Monday, August 31, 2009


For those that are not following on twitter, here is an example of something that I tweeted about today that normally wouldn't make my blog.

Tweet: From the Healthy Tiger blog (operated by our LSU training staff) Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Athletes (Part 1)

Tweet: From the Healthy Tiger blog (operated by our LSU training staff) Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Athletes (Part 2)

By the way, is a blog operated and supervised by the LSU Athletic Training Staff. We have a tremendous group of professionals working on our team at LSU and this blog is an outstanding reference in a wide variety of areas.

Mark the blog -- share it with your staff and team.

As I said, I often post a link and quick comment on twitter without it making it to my blog. If you want to follow me on twitter (as well as a host of other coaches and resourceful people), head to:


Brian Tracy is an incredible man -- and runs an amazing organization. They are constantly putting out information to make us better...better spouses, parents, and coaches. His email newsletter today points out what I like the most about Brian -- his attention to detail when it comes to organization. How often do we give thought to our workspace for maximum potential?

I know this is repetitive, but visit:

In today's email newsletter, Brian talks about preparing before you even begin...some great pointers:

Have Everything At Hand
One of the best ways for you to overcome procrastination and get more things done faster is for you to have everything you need at hand before you begin. When you are fully prepared, you are like a cocked gun or an archer with an arrow pulled back taut in the bow. You just need one small mental push to get started on your highest value tasks.

Clear Your Workspace
Begin by clearing off your desk or workspace so that you only have one task in front of you. If necessary, put everything on the floor or on the table behind you. Gather all the information, reports, details, papers, and work materials that you will require to complete the job. Have them at hand so you can reach them without getting up or moving. Be sure that you have all writing materials, computer disks, access codes, email addresses and everything else you need to start and continue working until the job is done.

Make It Comfortable
Set up your work area so that it is comfortable, attractive and conducive to working for long periods. Especially, make sure that you have a comfortable chair that supports your back and allows your feet to sit flat on the floor.The most productive people take the time to create a work area where they enjoy spending time. The cleaner and neater your work area before you begin, the easier it is for you to get started and keep going.

Assume The Position
When you sit down, with everything in front of you, ready to go, assume the body language of high performance. Sit up straight, sit forward and away from the back of the chair. Carry yourself as though you were an efficient, effective high performing personality. Then, pick up the first item and say to yourself, "Let's get to work!" and plunge in. And once you've started, keep going until the job is finished.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, take a good look at your desk or office, both at home and at the office. Ask yourself, "What kind of a person works in an environment like that?"

Second, resolve today to clean up your desk and office completely so that you feel effective, efficient and ready to get going each time you sit down to work.



One of the most important reasons that the great ones survive the test of time is because they work hard to improve -- not just their team, but themselves. They look for new concepts or better was to teach what they believe in. When you look at the all-time victory list in Division I college football, this is a major reason why you find Joe Paterno's name.

The following comes from "No Ordinary Joe," by Michael O'Brien:

Even after Penn State has enjoyed a successful season, Joe has insisted upon an ongoing process of reexamination. He might alter his approach to the next spring practice. His constant drive for improvement has forced his assistants to seek innovations. “He guards so much against complacency,” and Sandusky. “He is constantly trying to get better and wants to do things differently.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009


From "Failing Forward" by John Maxwell:

On August 6, 1999, a major-league baseball player stepped up tot he home plate in Montreal and made another out -- the 5,113th of his professional career. That's a lot of trips to the batter's box without a hit! If a player made all those out consecutively, and he averaged four at bats per game, he would play eight seasons (1,278 games straight) without ever reaching base.

Was the player discouraged that night? No. Did he think he had failed himself or his team? No. You see, earlier in the same game, in his first plate appearance, that player had reached a milestone that only twenty-one other people in the history of baseball have every achieved. He had made his 3,000 hit. That player was Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres.

During that game, Tony got on base with hits four times in five tries. But that's not the norm for him. Usually he fails to get a hit two times out of every three attempts. Those results may not sound very encouraging, but if you know baseball, you recognize that Tony's ability to succeed consistently only one time in three tries has made him the greatest hitter of his generation. And Tony recognizes that to get his hits, he has to make a lot of outs.

One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures. Instead, they need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

"The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake."
-Nelson Boswell


In email newsletter this morning, Brian Tracy spoke to importance of clarity. In fact he said the three goals to high achievement are "Clarity, Clarity, Clarity." It is a word you don't hear very often but it is very critical in detailed teaching and concentration. As a staff the terminology you use should be consistent among the entire staff -- that's clarity. There must be a open line of communication between players and staff and staff and players -- otherwise there will be no clarity. It is not enough to sit down and create goals. You must be specific and everyone must be on the same page -- clarity! Here is what Brian had to say about clarity:

Clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is probably more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor. That's why we say that "Success is goals, and all else is commentary." People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. This is true everywhere and under all circumstances.

The Three Keys to High Achievement
You could even say that the three keys to high achievement are, "Clarity, Clarity, Clarity," with regard to your goals. Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.

Write and Rewrite Your Goals
The more you write and rewrite your goals and the more you think about them, the clearer you will become about them. The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to do more and more of the things that are consistent with achieving them. Meanwhile, you will do fewer and fewer of the things that don't help to get the things you really want.

The Seven Step Process for Achieving Goals
Here, once more, is the simple, seven-step process that you can use to achieve your goals faster and easier than ever before.

First, decide exactly what you want in each area of your life. Be specific!

Second, write it down, clearly and in detail;

Third, set a specific deadline. If it is a large goal, break it down into sub-deadlines and write them down in order;

Fourth, make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. As you think of new items, add them to your list;

Fifth, organize the items on your list into a plan by placing them in the proper sequence and priority;

Sixth, take action immediately on the most important thing you can do on your plan. This is very important!

Seventh, do something every day that moves you toward the attainment of one or more of your important goals.

Maintain the momentum!
Join the Top 3%Fewer than three percent of adults have written goals and plans that they work on every single day. When you sit down and write out your goals, you move yourself into the top 3% of people in our society. And you will soon start to get the same results that they do.

Review Your Goals Daily
Study and review your goals every day to be sure they are still your most important goals. You will find yourself adding goals to your list as time passes. You will also find yourself deleting goals that are no longer as important as you once thought. Whatever your goals are, plan them out thoroughly, on paper, and work on them every single day. This is the key to peak performance and maximum achievement.



“To succeed, you absolutely need to gain more knowledge in your selected field. How do you go about doing that? One of the most fruitful ways is from the living lessons role models provide. It is easy to become a winner if you’re simply willing to learn from those who have been winners themselves. Find out who has the most success at what they do. Watch their technique. Observe their methods. Study their behavior.”

-Mike Shanahan

Saturday, August 29, 2009



Last week we shared our email assignment that we gave our team. We got some really positive responses so here is Email Assignment #2:

I was really pleased with the entire team in our first email assignment from the book, “The Essential Wooden,” so it is time to try another passage and see how it best relates to you and for you to share what you got from it:

Team Spirit: Six plow horses pulling in the same direction represent teamwork. However, this is not good enough – merely pulling in the same direction. Great organizations have a quality beyond simply moving toward a common goal. I call this quality Team Spirit, and I define it as an eagerness to sacrifice personal interests and glory for the good of the greatness of the team.

It is a selfless devotion to the group’s welfare and interests; it means putting ”we” ahead of “me,” which is a formidable task for the most people, including leaders. The most important team player is you. Leaders must teach those under their supervision that the team’s success is their own personal success. Selflessness is the leadership key to Team Spirit. When you and your organization are infused with the spirit of sharing – ideas, credit, work, information, and experience – here’s what happens: The team is greater than the sum of its members.

I think we can all agree that “teamwork makes the dream work!” But here is your assignment…name one thing you can do better or something you can start doing that would make you a better teammate in regard to Team Spirit…is there something you can eagerly sacrifice or contribute for the good of our team?

I look forward to your answers!!!

Have a great weekend!

NOTE: We are utilizing the book "The Essential Wooden" by John Wooden and Steve Jamison for these assignments.


These equations of basketball come from Rick Majerus.

Who am I? (in other words, what are my strengths and weaknesses)

Who is covering me? (I think "how" are they covering me is just as important)

Who are my teammates? (do you know the strengths and weakness of your teammates?)

Who is covering my teammates? (again, can you see all those things to be effective?)


A few excerpts from an article on Peter Drucker in regards to his thoughts on leadership by Rich Karlgaard in Forbes Magazine.

What Needs to Be Done
Successful leaders don't start out asking, "What do I want to do?" They ask, "What needs to be done?" Then they ask, "Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?" They don't tackle things they aren't good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others. Andrew Carnegie wanted to put on his gravestone, "Here lies a man who knew how to put into his service more able men than he was himself."

Check Your Performance
Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, "What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?" They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly. They also find out whether they picked the truly important things to do. I've seen a great many people who are exceedingly good at execution, but exceedingly poor at picking the important things. They are magnificent at getting the unimportant things done. They have an impressive record of achievement on trivial matters.

Mission Driven
Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven--yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it. They don't suffocate themselves as a result. Too many leaders try to do a little bit of 25 things and get nothing done. They are very popular because they always say yes. But they get nothing done.

How Organizations Fall
Down Make sure the people with whom you work understand your priorities. Where organizations fall down is when they have to guess at what the boss is working at, and they invariably guess wrong. So the CEO needs to say, "This is what I am focusing on." Then the CEO needs to ask of his associates, "What are you focusing on?" Ask your associates, "You put this on top of your priority list--why?" The reason may be the right one, but it may also be that this associate of yours is a salesman who persuades you that his priorities are correct when they are not. So, make sure that you understand your associates' priorities and make sure that after you have that conversation, you sit down and drop them a two-page note--"This is what I think we discussed. This is what I think we decided. This is what I think you committed yourself to within what time frame." Finally, ask them, "What do you expect from me as you seek to achieve your goals?"

How Capable Leaders
Blow It One of the ablest men I've worked with, and this is a long time back, was Germany's last pre-World War II democratic chancellor, Dr. Heinrich Bruning. He had an incredible ability to see the heart of a problem. But he was very weak on financial matters. He should have delegated but he wasted endless hours on budgets and performed poorly. This was a terrible failing during a Depression and it led to Hitler. Never try to be an expert if you are not. Build on your strengths and find strong people to do the other necessary tasks.

Character Development
We have talked a lot about executive development. We have been mostly talking about developing people's strength and giving them experiences. Character is not developed that way. That is developed inside and not outside. I think churches and synagogues and the 12-step recovery programs are the main development agents of character today.

Read the entire article at:


Just got this in my morning email newsletter from Brian Tracy and, as he opens with: "Empowering people is the key to building a high-performance team."

Get the Cooperation of Others
Empowering people is the key to building a high-performance team. Once you empower people by learning how to motivate and inspire them, they will want to work with you to help you achieve your goals in everything you do. Your ability to enlist the knowledge, energy and resources of others enables you to become a multiplication sign, to leverage yourself so that you accomplish far more than the average person and in a far shorter period of time.

Determine the Key People to Empower
There are three types of people that you want to and need to empower on a regular basis. They are, first of all, the people closest to you: your family, your friends, your spouse and your children. Second are your work relationships: your staff, your coworkers, your peers, your colleagues and even your boss. Third are all the other people that you interact with in your day-to-day life: your customers, your suppliers, your banker, the people with whom you deal in stores, restaurants, airplanes, hotels and everywhere else. In each case, your ability to get people to help you is what will make you a more powerful and effective person.

Always Be Positive
Empower means "putting power into," and it can also mean "bringing energy and enthusiasm out of." So the first step in empowering people is to refrain from doing anything that disempowers them or reduces their energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing.There are things you can do every single day to empower people and make them feel good about themselves.

Satisfy the Deepest Needs
The deepest need that each person has is for self-esteem, a sense of being important, valuable and worthwhile. Everything that you do in your interactions with others affects their self-esteem in some way. You already have an excellent frame of reference to determine the things that you can do to boost the self-esteem and therefore the sense of personal power of those around you. Give them what you'd like for yourself.

Continually Express Appreciation
Perhaps the simplest way to make another person feel good about himself or herself is your continuous expressions of appreciation for everything that person does for you, large or small. Say "thank you" on every occasion.Thank your spouse for everything that he or she does for you. Thank your children for their cooperation and support in everything that they do around the house. Thank your friends for the smallest acts of kindnesses. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more things those other people will want to do.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.First, continually look for ways to make people feel more valuable and important. Say things to others that you would like others to say to you.Second, express appreciation for everything anyone does for you, large or small. Say the words, "thank you" on every occasion.



The following comes from Tom Osborne's "Faith in the Game."

Pat Riley, a professional basketball coach, recognized the importance of honesty in dealing with players when he said, "A coach must keep everyone on the team in touch with present realities -- knowing where they stand, knowing where they're falling short of their potential -- and know it openly and fairly."

Honesty was mentioned consistently in our meetings as a major part of our team culture. It was important for players to be honest with me and the other coaches, but it was even more important that the coaches and I were honest with the players.

It was every bit as important for a coach to have accurate feedback concerning his status and performance as it was for a player to have the information. I met at least once a year with each assistant and graduate assistant coach. During these meetings, I provided an honest assessment of how I felt they were doing. The more honest and frank these meetings were, the more productive we became as a coaching staff.

Only when the coach has accurate information can he plan for the future and make necessary changes in his coaching. dealing with shortcomings and problem areas early, although unforgettable at the time, benefits everyone in the long run.

"You have to hear things you really don't want to hear; you must look at things you really don't want to see."
-John Madden


"You can’t just write out a game plan of how to motivate people, you have to do it by feel. You have to know your people. One of the best ways to motivate is to be sure that you have surrounded yourself with great teammates.
You will also come to realize that everyone needs to be motivated differently. There is no specific formula...motivating people must be a flexible and versatile process.

Everybody on the bus feeds off one another’s excitement, believe and commitment to the team. When we motivate each other, our bus usually ends up at a great destination."

From “Beyond Basketball” by Mike Krzyzewski with Jamie Spatola

Friday, August 28, 2009


First workout of the season yesterday and our staff was really pleased with the effort and, more importantly, the concentration level. Our philosophy is to jump in and roll with it. We spend very little time in the first week explaining a lot of things. We will talk them through some teaching points but we want our returning players to do a lot of communicating with the new players as to what we are doing and more specifically, how we want it done. We had four different groups and the one common denominator was fundamentals -- got to start with the base. Here is a look of what we did with a particular group of perimeter players.

2 Ball Stationary Dribbling (Hightower Lead)
2/0 2 Ball Passing (Tennis/Hvy Trainer)
Alford Drill (2 Balls)

1:39-1:43 CUTTING
2/0 V-Cuts (Both Sides)
Back Cuts: "Don't cut till the ball sees you"

1:43-1:47 SCREENING
1/0 ES to DS (Sprint to Screen --- Angles)

1:47-2:00 CUTTING
2/1 Cuts Off DS (No Shot) - call out cut

2:00-2:30 SHOOTING
DS Shooting (Curl, Straight, Flair, Back) - call out cut
ES Shooting = Reversal Curl - call out cut
ES Shooting = Flair to Jumper - call out cut
ES Shooting = Flair to Sweep, Drive & Pull Up - call out cut
BS to Re-Screen Shooting - call out cut
Ball Screen Shooting


I was reading from my Maxwell Daily Reader this morning and today's passage really hit home with some of the events involving our sport over the past month. If our game is to be thought of as entertainment than certainly the principles can be different and it can probably prosper. But if we are truly in it to shape young people - to make a difference in our communities - than we must grab a hold of the issues involved and govern them with integrity. It is hard to understand a coach that breaks rules and then in turn wants to run a program based on rules and principles. How can you correct or discipline a player when you own integrity is not in check. I'm not referring to the occasional mistake which we all make. There will be times as coaches that we break a rule because of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation. You apologize -- learned from it -- and become better because of it. And we are just not talking about NCAA rules but also ethical guidelines of conduct. It's why this passage from John Maxwell really hit home with me this morning:

Integrity is not what we do so much as who we are. And who we are, in turn, determines what we do. Our system of values is so much a part of us we cannot separate it from ourselves. It becomes the navigating system that guides us. It establishes priorities in our lives and judges what we will accept or reject.

We are all faces with conflicting desires. No one, no matter how "spiritual," can avoid this battle. Integrity is the factor that determines which desire will prevail. We struggle daily with situations that demand decisions between what we want to do and what we ought to do. Integrity establishes the ground rules for resolving these tensions. it determines who we are and how we will respond before the conflict even appears. Integrity welds what we say, think, and do into a whole person so that mission is never granted for one of those to be out of sync.

Integrity binds our person together and fosters a spirit of contentment within us. It will not allow our lips to violate our hearts. When integrity is the referee, we will be consistent; our beliefs will be mirrored by our conduct. There will be no discrepancy between what we appear to be and what our family knows we are, whether in times of prosperity or adversity.

Integrity is not only the referee between conflicting desires. It is the pivotal point between a happy person and a divided spirit. It frees us to be a whole persons no matter what comes our way.


"I’m not afraid to make a mistake. Too many times in life people are afraid to make a mistake and are not very aggressive. I never panic. I never feel pressure during a game. Ever. It doesn’t make any difference what the magnitude of the game is. It doesn’t make any difference whether we’re winning or losing. When the people around you see that you’re not panicking and that you can handle the pressure, it calms them down. If you know what you’re doing, you don’t feel pressure. Pressure is something that’s self-inflicted. Different people handle it different ways. The key to not letting it get the better of you is preparation. If you’re prepared and know what you’re doing, you should be able to handle the pressure because you should feel confident that you have the answers to the test."

From "No Excuses" by Charlie Weis and Vic Carucci



Cutting is a very important part of our motion offense attack. It is necessary to understand that one of the basic fundamental concepts that we teach to our team is to “be hard to guard.” Movement without the basketball is critically important in all motion offenses. There will be some coaches that rely more on cutting than they do screening. But cutting is equally as important if not more to the coach who relies heavily on screening as part of their motion philosophy.

Once we get into the scrimmage area with our offense, there will be nothing that we do as far as movement that will not begin with a V-Cut. It is our base cut for all that we do in terms of setting up our cuts and screens. The ability to incorporate the v-cut into our offense again lends support to being hard to guard. It is a maneuver that keeps the defense from easily anticipating our final cutting direction – especially since it is the positioning of the defender that tells us which way to start our v-cut. For instance, if the defender is below the cutter as shown in Diagram #1, the offensive player will start the v-cut by also going low. We want to start all of our cuts with a two-step set-up. The two-step set-up should be a slower movement as opposed to a full sprint. In fact, our terminology for the movement of the two-step set-up is referred to as “walking your defender down.” The offensive player, after taking two steps towards the baseline, will then plant the outside foot and accelerate into the cut. The final part of the cut should be a sprint towards the basketball to shorten the pass. The obvious reason for the change of speed is it is still yet another area in which we keep the defender off balance and stay hard to guard.

Notice in Diagram #1 that the two-step set-up is towards the baseline as opposed to a two-step set-up towards the lane as shown in Diagram #2. The reason we don’t V-Cut towards the lane is because of spacing. We want to keep our perimeter players on the perimeter and don’t want to drag a defender towards the lane.
, clogging up the paint, especially on a set-up cut.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


We have heavy hearts to up learning that former LSU soccer player Robyn DesOrmeaux, who earned four letters as the team’s starting goalkeeper from 2001-04, lost her battle with cancer Thursday morning as she passed away at the age of 27.

DesOrmeaux enjoyed an outstanding career with the Tigers as she ranks among the all-time greats to ever wear the purple and gold. She is LSU’s all-time leader with 28 wins during her four-year career, while she also ranks No. 3 in school history with 183 career saves and 13.5 career shutouts.

More importantly than her stats was the way she battled and taught us all courage with grace.


Here is just one example of something you get from following us on twitter that didn't make our blog. If you are following us on twitter - you receive the following:

Great article from Maxwell on Putting Other First!




1. Stay focused and determined.
As Scott Turner taught us, it is our level of determination that will make the difference. It is important to just keep persevering and keep our goal in front of us. It's so easy to get distracted or thrown off course by obstacles, but a written down goal with clear action steps will help you to finish strong.

2. Be a constant learner.
Bryan Dodge challenged us by asking, What have you learned yesterday that you can apply today in order to do things differently tomorrow? These are times that are forcing people to better their business, their habits, and their marketing strategies to position themselves and their companies to catch the next wave.

3. Overcome objections.
Bryan Flanagan taught us to establish value before you quote the price. Give people a reason to want to do business with you - what is your compelling reason? You need to be able to clearly articulate the benefits of what you sell.

From Tom Ziglar


Tweeter for Hoops! It's true. I have been twittering for several months but it has been great for me in getting motivation and information to our players. More importantly it has helped me as a coach by the information given to me by others.

If you follow our blog, you get even more from our Tweets. Often we will tweet a link to a motivational or instructional story so that you can get it instantly as opposed to blogging about it later.

I plan on Twittering from meetings...staff meetings...bus sessions...before the game. All in an effort to open our program to coaches and fans.

I've already talked about Coach Eric Musselman who sends out around 10 tweets a day that include motivational quotes, clinic notes, and newspaper articles on players and coaches that are great for reading or passing on to your team.

There are numerous of coaches that are twittering and you can follow what they are doing in terms of running their program. Many of them share their philosophy.

There are also non-coaches that I greatly enjoy following such as John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, Stephen Covey, Darren Hardy, Kevin Elko, Tony Robbins.

And there are various news agencies to keep you posted the very second news breaks.
I strongly recommend twittering. You don't have to tweet messages but it is a great source of information. There are many people who never type on twitter but follow people with their twitter account to get information.

As for me, I twitter a great deal. I'm hoping it is a great means for promoting our program as well as helping coaches and educating myself along the way. Every time I post a new blog I put it on twitter. Sometimes I pass on newspaper articles on twitter and I have a "Thought of the Day" each morning on twitter.

Find out more at:

I've mentioned them before but here are some great people to follow:

Coach Eric Musselman (worth twittering alone!)

Coach Goestenkors (Texas) - active twitterer

Coach Kevin Eastman (Boston Celtics) - great stuff on a daily basis

Coach Sue Semrau (Florida State) one of my favorite coaches!

Indiana's Tom Crean - really shares his program

Brian Williams of Coaching Toolbox

John Maxwell (my favorite author)

Leadership 501 -- great website, great tweets

Tony Robbins - motivational speaker

Darren Hardy - shares great thoughts


I received this last night from my mentor and friend Dale Brown who has great respect for author, Bob Richards. For those unfamiliar with Bob:

The Reverend Bob Richards was a theology professor in California when he qualified for the U.S. Olympic team as a pole vaulter in 1952. The duel for the gold medal was waged between Richards and fellow American Don Laz. They both cleared 4.50m with their second attempt and then missed twice at 4.55m. But Richards went over on his third try and won. The 1952 Olympics in Helsinki were the first at which athletes from the U.S.S.R. competed, and there was concern that Cold War tensions would mar the Games. Richards countered this mood by leading an unofficial delegation of American athletes to visit the Soviet athletes. Richards returned to the Olympics in 1956. The pole vault final was held in the midst of gusty winds. Richards won by clearing 4.56m on his second attempt. He is the only person to win the pole vault twice. In addition, because he also won a bronze medal at the London Olympic Games in 1948, Richards is the only vaulter to earn three medals. Bob Richards also holds a special place in American cultural history because he was the first athlete to appear on a box of Wheaties cereal.

The Heart of a Champion
By: Bob Richards

1. Life has its hurts, its setbacks, its defeats, its heartaches. No man can meet life in all of its fullness, but he must at one time or another meet hurt and pain and suffering—not only physical but mental pain, spiritual pain, financial pain. In every walk of life there is some sort of suffering and heartache that you’ve got to face, but the champion is the one who can meet it with a stiff upper lip, with faith in God, and somehow, even wit that hurt and pain in his heart, he keeps on going to achieve greatness. I’ve never read the story of a great man without finding that at one time or another in that man’s life he went through days of hurt, and it was the molding influence of the hurt that made the man what he was. It’s a great principle for life. It’s the heart of a champion.

2. The people who will really accomplish great things in life are those who are willing to discipline their lives, who maintain their health, their vitality, their efficiency through this process of rigorous discipline in what they take into their bodies and what they do in life.

3. Stop working, and your power, your ability, your endurance, your form will leave you. There’s only one way you can get to the top and stay there, in athletics, and that’s through long hours of hard work.

As the psychologists have put it the most creative principle of personality development is “hard work and plenty of it.” I’ve come to agree wit Thomas A. Edison, America’s great scientist, who said that “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

4. As important as a body is in athletics, it is not as important as the frame of mind or the mental perspective that a fellow has. You can only go as high in life as you dare to believe you can go. Hitch your wagon to a star; aim for the great things in life. As Browning puts it: “But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” I dare to believe this: what a man thinks in his mind has a way of becoming reality in life. John Milton expressed it well when he said” “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” It’s what you thing that makes the difference.

5. In the spiritual world, the apostle Paul expressed it beautifully when he said: “Forgetting what lies behind and looking to the future, I press on toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus my Lord” (see Phil. 3:13-13). Deep in the heart of every person are great goals that he wants to accomplish. In some people it is a burning desire, an obsession, while in others it may be a faintly felt thing. But it is in every human being. No matter how much man may accomplish, he will always be frustrated. No matter how much you gain in the way of wealth, no matter how much you achieve in the way of athletic greatness or in scientific progress, there will still be that gnawing within you, that sense of not having done enough.

6. If I have learned on thing in sports, it is that before a man ever scales the heights of greatness without, he must first of all learn to control himself within.

7. I don’t believe anyone ever got to the top without going through the valleys.

8. You never know what potential you’ve got within you until you reach out for the highest.

9. Each and every one of us has some sort of goal or ideal or objective as to the kind of person that we would like to be. But the great tragedy with most of us is this: We don’t know how to be the person we ought to be. We have goals, but they are more or less vague abstractions, nebulous. They might even be clearly defined, but because we don’t know how to accomplish our goals, they go begging, and we never arrive at being the kind of person we want to be.

You’ve got to analyze yourself, recognize your weakness and work on them. Now this is one of the hardest things for a person to do. It is very easy for us to take a negative attitude toward our weaknesses, justifying them by saying that after all, we were born with this particular weakness—or we have just acquired it through the circumstances of life—and actually there is nothing we can do about it. Or we can defend a weakness, and in the process of this defense, we may start to build our lives around it, making the weakness the center of our lives instead of conquering the thing and overcoming it. Now you can’t react negatively to your weaknesses like this and expect to attain success.

There are vivid illustrations of what can happen when a man does something about his own weakness. I think this is what the Bible means when it says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). I think God is telling us here that He won’t help us justify our weaknesses, that He will not help us defend them, but that He will help us to turn them into strength. If you want to be great in any realm of life, analyze yourself, recognize your weaknesses and work on them.

10. I am convinced that if anyone is going to become great in life or in sports, he has to welcome competition, to welcome someone, a pioneer, who will set the standard high. I don’t think that most people compete enough; they give up too easily, they level off, they let their personal standards dominate them and they never press on. Would that we had the competitive spirit of Paul the apostle, who said, “I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26 NASB). He ran to win. He also said, “do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (v. 24 NKJV). Paul was a fierce competitor. It was what made him a great man of God. You’ve got to compete! It is tragic in this day, when there is so much evil in the world, that so many of us refuse competition. It is time for us to re-evaluate ourselves and go on to the heights we should reach.

If a man is going to be what he ought to be, he’s got to be willing to put out just a little bit more. The more I watch great men, the more I see the processes by which men achieve their goals, the more I am convinced that it is the willingness to put out just a little bit more that makes the difference. The difference between a saint and a sinner is not as great as people may think. The difference between a PHD in school and the fellow who didn’t quite make it is that little bit more study, that extra page that a man turns every night as he burns the midnight oil. The difference in business is not always that one man is more gifted than another. It is that one man puts out a little bit more.

11. Dr. Arnold Toynbee, in his amazing ten-volume history of civilization, says that you can measure civilization by studying the responses of the people of history to the great challenges they have had to face; that history is only the record of how they faced one crisis after another. As we have responded, so has history taken its course. When we have responded negatively, progress has slowed down, cultures have disintegrated, empires have collapsed. When we have responded positively, mankind has leaped ahead. The way we react to our challenges determines the destiny of our lives, our country and our world.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Reinsdorf and Einhorn asked La Russa to rate his coaching staff on a scale from 1 to 10. Until all of the coaches received a 10 rating, they would set out to make changes. “In the end, it’s the players who win games, but our coaches make a big enough difference in enough games to justify their expense,” La Russa said. “Actually, all they have to do is make a difference in a few games, and that can help you distance yourself from the rest of the league.” La Russa also realized the value of specialization. Teams had always had a pitching coach and a hitting coach, but he wanted his other coaches to also work with players on specific areas of the game—base running, infield defense, outfield defense, and so on. Specialization was a lesson he had learned in the minor leagues as well as when he was in a college classroom.

From Tony La Russa: Man On A Mission
By Rob Rains


Our Team Notebooks are a very important part of our success. In fact, we will have a short team meeting today to discuss out the notebook and how we expect the players to maintain it during the season and esecially to explain how they can best utilize it. In this meeting we always talk about the importance of notetaking. After a discussion with Lason Perkins a few weeks ago we decided to detail some guideline for good note taking to give to our players. We met with some key professors on the LSU campus and did some additional research. We will make sure that we talk to our team in terms of not only will this help them be better players but there are guidelines that will help them in class and beyond. Here are the guidelines that we will give our players today:


Goal: To create a tool that makes information meaningful

Thoughts: In a study of Fortune 500 CEOs, one of the primary common denominators was that they were note takers. Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club never went anywhere without a yellow pad and pen.

There are 2 phases of successful note taking:
Phase 1: Take good notes
Phase 2: Review those notes (this is where many fall short)

Keys to being a good note taker:
Be an active listener (don’t just hear — listen!)
Be prepared to listen (come with a “want to learn” attitude)
Listen with a questioning mind (why is this relevant?)

Don’t be affected or distracted by the speaker or speaker’s mannerisms

Prepare before hand when you can
Review previous notes or materials you have received

Listen to everything but don’t try to write everything down.

Leave room to add to your notes later when you review.

If speaker repeats something, that’s a cue it important.

Review notes afterwards as often as you can

Listen for cue words or key phrases:
“The following factors…”
“The most important thing is…”
“The key is…”

Words, phrases, stats on boards or screens are worth noting

Pay attention to:
Details & facts

Review information with 24 hours
Edit and correct
Highlight key thoughts
Note that you took but didn’t understand?
—Ask the Coach what they meant

Utilize symbols to help
* For something important
? For something you don’t understand

Always maintain eye contact with speaking (except when writing)

Focus on content, not delivery
Don’t get caught up in the fact that the coach is criticizing you caught up in what he/she is criticizing
— that is what you need to know to improve.

Ask yourself questions
Why is this important?
What is the primary point to this?


There have been studies done over the years that shows evidence that learning is improved immediately following a lecture but that significantly declines around 24 hours later. The key is that they study also shows that the decrease of recall is greatly reduced by those who utilize a short review following the initial lecture or reading material.

Studies also show the best way to prepare for a test is the utilization of “recitation.” Recitation is the acting of repeating/reading aloud. In fact, one study showed that you can improve by as much as 80% by utilizing recitation.

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diliegnce."

-Abigail Adams-

“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

-George Santayana-

“Learning is not a spectator sport.”
-D. Blocher-


The Cornell 6-R Note Taking Method breaks the process down into components, but it is really an ongoing, dynamic process. The value of taking notes this way is that it organizes information and prepares you for tests from the very beginning, and saves time.

Write down important facts, names, dates, concepts, theories, procedures and other information in the column on the right.

Summarize the main ideas with key words or questions and write these in the column on the left.

Cover the details section, and ask yourself the question in the main idea column, or formulate a question based upon the concept phrases in the left column. How well could you remember what you wrote down? Keep track of what you need to learn.

Reflect upon the ideas in the notes, including how they are applied, the implications of conclusions or data, and the meaning of examples or cases discussed. Search for connections between ideas. You give meaning to what you are learning by reflecting upon it. Record your thoughts, observations, questions and unresolved issues in the lower section of the page for the summary.

Review your notes again immediately after taking them. If the notes are from lecture, fill in any blanks, clarify any missing or partial information. Recite and reflect again to test yourself. Plan spaced time for review of your notes each week.

Summarize what you have gone over in your notes again. Write a summary of each page of notes in the lower section of the page. This will help the information to be stored in long-term memory.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


After being inspired by Rashanda McCants and her mother today (, I thought I'd share another story from "Leader of the Pack: The Legacy of Legendary Coach Kay Yow." the book was written by Stephanie Zonars and a portion of the proceeds go to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. This story comes from Claudia Kreicker Dozier who played for Coach Yow from 1980-1984.

"It was my senior year, 1984. We just suffered a heartbreaking over-time loss to No. 4 Old Dominion on their home court. A win would have put us in the Elite Eight. Instead, our season was over. I struggled to take my uniform off after the game, as it reminded me that our class had failed to bring Coach Yow a NCAA or Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title. I took that failure personally.

As a senior co-captain, I felt like I owed Coach Yow an apology for failing that mission. On the bus ride home the next morning, I fought back tears as I walked to the front. I was surprised to find her peacefully reading a basketball instructional book. I chit-chatted until my heart could bear it no more. Then, through tears and brokenness, I shared my sorrow at failing to help bring her a national title. She looked at me with loving surprise and said, 'But Claudia, you gave me so much more than that.'"

In that short passage, I took away a few things.

1. For a player playing in her last collegiate game to care more about her coach than herself speaks to the character of the player but more importantly to how the player obviously had been treated by Coach Yow.

2. I loved the fact that less than 24 hours after a tough loss that Coach Yow was reading a basketball book -- the Hall of Famer still dedicated to learning.

3. And of course, the grace and dignity in her statement, " gave me so much more than that."

When you talk about Coach Yow, you can certainly say the same thing. She gave us so much more than that!
You can find out more about Stephanie Zonars as well as order an advanced copy Leader of the Pack at:

Again, it should be noted that partial proceeds of the book sales go to the Kay You/WBCA Cancer Fund.


This is from my email newsletter from John Maxwell's "Giant Impact." I look forward to each edition because it contains some tremendous articles -- including this one:

"Judge a person by their questions,
rather than their answers."
~ Voltaire

The willingness to ask questions coupled with the discipline to seek out answers separates leaders from followers. Influencers question assumptions, inquire about the environment around them, and probe into the future. They have an insatiable appetite to learn, and they convert their knowledge to action at light speed.

The Value of Questions
While leaders constantly investigate their surroundings, the most important questions they ask are the ones they pose to themselves. By routinely questioning their goals, motives, and purpose leaders renew their self-identity along with their sense of perspective. Consider the following benefits of examining yourself as a leader.

1) Quality Questions Create a Quality Life
You only get answers to the questions you ask. If you won't dare to wrestle with the tough dilemmas in life, then you'll live small.

2) Focused Questions Stimulates Creative Thinking
A well-considered question penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights.

3) Honest Questions Lead to Solid Convictions.
Inquisitiveness clarifies morals and beliefs. Values are shaped when you force yourself to be truthful in answering tough questions about where you stand on key issues.

4) Correct Questions Help Us Find Ourselves and Our Mission.
Tackling life's biggest questions brings direction and meaning to life's journey. Bob Buford captures this thought in his book, The Second Half.

What is your passion? What have you achieved? What have you done uncommonly well? How are you wired? Where do you belong? What are the ‘shoulds' that have trailed you during the first half? These and other questions like them will direct you toward the self your heart longs for; they will help you discover the task for which you were especially made. Throughout your years in leadership, if you know the right questions then you will ultimately gain the right answers.

Questions I Ask Myself as a Leader

1) Am I Investing in Myself?
This question probes your commitment to personal growth. An empty glass won't refresh anyone. Before you can influence others, you need to contain something worth offering to others.
Don't be content to stockpile knowledge. Once you've ascertained a new insight or developed a skill, pass on what you've discovered. A learner builds reservoir of learning, whereas a leader becomes a river of learning for others.

2) Am I Genuinely Interested In Others?
This question delves into motives. As J.P. Morgan cynically observed, "A man always has two reasons for doing anything - a good reason and the real reason." Since leaders are inclined to figure out situations before anyone else, they have capacity to take advantage of others. For this reason, it's essential to regularly question your motives. There's a fine line between manipulation and motivation. The former moves people for personal benefit, while the latter moves people for mutual gain.

3) Am I Doing What I Love and Loving What I Do?
This question determines passion. You will never find your passion doing work you despise. If you go to work only to fulfill processes and functions then you're in jeopardy of losing your humanity and turning into a machine. "Find your passion and follow it," is all the career advice you'll ever need. Passion gives you the edge by endowing you with more energy than others have.

4) Am I Taking Others to a Higher Level?
This question has to do with mission. Regardless of your industry, as a leader, you're in the people development business. Fulfilling your mission depends upon lifting the performance of those you lead. As Zig Ziglar says, "You can get everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." By adding value to those you lead, you're investing in men and women with the potential to multiply your influence exponentially.

5) Am I Taking Care of Today?
How you treat today speaks volumes about your likelihood of success. In fact, if I spent one day observing your priorities, behaviors, and interactions with people, then, with about 90% accuracy, I could let you know your leadership potential. Why would I be so certain in my judgment? Because I've learned that the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.

The great artist, Pablo Picasso, once remarked, "Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." I tend to agree, and I think Picasso's observation carries truth for leaders as well. Regardless of your technical skill or relational charm, you'll be inhibited as a leader until you learn the art of asking questions. Knowing how has merit, but influencers will always be the men and women who understand why.

Sign up for your own Giant Impact newsletter at:

Monday, August 24, 2009



The following comes from, "Beyond Basketball," by Coach Mike Krzyzewski with Jamie Spatola.

"When you have been through a long season of basketball, you can find yourself getting caught up in the complexities of what you are doing and forget about the fundamentals. It is important to remind yourself and your team of the essential building blocks of the game and to ensure that you continue to practice and improve on these. These building blocks are like the soil from which your skills grow. Practice will help keep that soil fertile.

To help turn fundamentals into habits requires intensive, intelligent, and repetitive action.

I constantly remind myself of the most basic formula of teaching: you hear, you forget; you see, you remember; you do, you understand. And when you truly understand, that is when the basics become habitual."


One of the first basketball books I ever read was "Basketball Multiple Offense and Defense" by Dean Smith. It was given to me by Ron Chambers who I assisted at the time at Winfield High School. To this day, it remains one of the best basketball books I have ever read and it still greatly influences many things that we do offensively and defensively at LSU.

To follow is Coach Smith describing the two primary types of coaches and how he falls in the middle of the two with his own philosophy:

A coach usually arrives at his own philosophy of offense based upon tempo and style of play, both of which may be effected by the personnel on hand. Some coaches continue to use the same system of play year after year. These coaches are referred to as system-type coaches. The system coach will make adjustments based upon the talent on hand, in order to get maximum efficiency out of the system he uses exclusively.

Other coaches will change their system from year to year, adapting almost exclusively to the talents of the players. These coaches can be termed flexible-type coaches.

Most coaches would probably conclude that their own philosophy rested some where in between system and flexible. In determining my own position, I would consider myself to be very near the center, bearing slightly towards the flexible end of the pole. I would further describe my offensive philosophy as follows:

1. Utilize personnel as effectively as possible.

2. Encourage team play -- achieve results through cooperation and unselfish effort on the part of every player.

3. Look to fast break at every opportunity.

4. Concentrate on the high-percentage shot with good offensive rebounding coverage.

5. Multiple offense: Major emphasis on a free-lance offense, with rules along with some set offenses to make use of personnel.

6. Eliminate element of surprise by having team thoroughly prepared to meet all possible defenses.

7. Vary the offense throughout each game to prevent the defense from preparing too easily, or becoming accustomed to a singular style of play.


“Successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. The earlier you make those right decisions and the longer you manage them, the more successful you can become. The people who neglect to make those decisions and to manage them well often look back on their lives with pain and regret — no matter how much talent they possessed or how many opportunities they once had.”

-John Maxwell


There are two types of people throughout the world: positive people and negative people. Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, the future lies in your hands, and yours alone. If you want to be joyful, enthusiastic, and excited about life, you can be, regardless of your circumstances. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or not start at all. You were not born to fail. Keep your mind uncluttered. You must seek out and associate with other positive individuals. Take a look at the people in your life that are telling you, “It cannot be done,” “There’s no way,” “No one has ever done this before.” Are you allowing these individuals to determine whether you are capable of reaching your goals or not? In essence, are you giving your power away to others? If you are, make a decision to reclaim your power. What kind of people do you surround yourself with in your business? Are they men and women who are always searching for reasons why some things can’t be done, or are you surrounding yourself with people who find solutions? Be very careful when choosing the kind of people with whom you associate, because whether you realize it or not, they strongly influence your life. Their negativity becomes contagious — in your office, in your relationships, in your family and your business.

From “What Makes the Great Great,” by
Dennis Kimbro


What do you do?
Give them 1 thing on offense
Give them 1 thing on defense
And repeat them

Give them 3 offensive things
Give them 3 defensive things
Must discipline ourselves as coaches.

Less said, the better we sound. Concise.
Sometimes he will sit at half-time to look them in their eyes.

Thoughts from Herb Sendek