounds the way he pursues the food bowl, we will lead the NCAA in rebounding!

9:07 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
At least I thought I was on my way out!  Then I have a late night visitor -- senior Racine Davis.  This will fall under the category "Things That Make Coaches Smile."  Racine had come back up to our practice gym tonight to shoot some free throws on her own using The Gun.  We played today, it's Sunday, it's late, tomorrow's a holiday -- and she's up here working on her game.  I'll be smiling all the way home on that one!!!

But I also had an opportunity to talk to her about things other than basketball.  We spoke about Dr. King with the holiday tomorrow and I found out Racine will be walking in a parade in his honor.  We spoke about the appreciation of some of our basic human rights such as education and voting.  I greatly enjoy these conversations with our student-athletes because it allows me to know them on a more personal basis.  Racine is a special young woman that is going to do great things with her life.  I'm glad I got here to coach her before she graduates this spring.


8:58 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Well, I'm about to close it down here for the night and take it to house.  I love breaking down tape -- I know Greg does as well.  It makes a difference when you enjoy something that for others can be boring and tedious.  The perspective is that it is a great way to learn about your team and what can be better than something that can help them improve.  It's about attitude.  I love this quote from 4-time Super Bowl champ Joe Montana:

“For me, as soon as the game was over, win or lose, I focused on what I could learn from my actions in this game and take to the next game. I was ready then and there to throw myself into preparation for the next contest or following weekend, because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

It's obviously a great quote for players and certainly you hope players can obtain and sustain that attitude; but it's just as important for a coach as well.


8:18 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Here's an additional chart that we give to our staff in regard to turnovers...it has the same information as the first one but it is broke down in a different manner to give us quick glimpse at turnovers in regard to who, when, and where. (Click it to make it larger)

I'm a big believer in stats.  You don't have to stat what we do at UCF but find something important to your team's success and measure it.

#1 It allows you to measure what is important to you.

#2 Players are into stats -- so create one that will help you get their interest in an important part of your game.

One of the most important things I learned from Coach Don Meyer: "It's not what you teach, it's what you emphasize."  Stats help you emphasize what you believe to be important.

7:59 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Turnover Chart is completed.  Here is an old post where I talk about the Turnover Chart as well as some others that have been beneficial: http://bit.ly/n7UasE

This chart works for us because it gives great detail.  Instead of just looking at the box score and seeing a number of turnovers besides a player's name, we can tell what type of turnover it was as well as what phase of offense we were attempting to execute when the turnover occured.  Of course, this also comes with video clips for the players to see.  Not only does it help the player to understand areas of improvement that is needed but helps us as coaches as well.  As you can see by our chart today we had 17 turnovers and six of those came in our Press Offense phase.  Obviously we need to make sure we work on some press offense in the next few practices to clean up some of these mistakes.

You should be able to click on the chart to get a larger view.

7:12 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Believe it or not the most valuable thing in this photo might be the Pepsi Max.  I'm not a coffee drinker and need the "boost" from my soft drink!


6:06 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Just took a quick break from breaking down tape to send out a quick email to Gene Martin and Tyler Edwards who work in the UCF Athletic Marketing Department.  We've worked hard with these guys putting in a pro-reading campaign similar to the one we used at LSU.  Our UKnight For Education game was today and the result was a new single-game attendence record 2,178.  In the world of collegiate athletics there are so many important people that don't get the spotlight when they deserve it and I justed wanted to let Gene and Tyler know that we appreciate them and that when we find some time we will be showing our appreciating by taking them out to eat...THANKS GUYS!!!


5:28 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
Just finished a meeting with Coach Williams -- discussing her thoughts on the game as well as recruiting and what we needed to do in the next week.  If you are an assistant coach you will greatly appreciate this next comment: when your head coach is a quality person that cares about people and the game it makes the world you live in special!  We are lucky at UCF to have someone with Coach Williams' leadership and vision!

4:34 PM (Sunday) January 15, 2012
One of the first things I do after a game is figure out our Possession Evaluation Chart.  It is something we got years ago from Dean Smith and his North Carolina program. Here is a blog post I did sometime ago about it: http://bit.ly/zgvoRk

Here is what ours looked like today.  We need to be better offensively.  Turnovers really eat into your possession evaluation.  Defensively we certainly did a nice job with the exception of fouling too much as you can see by the Opponent's FT Possession number.  One thing that does standout however was the fact that we had 85 possessions to our opponents 77.  That comes from a combination of rebounding and taking care of the ball for both teams.

The thing that's important to understand about the Possession Evaluation Chart is that it tells you how efficient you are per possession.  If you play slow and have a low number of possessions you may not be as good defensively as your "points allowed" show.  It shows how many points you allow per possession...how many points you score per possession.  Same thing with turnovers.  If you have 100 possessions in a game and 14 turnovers, you are taking better care of the ball than a team that has 12 turnovers but only has 64 possessions.  Click on our chart today to enlarge it.

4:12 PM (Sunday) January 14, 2012
So let the week begin -- and what a great way to begin the week.  First, our team scored a hard-fought 65-47 C-USA victory over Southern Miss.  What made it special is that we set the single-game attendance record at UCF with 2,178 fans.  As our players signed autographs in the arena, our staff has made it back to the office and we are preparing for our post-game work.  For me, I will breakdown the tape from the offensive point of view.  There are a couple of charts that I will utilize including one for turnovers that I'll share with you when I'm done.  I'm sure Greg, who watches the defense will be utilizing his defensive rebounding chart.  Why are those two areas (turnovers and defensive rebounding) so important?  It's all about possessions.  Turn it over and you give up a possession.  Miss a blockout and you give up a possession.  I'll check in with you later.

2:41 PM (Saturday) January 14, 2012
I have the pleasure and great opportunity to work with Greg Brown on a daily basis. It is obviously a tremendous learning experience for me. The other day we were discussing “30 Days to a Championship,” the special blog I worked on with Jim Boone which was an inside look at how Jim approached his new job at West Virginia Wesleyan. We got a lot of positive feedback for it and Greg came up with the idea of us jointly doing one that would give readers an inside look at all that goes into college coaching — both professionally and personally.

One of the best books I’ve read is “Run to Daylight” by Vince Lombardi. It starts with Lombardi walking off the field of a Green Bay Packer victory and concludes with them playing their game the following week. In between is a week of thoughts from Lombardi on how he approached everything in preparation for that next game. You are literally with him each step he takes through the week.

So we are going to take you through all that goes on in our world as college basketball coaches. Now certainly you shouldn’t be sitting on the edge of your seat expecting profound philosophical thoughts as you would in Lombardi’s book (at least not from me). But hopefully it will give you some insight as to all that goes on.  We are going to take you through as much as we possibly can from the basketball aspect to even the parts of our personal life that we have to juggle through coaching.

As in “Run to Daylight” we will start posting following our game this Sunday (January 15) with Southern Mississippi. We will go through the week in which we have a home game with Rice and finish out the blog with our road game against Marshall on Sunday. It will be all that we’ll do this week. All our blogging will center around our life as a coach for an entire week.

Make sure you follow along with Greg as well at: http://ucfwbbthoughts.blogspot.com/

We hope you enjoy!