The first handout we gave to our team at the beginning of this season was on Coach K's "Next Play" mantra (you can see it at the bottom of this post). We spoke to them not only in terms of having a Next Play Mentality in games, but in practice, in class and in life. It was interesting to read Jay Bilas' thoughts on it in his book "Toughness." The Next Play Mentality is part of understanding that process is more important than results because it is the process that leads to the result. Here is what Bilas says about the Next Play:
When something happened in the game, positive or negative, we were conditioned by Coach K to immediately move on to the next play without concern over what had just taken place. If we committed a turnover or made a costly mistake, he did not want us to react to the error. If we lingered on the past play, perhaps we would miss an opportunity to get a stop or a steal or otherwise impact the game in a positive manner. Essentially,by not moving on to the next play immediately, we would be compounding that mistake, either by making another or by missing an opportunity to make a great play. Failing to move on to the next play was itself a mistake, because it took focus and concentration off of the current moment, the only point in time that we could do something positive to impact the game.
If we just reacted to the mistake by throwing up our hands, shaking our heads or cursing our failure, we would be making a bigger error -- one of omission.
For Krzyzewski, it is one of the best concepts in his coaching paradigm, and in his life. "By moving on to the next play, concentrating and trying to move to the next thing, you have a better chance to be your best at that moment," Krzyzewski said. "You have to be tough enough to move on, whether the last play was or crappy. It takes real mental toughness."