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Thursday, May 29, 2014

ATTITUDE AND COMMITMENT LEAD TO EFFORT

The following comes from an ESPN podcast with Buster Olney talking to Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington on how he has handled the team's injury situation.

"It's about your attitude.  It's about your commitment to each other.  The effort parts happens through the other two...What happens today has nothing to do with what already has happened...We can control today.  We can control our attitude today."

-Ron Washington

RELATIONSHIPS ARE WHAT IT'S ABOUT

"Yes, we’re disciplined with what we do. But that’s not enough. Relationships with people are what it’s all about. You have to make players realize you care about them. And they have to care about each other and be interested in each other. Then they start to feel a responsibility toward each other. Then they want to do for each other."

-Gregg Popovich

Saturday, May 24, 2014

THANKS FOR SO MANY MEMORIES COACH

"The memories are the only things you can keep
and the moments that made those memories
so special to you -- don't let them go."
 
-Coach Don Meyer

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WHAT ARE OTHERS DOING TO BEAT YOU?

The mindset of improving your team is being able to step away and take a critical look at it.  The following comes from Kentucky's John Calipari and his book "Players First: Coaching From Inside Out."

"Thinking about how you would try to beat your own team goes with the job of being coach.  You put yourself into the mind of another coach as he looks at film of your games.  Where are we vulnerable? What defenses have we struggled against? At what speed don't we like to play?"

This is also a great process to go through in the off-season.  Take time and detail those games in which you struggled and look exactly at what areas you were deficient.  Then put together clips, take extensive notes and create an action plan to improve that area for next season.

DIFFERENT WAY TO LEAD

The following is an excerpt from a great article written about Kevin Durant by Jan Hubbard for Success.com.  The article is outstanding and you can read it in it's entirety here.  Below it speaks to Durant's leadership style:

A quiet sort who maintains his cool at all times, Durant doesn’t have the demonstrative personality that locker-room captains so often feel entitled to take on.

“There are so many different ways to lead,” Brooks says. “Sometimes, people get confused—you might think the fiery guy is leading, but what is he saying? With Kevin, what he is saying is how he is acting and how he acts every day. He leads by his work ethic, and when he speaks up, he has something worth saying.”

Durant doesn’t lecture teammates or get in their faces. He doesn’t have to.

“He’s very grounded and he works hard,” says point guard Reggie Jackson. “When your star player is like that, no one can really act up. He’s humble. So that keeps everybody else humble.”

The humility comes from the sum of Durant’s experiences. Even at his young age, he has had his share.

“One of the things that he has been able to do is travel, and that has enabled him to see things in a worldly sort of way,” says Rick Barnes, Durant’s head coach for one season at the University of Texas before Durant left for the NBA draft.

“I don’t think, when he finishes playing, that Kevin is going to stay in the U.S. and try to help just one country, even though it is his country. He wants to make a difference.

“I really believe that one day, if he wants, he can change the world.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BENEFITS OF JOURNALING

If you attended a Don Meyer Coaching Academy, some of the most valuable thoughts came away from the court when Coach would talk about anything from finances to time management to raising your family.  During this time, he would always talk about the value of keeping a journal.  He would talk of it's importance, always saying: "You're not keeping a diary.  Don't write down what you did.  Write down what you learned."
 
The concept of a journal had never been explained to me in those terms and I purchased my first one in Nashville before I left town.  I have kept one every since -- I'm on my eighth one now (shown in the photo with my Coach Meyer bobblehead).  Not only does writing something down commit it more strongly to memory but helps provoke thought.  I sometimes go through my old journals to review lessons learned.  It is often a great form of therapy.
 
Michael Hyatt, whom by the way is a must follow on twitter, recently gave seven benefits to journaling.
 
1. 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.
 
2. 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.
 
3. 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.
 
4. 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.
 
5. 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.
 
6. 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.
 
7. 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. 
 
Hyatt's seven reasons were part of a blog post on journaling that you can read in its entirety here.

THE UTILIZATION OF A MOTIVATIONAL WORD

The best coaches, the ones that truly care about their student-athletes, leave imprints that last a long time -- sometimes an eternity.  Here is an excerpt of an article from Standard Examiner written by Roy Burton (you can read it in it's entirety here) about how an assistant coach impacted a young player and that impact continued to the NBA.

“If your dreams don’t match your actions, you can either change your dreams or change your actions.”
--
A day after hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater that gave the Portland Trail Blazers their first playoff series victory in 14 years, former Weber State star Damian Lillard posted a quote to over 400,000 followers on Twitter: “If what you did yesterday still looks big, then you haven’t done much today.”

Wildcats assistant coach Phil Beckner knew it was coming: “Was waiting for that,” he responded.

Lillard and Beckner spent countless hours running through drills together at the Dee Events Center during Lillard’s college career. For Lillard, that meant listening to countless hours of the Quote Machine.

Beckner has been collecting quotes since his high school playing days, hoarding them as much as you can hoard something you give away at the drop of a hat -- even to the point of irritating the recipient.

“(Damian) used to make fun of me in college,” Beckner said. “He was like, ‘Phil, you can’t just speak in quotes the whole time. Be a human. You’ve actually got to carry on a conversation.’ This summer, when he comes back (to Ogden), he’s like, ‘I know what you’re going to say. I could write a book with all your quotes.’ Even (current Wildcats) like Joel Bolomboy and Richaud Gittens, I tell them the same quotes I told Lillard all the time, or other players -- it wasn’t just Lillard, it was (former Weber State stars) Kellen McCoy (now a WSU assistant with Beckner), it was Scott Bamforth.”

Sometimes quotes are just words, but sometimes they light a fire inside a player.

During his final season at Weber State, Lillard was worn out. He was scheduled to shoot with Beckner after practice as always, but he was tired and wanted to rest for the next day’s game.

“I’d always talk to him about the pain of discipline or the pain of regret -- the pain of regret hurts so much more. You don’t want to live your life with the pain of regret,” Beckner said.

“I knew he needed to shoot, I wanted him to shoot, that’s what’s going to make his ball keep going in, sticking with the routine. The pain of discipline -- being disciplined enough to shoot even though your legs are tired -- or the pain of regret; maybe you miss a whole bunch of shots tomorrow.”

Angry, Beckner left Lillard and walked all the way up the stairs at the Dee Events Center, then turned around and walked all the way back down.

“I said, ‘Dame, do you know why most people fail?’ He goes, ‘Why, Phil?’ I said -- here’s the quote -- ‘People fail because they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.’ He looked at me and he goes, ‘Good one. Let’s shoot.’

“It made him get up off that chair and shoot. He knew he wanted to be an NBA player, he knew he wanted to win a conference championship, he knew he wanted to be the best point guard in the country and he was about to fail because he traded what he wanted most for what he wanted at the moment.”

Sunday, May 18, 2014

COACH MEYER AND HIS LEGACY LEFT ON MY LIFE

Those of us close to Coach knew this day was coming.  We knew it was coming sooner than any of us wanted it to.  Each time I saw Coach it was noticeable in his weight loss and in his energy.  But like one of his heroes John Wooden, he remained mentally sharp, sharing his knowledge with as many as he could.  Still the preparation of this day arriving has not made it any easier to accept.

I will argue strongly and vehemently that no coach has impacted the game more than Don Meyer.  Thousands upon thousands of girls and boys attended his camps – simply one of the best teaching camps in the nation.  Thousands upon thousands of coaches attended his free clinics in the fall, his Coaching Academy in the summer or packed gyms, hotel ballrooms and churches to hear his words of wisdom on coaching, teaching and life. He made an amazing impact on youth leagues, junior high and high school, college and NBA coaches and players.  He impacted the men’s game and the women’s game.  More importantly he impacted everyone he came in touch with.

But today I am hurting because I’ve lost a friend and a mentor.  I could write a book about all that he has taught me.  His advice has guided me throughout my career.

My relationship with Coach dates back nearly 25 years ago and he has been a big part of my life since. When I had to take over as interim head coach at LSU he literally called me every day, sometimes twice to offer me advice and support or to just be a sounding board.  Our run lasted three weeks with an appearance in the Final Four and he never missed a day calling me.  I have never made a career decision without first discussing it with Coach and he never steered me wrong.

Coach always made an impression when he came to visit.  He would be quick with his sarcasm to me but would charm my wife, Sherie, right out of her shoes.  My wife simply adores him.
This past summer when Coach and his wife Carmen came to stay at our home, we were joined by Greg Brown.  As I always do when Coach comes to visit, I have him talk to our team.  The messages he gives are incredible and stays with our student-athletes for a lifetime.  One night, around 11 PM, myself, Greg and Carmen tired and went to bed while he and Sherie watched some Perry Mason reruns.  A little after midnight they decided to call it a night and Coach asked Sherie if she’d mind if they prayed together before turning in.  My wife is a cancer survivor and Coach asked God to look over her and keep her in good health.  When she came to bed she woke me to tell me the story – she was deeply moved that Coach had thought of her like that when he too was battling cancer.

But that’s Coach – always thinking of us.
There are far too many memories to share in this post and I’m a bit too emotional right now to go any further only to say that I love Coach Meyer and he will forever be a part of my life.

But for us that have learned so much from him there will be all of the things that he has shared with us that will move us forward.  I can hear him now:
“Everyone takes notes. Everyone says ‘yes sir’ ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir’ and ‘no ma’am.’ Everyone picks up trash.  Always leave a place better than you found it.”

Repeat – “Always leave a place better than when you found it.” 
That you did Coach, that you did! 

Of all the “Meyerisms” that Coach would share when he spoke, one stands out to me more today:

“You need to find your unique talent or gift, develop your unique talent or gift, and then give your gift away every day.”

Nobody, and I mean nobody has done that better in our profession than you Coach!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

COACH MEYER EVENING OF EXCELLENCE

As good a video piece on Coach Meyer as I have seen.  It captures him as I know him.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

AFFIRMATIONS, FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT, IMPORTANT FUEL FOR AN ATHLETE'S TANK

After listening to Kevin Durrant's MVP acceptance speech, it reaffirms my belief in the importance of teammates and the confidence they can instill in you.  It was ironic that I came across this quote this morning:

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to
belief. And once that belief becomes a deep
conviction, things begin to happen.”
– Muhammad Ali

While at LSU, we had a young lady named Tillie Willis.  She was a great teammate that was actually a starter.  She was unselfish and did whatever the team needed her to do to win.  She was a starter for us in the post and if she had one fault, it was that she didn't believe in her gifts and skills as much as the rest of us.

I had been reading about the power of positive affirmations and gathered our team up individually and in small groups and told them over the next week or so, I wanted them to go out of their way to compliment Tillie and point out what she meant to our team.  While most of it was verbal, some wrote notes and left them in her locker or even in her shoes.  The result was her turning in a double-double effort.  When she was asked what had gotten into her, she responded "My teammates."

Of course even more important is personal affirmations -- self-talk.  What messages are you sending yourself?  What type of fuel are you putting into your own engine.

In his book, "The Champion's Mind," Jim Afremow talks about the importance and keys of personal affirmations:

·         Attitude is the key source for peak performance. Develop a list of power phrases or positive affirmations to ignite your inner champion. Make sure each statement is meaningful so it really speaks to you. Then write your statements down on index cards and read them for a mental boost as needed. The more often you repeat your power phrases with meaning and conviction, the more concrete they will become in your mind and allow you to manifest change in your life.

·         “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives,” wrote author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau.

·         Keep to the present tense in creating personal affirmations. For instance, say, “I am” rather than using the future tense, “I will become.” Why? Because we always live and perform in present time, not in the future. The subconscious mind does not recognize the future; it only understands the here and now. Here are some power phrases that you can repeat to help you perform at a champions level:

o   I think, feel, and perform as a champion.

o   The next play will be my best play.

o   I play with purpose and passion.

o   I quickly forget mistakes because all athletes make them.

o   I have the courage to face and overcome my fears.

o   I am the player who is the best prepared.

o   I will go through fire to accomplish my goals.

o   I strive to be my best in all conceivable ways.

o   I bring it every day.

o   I start strong and finish stronger.

KEVIN DURRANT SHOWS HUMILITY AND WHAT BEING A GREAT TEAMMATE IS WITH HIS MVP ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DOC RIVERS JUST DOESN'T LEAD A TEAM -- HE LEADS AN ORGANIZATION

It is always amazing to me how the most difficult of times bring forth the greatest of opportunities to lead. Great leaders embrace those moments and make life-altering decisions.  Great leaders also know the extent of their team can often extend beyond their immediate group.  Such was the case with Doc Rivers and the entire Los Angeles Clipper organization -- not just coaches and players.

Here are some excerpts from an article written by Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Doc Rivers spent the morning before his first Game 7 with the Clippers meeting with marketing, finance and ticketing instead of guards, forwards and centers.

The coach addressed offensive statements rather than offensive execution.
He spoke in a conference room as opposed to a practice court.

For about an hour Friday, a decisive game in a first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors was nudged aside in favor of a more formidable adversary.

Derogatory statements about blacks attributed to team owner Donald Sterling continued to seep into every corner of the franchise, three days after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had banned Sterling for life and instructed other owners to oust the 80-year-old from the league.

Staffers who worked out of the Clippers' Staples Center offices had seen Rivers and his players express outrage over their owner's remarks. But who spoke for them? And did anyone care that they had been the ones primarily handling the public backlash, fielding calls and emails from irate fans who branded them sellouts, racists and Uncle Toms, not to mention a slew of unprintable descriptors?

"Employees felt like they did not have a voice," said Raymond Ortegaso, the team's director of human resources, "and were being attached to the comments that were being made by Sterling."

What an amazing statement for Doc Rivers to find for his organization on the eve of a play off game 7! Here is more from the LA Times' story:

And so at 10 a.m., after making the drive from his office in Playa Vista to downtown L.A., Rivers stood before a group of about 70 staffers inside Staples Center and delivered a simple but meaningful message: hang in there.

"Ticket people, marketing people, they're sitting there crying, and I felt so bad for them," Rivers said. "I was thinking, my gosh, we've been in this thing and as coaches you forget that these are the people that are on the front line and they work for the organization too and you just felt so bad for them."

Baker said a few community groups had backed out of their relationships with the Clippers as a result of Sterling's comments, with some remaining estranged even after the owner was removed from day-to-day operations of the franchise.

"It meant a lot to have Doc come down here and say, 'I'm sorry you guys are hurting,'" said broadcast manager Jessica Bojorquez.

Said Baker: "It made me feel a lot better knowing someone of his stature cared about us."
Rivers also cared about beating the Warriors, though film study suddenly didn't seem as important as a lesson in sociology.

"You're sitting there and you're thinking, you know, before Game 7 I should be sitting in the office," Rivers said. "But what I did [Friday] for me was far more important than this stuff because they need it, they really do. Like, they need it even more than our players right now. They need somebody."

Thanks to Rivers, they have their man.

You can read the entire story here.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

BLAKE GRIFFIN MODELING HIS WORK ETHIC AFTER THE GAME'S GREATS

The following is an excerpt of a story on the Clippers Blake Griffin that was written by Robert Morales of the Long Beach Telegraph.  The story speaks to how Griffin has not only heard about the work ethic of the great players before him but has used it to model his own work ethic.

“I’ve heard millions of Kobe (Bryant) stories about late-night workouts,” said Griffin, whose team takes on Detroit on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. “One I heard, one time I guess he was in Italy and called Marco Belinelli (of the Spurs) at like 1, 2 o’clock in the morning and asked him if he had a gym for him, and so Marco found him one and he went there to shoot with him.

“And he (Belinelli) was like, ‘I thought we were going to just get some shots up, but we had like a full workout.’ Things like that. That’s work ethic, real worth ethic. It’s not just coming in when you have to and going hard. It’s doing extra, going above and beyond.”

Griffin hangs his hat on that credo.

“Work ethic has always been a big part of what I do,” he said. “I’m a firm believer, the more work you put in, the more you get out. You know, I love hearing stories about the Kobe’s and the LeBron’s and back in the day, Michael Jordan, how they work and how sometimes they’re a little different about it. That’s what makes them unique.”