Monday, December 28, 2009


The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far-greater value than what you get.

When Andrew Carnegie died, they discovered a sheet of paper upon which he had written one of the major goals of his life: to spend the first half of his life accumulating money and to spend the last half of his life giving it all away. And he did!

Some people are disturbed by those tough days because all they have is the days. They haven’t designed or described or defined the future.

Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.

We all need lots of powerful long-range goals to help us past the short-term obstacles.
The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.

Don’t set your goals too low. If you don’t need much, you won’t become much.

If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.

We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life.


Eric Musselman has passed along a few notes from the book "Training Camp" by Jon Gordon:

“I think a lot of people spend their life being average or good at something, but they don’t strife to be great.”
“The best of the best not only know what they want, but they want it more.”

“We cannot measure desire in terms of merely thought and wishes.”
“The best not only do the things that others won’t do and invest the time others won’t invest, but they do so with passion and intent to get better. The best are never satisfied with where they are.”

“If you are striving to get better, then you are always growing. And if you are always growing, then you are not comfortable. To be the best, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable, and embrace it as a part of your growth process.” It’s a process…
“The best see where there is room for improvement and their humility and passion drives them to improve. The average ones however, don’t see it or don’t want to see it.”
“The fact is past success does not determine future success. Future success is the result of how you work and prepare and practice and how you strive to improve everyday. It’s a commitment that the best of the best make every week, every day, every hour, and every moment. Force yourself to be uncomfortable.”

“Vision without execution is hallucination.”
“Work hard on the right things. It means you must identify the very ‘little things’ that are fundamental to your success, and then you must focus on them, practice them, and strive to execute them to perfection.”

“There is no secret recipe.”
“If you incrementally improve each day, each week, each month, by the end of the year you’ll see remarkable results and growth. When you zoom-focus on the process, the outcome takes care of itself.”
“Master the fundamentals.”

“Being mentally strong means you stay positive through adversity. It means you are resilient when facing pressure, challenges and change.”
Weed and feed: “Each day you need to weed out negativity and feed it positivity. You need to weed out the self-doubt and negative talk and feed it positive thoughts, memories and visuals.”
“Pay attention to your thoughts…weed out negative thoughts.”
“Being positive or negative is a habit, and you choose the positive.”

“Those that succeed, those that reach the pinnacle of greatness, are able to face this battle (overcoming fear) and win.”

“Ironically, even the best have a dream and a vision within their sights. It is the journey, not the destination that matters the most to them. The moment is more important than the success or failure.”
“When the best are in the midst of their performance they are not thinking ‘What if I win?’ or ‘What if I lose?’ They are not interested in what the moment produces, but they are only concerned with what they produce in the moment.”
“Rather than hiding from pressure, they rise to the occasion. As a result, the best define the moment rather than letting the moment define them.”
“You define the moment.”
“Make every moment of your life count. Realize that this is your one shot, yet don’t focus on the result of the outcome of the shot. Just focus on the shot.”
“Seize the moment.”

“You leave a legacy by living and working with a bigger purpose, you leave a legacy by making your life about more than just you. You leave a legacy by moving from success to significance.”

“The point is to strive to be your best and inspire others to be their best, because it’s in the striving where you find greatness, not in the outcome.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009



The following comes from "Urban's Way" by Buddy Martin:

1. Some coaches talk about “family,” but at Florida the families and children of all coaches and players are encouraged to attend Thursday’s “Family-Night Dinners” to hang out at their position coach’s home; parents of players also have direct access to Meyer and his staff at all times.

2. Wives and children of those assistant coaches are invited on the field after the game and are escorted to the locker room by their husbands/fathers.

3. Meyer required his coaches and their wives to “babysit” players and provide a family atmosphere for them as they are mentored through football, academics, and social responsibilities.

4. Through disciplinary action, players are given every opportunity to redeem themselves for mistakes made on and off the field. They are automatically suspended for major team or school violations—or eventually even terminated for breaking the law—but Meyer will continue to help them in their pursuit of their degree. These incidents are rarely, if ever, announces to the media.
5. Special teams players are treated “special” since Meyer, himself, is their hands-on coach.

6. Instead of constantly hammering on his players to get results on the field and in the classroom, he “bribes” them with the privileges of a “Champions Club,” almost like a frequent-flier program.

7. Meyer runs an offense that he mostly made up, borrowing parts form here or there, but producing a new edition or version every couple of years and adapting it to personnel.

8. In what might look reckless and almost crazy at the time—but is actually calculated and well thought out—Meyer has been known to call trick plays (he calls them “special plays”) in big games when the odds look heavily stacked against him. And they usually work. He doesn’t think of it as chance, but rather “calculated risks.” Meyer doesn’t believe in “fate” or “luck,” but thinks good execution in practice is the key.


Leaders are committed to excellent performance of the business task at hand, and to continuous improvement. A leader is the person who chooses the area of excellence for his or her team. A leader knows that excellence is a journey, not a destination. Leaders are committed to being the best in everything they do. They constantly strive to be better in their key result areas. They compare themselves with people, organizations, and products or services that are better than they are, and they are continually improving.

Standards of Excellence
Leaders set standards of excellence for everyone who reports to them. They are ruthless about weeding out incompetence and poor performance. Leaders demand quality work and insist that people do their jobs well. The leader sets the standard of excellence. No one, or no part of the organization, can be any better than the standard that the leader represents and enforces. For this reason, leaders are committed to personal excellence in everything they do.

Leaders are Learners
Leaders are learners, continually striving to be better in their work and personal lives. They read, take additional courses and seminars, and listen to audio programs in their cars. They attend conventions and association meetings, go to the important sessions, and take good notes. They are committed to learning and growing in every area where they feel they can make an even more valuable contribution to their work.

Inspiring People
People are most inspired when they feel they are working for an organization in which excellence is expected. The very best way to motivate and inspire others is for you to announce your commitment to being the best in your field or industry. Then, continually benchmark your performance and the performance of your organization against the very "best in class" in your business.

Core Competencies
Leaders identify their core competencies, the vital tasks they do that are responsible for them being in business. They continually look for ways to upgrade these core competencies to assure that they maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Leaders think about the future and identify the core competencies that will be required for success in the years ahead. They then develop plans to acquire those core competencies well before they will be needed to compete effectively in the marketplace of tomorrow.

Action Exercise
Identify your personal core competencies. What are the essential skills of your job, the abilities that make you valuable, if not indispensable? What core competencies do you need to acquire if you want to be the best in your field in the years ahead? Make a plan today to develop the key skills and core competencies you will need tomorrow.

Brian Tracy's website:

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Heard from Coach Eric Musselman that Coach Erik Spoelstra presented players with a vocabulary calendar and the book, The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy. Spoelstra said he chose the book, authored by Jon Gordon, because the team could learn from the motivation principles. Needless to say, I'll be purchasing this book in the near future. Here are Gordon's 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy.

1. You’re the Driver of the Bus.
2. Desire, Vision and Focus move your bus in the right direction.
3. Fuel your Ride with Positive Energy.
4. Invite People on Your Bus and Share your Vision for the Road Ahead.
5. Don’t Waste Your Energy on those who don’t get on your Bus.
6. Post a Sign that says “No Energy Vampires Allowed” on your Bus.
7. Enthusiasm attracts more Passengers and Energizes them during the Ride.
8. Love your Passengers.
9. Drive with Purpose.
10.Have Fun and Enjoy the Ride.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


While working for Coach Dale Brown on the LSU staff, he would send out the following to coaches and friends of our program at Christmas. It is written by Roy Exum. Obviously the mention of Christmas makes it seasonal, but the message speaks to the art of teaching and why we should be coaching. May all of those who take the time to visit our site have a blessed holiday!

When Tony Campolo was in Chattanooga last week to speak at the annual “Gathering of Men” breakfast, the noted sociologist told a story that begs to be repeated, especially on this day:
It seems that there was a lady named Jean Thompson and when she stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall, she told the children a lie.

Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn’t play well with other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. Add to it the fact Teddy was unpleasant.

It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold ‘X’s and then marking the ‘F’ at the top of the paper biggest of all.

Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, nobody else seemed to enjoy him, either.

Now at the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s records and--because of things--put Teddy’s off until last. But when she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.

His first-grade teacher had written, “Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does work neatly and has good manners … he is a joy to be around.”

His second-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student and is well-liked by his classmates--but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

The third-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy continues to work hard but his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. His is tardy and could become a problem.”

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast.

It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard on that last day before the vacation would begin.

Her children brought her presents, all in gay ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily wrapped in heavy, brown paper of scissored grocery bag.

Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents and some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet, with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne.

But she stifled the laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and she dabbed some of the perfume behind the other wrist.

At the end of the day, as the other children joyously raced from the room, Teddy Stoddard stayed behind, just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.”

As soon as Teddy left, Mrs. Thompson knelt at her desk and there, after the last day of school before Christmas, she cried for at least an hour.

And, on that very day, she quit teaching reading and writing and spelling. Instead she began to teach children. And Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called Teddy.

As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded and, on days that there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember the cologne.

By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and … well, he had also become the “pet” of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favorite.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. And then he wrote that as he finished high school, third in his class, she was still his favorite teacher of all time.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, that he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and graduated from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and another letter came.

This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. That she was still his favorite teacher but now that his name was a little longer. And the letter was signed, “Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.”

The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said that… well, that he’d met his girl and was to be married.

He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering … well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing.

But I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like … well, just like she smelled many years before on the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays begin.


Never be held hostage: when you become a head coach, you want to be successful, don’t play a guy who will not do the things you preach and believe in as a coach. Sit down any player who has his own agenda and does not play with the team.

1. As a young head coach, hire an older, former head coach who knows a lot of the issues.

2. To African-American assistant coaches: don’t simply be a recruiter, don’t let a coach not let you fulfill the full duties of coaching.

3. Players will play their hardest for a coach who develops the best player-coach relationships.

4. Head coaches should show up to practice at least half an hour earlier and just mess around with a few players to get to know them better. Ask them about their life and make them feel comfortable.

5. If you can’t go to practice every day and enjoy seeing your team and have fun coaching, then you should not be coaching. Enjoy your players.


There is one constant in the coaching profession -- solving problems. Doesn't matter what level you coach on...doesn't matter if you have a veteran team or a young team...doesn't matter if you have administrative support or not...are success is going to come about because as coaches we can handle problems/crisis. Working for Coach Dale Brown was a wonderful experience for me in this regard. The man literally got excited during crisis -- he would say "The greatest of problems is the greatest of opportunities." Here is a really good look at how to handle crisis from Brian Tracy.

In a fast-changing, turbulent, highly competitive business environment, you will have a crisis of some kind every two or three months. You also could have a financial crisis, a family crisis, a personal crisis, or a health crisis with the same frequency.

Take Charge Immediately
When the crisis occurs, there are four things you should do immediately.

1. Stop the bleeding.
Practice damage control. Put every possible limitation on losses. Preserve cash at all costs.

2. Gather information.
Get the facts. Speak to the key people and find out exactly what you are dealing with.

3. Solve the problem.
Discipline yourself to think only in terms of solutions, about what you can do immediately to minimize the damages and fix the problem.

4. Become action-oriented.
Think in terms of your next step. Often any decision is better than no decision.

Practice Thinking Ahead
One of the key strategies for business and personal success is "crisis anticipation." This strategy is practiced by top people in every field-executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders, especially military leaders. You practice crisis anticipation by looking into the future three, six, nine, and twelve months ahead and asking, "What could happen to disrupt my business or personal life?"

Develop a Contingency Plan
You need to have a contingency plan for possible emergencies and crises. What steps would you take if something went seriously wrong? What would you do first? What would you do second? How would you react? Develop a scenario—a storyline and a plan—describing how you would handle a negative situation, if it occurred.

Prevent the Recurring Crisis
A crisis, by definition, is a once-only, unexpected negative event. If there is a recurring crisis in your company or your life, one that repeats itself regularly, especially cash crises, then you are dealing with a deeper problem, usually incompetent or poor organization. To ensure that the crisis does not repeat itself, after you have resolved that crisis for the first time, do a thorough debriefing on the problem. What exactly happened? How did it happen? What did we learn? What could we do to make sure it doesn't happen again?

Action Exercise
1. Identify the three worst things that could happen in your business in the next year. What could you do today to minimize the damage from these crises?
2. Identify the three worst things that could happen in your personal and family life, and then take steps to make sure they don't happen.


As we go through the roller coaster of a season, the ability to stay motivated during the highs and lows is critically important. Here are some good thoughts from Denis Waitley:

Be willing to say to yourself, “I’m on the right road. I’m doing OK. I’m succeeding.” We too frequently become adept at pointing out our flaws and identifying failures. Become equally adept at citing your achievements. Identify things you are doing now that you weren’t doing one month ago… six months ago… a year ago. What habits have changed? Chart your progress.

Doing well once or twice is relatively easy. Continuously moving ahead is tough, in part, because we so easily revert to old habits and former lifestyles. Over the long run, you need to give yourself regular feedback to monitor your performance and reinforce yourself positively. Don’t wait for an award ceremony, promotion, friend or mentor to show appreciation for your work. Take pride in your own efforts on a daily basis.

Keep the end result in sight. Always see the big picture of the ultimate goal you’re working for and the benefits that come with it. During World War II, parachutes were constructed by the thousands. From the workers’ point of view, the job was tedious and repetitive. (Like making “cold calls” on the phone or in person.) It involved crouching over a sewing machine eight to ten hours a day, stitching endless lengths of colorless fabric. The result was a seamless heap of cloth. But every morning the workers were reminded that each stitch was part of a life-saving operation. As they sewed, they were asked to think that this might be the parachute used by their husband, brother or son. Although the work was hard and the hours long, the women and men on the assembly line understood their contribution to the larger picture. The same should be true with your work. Each thing you do benefits the health and well-being of adults and children throughout the world, not just generally, but specifically. These are the visions that drive us through the tedious details to reach the top.

Set up a dynamic daily routine. Getting into a positive routine or groove, instead of a negative rut, will help you become more effective. Why is the subway the most energy-efficient means of transportation? Because it runs on a track.

Think of the order in your day, instead of the routine. Order is not sameness, neatness or everything exactly in its place. Order is not taking on more than you can manage, without still being able to do what you really choose. Order is the opposite of complication; it’s simplification. Order is not wasting a lot of time trying to find things. Order is avoiding a lot of recriminations because you didn’t do something you promised. Order is setting an effective agenda with others, so neither of you is disappointed. Order is doing in a day what you set out to do.

Order frees you up. Get into the swing of a healthy, daily routine and discover how much more control you’ll gain in your life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Some thoughts on basketball and coaching from Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics:

1. Never trust happiness.
2. Coaching isn’t about X’s and O’s, it’s about managing diversity and adversity.
3. The better the players are, the more coachable they become.
4. You’re only as good as your best players.
5. Your best player has to be your best listener. He has to lead by listening.
6. Everyone wants to be coached, you just have to find the right way to reach them.
7. You must be honest with your players all the time.
8. You can reach any player if they believe your only intent is winning.
9. If you have a chemistry guy on your basketball team, do not let that guy out of the building.

Work on team building and chemistry everyday:
1. Watch the locker room closely.
2. Move seats around and put guys together/keep them apart.
3. If a player has an event, every player and coach must go.
4. Sometimes you have to force guys to hang out with their teammates.


The following comes from Hard Work by Roy Williams with Tom Crothers:

I’ve seen NBA teams write 40 things up on the board before a game. I’ll write down no more than three because that’s all I think my players can absorb. I might write, Five guys run both ways as fast as you can or Be strong with the ball, nothing casual or The team that wins the battle of the boards wins the game. Once at Kansas, we had beaten Kansas State eight or nine times in a row in their building and I’d seen a lot of stories about them saying that the streak would end that night, so I wrote, watch them leave early. It was the only thing I wrote. It was cocky, but it worked. At the end of the game, one of my players, Ricky Calloway, was on the free-throw line and he yelled over to me on the bench, “Coach, they’re leeeeeeaving!”

Another phrase I often write up on the board is Lose yourself in the game. Sometimes kids can choke on a big stage. If you lose yourself in playing the game, you don’t worry about the result.


Thanks to Joey Burton for passing on this interesting article on how Lary Brown is pushing Charlotte to a play-off contender:

Right now, Brown has the always lowly Charlotte Bobcats playing defense like the All-Star filled squads that won the last two NBA titles. And although their 10-14 record is similar to last year’s 35-47, Michael Jordan’s team is on pace to secure their first-ever playoff berth. Examining the Four Factors, we can start to see how this squad is getting it done.

Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Bobcats have held opponents to a .486 eFG%, which is better than the league average of .497 and ranks 11th in the NBA. Both the 44% FG% and 33% 3FG% surrendered by Charlotte are low, so they’re making it difficult for teams to score both inside and outside. Of particular note is that Bobcat opponents are forced to shoot 26% of their shots from behind the arc, which is considerably higher than the league average of 22%, so they are keeping teams from getting easy looks at the basket.

Turnover Percentage
As good as Charlotte is at forcing bad shots, they’re even better at forcing bad decisions before the shot. Their opponents turn it over on 15.8% of possessions, the second-best mark in the league which averages 13.8%. It’s hard to score against a team when they’re busy taking the ball out of your hands.

Defensive Rebound Percentage
Most teams that do well clearing the glass after an opponent’s miss have a dominant big man or frontcourt, teams like the Magic, the Cavaliers, and the Spurs. Guess what, Charlotte is right in the middle of these three at the top of the league for defensive rebounding. Whereas the average missed shot is boarded by the defense 73% of the time, Charlotte gets their hands on 76% of them. A lot of this obviously has to do with leaper extraordinaire Gerald Wallace and his 12 RPG.
Free Throw Rate
Make it a perfect four for four. Charlotte is better than the league average at keeping opposing players off the free throw line, as well. The Bobcats give up .210 FT/FGA, well below the .231 median mark. This means their defense isn’t just forcing other teams to stay out of the paint for shots and rebounds, they’re doing it without getting their paws all over them. By the way, only two teams other than the Bobcats are above average in all Four Factors on defense. Think you know who they are? They’re named at the end of this article.

Read the entire article by Zachariah Blott at:

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The 1984-85 season was the pilot for Pat Riley's "Career Best Effort" project. The Lakers coach recorded data from basic categories on the stat sheet, applied a plus or a minus to each column, and then divided the total by minutes played. He calculated a rating for each player and asked them to improve their output by at least 1 percent over the course of the season. If they succeeded, it become a CBE, or Career Best Effort. For Kareem and Magic, it was a significant challenge because they were already operating at such a high level.

"But if the other 12 players did it, we felt we had a chance to win it all," Riley said.

Riley's system was simplistic, but it was how the coach manipulated the data that made it so effective. He routinely recorded the performances of every NBA player and highlighted the success rates of Bird and Michael Jordan in particular. Solid, reliable players generally rated a scored in the 600s, while elite players scored at least 800. Magic who submitted 138 triple-doubles in his career, often scored 1,000. Riley trumpeted the top performers in the league in bold lettering on the blackboard each week and measured them against the corresponding players on his own team.

Some players ignored Riley's transparent motivational ploy, but not Magic. He became preoccupied with generating the highest score -- not just on the Lakers but in the NBA.
From "When the Game was Ours," by Jackie MacMullen

Saturday, December 19, 2009


If anything, some thought, Dean Smith was a little harder on Michael Jordan every day in practice then he was on other young players, as if accepting his greater possibilities and his own limitless ambition and holding him to it, setting higher standards for him than for the others. Roy Williams was also always pushing Jordan to work harder in practice. “I’m working as hard as everyone else,” Jordan answered.

“But Michael, you told me you wanted to be the best,” Williams once reminded him. “And if you want to be the best, then you have to work harder than everyone else.” There was, Williams thought, a long pause, while Jordan pondered that. Finally he said, “Coach, I understand.”

From "Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam


Thanks to Coach Eric Musselman for this list of important coaching points from Tony Dicicco, former US Olympic soccer coach:

* The first thing a manager or coach needs to learn is how to listen.

* Appropriate feedback is essential for peak performance. Communication is the art of making a difference.

* The most important lesson a coach needs to learn about feedback: What you think you're saying may not always coincide with what your players are hearing.

* While some people can give too much feedback, rambling on until your players just shut down and hear nothing, my experience has been that players look for more rather than less of it. For
instance, Michelle Akers, one of the best players in the world, often asked me, "What do I have to do to get better?"

* One thing to be aware of is that often the personality of the coach is picked up by the team. If you start complaining about every call, accusing the referee of screwing your team, that attitude is going to become part of the team ethos.

* At halftime, zero in on one or two or three key points because that's the amount of information most players can process in such a short amount of time.

* When you set a goal, write it down and then it's like making a promise to yourself.

* Placing blame on others is easy. Taking responsibility for yourself is empowering.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. To determine the motive behind the confrontation, ask yourself some questions. First, in what spirit is it given? Look beyond the words and determine the motives. Second, when is the criticism given? Times of confrontation must be shared privately, not within public view or hearing. Third, why is the criticism given? This question deals with the attitude of the critic.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can develop the ability to laugh at yourself, you will be much more relaxed when given or giving criticism.

3. Look beyond the criticism and see the critic. When someone comes to me with news about another person, I am more interested in the person who said it than what was said. Keep in mind certain considerations regarding your critic: First, is it someone whose character you respect? Second, is this person frequently critical? Is criticism a pattern?

4. Watch your own attitude toward the critic. A negative attitude toward criticism can be more destructive than the criticism itself.

5. Realize that good people get criticized. Jesus, whose motives were pure and character was spotless, was called a glutton (Matt. 11:19), a drunkard (Luke 7:34), a Samaritan (John 8:48), and a friend of sinners (Matt. 11:19 and Mark 2:16).

6. Keep physically and spiritually in shape. Physical exhaustion has a tremendous effect on the way we act and react; it distorts the way we see and handle life.

7. Don’t just see the critic; see if there’s a crowd. I’m suggesting that you expand your vision; go beyond the critic and see if he has a cheering section. Consider the possibility that you are hearing the same criticism from several people. If this is the case, and the critics are reliable, you need to realize that you have a challenge to work on. If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with a pocket group of negative people, your challenge is to not be affected by them.

8. Wait for a time to prove them wrong. Time is your best ally; it allows you to prove yourself right. Often, as events unfold, the cause for criticism is eliminated and you will be vindicated. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most loved president of the United States, was also the most criticized president. Probably no politician in history had worse things said about him. Here’s how the Chicago Times in 1865 evaluated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address the day after he delivered it: “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterances of a man who has been pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States.” Time, of course, has proved this scathing criticism wrong.

9. Surround yourself with positive people. When you have optional time, spend it with people who will build you up. Enough quality time with positive people will minimize the effect of negative criticism. It will also discourage you from being critical.

10. Concentrate on your mission—change your mistakes. Most people do exactly the opposite—they change their mission and concentrate on their mistakes. If you run from your task each time you make a mistake, you will never accomplish anything. You will always be in a state of frustration and defeat. The only real mistakes in life are the mistakes from which we learn nothing. So instead of dwelling on them, count on making them, learning from them, and moving on you finish the job.
From "Be A People Person" by John Maxwell


In 2008, Pat Williams, the GM of the Orlando Magic and a tremendous motivational speaker put out a book, "The Ultimate Coaches' Clinic." It is a fascinating book because of the style Pat utilized. He surveyed over 1000 coaches and administrators for insights to what is important to successfully do their job. From time to time I will share a few but it is a great book to own and I highly recommend it. Here are some thoughts from Tommy Lasorda (Former Los Angeles Dodgers):

Einstein once said that an ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of knowledge. I believe that. Give me loyal people and I’ll beat you. I think loyalty is very, very important in our lives.

A guy asked me one time, what are the number one qualities that a manager or a leader should have? It was very difficult to put it down into a certain category. But I went to church and I heard the priest give a sermon. He talked about Solomon, who was the paragon of truth, and he was pleasing to the Lord. And the Lord said to Solomon, “I want to give you anything you want.” And Solomon said, “The greatest gift that you can give me, Lord, is an understanding heart.” And I think that’s what every manager or coach needs, and understanding heart, because when a player doesn’t do well, the manager or coach has got to understand how that player feels. That player probably feels worse than anybody, and that manager or coach has to understand that.

When we lose, the most important things is that when I walk into the clubhouse the nest day, no matter how dejected or tired or depressed I might be, I have to put on a new face. I have to put on a winning face. I have to put on an enthusiastic face. I’ve got to put on a self-confident face, because if I walk into the clubhouse dejected, tired, and depressed, the attitude and the atmosphere of the clubhouse and the club is going to be that way. But if I go in with enthusiasm and self-confidence, all of those things are contagious, and I can help spread them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


As I have already mentioned, our team is reading "Talent is Never Enough" by John Maxwell. It is an amazing book that is sectioned perfectly to help a player, a coach, a team (and just about anybody else) towards the goal of self-improvement. Chapter 5 is titles Preparation Positions Your Talent and it is right around the corner for our team to read. We assign a chapter and then give them a worksheet to ask them questions to provoke thought. Here are some very brief portions of the chapter.

Automaker Henry Ford observed, "Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." For understood the power of preparation and all the things it can do for someone:

1. Preparation Allows You to Tap into Your Talent
"I've found that every minute spend in preparation saves ten in execution."

2. Preparation Is a Process, Not an Event
Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden says that the best way to improve your team is to improve yourself. He learned that lesson from his father, Joshua Wooden, who used to tell young John, "Don't try to be better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.'

3. Preparation Precedes Opportunity
There's an old saying: "You can claim to be surprised once; after that, you're unprepared."

4. Preparation for Tomorrow Begins with the Right Use of Today
Preparation doesn't begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe that your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, then you will treat today differently. What you receive tomorrow depends on what you believe today. If you are preparing today, chances are, you will not repairing tomorrow.

5. Preparation Requires Continually Good Perspective
Former Boston Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn observed, "The sixth man has to be so stable a player that he can instantly pick up the tempo or reverse it. He has to be able to go in and have an immediate impact. The sixth man has to have the unique ability to be in a ball game while he is sitting on the bench." What makes the sixth man capable of that? Perspective. He has to have both a coach's mind-set as he watches the game from the bench and a player's ability once he steps into it. If he does, then he is prepared to impact the game.

6. Good Preparation Leads to Action
What value has preparation it if never leads to action? Very little. As William Danforth, former chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis noted, "No plan is worth the paper it is printed on unless it starts you going."

Saturday, December 12, 2009


We recently hired Craig Pintens to take over the LSU Athletic Marketing and Promotions Department. In a short time, Craig has done an incredible job for all our teams. He came here from Marquette and a couple of conversations soon lead to discussions of Al McGuire. A few days later Craig stopped by with a book that is full of thoughts and quotes from one of the most charismatic coaches in the history of sport. The book is amazing and here are just a few of the "wit and wisdom of Al McGuire."

“A team should be an extension of a coach’s personality. My teams are arrogant and obnoxious.”

“My rule was I wouldn’t recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house. That’s not my world. My world has a cracked sidewalk.”

“I don’t discuss basketball. I dictate basketball. I’m not interested in philosophy classes.”

“My era is over. Dictator coaches are finished. I was good for the ‘burn, baby, burn’ atmosphere. It’s time now for coaches who sit in dens.”

“I don’t believe in looking past anybody. I wouldn’t look past the Little Sisters of the Poor after they stayed up all night.”

“I’m not saying that they were Einsteins; they were marginal students. But every ballplayer whoever touched me has moved up his station in life. And the players moved up my station.”

“If a player leaves Marquette and doesn’t have some of my blood in him, then I don’t think I’ve done a good job.”

“It’s a profession in which, the longer you stay, the closer you are to being fired.”

“If winning weren’t important nobody would keep score.”
Once while coaching at Belmont Abbey College, McGuire handed his sports coat to an official and said, “Here, take this…you’ve taken everything else from me tonight.”

“The people who know basketball, their elevators don’t go to the top.”

“If you haven’t broken your nose in basketball , you haven’t really played. You’ve just tokened it.”

“If the waitress has dirty angles, the chili is good.”

“It’s so ridiculous to see a golfer with a one-foot putt and everybody say, “shhh, and not moving a muscle. Then we allow a nineteen-year-old kid to face a game-deciding free throw with seventeen thousand people yelling.”

“Life is what you allow yourself not to see.”

“Every obnoxious fan has a wife at home who dominates him.”

“The only mystery in life is why kamikaze pilots wore helmets.”

“There’s always going to be problems, and I feel the greater the problems for a generation the great that generation is going to be.”

“Help one kid at a time. He’ll maybe go back and help a few more. In a generation, you’ll have something.”

“When I’m losing, they call me nuts. When I’m winning, they call me eccentric.”

“I always wanted to sit in the front seats on the bus. I always wanted to be called ‘Coach.’ Those were the only two things that were important to me.”

When legendary University of Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp called McGuire ‘son’ during the 1968-69 NCAA tournament, the young upstart McGuire shot back: “Don’t call me son unless you’re going to include me in your will.”

“The next time I will cry is when I die. My life has been that beautiful.”

From “Cracked Sidewalks and French Pastry: The Wit and Wisdom of Al McGuire
By Tom Kertscher


The following is a great approach on leadership from Brian Tracy:

Motivational leadership is based on The Law of Indirect Effort. According to this law, most things in life are achieved more easily by indirect means than they are by direct means. You more easily become a leader to others by demonstrating that you have the qualities of leadership than you do by ordering others to follow your directions. Instead of trying to get people to emulate you, you concentrate on living a life that is so admirable that others want to be like you without your saying a word.

The Most Powerful Motivational Leaders
Perhaps the most powerful motivational leader is the person who practices what is called "servant leadership." Confucius said, "He who would be master must be servant of all." The person who sees himself or herself as a servant to others and who does everything possible to help them perform at their best is practicing the highest form of servant leadership.

The Leader of Today
Today's leaders are the ones who ask questions, listen carefully, plan diligently, and then build consensus among all those who are necessary for achieving the goals. The leader does not try to do it all alone. The leader gets things done by helping others do them.

Qualities of Leaders
The following are important qualities of motivational leaders. These are qualities that you already have to a certain degree and that you can develop further to stand out from the people around you in a very short period of time.

The first quality is vision. This is the only single quality that, more than anything separates leaders from followers. Leaders have vision. Followers do not. Leaders have the ability to stand back and see the big picture. Leaders have developed the ability to fix their eyes on the horizon and see greater possibilities.

Motivate Others
The best way for you to motivate others is to be motivated yourself. The fastest way to get others excited about a project is to get excited yourself. The way to get others committed to achieving a goal or a result is to be totally committed yourself. The way to build loyalty to your organization, and to other people, is to be an example of loyalty in everything you say and do.

The Ability to Choose
One requirement of leaders is the ability to choose an area of excellence. Just as a good general chooses the terrain on which to do battle, an excellent leader chooses the area in which he and others are going to do an outstanding job. The commitment to excellence is one of the most powerful of all motivators. All leaders who effect change in people and organizations are enthusiastic about achieving excellence in a particular area.

Action Exercise
Try a new attitude toward your employees; show up on Monday morning and be positive and cheerful. If you are motivational, your attitude will rub off on your employees and they will work more efficiently.

Brian Tracy's home page:


“More and more, guys I’m around who have played a lot of basketball or coached a lot of basketball, been involved in the game, I ask guys when they stop coaching, for example,
‘What they miss most?’ and they say, ‘Not having a team.’ They need a team to belong to.”

-Jim Calhoun


Thomas A. Buckner said, “To bring one’s self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy.”

As Arthur Gordon, author of A Touch of Wonder, said, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them, day after day. What you promise today much be renewed and redecided tomorrow and each day that stretches our before you.”

People are insecure… give them confidence.
People want to feel special… sincerely compliment them.
People desire a better tomorrow… show them hope.
People need to be understood… listen to them.
People are selfish… speak to their needs first.
People get emotionally low… encourage them.
People want to be associated with success… help them win.

From "Make Today Count" by John C. Maxwell


"Fundamentals win it. Football is two things; it’s blocking and tackling. I don’t care about formations or new defenses or tricks on defense. If you block and tackle better than the team you’re playing, you’ll win."
-Vince Lombardi

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while other are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.

Poet William Arthur Ward


Sean Miller is a big proponent of the Packline defense beginning with his tenure at Xavier. Here are some key statistics he is looking for that he believes are indicators of good team defensive play.

1. Opponent field goal percentage

2. Opponent 3 point field goal percentage (he also cares about how many attempts his defensive is giving up as it can be an indicator of defensive pressure or lack thereof)

3. Fouls

4. Turnovers (he doesn't want them to be able to pass the ball leisurely -- they want turnovers though it may not be the main objective of the defense)

5. Defensive rebounding percentage (wants to know the percentage of defensive rebounds they are getting)

Monday, December 7, 2009


No Daily Dozen issue has added more to my success than the principle of priorities. When I discovered that I needed to change my approach to my dad and my career, I started by asking myself three critical questions:

What is required of me?

Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what a person must do. For you to be a good spouse or parent, what is required of you? To satisfy your employer, what must you do? (If you lead others, then the question should be, What must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else?) When ordering priorities, always start with the requirement question and give it careful thought before moving on to the next question.

What gives me the greatest return?

As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others do. (Anyone who hasn’t discovered that probably isn’t progressing in his career!) The next place to focus your attention is on those high-return activities.

What gives me the greatest reward?

If you do only what you must and what is effective, you will be highly productive but you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction. However, I find that some people want to start with the reward question and go no further than that. No one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third.

From "Make Today Count" by John Maxwell

Sunday, December 6, 2009


If said it a dozen times on this blog -- I know of no one that understands time management better than Brian Tracy. Here is his thoughts of the psychology of time management:

The Law of Correspondence says that your outer life tends to be a mirror image of your inner life. Everywhere you look, there you are. Everywhere you look, you see yourself reflected back. You do not see the world as it is, but as you are—inside. If you want to change what is going on in the world around you—your relationships, results, and rewards—you have to change what in going on in the world inside you. Fortunately, this is the only part of your life over which you have complete control.

The Starting Point of Success
The starting point of excelling in time management is desire. Almost everyone feels that their time management skills could be vastly better than they are. The key to motivation is "motive." For you to develop sufficient desire to develop Time Power, you must be intensely motivated by the benefits you feel you will enjoy.

Gaining Two Extra Hours Each Day
Your productivity can dramatically change if you add two extra hours to your day. Two extra hours per day, multiplies by five days per week, equals ten extra hours a week. Ten extra hours a week multiplied by fifty weeks a year would give you 500 extra productive hours each year. And 500 hours translates into more that twelve, forty-hour weeks, or the equivalent of three extra months of productive working time each year. By gaining two productive hours each day, you can transform your personal and working life.

Improving Your Productivity Performance
Your productivity, performance, and income will increase by at least 25 percent over the next year. Two more productive hours, out of the eight hours that you spend at work each day, is the equivalent of at least a 25 percent increase.

Increasing Your Sense of Control
When you leverage the power of time, you will have a greater sense of control over your work and your personal life. You will feel like the master of your own destiny, and a power in your own life. You will feel more positive and powerful in every part of your life.

Take Control of your Time and Your Life
One of the keys to developing a stronger internal focus of control is to manage your time and your life better. The more skilled you become at managing your time, the happier and more confident you will feel. You will have a stronger sense of personal power. You will feel in charge of your own destiny. You will have a greater sense of well-being. You will be more positive and personable.

Having More Time for Your Family
You will have more time for your family and your personal life as you get your time and your life under control. You will have more time for your friends, for relaxation, for personal and professional development, and for anything else you want to do. When you become a master of your own time, and recapture two hours per day, you can use that extra time to chase your dreams.

Action Exercise
Figure out how you can add two hours of productivity to your day. Make a schedule of your day and find where you can squeeze two hours of time out for maximum efficiency.


Leadership is about change. If you need no change, you need no leader. In times of change, people seek out more and better leaders. Those successful sought-out leaders embrace the following thought: “The best reformers the world has ever known are those who began with themselves.”

Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change that we envision.” Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”The following comments are about personal change:

One person cannot change another person.
When I started as a young leader, I thought that a leader could change the people; and boy, did I work at it. I said, “All right, I’m going to give them thoughts, ideas, and principles; and I’m going to change people.”

After several years, I awakened to the thought that the only person who can change himself or herself is himself or herself. You can change yourself, but I cannot change you. You see, I am responsible to you but I am not responsible for you; and there is a world of difference between those two. I am responsible for teaching you good leadership. I am responsible for sharing things that can help add value to your life, but you are the only one who can take responsibility to change yourself, and that is what this whole article is about.

Most people need to look at the way that they look at change.
How many times have you heard somebody say, “I sure hope things will change.” The only way things will change for me is when I change. It has nothing to do with hope. You can’t just say, “Well, I just hope things will change around me,” and expect results. The only way that things will change for me is when I change.

I have also heard this before, “I don’t know why I’m this way.” Well, you are the way you are because that is the way you want to be. Let’s expose it for what it really is.

When you make the right personal changes, other things begin to turn out right.
So when people say, “I’d like things to turn out better for me; I’d like things to turn out right; I’d like things to turn out better in the organization, or in my family,” I say to them, “Start by making personal changes.”

—Dr. John C. Maxwell


Thanks to Coach Duane Silver for passing on this list from Sheridan Junior College Coach Steve Smiley. We have posted several things from Steve on our site. He is a former player of Coach Don Meyer at Northern State University where he wrote a great book, "Playing for Coach Meyer." This is a great list:

Here are the key things that I can think of that are crucial for PG play (in no particular order).

1. Vocal Leadership – If your PG isn’t vocal, they can’t command the team. It’s not enough to just “lead by example” on the court; the PG must be able to control the game and keep their team organized (calling out sets, etc)…

2. Lead by Example – We all expect our PG’s to be leaders, so they must lead by example on and off the floor. They have to have leadership qualities to be able to run a team. One good “on-the court” example would be their defensive stance and on-ball pressure as the ball moves up the floor. If they are a ball-hawk and showing extreme pressure to the ball, there is a good chance the rest of the team will also buy in to being in a stance.

3. Have a good relationship with the coach - We all say that the PG must be an extension of the coaching staff on the court, so there must be a solid relationship between the coach and PG so they can always feel comfortable communicating with each other.

4. Not a “Shoot-first” player - They don’t necessarily need to always be a pass-first PG, especially in high school where the PG might also be the best scorer, but they can not be a player that typically will bring the ball up the floor looking to go one-on-one and creating shots just for themselves. The offense will become stagnant and other players will shut down, because they know their chances of being involved offensively are low.

5. Have a high IQ for the game / feel for the game – They have to understand special situations, the flow of the game, the time & score, when to attack, when to pull it out, etc.

6. Have a high conditioning threshold – if the PG isn’t in shape and is expected to play big minutes and minutes at the end of the game, they will break down mentally once their body breaks down, so it is huge for them to be in great shape.

7. Make the easy pass, and not always the “assist” pass – Sometimes PG’s make foolish passes because they know the ball will be in their hand much of the time. Have them keep it simple. The reason Steve Nash can make the passes he can make is because he works on it every day and he is the best in the world. There aren’t a lot of Steve Nashes out there, so use the KISS principle – “Keep It Simple, Stupid”.

8. Be able to knock down the open shot – I couldn’t shoot, and I played a lot of minutes, and it definitely hurt my team at times. The PG typically won’t get a ton of shots off of set plays or screens because he or she is setting up others, but the PG must be able to hit the open shot in transition, on post-feed kick-outs, etc.

9. Have “Gears” – I’m talking about a change of pace in their game. The toughest PG’s aren’t the ones who are extremely fast, but the ones that are always playing at different speeds. They have deception in their game.

10. Have a “Motor” – summarizes a lot of the points already made, but the PG has to play extremely hard, and be eager to do all of the dirty jobs. The PG must be willing to guard the full length of the court, push the ball in transition, be vocal, and play with a tremendous amount of energy.



1. Stick to the performance rituals, both before and during competition.
Load your players with performance rituals. It keeps their minds from wandering.

2. Your players need to set limits on themselves and other people on game days.
It sounds simple, but athletes are fun to be around so there are distractions. Some kids need a lot of space before competing. Others like people around them.

3. Eye control.
Athletes need to keep their eyes on the field. tennis players either look at the ground or the racket. Basketball players need to keep their eyes on the court. If you have a player looking into the audience, that player is losing his focus. The mind follows the eyes.

4. Emotional control.
Nothing is going to blow up concentration more than losing emotional control. Just as the mind follows the yes, the emotions follow breathing. If someone is upset, their breathing is shallow. To regain emotional control, take slow, deep breaths, lower the breathing rate. That’s a good thing to teach someone who loses his temper.

5. Make use of visualization during competition.

6. Stay in the present moment.
A fun question to ask your players at the beginning of the season, “What’s the most important play in basketball?” The most important play in basketball is the one you are doing. Our tendency as human beings is to not be in the present. We are either in the past of worrying about the future. And those projections into the future are always negative. The kid stands at the foul line and is thinking what will happen if I miss the shot? All these projections into the future are 90% negative and 90% untrue but it really affects performance. Emphasize to your kids, keep your minds in the present. The action is in the present.

By Dr. James Jarvis

Saturday, December 5, 2009


"It is with great sadness that we learned today of the passing of Jim Rohn. Jim has shared and taught success philosophies and principles for over 46 years. He has addressed more than 6 thousand audiences and over 5 million people worldwide and authored over 30 books, audio and video programs. Here are some quotes of his on labor and action which is the way he lived his life.

"You must learn to translate wisdom and strong feelings into labor."

"The miracle of the seed and the soil is not available by affirmation; it is only available by labor."
"Make rest a necessity, not an objective. Only rest long enough to gather strength."

"Without constant activity, the threats of life will soon overwhelm the values."

"The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch."

"For every promise, there is a price to pay."

These quotes are by Jim Rohn, America's Foremost Business Philosopher. To subscribe to the Free Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine, go to Excerpted from The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn. Copyright © 1994-2008 Jim Rohn International. All rights reserved worldwide.


Classic Vince Lombardi with great teaning points on execution -- no matter what sport you teach, coach or play!


Bear Bryant, the late University of Alabama football coach, effectively communicated his game plan to his players. He recognized there were specific things his players needed to know. Five points explained what he believed a coach should do:

Tell them what you expect of them. This tells them how they are to fit into the game plan so they know what they should try to do.

Give them an opportunity to perform. This gives them a chance to be a part of the game plan, to carry out the vision.

Let them know how they’re getting along. This lets them have an opportunity to learn, improve, and increase their contribution.

Instruct and empower them when they need it. This gives them the means to learn, improve, and increase their contribution.

Reward them according to their contribution. This gives them incentive for their effort.

From "Developing the Leaders Around You" by John C. Maxwell


Steve Brennan on the "Effective Use of Time-outs: You have 4."

1. Don’t waste your time-out by yelling. If you call the time-out, the kids know something is wrong.
2. Start each one with a positive statement. Research shows that the first thing and the last thing that people say are the things that people remember the most.
3. Discuss no more than 3 items during any one time-out, and that may be too many. You must give the first 15 or 20 seconds to the kids anyway. Tell them this at the first of the year. They can get their water, towels, etc.
4. Develop a cue word to refocus attention. Mine was “Listen.” As soon as I said that, the focus of the attention was on me.
5. Confer with assistant coaches before talking with the team. This is big with me because when I was an assistant coach, I was not a part of time-outs. Even if you know exactly what you want to do, just from a psychological standpoint, you should do something with your assistant coaches. 6. Give them some recognition. Utilize them.
7. Change defenses. Use a “Sequence-stay.”
8. Run a set play after a time-out. Get your best player into the flow. Set up a play.
9. Don’t use the entire time-out if you don’t need it.
10. If the opponent calls the time-out, wait until the referee gets you from the huddle.
11. Delegate an assistant coach to keep track of time-outs.
12. Carry strategy on 3x5 cards. Put your out-of-bounds on cards.