One of my original mentors in the game of basketball is Marianne Stanley. During my early years of coaching I worked her summer basketball camps at Old Dominion. In fact, I was good for two weeks for about nine years in Norfolk. Marianne ran a great camp -- it was a teaching camp -- because she is first and foremost a teacher. She is one of the greats of our profession that have fought to get our game where it is now. That's why Sunday was such a special day as she came by to observe our practice. Marianne is currently an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics and is doing her homework for the upcoming draft.
She took the time to talk to our team about elements that go into taking your game to the next level and the word that came to the forefront is passion. You have to be passionate about your profession to excel in it.
She also took a few minutes to pass on a conversation she had had with Coach John Wooden. Many years ago she was asking Coach Wooden about what made Bill Walton such a great player.
"He didn't get bored with the repetition that you need to be great," replied Coach Wooden.
How many players are good but don't work at something long enough and hard enough to excel at it? The word Marianne used was "mastery." She said the great ones didn't mind the constant repetition because their goal was to master the parts of their game.