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Wednesday, March 20, 2013


A few days ago, I spent a good part of my tweets on some wise words from Pete Carril.  They come from his book "The Smart Take from the Strong."  Today I came across an old book review I did on the book and thought I'd share it.

An old school book by an old school coach. When one thinks of Pete Carril they obviously start with the Princeton Offense but it goes far beyond ball reversal to a back cut. Carril is someone who had been around the game on many levels from his dominance at an Ivy League school to taking his ability to teach in the NBA. He is a fundamentally sound coach that knows how to teach — and that is why he is respected on all levels.

This is a great book to read. Small in size but detailed in each paragraph. For the basketball purist it is a book that is simply impossible to put down. Carril shares his philosophy and holds no punches. Regardless of your system of play, this book is a must to own. You will be a better coach for reading it along with finding a great number of passages that you can share with your team.

Here are just a few words of wisdom we took from Coach Carril:

“Whenever two players or teams of equal ability play, the one with the greater courage and intelligence will win.”

“A very important part of my life is teaching. At some big-time basketball universities, the emphasis is on recruiting: ‘Let’s get a coach who can bring in talent.’ For me, the basic things has to be teaching.”

“When you teach basketball, it has its technical parts and its life parts. It has to be that way because it’s played by humans.”

“What you must realize is that you cannot coach without factoring in the human equation.”

“I take a look at a basketball player who’s got some innocence in his face, with eyes that are telling me he wants to be good and wants me to help him — that turns me on.”

“Three factors influence your behavior. One is the way you think about something. Two is that what you see is affected by the way you think. And three is that what you see affects what you do.”

"I believe you have to teach the whole...teach the specific skill.”
  “Overemphasizing winning is bad, but singling out winning as the most important thing you do is good, and you should do everything you can to prepare so you can win. Winning is the only objective measure for a team; all the rest is subjective.”
“Two words to avoid in teaching are “always” and “never.” There is nothing that happens a certain way 100 percent of the time.”

“Flexibility is the key.”

“A coach’s job is to put his team where it can function effectively and win. That’s more true with older kids where habits are well established than with younger kids, where the coach has to work on teaching them the fundamentals and how to develop the right habits. His other main job is to make each player better than the man he is playing against.”

“It’s in the best interest of a coach to make sure he is not spending three hours a day practicing things that don’t happen very much.”

“Our later offense wasn’t slow; it was judicious.”

“I want things to go right all the time every day. Winning is in the details.”

“The coach has to make sure that he is watching, and that he corrects every mistake, and doesn’t take any shortcuts.”

“Whatever you emphasize and to the degree that you do, you get better at it.”

“It’s results that count, and they should determine your principles.”

“It is a mistake we all make as coaches to think that there is only one way of doing something. There is not. Whatever works works.”

“When you explain a point to player X, the other players should listen so that they know about that point as well. There’s a tendency for players to believe that because the coach is talking to someone else, they don’t have to listen.”

“Wherever fast players go, they always get there faster than slower players.”

“As a player, you want to be good at those things that happen a lot — that cannot be overstated.”

How good is this book? The preceding passages were all taken from the first 33 pages of the book. Trust us...there is so much more on the next 170 pages — this is a must have book!