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Sunday, June 30, 2013

CREATING A "HAPPIER" TEAM

The following is part of a post at the Harvard Business Review written by Susan David.  You can read the entire post here.  I think creating a happy organization is a key to reaching your potential.  This doesn't mean that your program is void of intensity or having a sense of urgency.  But I do think if you team members are happy, they will accept and understand coaching and teaching at a higher level.  Here is what Susan wrote:

So how can leaders create happier organizations?
 
Perhaps the first step is to clarify what we mean by "happy". Psychologists typically identify happiness by three distinct pathways. The first is the pleasant life, which involves positive experiences including contentment, hope, and sensory enjoyment. This kind of well-being is often referred to as hedonia, based on the Greek term for pleasure. The second is the engaged life, or eudaimonia. The ancient Greeks believed in a "daimon", or guardian spirit, that would guide you toward your destiny; the word also means genius. The engaged life thus refers to a person's ability to deploy his personal genius — to use his unique strengths and talents in a way that engages and absorbs him. The third pathway is the meaningful life, which relates to the desire to be part of something bigger than oneself — to belong and contribute to an institution that has purpose.
All three of these pathways — pleasure, engagement, and meaning — are important. And business leaders can use this knowledge to ask some important questions about their organizations:
  • Do my employees enjoy their relationships and their environment at work?
  • Do they laugh?
  • Are my people in the right roles — ones that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenge?
  • Do they get to use their genius?
  • Do they understand the purpose of the organization?
  • Do they feel they're a part of something that matters?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

BRIAN TRACY: CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

I came across this in some of my "Brian Tracy Files" of information that I've compiled over the years.  There is so much talk these days in athletics about creating a "personal brand" that I thought this would prove interesting.  While it is most obvious in regard to individual athletes, it can also relate to us as coaches as well as to our teams and programs.  What does our brand/team say to our fans...to the media...to the alums...to recruits?

Here are some thoughts from Brian Tracy:

Just as surely as building a powerful brand is the key to differentiating a product in the marketplace and thus building a successful business, so creating a strong personal brand is the key to differentiating yourself from your competitors, thereby ensuring your own success as well as that of your business.  Your personal brand determines how people respond to you, whether they listen to you, buy from you, how much they buy, what they are willing to pay, and so one.

Promises You Make
Your personal brand makes a promise: “If you buy from me, you will receive a specific value in return.” This promised value will be born from the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes by which you become known. For example, you may want to create a personal image—a brand—of a person who always operates at a high level of integrity, consistently walks the talk, is an exemplary leader, and goes the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. Who is your ideal customer? What values, virtues, qualities, and attributes will he be looking for in a supplier of your product? Do you match this profile? If not, do you have a burning desire to be this kind of person? These are the key questions you must ask yourself when beginning to build your personal brand.
 
Promises You Keep
Unmet expectations are the arch enemy of any relationship. This is no less true in the relationship between you and your customers. Your brand as a person is determined in large part by whether you consistently deliver on your promises. Do you keep your word? Do you follow up? Do your words and actions match with the image you want to create—that is, with the values, virtues, qualities, and attributes you claim as your own? Constantly examine your behavior. When you slip, resolve to get back on track. To build and sustain a powerful personal brand, your message must be an accurate reflection on you, the messenger.

The Whole Package
Pay close attention to your entire image. Of course, your character is of paramount importance. But you make an impact on people in other ways as well. Your appearance—the clothes you wear, your personal grooming, your posture—has an enormous emotional impact on how other people see you, think about you, and relate to you. Your attitude is vital. If you are genuinely pleasant and cheerful in your interaction with others, they will enjoy being with you. They will be more inclined to trust you and do business with you.

Overall Behavior
Your overall behavior strongly influences the impressions others have on you. Be punctual for meetings and appointments. Be absolutely reliable, always keeping your word and your commitments. Should you fail in this area, communicate with the other person as quickly as possible, offering your apology, explanation, and assurance that it will not happen again. Pay close attention to the quality of your work. In the long run, there is nothing that will so determine your success in building and sustaining a powerful personal brand as turning out high-quality work, over and over again, and over a long period of time.

Action Exercise
What words do people use when describing you? What words do you want people to use when describing you?

 


 

THE BEAR AND A LESSON IN HUMAN RELATIONS

Coach Don Meyer loves to tell this story.  It's one that Bear Bryant told from time to time to his booster clubs.  It is also the essence of recruiting -- relationships.  We shared some thoughts on character in a recent blog -- defining as who you are when no one is watching.  It can be also defined as how you treat people when you don't believe there is no benefit involved for yourself.  Here is the story that Coach Meyer likes to tell:

I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin’ trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said, “Restaurant.”  I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I’m the only white ‘fella’ in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit. A big ole man in a t-shirt and cap comes over and says, “What do you need?”  I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today?  He says, “You probably won’t like it here, today we’re having chitlins, collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I’ll bet you don’t even know what chitlins are, do you?”  I looked him square in the eye and said, “I’m from Arkansas, I’ve probably eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I’m in the right place.”  They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate. When he comes back he says, “You ain’t from around here then?”  And I explain that I’m the new football coach in Tuscaloosa at the University and I’m here to find whatever the boy’s name was and he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach. As I’m paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip, not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay.  The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show that I’d been there. I was so new that I didn’t have any yet. It really wasn’t that big of a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I’d get him one.

I met the kid I was lookin’ for later that afternoon and I don’t remember his name, but do remember I didn’t think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.

When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn’t forget it. Heck, back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. And the next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, “Thanks for the best lunch I’ve ever had, Paul Bear Bryant.”

Now let’s go a whole ‘buncha’ years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I’m back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. He’s got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he’s got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on to see some others while I’m down there. Two days later, I’m in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it’s this kid who just turned me down, and he says, “Coach, do you still want me at Alabama?”  And I said, “Yes I sure do.”  And he says o.k. He’ll come. So I say, “Well son, what changed your mind?”  And he said, “When my Grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn’t going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn’t playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since ya’ll met.”  Well, I didn’t know his granddad from Adam’s housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, “You probably don’t remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he’s had hung in that place ever since. That picture’s his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him. My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to send that picture to him, but you kept your word, and to Grandpa, that’s everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I’m going to.”

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mamma taught me were always right. It don’t cost nuthin’ to be nice. It don’t cost nuthin’ to do the right thing most of the time and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin’ your word to someone. When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he’s still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn’t have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that would’ made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don’t think I didn’t leave some new ones for him too, along with a signed football. I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they’re out on the road. And if you remember anything else from me, remember this – it really doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable.

 



Friday, June 28, 2013

SIGN UP/GET BACK ISSUES OF MIKE NEIGHBORS' NEWSLETTERS

I love Mike Neighbor's commitment to grow our game and to help as many coaches as possibly.  Periodically he sends out a ton of information via email to anyone who wants it.  One more than one occasion I've shared his information encouraging everyone to sign up -- doesn't matter what level you coach -- males or females...in fact, regardless of sport there is pertinent information for all.

His most recent newsletter shared this -- not only can you obviously still sign up but he has gave you an opportunity to get any or all of the back issues (you have no idea how many it is -- TONS).  Here are Mike's directions:

If you are new to the group or have missed any of the weekly Newsletter shares, you can email me a jump drive with return postage paid envelopes  and I will fill it up with all the archives dating back to 1997.  I recommend packing in something other than normal, paper envelope.  We have had a few damaged pieces arrive as of late.  Send them to UW Women’s Basketball, 3910 Montlake Blvd. Box 354070  Seattle, WA 98195.  A 8 gig usually works but 16 gig is the best bet.

This is the best way to access all our groups shared information.  It is already organized by topic and you don’t have to do any downloading like from other cloud storage sites.

There are a number of files simply too large to share otherwise...entire Playbooks from teams, Power Point presentations from clinics, and collections of clinic notes.
 
If you are searching for something specific don’t hesitate to ask.  I am willing to share any of our archives. .  If you have archives put them on the jump drive you send me so that we can swap.  Like Don Meyer always taught “you can’t use all the good ideas you hear, but you can collect/share them”…
 
If you haven't signed up for Mike's email newsletter please email him at: uw-wbb-newsletter-bounces@mailman1.u.washington.edu and he will sign you up -- YOU CAN THANK ME LATER!

CHARACTER: A WORKING DEFINITION

This is the first of two parts on the subject of character with great thought from H.A. Dorfman from his outstanding book "Coaching The Mental Game."  Character is something that we as coaches must work to develop within our players and, just as with leadership, our best teaching tool is our example.  Our student athletes always have a watchful eye on all that we do.  It is hard to teach and expect character from our players if we don't first demand it of ourselves.

I once worked with an individual who would always talk about the reason he loved golf was because it taught and displayed "character."  I disagree.  A perfect case in point would be Tiger Woods and a period where he dominated his sport like no athlete in any other sport at any time.  Yet privately he obviously was a very flawed person character wise.  I would submit that when Tiger drops an amazing putt it displays simply that he is an excellent putter -- has a great work ethic and a keen ability to concentrate.  All our admiral traits for those that want to excell.  But there are golfers that may never wear a green jacket or be known to many that can have the highest of character -- and it has nothing to do with the fact that they play golf.

Here are some of Dorfman's thoughts:

"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out." -Thomas McCauley

You identify yourself by what you do when no one is watching.  The supervised athlete may by the hardest worker, the most selfless and responsible competitor.  But how he practices when no one see him, how he interacts with teammates when the coach is not within listening distance -- that's when he defines himself.  His character.

Theodore Roosevelt extended the definition to self-awareness and independent self-evaluation, saying, "I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do.  That is character!"

Vince Lombardi: "Character is not inherited; it is something that be, and needs to be, build and disciplined."

The first step in teaching character is to define it for the athlete.  The Greek word character means "impression."  But the Greek philosopher Aristotle had a more useful definition: "Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the things a man chooses and avoids."  Motive and choices.  Character, then, is the relationship between what a person does, what he doesn't do -- and the reasons behind his choices.

The coach is in position to influence the athlete's character dramatically.  The coach's desire and ability to represent the best philosophical and behavioral model -- and, as an educator, to stamp them on the athlete's character, go far in the reshaping.

Philosopher Martin Buber has said that "in this realm of education of character, of wholeness, there is only one access to the pupil: his confidence.  His confidence and trust in the coach, in this case.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NEW BLOG TO PROMOTE COACHING CLINICS


As we continue to look for ways to help and service coaches, we have come up with a blog to promote coaching clinics -- www.HoopClinics.Blogspot.com.  The primary responsibility for getting a clinic posted will rely with those who are hosting the clinic.  All you have to do is email all your information to rstarkey@athletics.tamu.edu and we will be glad to post it on this blog.  If you have a link, provide that and we will include that as well.  If you know of a clinic that isn't listed, please let us know and we will do our best to locate the information and post it here for all to see.  As my friend Mike Neighbors is constantly reminding us -- "GROW THE GAME!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FLUSH THE PAST, PLAY IN THE PRESENT

In 2004, Ken Ravizza, renowned sports psychologist, installed a miniature toilet in the Cal State Fullerton dugout so players could mentally flush their mistakes. The team was 15-16 before the toilet and 32-6 after. The Titans won the College World Series that year.

Baseball, it's often said, is a game of failure. The best hitters fail at least 60 percent of the time. The best pitchers still give up towering home runs. Keeping past failures from creeping into the present is what Ravizza's approach is all about.

"It's about being where you need to be when you need to be there," he said. "It's about getting to the next pitch. Confidence isn't swagger. Confidence is being prepared to win the next pitch. Swagger is overrated. You're not that crappy where you have to have swagger. Be ready for the next pitch."

From an article by Mark Saxon for ESPN.com

UNIVERSITY OF DALLAS BASKETBALL: TEAM EXPECATIONS (OFF THE FLOOR)

1. COMMUNICATE with teammates and coaches.  Meet expectations and deadlines set for apparently minor things.

2. Be on time (that means early!)

3. Avoid time conflicts.

4. Communicate time conflicts.

5. Represent yourself, the program, and the University well -- act with maturity.

6. Take care of your academic responsibilities.  Make sure to communicate well with your professors.  Ask for permission in a timely manner to miss class when there are travel conflicts (in person, not via email).

7. Greet and introduce yourself to visitors at practice or in the basketball office.

8. Be especially considerate of athletic department support staff, both at home and on the road.

9. Be considerate of those providing services when traveling, i.e. hotel staff, bus drivers, servers, flight attendants.  "Please" and "Thank you" go a long way!

10. Clean up after yourself at home (locker room, meeting spaces, bench) or when on the road (buses, hotels, restaurants).  Leave it better than you found it.

11. Dress Appropriately -- Ask yourself, "Is this the ME, that I want them to see?"

12. Be responsible for issued equipment -- you will be accountable for damaged or lost items.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ASSISTANT COACHES: GROW FROM YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

I often have the opportunity to talk to young, aspiring coaches about our profession.  They always want to know about the X & O's and game strategy....and certainly that's important.  But the best coaches are the ones that jump into it an early age and work as hard as they can at any and all responsibilities passed on to them.  As Coach Don Meyer would say, you have to be able to "suck some scum."  But beyond accepting all jobs that are passed your way, what is your attitude in regard to the areas of responsibility you have?

Below are a couple of passages from "Wins, Losses, and Lessons" by Lou Holtz.  I loved his attitude in the various jobs that he performed as an assistant coach -- how he made sure that he used each as an opportunity to grow as a coach:

Scouting gave me a chance to learn more about planning and preparation, and to observe some of the finest coaches in the country at work. I got to observe their offenses, defenses, and special teams and, equally important, had to determine why they ran the plays they did. It became obvious to me by scouting that there are a lot of ways to win and succeed. Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama and Coach Charles McClendon at LSU were different, but the one thing all great teams had in common was that they blocked and tackled very well. They executed the fundamentals of the game. This made me all the more determined to be the best teacher of fundamentals in the country.
I also learned a lot from handling our players’ academics. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. There is no more rewarding feeling that I have experienced as a coach than to help a player graduate.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

THE BENEFITS OF A JOURNAL

One of my must-follows on twitter is Michael Hyatt (I'm one of many as he has 190,000 followers).  Another weekly stop for me is his website/blog which has quality material on leadership, time management and productivity.  Recently he blogged about the benefits of keeping a journal.  I have long kept a journal based on the merits shared with me by Coach Don Meyer.  Coach Meyer would explain that it's not a diary.  You're not jotting down what you did.  You are writing down what you learned -- it's about significance.  I think those who already keep a journal or are interested in doing so will enjoy the merits listed by Hyatt. You can read his entire post this subject here.

Process previous events. What happens to me is not as important as the meaning I assign to what happens to me. Journaling helps me sort through my experience and be intentional about my interpretation.

Clarify my thinking. Writing in general helps me disentangle my thoughts. Journaling takes it to a new level. Because I am not performing in front of a “live audience,” so to speak, I can really wrestle through the issues.

Understand the context. Life is often happening so quickly I usually have little time to stop and reflect on where I am in the Bigger Story. Journaling helps me to discern the difference between the forest and the trees.

Notice my feelings. I understand feelings aren’t everything, but they also aren’t nothing. The older I get, the more I try to pay attention to them. They are often an early indicator of something brewing.

Connect with my heart. I’m not sure I can really explain this one, but journaling has helped me monitor the condition of my heart. Solomon said “above all else” we are to guard it (see Proverbs 4:23). It’s hard to do that when you lose touch with it.

Record significant lessons. I’m a better student when I am taking notes. Writing things down leads to even deeper understanding and, I hope, wisdom. I want to write down what I learn, so I don’t have to re-learn it later.

Ask important questions. A journal is not merely a repository for the lessons I am learning but also the questions I’m asking. If there’s one thing I have discovered, it’s the quality of my questions determine the quality of my answers.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM TIM DUNCAN

The following is an article written by Scott Williams for www.BigIsTheNewSmall.com:

Well the NBA Finals wrapped up with the unlikely San Antonio Spurs missing the opportunity to win their 5th title. I say unlikely because everyone including them Heat themselves had pretty much crowned the Miami Heat as the 2013 NBA Champions before the season even started. Well, the Heat were tested throughout the playoffs and passed every test, even the test of the well-coached Spurs.

Even though the Spurs lost and Duncan missed a point blank shot, he will go down as one of the greatest NBA Superstars ever. Not to mention a SuperStar who shined bright like a diamond while staying outside of the spotlight. Here are 10 Leadership Lessons From Tim Duncan’s Career.

1. Substance Over Style – Looking good is great, performing great is better. Duncan doesn’t win the style contest, but he is a straight up winner.

2. Greatness Is Appreciated More When It’s Gone – Tim Duncan’s Game, Career and Place in history won’t be appreciated until he’s retired and gone.

3. Great Leaders Know When To Defer – Duncan has admittedly turned the team over to Tony Parker, which has extended his career and allowed him to continue his greatness.

4. You Can’t Care What People Think – Duncan doesn’t get the commercials, the shoes, the endorsements… He just gets the trophies. Duncan could care less what people think about his personality or lack there of, all he does is win.

5. Classy over Sassy – Tim Duncan is one of the classiest players in the NBA. It’s hard not to like classy… when in doubt, keep it classy.

6. Quietly Be The Best At What You Do – Tim Duncan will quietly go down as one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. Period, the end.

7. Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last – Nice guys finish wherever they want to finish, Duncan is nice and he doesn’t finish last.

8. Get Better With Age – They say some things get better with age, great leaders get better, lead better, play better and make better decisions with age. Duncan seems to get better the older that he gets.

9. Know How To Lead Up – Duncan plays for a tough coach and he’s one of the few players that knows how to lead up, talk to Popovich, how to handle him in the media and how to lead up. There is an art to leading up and Duncan figured it out.

10. Make Those Around You Better – Duncan makes his teammates, his coach, his city, his community and the NBA better.

Friday, June 21, 2013

GREG BROWN: OFFENSIVE THOUGHTS

The following our notes from the offensive portion of Greg Brown, head women's coach at Lipscomb University when he spoke at the Gary Blair Coaching Academy last summer:

1. Sprinting to screen emphasize--occupying our defender

2. Cutting hard to get basket cut first

3. Second cutters work to start first

4. Get our eyes off the ball--let the ball find us

5. Sureness with ball--Balls On Rack (variety of ways)

6. Can't teach conflicting habits

7. How can we get easy baskets?

8. Chart all turnovers from last season

9. Chart and track what you emphasize

10. Paint/ Lane Game--TPDCR

11. Passing is a Team Skill and one of the least practiced/ emphasized-->On time, On target/Right person, right place right time

 
 

THE PERFECT WORK ENVIRONMENT

"In my organizations I don’t have employees; I have teammates. Yes, I do pay people and offer them benefits. But people don’t work for me. They work with me. We are working together to fulfill the vision. Without them, I cannot succeed. Without me, they cannot succeed. We’re a team. We reach our goals together. We need each other. If we didn’t, then one of us is in the wrong place."

From "Leadership Gold" by John Maxwell

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

RIPKEN DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR WORK -- HE SHOWED UP TO WORK

I was organizing some things in my office (still actually unpacking some boxes from my last move) and came across some articles that I had printed off the computer to save and study.  One was on Cal Ripken, written by my friend Don Yaeger.  The message of the story will be obvious but is necessary to repeat -- especially for the modern day athletes.  But I thought there was a secondary story to it as well.  See if you can pick up on it and I tell you what I saw at the end.

"Setting an example is not the main means
of influencing others, it is the only means."

If Albert Einstein was right, Cal Ripken should have been a CEO or politician rather than a shortstop, because Ripken led by example over and over...and over again.

In the preface to his 2007 book "Get in the Game," Ripken tells about a conversation in the dugout during the 1998 All-Star Game.  Derek Jeter, now a perennial all-star for the New York Yankees, was playing in his first midsummer classic.  He leaned in to ask Ripken, "What's the secret of playing every day?  How do you do it?"

Ripken's answer to young Jeter was the same then as it has been for the last 11 years.  "You know Derek, I just...I just play."

As unspectacular as the answer might seem, Ripken says he's grown to realize he has to amend it a little.  "I didn't just show up for work, as has sometimes been said.  I also showed up to work."

The distinction, Ripken says, sitting in the offices of his baseball complex outside of Baltimore, is that he didn't just clock in; he made sure he was getting better at his craft every day.  And that is tough to do over two decades in any job.

"I think the numbers will back me up," Ripken says.  "I worked at my game, worked on my weaknesses.  I wanted to make sure that I wasn't just on the field, but that I was a contributor every time I was out there."

Secondary Story: I really loved the fact that Derek Jeter went over to Ripken to pick his brain.  It was his first all-start game and he could've played it cool but he was there with the game's best and wanting to learn and grow -- which is exactly what he's done!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

LESSONS LEARNED FROM MY FATHER

It's natural for many to reflect today on what their dads mean to them.  I'm no different.  But I spend a lot of days thinking about the lessons I learned, how I've applied them and more importantly, how they have created who I am.  I think it is important to first talk about our differences.
 
My father wasn't in to sports -- not in the least. He might listen to an occasional Reds game on his transistor radio or watch a boxing match on TV but that was it.  I grew up engrossed by sports.
 
My father enjoyed hunting.  He owned hunting rifles and had his prize game mounted and on display in our home.  I went once and could not see what he saw.

My father enjoyed country music -- Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams (Senior of course).  I of course, grew up listening to rock and roll.

My father enjoyed gardening -- vegetables and flowers.  I avoided it as much as I could.

Relaxation for my father was crawling inside the hood of a car on a hot summer day -- for me it was reading (something I got from my mother).

He quit school in the 7th grade to go to work and provide for his family after his father was wounded in World War II.  Today he can build a house...the foundation...wire the electrical...run the plumbing...lay the flooring...secure a roof.  He can pull an engine out of a car, take it part piece by piece and put it back together.  The education he secured for himself is one of the most amazing things about him.

My dad was an immensely unselfish man.  He worked and worked and worked -- without fanfare and I much expect that's the way he wanted it.  As a high school kid I can remember Fridays asking him for a few bucks to go grab some pizza with the guys.  He would pull out his wallet and give me what I'd asked for -- often it would be all that he had.  It didn't occur to me then but I realized later that I would be often taking his last dollar.

My father and I didn't have a lot of heart to heart talks when I was growing up.  He was incredibly busy working to make sure we could have the things he wanted us to have.  At one point when I was a child, my dad worked three jobs.  He had a job during the weekdays, one during the weekday evenings and another on the weekends.  This lasted until he courageously started his own business.  We lived momentarily in a housing project in Charleston until he could afford to buy us a home in a safer part of town.  He was determined to make the business work and poured everything into it so it would flourish.

What my father did provide was the essence of leadership.  Much of what I learned from him I learned from observation.  The first one was obviously his work ethic.  He was tireless.  Never called in sick.  Never complained.  Later, when I was in high school I would work the summers with him in his carpet business.  We'd rise at 6 am and work until 6 or 7 in the evening.  We would arrive home and I would crawl onto my bed to rest my aching muscles only to hear him start up the lawnmower.  What I would discover about my dad is he loved to work.  Work was who he was -- it was his gift and he knew it and used it.

I also never heard him raise his voice to my mother.  Now I am quite sure at some point they had disagreements, but I never heard them.  He went out of his way to make sure my mom was treated like a queen.  He would make her a hot cup of tea first thing in the morning before he went to work.  I learned how to be a husband from his example.

He had no problem being a disciplinarian.  Discipline was swift and decisive.  There wasn't a long, drawn-out process.  Even when he worked three jobs my mom would say "wait until your father gets home."  And it didn't matter if I was a sleep when he hit the door -- judge and jury had arrived. I had a healthy fear of my father.  The type that always made me think before I made choices -- which is why I lived a largely trouble-free life.

I competed in sports as a youth but not under the watchful eye of my father (though there were some great games of catch in our backyard on rare occasions) but through the love of my Pawpaw Hartney.  Yet it was the fact that my dad didn't understand much about sports that allowed him to be the perfect father for a child that played sports.  When I returned home from a game, whether it was little league baseball, junior high basketball, or high school baseball, the questions were the same.  "Did you have a good time?  Did you do your best?"  That was it.  He didn't asked if I started or how much I played.  He didn't want to know if I got any hits or scored any points.  He never mentioned the coach by name and in some cases didn't know the name of my coaches. None of that was important to him.  He just wanted me to enjoy myself and for me to give it my all.  I didn't have to worry about him getting into the politics of youth sports.  He didn't care if I thought a coach was unfair -- "life's not fair," was his response.  He knew that me working through those issues would make me a strong man down the road.  He knew some adversity and tough times are life's greatest teachers and he wasn't about to shield me from those lessons.

Once in the 9th grade, I was playing summer league baseball, practicing junior high basketball and going to basketball camp.  It was starting to wear on me so I informed my dad I was going to quit the baseball team to free up some time.  He then informed that I wasn't.  "You started the season and you are going to finish.  We don't quite things in this family."  Another lesson learned.

My father has little patience -- very little.  Again, a quality that I am quite sure most of my players will agree that I possess as well.  He wanted things done right, done well and didn't see the sense in having to wait to get them that way.

The carpet business he started grew into a successful business and through working with him in the summer I learned to install carpet.  One day on the job I was trimming in a piece of carpet in a tight closet.  It wasn't my best work but after all, I thought,  it was just a closet.  My dad came in behind and inspected my work and ripped the piece out and installed it again.  As was all his work, it was perfect.  He then told me he was disappointed in my effort.  I told him that I didn't understand why it needed to be so perfect in a small closet.  "Who's going to know?" I asked him.  "I will," was his response.  He then told me when he was done with a job and went back and looked over it, he never thought about how happy his customer would be but made sure it met his expectations.  He said his expectations would always be greater than anyone else. He then told me something that has remained with me forever, "remember son, excellence is in the details."

Today I possess a good work ethic -- though I'll never match that of my father's.  I continue to be impatient -- pushing myself and my players.  But guess what?  I also enjoy country music these days and have become a decent gardener.  I suspect dad knew I'd come around.

I think of my father each time I hear Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle" -- we have in some ways let the miles and work get between us...much like he did with his father.  But make no mistake about it, with all the differences, I am a great deal like my father -- and very proud of it.

When I got married at the age of 31, my dad was my best man -- he still is!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

PITINO TALKS OF HUMILITY, WORK ETHIC AND LISTENING

The following is an excerpt written about Rick Pitino by  for Business First.  Read the entire article here.

Failing with the Celtics taught him humility, he said. And he doesn’t regret it.

His biggest regret in life is not learning humility earlier in life, he said, because it’s the key to success in life.

Pitino held up one of his rivals, Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, as an example of humility.

After losing a game, most coaches give the winning coach a “dead fish” handshake, Pitino said. But when U of L defeated Duke in the NCAA tournament this year, Krzyzewski shook Pitino’s hand, put his arm around him and told him again and again how much he liked Pitino’s team and that he hoped U of L would win the championship.

That’s humility, Pitino said.

Another key to success, which he learned more recently, is to work each day as if he has a renewable, one-day contract, with just one day to make a difference in the job. Pitino just finished writing a book on the subject, which he said he expects to be published in October.

Working that way helps him keep focused, he said, and not get distracted from his goals.

He also talked about the importance of listening, which is something he learned on the recruiting trail at UK. He recalled spending 45 minutes at one recruit’s house, talking all the time, without giving the recruit or his family a chance to speak. He lost that recruit to another school.

He learned his lesson from that, he said. And on his next recruiting visit, he spent the visit listening to the recruit’s family and asking questions. It paid off, because the recruit, Tony Delk, chose to attend UK and and turned out to be the most valuable player for UK’s 1996 national championship. He also was a first-round NBA draft pick and played in the league for more than a decade.

“All I did was tell them how interested I was in them,” Pitino said of the visit.

A SIMPLE LESSON IN TEACHING AND MOTIVATION

“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging
from his neck saying, ‘Make me feel important!’
Never forget this message when working with people.”
 

REPUTATION VS. CHARACHTER

"The circumstances amid which you live determines your reputation…the truth you believe determines your character…Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are…Reputation is the photograph; character is the face…Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within… Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away. Your reputation is made in a moment; your character is built in a lifetime…your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year… Reputation grows like a mushroom; character lasts like eternity…Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable…Reputation is what men say about you on your tombstone; character is what the angels say about you before the throne of God."

-John Maxwell

DICK BENNETT: ON POST DEFENSE

Following are a few notes from a clinic I attend listening to Dick Bennett:

Hardest defensive segment to teach

Man to Man Defense: How you play in the post determines how you play on the perimeter.  If you play behind the post, back off the perimeter.  If you front the post, pressure the perimeter.

If the ball is above the free throw line extended, we do not want any low post feeds...especially from the top.

Don’t get caught on the top in the mid-post.

If the defensive player is stronger, we want to lean into the offensive player and be more physical...if the offensive player is stronger, we want to use arm bar and quickness advantage.

On the post feed from the side, we want the low post defender to step behind the offensive post player receiving the ball and take away the drop step.  We want to come with the other post player, no matter where he is, and trap from the top side.  We will choke off the pass back out to the wing.  The opposite perimeter players will rotate like this:

     -Lowest one slides to the middle of the paint and calls “rim”
    
     -Highest one slides to free throw line area

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

JEFF VAN GUNDY: 4 KEYS TO BEING A SUCCESSFUL COACH

1.      Work ethic.

2.      Competency- knowing your subject matter.
       · As a coach, you must know the answers before the questions are asked.

3.      Sincerity/trustworthiness.

4.      Reliability.