Saturday, October 31, 2009


The following is a portion on an article written by Andy Katz for

Throughout his career, there's been a common thread: how much Jim Beilein prepares his team through the use of video.

In an age of fast-moving and constantly changing technology, this Michigan team is the beneficiary of Beilein's most advanced video training.

"He's obsessed with it," junior guard Manny Harris said. "We watch it every day. You come from class, walk by his office and he'll say, 'Come in; I want to show you something.' I honestly think he wakes up at 5 a.m. and looks at tape -- probably earlier than that."

Indeed, Beilein usually sets aside an hour in the morning to watch at home, so that when he comes into the office, he already has not just watched tape of a practice or a game, but also edited it down for a digestible 20- to 30-minute hit.

"I don't want any distractions, nothing; I just watch it," Beilein said. "I don't have to watch and then come tell someone to cut it. I just cut it and then I'll watch my cuts again."

Video coordinator Matt Duprey has simplified Beilein's laptop icons to make it easier for him to use. Duprey is almost like Kramer on "Seinfeld." If Beilein yells from his office for help with a program or an edit, Duprey comes bursting through the door. Maybe he's not as animated in his entrances as actor Michael Richards, but he doesn't hesitate when summoned.

"He's always here," Beilein said. "I caught him going to the bathroom once. It really pissed me off."

The computer program allows Beilein to have every practice and game on his laptop as soon as it concludes. This is nothing new to most coaches. But the difference may lie in how hands-on Beilein has become. He has one key on his laptop that starts and stops an edit, and he makes the cuts, over and over again.

"If a kid is in a shooting slump, I'll clip one of him making a shot 10 times so he goes out on the court thinking he made 10 in a row," Beilein said.

As Beilein was watching last Tuesday's practice, he was cutting a sequence in which freshman Eso Akunne moved toward the top of the key and then correctly bounced a pass toward the streaking Blake McLimans, a fellow freshman. But the timing was off. So he cut the video to show the movement first, which was correct, and then the timing of the pass, which was not. The spacing was off during the possession from other players, too, and that was made as a cut as well.

The team watched roughly 40 minutes of video before each practice last season, Beilein's second with the Wolverines. Now he's down to about 20, since this is more of a veteran group and he has refined his own video technique.

"I don't think he can live without the laptop," Harris said

To read the entire article (and it's worth it), click:

Friday, October 30, 2009


To my Friend and Mentor -- the best of wishes on your Birthday!


The following is just a portion of a post on Greg Brown's blog on rebounding. To read the entire article go to:


Things to assume:
Offensively assume that every shot is a miss. Send 4 to boards.
Defensively assume every opponent is a terrible shooter. Send all 5 players to make physical contact.

Chin the Ball:
1. Fingers spread wide and straight up when holding the ball.
2. Elbows are held straight out in both directions.
3. Try to squeeze the basketball.

Two-Hand Rebounding
1. Rebound with two feet with two hands.
2. Go Up With Both Hands Up: Both hands are up with elbows at least shoulder high


The following comes from our Hoop Boost site which is dedicated to players. If you haven't visited it yet, take a look and share it with your team. We don't post nearly as often at Hoop Boost, probably about twice a week but all the information is geared towards motivating players.

1. Puts others ahead of her own agenda.
It means intentionally being aware of your teammates’ needs, available to help them, and able to accept their desires as important.

2. Possesses the confidence to serve.
The real heart of being a good teammate is security. Show me someone who things she is too important to serve, and I’ll show you someone who is basically insecure.

3. Initiates service to others.
Just about anyone will serve if compelled to do so. And some will serve in a crisis. But you can really see the heart of someone who initiates service to others.

4. Is not position-conscious.
Good teammates don’t focus on rank, position or playing time.

5. Serves out of love.
The desire to be a good teammate is not motivated by manipulation or self-promotion. It is fueled by love. In the end, the extent of your influence depends on the depth of concern for others.

Paraphrased from The 21 Indispensable Qualities Of A Leader
By John C. Maxwell


"Teaching is the most wonderful profession. The most important professions in the world are parenting - that's the most important - and teaching."

"Success all begins with attention to, and perfection of, details. They usually accompany success."

"Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details."

"Set your compass in a chosen direction and then focus your attention and efforts completely on the journey of preparation. A successful journey becomes your destination and is where your real accomplishment lies."

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Here's another great article by Don Yeager who by the way just released a book on Coach Wooden ("A Game Plan for Life") that is a must read -- incredibly well written. In this, another article, Don writes about the goal development stratgey for Coach Pat Summitt.

•Set realistic goals that make your team stretch. If the goal is too big and unattainable, morale
can suffer. Hitting the smaller goals will get you closer to that pie-in-the-sky goal anyway.

• Small goals you set and achieve every day work best. Be personally accountable for those
and help your teammates do the same.

• Instill the idea of rewards for reaching goals,and consequences if you don’t.

• Be sure to involve everyone in goal-setting. This provides a sense of empowerment—
and accountability.

• Realize that others help you achieve your goal; no matter who makes the coaching decisions, nothing will get done without a strong team.

• Commit your goals to writing.

From Don's article with Coach Summitt talking of leading a group of individuals:

Though her control of the Lady Vol program is unquestioned, Summitt’s ability to involve her players in decisionmaking has been a hallmark of her career. Before practice begins for every
season, during a team meeting, Summitt asks her players what style of play they would prefer. Most often, each player wants to run and press—play hard, play fast, play smart. Then, when practice starts and her players are panting and sucking wind, Summitt is careful to remind them that this was the style they chose.

“It is important to hear those you’re leading,” she says. “And it is just as important for them to understand that what sounds good isn’t always as good as it sounds. I enjoy including my
players, the captains of the teams particularly, in setting some direction. If they are involved in setting the goals, establishing the rules and regulations, they’ll always be more cooperative.
If they’re more cooperative, there are fewer violations and discipline is required less often. This is one big cycle, and you have to see the whole of the cycle—and remain consistent
throughout—to enjoy true success.”

Summitt says the best way to motivate individuals to achieve team goals is to bring individual goals in line. She hasn’t achieved her goals by herself. Her players have achieved them,
and she’ll be the first to tell you it was their hard work that led to all of her program’s accomplishments.

“I haven’t hit a shot in any one of those wins you mentioned,” she says. “I haven’t taken a charge or made a steal. The things I’m credited with are the result of a great number of others coming together to achieve goals they set together. That’s the beauty of this discussion. These fundamentals are the same today as they were in the mid-1970s.”

Read Don's entire article at:


The following comes from a great piece written by Don Yeager for Success Magazine on maintaining excellence. The following are some thoughts he penned from UNC's Roy Williams:

"But I want them to have dreams, not expectations. I want them to have goals, not be concerned about what others say. I wanted them to realize from the earliest point that others who have lots to say have nothing invested. We will be successful if we make the investment and ignore the hype. If you have dreams and goals and are committed to them, are working toward them, it becomes easier to block those outside forces.”

“I recruit character as much as I recruit ability,” Williams says. “And if you’ve built a team
of character, they can handle moments that others cannot and they accept coaching on how to
manage pressure.”

“Most elite teams have elite players,” he says. “And when the guy others look up to also happens to be dedicated to constant development, that’s a dream situation.”

Williams used his preseason time with players to reinforce his message and offer his prescription. “I reminded each player that the way you deal with expectations is to focus only on today,” he says. “Yes we have a plan for the entire year, but it all begins with what we are going to do today. If you work to be the best you can be today, you’re preparing yourself to be the best you can be tomorrow. It sounds simple, but it’s not.

“If each of us works every day to be the best we can be on that day and then come back and do the same tomorrow, then we have a better chance of being our very best at year’s end. Will that be enough to win a national championship? That’s hard to say in college basketball today.

“But handling as high expectations as we are gives us our best chance for success.”

Read the entire article:


Is there a more important word in regards to practice and preparation than productivity? Defined it means "the quality of being productive." Execution is certainly necessary to be productive. Consistency is a critical part of being productive. When you put together your practice plan, is it one that allows you and your team to be productive? Following practice, as you review the video, was it productive? Here are some quotes on productivity:

“You perform at your best when you are working
continually on high-priority goals and objectives.”
Brian Tracy

“The simple act of paying positive attention to people
has a great deal to do with productivity.”
Tom Peters

“Productivity is never an accident.
It is always the result of a commitment to excellence,
intelligent planning and focused effort.”
Paul J. Meyer


The following is from Chris Widener:

One of the great things about life is that we can realistically be or do anything we choose to. This includes being a good time manager! We must believe that we can be a good time manager—that we have the potential. Unfortunately, many people say, “Well, I am just a poor time manager,” as if it were ingrained in their DNA. The truth is that anyone can be a great time manager, if they choose to go from potential to performance.
So, how do we do this? Here is a simple seven-part process:
1. Believe that you can become a good time manager.
2. Inventory where your time is currently being spent.
3. Determine what your life values are—what do you view as important, what do you want to
4. Set time priorities that will move you toward living out your values.
5. Develop a system of scheduling that works best for you, not a time-management conglomerate.
6. Learn to say no to things that are not part of your priorities moving you toward your values—exercise your power to choose.
7. Do what is in your new schedule.

These simple steps, if you apply them, will take you from having the potential to be a good time manager to true time-management mastery and performance!


From "The Carolina Way" by Dean Smith and Gerald Bell with John Kilgo:

Every person on the team was important. There were no exceptions. This included not only the last man on the team but also the student managers, who worked hard on our behalf. I told many business friends that if they wanted to hire a great employee, then choose one of our student managers. The would find a hardworking, self-starting, highly organized, dependable individual.

Our players respected the student managers and didn't boss them around. Nor did they expect them to wait on them hand and foot. The players had a role; the managers had a role. One season I had to discipline a few players for behaving poorly toward the managers. I told them I wouldn't tolerate it happening again, and it didn't.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The following comes from "Playing for Coach Meyer" by "Steve Smiley.

It begs the question, what does your program stand for?!

Janitor Dan was one of the janitors at Northern during my days on campus and he had actually been in some trouble with the law and was sent to prison. Knowing Dan on a personal level, it was tough to see somebody that I knew go to jail, but Coach Meyer made sure that everybody on the team still stayed in contact with Dan. As Coach states, “even though a person is in a bad situation, that doesn’t mean that we, as his friends, turn our back on him.” Coach Meyer had us set up a schedule where every player on the team wrote Dan letters while he was in jail. We had about fifteen guys on the team, so we created a schedule where guy had two assigned days each month to write a letter to Dan, and the numbers worked out where he would receive a letter from somebody basically every day. It was a great idea and for the most part we all stayed fairly consistent in writing Dan letters. In return, Dan would write Coach Meyer his own letters from time to time, and Coach would share those letters with us. Every time Dan wrote, it was clear in his letters that just reading whatever we had to say helped him get through the day. To impact somebody’s life and help them in a situation like Dan’s was a great feeling. Staying in touch with “Janitor Dan” was one of the greatest things we did as a program.

You can purchase this book (it's a great read from the eyes of a player) at Coach Meyer's site:



"If you don’t seek perfection,
you can never reach excellence."

The level of people’s expectations has a great deal to do with the results they achieve. Don Shula’s vision of perfection for the football team he coached was to win every game. Was that possible? No, but the 1972 Miami Dolphins did it for a season—established a level of perfection that no other NFL team has ever matched.

Don’s philosophy is that if you’re shooting at a target, you’re better off aiming at the bull’s-eye because if you miss it, the chances are high you’ll still be on the target.

From "Everyone's a Coach"
By Ken Blanchard and Don Shula


Some good things from Jim Rohn on stress management. And after a rough practice today I will be reviewing the list!

It's very common to cause your own stress. Everyone does it. So don't stress about your stress, learn some valuable techniques to alleviate it. Susan Fletcher, a practicing psychologist and stress management expert has tips to help:

Don't read into things so much.
"Sometimes a look is just a look and a dirty coffee cup is just a dirty coffee cup. It's not a passive-aggressive way to say you are not appreciated," Fletcher says. Don't make things bigger than they need to be—with people or work. Some people make a project bigger than it needs to be in an effort to increase their own value, but they are increasing their own stress as a result.

Learn how to transfer trust.
"I really like Stephen M.R. Covey's stuff from his book Speed of Trust. He says people have to be able to trust before they feel it. Just like with your kids when you give them a little rope. And with someone who works for you, you have to let them fail because failure is feedback," Fletcher says. "Don't just say, 'It's easier to do myself.'"

Recognize when you are being inefficient.
"People who are stressed get stuck answering e-mails for two hours at the expense of higher value items that need to be taken care of, "Fletcher says. "Don't get lost in inefficient behavior. Ask yourself, 'What's my ultimate outcome I want here and what do I need to get there?'"

Find an accountability partner to help you meet goals.
"Choose a friend or a family member—probably not someone who lives with you because you don't want to muddy the waters. It has to be someone you will listen to but who will hold you accountable."

Say no sometimes.
"You have to say no to things you might enjoy, but you are not in line with where you are professionally or personally at the moment," Fletcher says. Then you can spend your time on what matters to you most.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Thoughts from Jim Rohn on Time Management:

Something will master and something will serve. Either you run the day or the day runs you; either you run the business or the business runs you.

Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.

Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what?

Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely.

Sometimes you need to stay in touch but be out of reach.

Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.

We can no more afford to spend major time on minor things than we can to spend minor time on major things.

Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.

Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.

Learn how to say no. Don’t let your mouth overload your back.

Time is the best-kept secret of the rich.


Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. The word, or course, means to convey a message. In order to communicate with your teammates, coworkers, or family, you must ask yourself and one another two critical questions:

How do we talk to one another?

How do we listen?

My team has one rule regarding communication: when you talk to one another, you look each other in the eye.

In our team’s prepation, there are three systems that I and my coaching staff try to instill. Of course, there is an offensive system and a defensive system consisting of basketball X’s and O’s, but there is also a communication system.

On our Duke Basketball teams, I never want to be the only communicator. In order for a message to get across, it must be echoed by every member of the group.

From “Beyond Basketball” by Mike Krzyzewski with Jamie Spatola


"I learned from my players too. I never penciled in a starting lineup during our planning work in the summer. That would have been unfair to players who had worked hard in the off-season and improved. It’s amazing how much some young people can improve from one years to the next."

From "The Carolina Way: Leadership Lessons From A Life In Coaching" By Dean Smith with Gerald D. Bell and John Kilgo

Monday, October 26, 2009


Listening for FIGS: Four reasons for listening to any speaker or teacher. The reasons start with the letters F, I, G, and S.

Listen to Flatter: Flatter the speaker. But even if he doesn’t have anything of value for you, he’s still a human being. He would rather be flattered than ignored. Why not flatter him by keeping your eyes on him at all times? Not yet convinced?

Listen to Impress: Impress the speaker. Send him away thinking and talking about what a terrific student you are.

Listen to Get Ahead: Speakers, teacher—anyone—often can help you in ways you never imagine.

Listen for Self-Discipline: If you think you can go through life always knowing who can help you and who can’t, who you should make an effort to flatter and impress and who you can afford to ignore and depress, you’re wrong. You’ll never do it. Sometimes the people who seem least in a position to help you are those who can do the most. Other times people who act like they can give you the world won’t actually life a finger for you. The intelligent thing to do, if you want to get ahead, is be the best you can be at all times, which brings us to self-discipline. You ought to learn to listen with your eyes and body—looking attentive and holding your body-erect—as a matter of developing your own self-discipline.

From "Think Like a Champion" by Dick Devenzio


Special thanks to Joey Burton at Mississippi State for tweeting this link on organizational accountability -- I think it is excellent! This is a passout for our staff and team tomorrow.

The following six principles form the foundation for instilling accountability within your organization. Together they form a practical understanding of accountability, the transforming effect it can have on an organization, and its essential role in creating significant business results.

1. Accountability is a Statement of Personal Promise. Accountability is both a promise and an obligation to deliver specific, defined results. Accountability, as we define it, does not apply in an abstract way to departments, work groups, or entire organizations. Accountability applies to individuals and their personal promise that these functions will deliver the agreed results. Accountability is first and foremost a personal commitment to the organization and to those that the organization serves.

2. Accountability for Results Means Activities Aren't Enough. Everyone in an organization, from the CEO to the janitor, has some piece of the business and a corresponding set of results which are theirs to achieve. Distinguishing results from activities requires a shift in traditional thinking, built on an awareness of why we do what we do, and what activities we need to focus our attention on.

3. Accountability for Results Requires Room for Judgment and Decision Making. If you're not allowed to use any judgment or discretion on the job, if you're told to follow the rules no matter what, if no decision is up to you, then your boss can only hold you accountable for activities. You can be held accountable for doing what you're told, but you can't be held accountable for the outcome.

4. Accountability is Neither Shared nor Conditional. Accountability agreements are individual, unique, and personal strategies. No two people at the same level in an organization should have the exact same accountabilities. Separating each person's accountabilities can be challenging, but clarity results from the struggle to eliminate overlaps.

5. Accountability for the Organization as a Whole Belongs to Everyone. Every employee's first accountability is for thinking about and acting on what is best for the organization, even if doing so means putting aside one's individual, functional, or departmental priority. The most successful organizations expect and allow every person to be of practical assistance in realizing the organization's goals.

6. Accountability is Meaningless Without Consequences. In an accountability agreements, consequences need to be negotiated. Negotiated consequences that are personally significant to the employee in question are an essential element of accountability agreements and are fundamental to forging a fair deal. This is a key step in forging an interdependent and mutually beneficial relationship with one's employer.

BOTTOMLINE: Organizational accountability eliminates the tendency to make excuses and shift blame. When employees make clear and specific commitments for their own work, entire organizations become aligned and achieve specific measurable results.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


“I think the manager’s number one responsibility is getting the most out of his players. If a fan goes to the park and sees that a player isn’t hustling, he should boo the manager. If a guy refuses to give his best on the field, then it’s the manager’s responsibility to get him out of there.”

-Tony LaRusa
From, "Tony La Russa: Man On A Mission" by Rob Rains


"He loved sharpness. If Coach Wooden didn't see it in practice, that intensity of attention and execution -- the effort -- he might say very coldly, 'OK, we're through today. You didn't come here to work.' Marques Johnson or one of us would say, 'No, no, no. We'll get it going. C'mon, we'll get it going.' Almost pleading with him to give us another chance to work harder.

Maybe his Midwestern upbringing, that lifestyle, put a love of hard work into him. Coach Wooden loved hard work. He wanted to see it from the players. If not, no yelling or screaming, he'd just threaten to end practice. And he wasn't afraid to follow through on the threat."

Dave Meyers (UCLA 1973-75)

From "The Essential Wooden" by John Wooden and Steve Jamison


The path to success consists of knowing your outcome, taking action, knowing what results you’re getting, and having the flexibility to change until you’re successful. The same is true of beliefs. You have to find the beliefs that support your outcome—the beliefs that get you where you want to go.

1. Belief #1: Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.

2. Belief #2: There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.

• I’ve used the words “outcome” and “results” throughout this book because that’s what successful people see. They don’t see failure. They don’t believe in it. It doesn’t compute.

• The super successes of our culture aren’t people who do not fail, but simply people who know that if they try something and it doesn’t give them what they want, they’ve had a learning experience.

• Mark Twain once said, “There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.” He’s right. People who believe in failure are almost guaranteed a mediocre existence. Failure is something that is just no perceived by people who achieve greatness.

• “Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt.” (William Shakespeare)

• “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence only of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

• Dr. Robert Schuller, who teaches the concept of possibility thinking, asks a great question: “What would you attempt to do is you knew you could not fail?”

3. Belief #3: Whatever happens, take responsibility.

• Another attribute great leaders and achievers have in common is that they operate from the belief that they create their world. The phrase you’ll hear time and again is, “I am responsible. I’ll take care or it.”

• Taking responsibility is in my opinion one of the best measures of a person’s power and maturity.

• Those who take responsibility are in power. Those who avoid it are disempowered.

4. Belief #4: It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.

• Achievers invariably manage to be time misers.

• Successful people are especially good at making distinctions between what is necessary for them to understand and what is not.

• You can spend all your time studying the roots, or you can learn to pick the fruit.

5. Belief #5: People are your greatest resource.

• Individuals of excellence—that is, people who produce outstanding results—almost universally have a tremendous sense of respect and appreciation for people. They have a sense of team, a sense of common purpose and unity.

• “There was hardly a more pervasive theme in excellence companies than respect for the individual.”

6. Belief #6: Work is play.

• “When I work, I relax; doing nothing or entertaining visitors makes me tired.”

7. Belief #7: There’s no abiding success without commitment.

• Individuals who succeed have a belief in the power of commitment. If there’s a single belief that seems almost inseparable from success, it’s that there’s no great success without great commitment.

• “To follow, without halt, one aim: there’s the secret of success.”

• “I never saw anyone practice more.”

• I like to use the term W.I.T.—Whatever It Takes. Successful people are willing to do whatever to takes to succeed.

From "Unlimited Power" by Tony Robbins

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The following is by Chris Widener but was passed onto me from Sallie Guillory, the assistant women's basketball coach at McNeese State -- thanks Sallie!

Some time ago, I spoke to a group of salespeople in Kansas City as they kicked off their new team. It was exciting to see them get excited about making a difference through their work.

The topic they assigned me was "Simply the Best." So as I prepared, I asked myself, "What characteristics would help someone pass the "Best" test?” That is, what are the characteristics of those who become the "best" at what they do? Here are the thoughts I shared with them:

The Best are Optimists.
You can't get to the top if you don't think that there is a top or if you think you can't make it. One characteristic of those who reach the peak is that they always believe that things can get better or be done better. This pushes them on to be their best.

The Best have Vision.
They can see ahead of the pack. Their eyes aren't locked into the here and now. They see the bright future and what things will look like when they reach their destiny. While working hard for today, they live for the future! They do what Stephen Covey calls begin with the end in mind.

The Best Relentlessly Pursue Excellence.
The status quo is not for them. They want to be the best and experience the best. And that means giving their best. They go the extra mile so that in everything they do, in everything they say and think, they are striving for excellence.

The Best have a Life Long Habit of Personal Growth.
They don't want to stay at the level they are at. They want to grow in their work, their intellect, their spirituality, their relationships, and in every area of their life. And they discipline themselves to put themselves in situations wherein they grow. Personal growth doesn't "just happen." You choose to grow. I always suggest what Zig Ziglar does and that is to enroll in "Automobile University." Whenever you are driving around, listen to a personal or professional growth tape or CD. Over the long run you will grow. Also, read more. The old saying is true: Leaders are readers. So are those who pass the "Best" test.

The Best Understand that They will be Pushed by the Competition - and They
Welcome It.
Like the lead runner in the race who has someone on his heels, the best know that the competition is right behind them. They love it though because they know that the competition keeps them from becoming lazy and resting on their laurels. Instead, the competition pushes them to go faster and to achieve more - to remain the best by forging ahead.

The Best have a Quest for Leadership.
Someone has to lead - it may as well be the best! Those who attain it get there because they want to. They want to lead and help make a difference. And they want to be equipped with the skills necessary to lead others on to a better place.

The Best Leave a Legacy.
They aren't in it just for themselves, though they will surely reap the rewards of being the best. Rather, the build things that last beyond themselves, things that can be enjoyed by others as well.

The Best are Adept at the Two Most Important Pieces of Time and Personal
Management: Prioritize and Execute.
Just like weight loss boils down to eat right and exercise, personal management boils down to prioritize and execute. First, prioritize your activities. The important stuff goes on the top. Then, execute: do them. The best have habits and discipline that get them to the top by doing the best things and doing them first.

The Best Focus on Building Relationships.
Success does not come alone. Everyone who achieves much does it with the help of countless others. How do the Best get others to help them? They treat them right. They embrace them and help them. People become the best because they help other people, and people like them.

The Best Make no Excuses.
When they fail they admit it and move on. They get back up and do it right the next time. They let their actions speak loader than their words. They stand tall and do the right thing the next time. No excuses, just results.

The Best Understand that the Good is the Enemy of the Best.
Yes, they could say, "this is good." But that would mean they have settled for less than the best. Many people think that good is good. Good is not good. Good is the enemy because it keeps us from the best. Choose your side: the good or the best. The Best choose, you guessed it, the Best.

The Best Dare to Dream.
While others live the mundane and settle into a life they never bargained for, a rut, the Best dream of a better life. And then they take the risks necessary to achieve their dreams. They live by Teddy Roosevelt's quote: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs though checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilit that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Want to be the best at what you do? Take inventory on the above characteristics and then start moving to bring your life in line with the characteristics of the "best." Then when you get to the top you will know that you have passed the "Best" test.



Joe Torre’s Triple Play includes fairness, respect and trust. These are the three prime ingredients in any recipe for teamwork.

1. I treat team players with honesty and trust, and ask for the same in return.
2. I make an unstated agreement with each team player: “Give me effort and I’ll never second-guess you. I’ll always defend you.”
3. I apply team rules evenhandedly to all team members.
4. I never give grievances to others, including the media, before I privately air my grievance with a player.
5. I never humiliate or embarrass a team player in front of others.I don’t play favorites. I offer no special favors to high-salaried stars or players I like, nor do I make a show of personal preferences

From "Ground Rules for Winners" by Joe Torre


"Success is an everyday proposition. It isn’t defined by a championship game or the day you get your diploma, get drafted by an NFL team, make the big sale, land the account of a lifetime, or get your law degree. But the key to a successful life is in the journey and the process. It’s that emphasis on the journey to success that we work on each day, step by step."

-Jim Tressel

Thursday, October 22, 2009


"The most important thing the player must be taught in holding the basketball is that the palms of the hands should never touch the ball. The ball must be held with the fingers spread comfortably but as widely as possible."
-Glenn Wilkes

"The man with the ball must also be reading the man playing him. We feel that an extended leg by the defensive man is a direction in which we have a pretty good chance of driving. We think it is much easier to drive the extended leg than the leg that is set back away from the offensive man."
-Bob Knight

"We want any player receiving the ball at any position on the court to immediately face the basket for a two count…the two count enables everybody on the floor, including the man with the ball to do a much better job of reading the defense."
-Bob Knight


This comes from Jim Rohn Weekly Ezine. Try to think of coaches who fit these characteristics. If you are fortunate enough, you've had some players who also fit this mold. It's interesting but I've been spending some time this week working with Temeka Johnson and her foundation and she was a player for us who understood all these qualities. She obviously still lives them which is why she was able to help her Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA title this year.

If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manager, as a parent. I call leadership the great challenge of life.

What’s important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Here are some specifics:
1) Learn to be strong but not rude. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It’s not even a good substitute.

2) Learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake kindness for weakness. Kindness isn’t weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

3) Learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you’ve got to walk in front of your group. You’ve got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble.

4) You’ve got to learn to be humble, but not timid. You can’t get to the high life by being timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. Humility is almost a God-like word. A sense of awe. A sense of wonder. An awareness of the human soul and spirit. An understanding that there is something unique about the human drama versus the rest of life. Humility is a grasp of the distance between us and the stars, yet having the feeling that we’re part of the stars. So humility is a virtue; but timidity is a disease. Timidity is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

5) Be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant. In fact I believe the worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It’s when you don’t know that you don’t know. Now that kind of arrogance is intolerable. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that’s just too much to take.

6) Develop humor without folly. That’s important for a leader. In leadership, we learn that it’s okay to be witty, but not silly. It’s okay to be fun, but not foolish.

Lastly, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but I’d like to think it’s unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It’s fascinating. And I’ve found that the skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community and at home.

Check out Jim Rohn website at:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



From "The Score Takes Care of Itself," by Bill Walsh with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh:

I was insisting that all employees not only raise their level of “play” but dramatically lift the level of their thinking – how they perceived their relationship to the team and its member; how they approached the vagaries of competition; and how willing they were to sacrifice for the goals I identified.

On the field (and elsewhere) the assistant coaches and I were conscientious about educating players so they appreciated that when Jerry Rice caught a touchdown pass he was not sole responsible, but an extension of others – including those who blocked the pass rusher, receivers who meticulously coordinated their routes to draw defenders away from him, and the quarterback who risked being knocked unconscious attempting to throw the perfect pass.

Victory is produced by and belongs to all.

Likewise, failure belongs to everyone. If you or a member of your team “drops the ball,” everyone has ownership. This is an essential lesson I taught the San Francisco organization: The offensive team is not a country unto itself, nor is the defensive team or the special teams, staff, coaches, or anyone in the organization separate from the fate of the organization. We are united and fight as one; we win or lose as one.

Leaders sometimes wonder why they or their organization fail to achieve success, never seem to reach their potential. It’s often because they don’t understand or can’t instill the concept of what a team is all about at its best: connection and extension. This is a fundamental ingredient of ongoing organizational achievement.

Combat soldiers talk about whom they will die for. Who is it? It’s those guys right next to them in the trench, not the fight song, the flag, or some general back at the Pentagon, but those guys who sacrifice and bleed right next to them. “I couldn’t let my buddies down,” is what all the soldiers say. Somebody they had never seen before they joined the army or marines has become someone they would die for. That’s the ultimate connection and extension.

The leader’s job is to facilitate a battlefield-like sense of camaraderie among his or her personnel, an environment for people to find a way to bond together, to care about one another and they work they do, to feel the connection and extension so necessary for great results. Ultimately, it’s the strongest bond of all, even stronger than money.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The following comes from Coach Eric Musselman. It is something we made a passout for our team and I've posted it on our player's blog Hoop Boost as well.

Personal Accountability - Successful teams, one common characteristic very clearly. Every one of these teams has a person or people who hold themselves personally accountable.

These are the special people who only need a coach to teach them what and how to do something; then they take that and run with it. They understand that a major part of their job is to be self sufficient and personally accountable for their improvement and productivity.Look around the NBA at these special players, other distinct traits, all related to this personal accountability. These players:

1. Don't blame others first; instead, they look first for what they contributed (or did not contribute) to the situation.

2. Don't complain; instead, they look for ways to correct things that aren't working* don't procrastinate; instead, get things done now.

3. Always give more than they ask of others.

4. Always look to take on as much as they can handle, rather than look to pass things on to others all the time.

5. Are constantly trying to improve their game so they can bring more to the team and consistently fulfill their role.

6. Are self starters and study the game (and themselves) enough to know what needs to be done; then go about doing it.

7. Do the unrequired work, knowing that it simply needs to get done -- extra shots, extra weight training, extra film watching, etc. - without constantly needing a coach to tell them to work.

8. Hold others accountable for their jobs and roles because they know the importance of accountability as it relates to winning; this creates a collective responsibility.

9. Always be among of the most trusted players on the team, by coaches and players.


More good stuff from Brian Tracy on time management and helping us to get more out of our work day. Check out Brian's website:

There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important things. When you find yourself under pressure to get a job done by a particular deadline, you are forced to be vastly more efficient than you would ever be if you felt that you had ample time. This explains why so many people get the job done only when they are faced with stringent deadlines.

Parkinson's Law
Parkinson's Law says, “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.” If you have two hours of work to do and an entire day in which to do it, the work will tend to expand gradually, and will take you all day long to complete the two hours of work.

Reverse Parkinson's Law
However, the reverse is also true. It is “Work contracts to fill the time allotted for it.” Use this law by setting deadlines for yourself that force you to complete the task far sooner. Continually analyze your work and focus your attention on completing your most important task, the task that represents the most valuable contribution you can make, on schedule, if not before.

Here are four questions you can ask yourself every day to keep yourself on your most important tasks:

1. What are my highest value activities? What are the things that I do that contribute the greatest amount of value to my work?
2. What are my key result areas? What are the specific results that I have been hired to accomplish?
3. Why am I on the payroll? Why do they pay me money at my job? What specifically have I been asked to do?
4. What can I, and only I, do that, if done well, will make a real difference? If I don't do it, it won't get done. But if I do it, and I do it well, it will make a significant contribution to my work and my life. What is it?

At any Given Time
There is usually only one activity that represents the highest and best use of your time. Your job is to identify it and then to throw your whole heart into getting it done quickly and well. Create your own “forcing system.” Set specific deadlines for yourself and then resolve to get the job done well ahead of schedule.

Monday, October 19, 2009


It’s more important as a manager to be respected than to be popular.

1. Think back to a leader you had—a parent, teacher, coach, or boss who got great performance from you. More than likely, this was a leader who combined tough and nice. You knew that person cared about you, but that he or she would not let up on you in the quest for excellence.

2. If you, as a leader, demand that your people add value to the organization through their work, you must fulfill you end of the bargain by telling the truth and keeping work standards high. This often means sacrificing popularity in your endeavor to do the right thing.

3. Are you willing to push your people—whether it’s a group of middle managers or a Cub Scout pack—beyond their comfort zone in order to achieve excellence? They might not like what you ask of them, but they will remember you as a leader they respected.

From "Everyone's a Coach" by Ken Blanchard and Don Shula


Rick Majerus' Keys Good Offense:

1. Get to the free throw line (premise of offense): Do not allow this to become a
jump-shooting offense. Get the ball inside via post ups, cutting and driving.

2. Maintain spacing: Is your team maintaining spacing on the 3rd side of the floor after 2
reversals? Be sure to watch game tape to examine if you are.

3. Share the ball

4. Shot allocation: Our shooters are shooting (“THE most telling halftime statistics were
the shot totals for my 2 best players”) Our shooters are looking for screens and our
non-shooters are looking for shooters to screen for.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


“When plans are laid in advance, it is surprising how often the circumstances fit in with them.”
—Sir William Osler

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are, you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”
—Jim Rohn

“Don’t just do something—sit there! Sit there long enough each morning to decide what is really important during the day ahead.”
—Richard Eyre

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”
—William Wadsworth


I got my hands on a new book this past week, "Game Strategies and Tactics for Basketball" from my friend Kevin Sivils. I first met Kevin as an assistant on Dale Brown's staff and immediately recognized a passion on his part to TEACH -- which is why I am not surprised that his book is an excellent one.

The book itself is different but is exactly one that so many coaches need. If you are looking for some plays, quick-hitters and detailed X & O's, this isn't the book. But if you are looking for help to better teach the X & O's and, most importantly, apply them in game situations than this is a must read. There are thousands of books and videos on plays but this is unique look at STRATEGY including the following sections:

The Right Approach Goes A Long Way
It speaks to theories Kevin learned from Coach Wooden and Don Meyer as well as understanding what you can control from the bench and what you cannot -- including your relationship with officials.

The Logic Behind It
Delves into both strategic thinking and tactical thinking

Management Issues
Again, this is game coaching that we often don't give enough thought to such as preparing to play at home and on the road, bench decorum and bench organization.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
This is a great chapter on planning and practicing special situations

Controlling What the Coach Can Control
Detailed look at pre-game warm-up, substitutions, timeouts, and jump balls

Some Thoughts on Defense
A different look at defense with thoughts on how to foul for profits, special defensive strategies and how and when to change defenses.

How Fast Do You Want to Play?
Kevin talks about how to speed the game up and how to slow the game down.

The End of the Game
This is a section on understanding time and score, killing the clock and what do you need to do to comeback in a game.
It is All in the Details
A lot of great checklists to help your stay organized in a variety of areas.

From the Summary -- some thoughts from Kevin:

Coaches should always be thinking about teaching the game, and regardless of the outcome of the game, never stop coaching and teaching the players!

The time to plan for special situations and bench coaching strategy and tactics is long before the game.

The coach should decide what to do before games so decisions will be made in a calm, unemotional environment.

The coach's responsibility is to TEACH the players.

From the section on "Bench Coaching for Success":

"Don't whine, don't complain, and don't make excuses!" - John Wooden

If ever there was a creed or slogan that every coach in every sport should adopt, this might be the one. All players must accept responsibility for their actions, their inactions, and their individual responsibilities. It is almost inbred in each of us as humans to resist these very things; thus, the need for coaches everywhere is to teach the Wooden Rule.

Whining simply produces negativity and annoys other people. No one likes to be around a "whiner." It is not good for the player, it is not good for the team, and it does not foster a positive team environment. It can also be like a contagious virus. If one player whines unchecked long enough, the whining can spread like the contagious virus. Whining also prevents a player from being proactive and taking steps to eliminate the very thing that he or she is whining about, preventing the player from living up to his or her potential.

For a copy of this book:

Saturday, October 17, 2009


From my Brian Tracy email newsletter comes his five ingredients for Managing and Motivating. I've had some coaching thoughts on how Brian's thoughts would pertain to practice at the end of each ingredient in purple.

Thousands of employees were interviewed about what they considered to be a “great place to work.” The answers they gave were different from what the managers expected.

First Ingredient
The first ingredient of a good job was "challenging, interesting work." This is work that kept the employee busy and involved all day long. I think this is a great concept for practice. Whether you are practicing for 90 minutes or two and half hours (as we did both today). We want our practice to be challenging but we must be careful not to make it monotonous and boring with a lack of variety in our repetition.

Second Ingredient
The second ingredient was a feeling of being “in the know.” A good job was defined as one where the employee felt that he or she was fully informed on what was happening in the company. The employee felt like an insider, like an important part of a larger group. We think it is very important that we not only tell our team "what" and "how" to do things but "why." It is the why that leads to better execution. Video sessions and chalk talks also help to get that feeling of being "in the know."

Third Ingredient
The third ingredient of a great place to work was a “high trust” environment. This was defined as a job where a person could feel free to do his or her best and to make mistakes, without being criticized or fired. When employees felt that they were free to make mistakes with no punishment or hostility, they enjoyed their work much more, became more creative, and worked more effectively with other people. There is not question that when a team trusts a coaching staff that their practice performance will be much better. That trust factor comes from our ability to be extremely prepared. We must meet about practice and talk about the essentials. Before we can demand execution of our team, we must first demand it of ourselves in the way we run our practice.

Fourth Ingredient
The fourth ingredient in a good job was a caring boss and friendly co-workers. Often, the human environment was more important than anything else. People like to work in a place where they get along well with everyone. The happier they felt their work relationships, the better they worked, the lower the level of absenteeism was, and the more productive they were. We've all heard it, "They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Your ability to care about your players will make a tremendous difference in how they see and hear what you say.

Fifth Ingredient
The fifth ingredient for a good job turned out to be good pay and opportunities for promotion and advancement. To the surprise of many managers, the issue, of pay was number five among factors that constituted a good job or a great place to work. Psychologists have found that a certain level of pay is essential for people to feel comfortable with their jobs, but above that level, it does not have much motivational impact. It is only when pay is sub-standard or below what would normally be expected for such a job that it becomes a de-motivating influence. I think this equates to starting and practice time but it also means a visible appreciation by our staff for individual and team efforts at practice. Whether we acknowledge a player in front of the team, to our fans or the media, it's important that recognition comes with positive performance. Making sure they have the best gear available. Is your locker room as nice as it can be? Treat you team well and it sends a message.