Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Another outstanding email newsletter from Coach Mitch Cole and the Aggie men's basketball staff.  I have so much respect for how hard these guys are working to build a program here.  If you haven't subscribed to their newsletter please do by emailing Coach Cole at: mcole@athletics.tamu.edu.

Here are some of the areas they covered in this past issue:

Lately we've been covering the topic of Team Building and Program Development. Some of the common problems of developing a Championship mentality we identified previously were:



After touching on Transition Defense and Communication, this week we will focus on developing a culture of DISCIPLINE with an emphasis on getting our players to excel in categories that don't get a lot of "press". At our level, younger players or those who have gotten away with being more talented than their opponents usually struggle in these areas.  So how do we develop DISCIPLINE in the skills that are not always recognized, but that we all know are crucial to success? 


It may be helpful to first identify the some of the most valuable, but under-appreciated skills that CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS seem to execute. We should then define each one and communicate their importance to our players. Consider the following non-stat sheet categories that won't get noticed in the box score:


1. SCREENING WITH INTENT- "Understand angles,  Be determined to get teammate open, Use legal technique, React to teammate's cut."

2. CUTTING WITH PURPOSE- "Cut to Score, Cut to get fouled or make the defense react, Cut to make another defender help. Cut with Violence!"

3. PASSING WITH PRECISION- "In drills, pass like you are being pressured, Use correct hand, Use appropriate type of pass, 5 on 0 Accountability."

4. KNOWLEDGE OF SYSTEM- "Understand terminology, Know at least 2 positions, Know the "Why" in your Offense, Can you help others learn?"

5. LEGIT ATTEMPTS AT OFF. REBOUNDS- "3-4-5 man should get 40% of our misses back, but at least "Touch" or get a hand on 50%".


1. HIGH/ ACTIVE HANDS- "Closeouts, Contesting Shots, Rebounding, Defending the Post, Block Vision of Passer"

2. DEFLECTIONS AND DISRUPTION- "Does someone hate to play against you? Make the offense uncomfortable.Win the deflection game" 

3. GETTING THROUGH SCREENS- "Have the toughness to NOT GET SCREENED. Have the IQ to anticipate the ACTION. Do your work early!"

4. BLOCK-OUTS- Coaches should make a big deal of this. Best blockout guys may not be leading rebounders. Give recognition each game.

5. 50/50 BALLS- Who is our best loose ball guy?. Coaches should be their BIGGEST cheerleader! Must be praised. Film clip to inspire team.

After identifying and communicating some of these to our team, what is the best way to hold players accountable to DO THEM!? Rewards, Incentives, Recognition and Punishments are ways most coaches get the message across. As with anything, its all about the "CONTEXT" we find ourselves in. 

 Talented and Experienced Teams

Some teams are talented and experienced and know these things are important,  but they can still win most games by talent alone. A team like this might need extra recognition in the locker room for players that excel in these areas. Everyone cheers for the scorer. But praising the "dirty work guys" might get even the most TALENTED players to see the value in these areas. If its an opponent we know we can beat, create goals that force our players to pay attention to these details. Despite winning the game, a more talented team should still try to achieve certain goals. (Deflections, Rebound Margin, Screening Accuracy, to name just a few)

Less Talented and Younger Teams

We as coaches know that a less talented team might struggle to score. We can't always control that. But what if our team's were masters at the "Non-Stat Sheet" Categories. We would at least give ourselves a chance to win games while establishing a strong culture for later in the season or the next. For a team like this, accountability might take the form of Rewards for the good, but also Punishment for failing to meet certain goals within the game. ("If we can't win the game, let's at least win the "game within the game" as they relate to the above categories.) Build on the positives, work to eliminate the negatives.

Two categories every team could strive to eliminate are: 1. "Careless" Turnovers  2. "Non" Blockouts. Sprints the next day either for individuals or the team can help eliminate these. Win or lose, if the players know that they will be held accountable if they continue to lose focus in these areas, positive strides can be made as the season progresses. 

What is your team's weakness? How do you drive home these important categories and get your guys to be disciplined in the "Non Stat Sheet" Skills of the game? What's your process?