Thursday, May 27, 2010


The following comes from Jon Gordon's fabulous book, "Training Camp."

As part of my preparation I interviewed the top sales people from the financial services company and while I was expecting to hear some new sales techniques that I haven’t heard before I discovered there wasn’t any secret formula to their success. They told me they simply worked hard, focused on the fundamentals, stayed positive and had a great desire to succeed and make an impact. It was the same things I had heard from the best professional athletes I knew and from all the people I had interviewed over the years that were considered the best in their field.
I’ve found that the first and foremost trait of the best of the best is that they know what they truly want.

1. The Best know what they truly want.
For many who strive to be the best, there was a person before them who paved the way, who showed them that greatness was possible. Sometimes this person was a friend or mentor, and other cases it was a complete stranger who showed the world what being the best looked like.
“Then there were those who were simply settling for mediocrity. They created a nice, average life with something they were average or good at, with a feeling in their gut that there is something more—something missing in their life—something that was left unsaid and undone. They wrote down goals because people said you need to do that, and yet the goals had nothing to do with what they truly wanted. They knew there was more, and thankfully one day they found it. But the common thread between all these stories and people is this: Regardless of when and how, whether by practical experience, role model, spiritual insight, or lightening strike, the best of the best all had a moment in their lives when their vision became clear.
When they said, this is what I truly want. This is what I want to strive for and I will pay the price to make it happen. It was as if they looked through a telescope and saw their future.

“Seeing it is important because to reach your destination you know you have to travel through the valley of hardship and struggle to get there. But your big-picture vision will fuel you during your journey and help you near the struggle and overcome the hardship to reach your goal.”

“If you don’t know what you want, then you won’t have a passion for it and you won’t strive to be great at it. You’ll be like 90 percent of the world’s population who are either doing something they are good at or just collecting a paycheck. But whatever you do, don’t be a 50 percenter. Invest 100 percent and every ounce of your energy in knowing what you want and becoming great at it. Strive to be your best and stand tall.”

2. The Best want it more.
“The answer is that we can’t measure desire in terms of merely thought and wishes. After all, someone could wish for something twelve hours a day, but if they aren’t taking initiative to make it happen, then what good is all the wanting? We must also measure desire in terms of actions, too. The best of the best are willing to do what it takes to be great. The best don’t just think about their desire for greatness, they act on it.”

To deny being your best was to deny the gift you were meant to give others.
“So, the best take action that demonstrates their greater desire. The best not only do the things that other won’t do and invest the time others won’t invest, but they also do so with passion and the intent to get better. The best are never satisfied with where they are. The third trait of the best is that they are always striving to get better.”

3. The Best are always striving to get better.
“Of course, those are essential, but what it really requires is a willingness to be uncomfortable. Here’s the deal. If you are always striving to get better, then you are always growing. And if you are growing, then you are not comfortable. To be the best, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable and embrace it as part of your growth process. It’s a process, and I’m going to tell you how it works.”


Tom Pecora utilizes switching defenses within a possession: go man-to-man first 25 seconds then throw go zone as the shot clock hits 10. So often you will catch a forward with the ball in his hands at the top of the key who freaks out in trying to get it to a guard that the clock is at 4 or 5 by the time everything settles in. Serves as a talent equalizer.

Other Talent Equalizers (mixing up defense slightly to throw opposing offense off):
-Splits: go zone first 25 seconds of a possession then switch to man or vice versa.
-Crush: double the ball if it enters into the corner.
-Blitz: blitz ball screens.
-Porch Crushers: double team a short corner catch.
-Inversion: bring forwards up to man top positions of 2-3
-Thumb Up: a 1-3-1 half-court trap/2-3 match-up zone hybrid where they blitz the first pass made in the half-court.
-Thumb Down: a 1-3-1 half-court trap/2-3 match-up zone hybrid where they blitz the dribbler as they cross the time line.
-Big Thumb Up/Down: place your best athlete at the top of Thumb Up/Down.


1. Players play, tough players win.
2. Coaches should watch a football practice to see how to really utilize
3. Look for seekers not avoiders.
4. Watch Jud Heathcote for great rebounding.
5. Wimps go up to rebound with 1 hand not 2.
6. Every second on the court is so important.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


1. No layups
2. No 2nd Shots
3. Contest Every Shot
4. Make Offense make plays off the dribble


Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.

We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.

All disciplines affect each other. Mistakenly the man says, “This is the only area where I let down.” Not true. Every letdown affects the rest. Not to think so is naive.

Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.

Discipline has within it the potential for creating future miracles.
The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong.
One discipline always leads to another discipline.

Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.

You don’t have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.

The least lack of discipline starts to erode our self-esteem.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Here is a great post from Coach Don Meyer on the system he uses to evaluate his team's performance:

Tools that we use to determine how well or poorly our team actually played. Many times the scoreboard is a poor judge of your team’s performance.
1. Turnover Margin: Looks to see if your team has “sureness” with the ball on offense and whether your team can create turnovers on defense. As the coach, you might have a goal of having a +5 margin, for instance, or you might set a mandatory goal of, for example, always having less than 10 turnovers and having a goal of forcing at least 15 turnovers.

2. Rebound Margin: Using a rebounding margin is a good barometer of how well you competed on the glass, and is probably better than measuring your rebounding effort with absolute numbers. For example, having a goal of out-rebounding your opponent by +10 is probably more realistic than saying that your goal is to get 50 total rebounds every game. Each game will have a varying number of rebounding opportunities due to the pace of the game, referees, etc.
3. Field Goal Attempts: If everything is equal, the team that gets the most and the best shots will win. Newell’s Rule = “Get better shots than your opponent and get more of those better shots.”
4. Field Goal %: Two rules that your program could live by are; your best shooter should have the most shots (shooting isn’t equal opportunity) and your worst shooter should have your best FG% (only takes lay-ups, wide open shots).
.....NSU Grading System:
..........4 = Wide open lay-up
..........3 = Wide open shot by good shooter
..........2 = Contested shot by good shooter
..........1 = Terrible shot
..........0 = Turnover
5. Free Throw Attempts: The golden rule is to make more free throws than your opponent attempts.

6. Free Throw %: It’s one thing to get to the free throw line; it’s another thing to make your free throws. Great teams make their free throws.

7. No player scores more than 15 points: We like to use 15 points as a barometer to see if any one player really hurt our team. Most teams may have one or two stellar scorers that require special attention on defense and if our team can’t slow those players down, it will
be a long night. Holding great scorers under 15 points is a great measure of how well your team is playing team defense, because it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to stop a great scorer with one defender; help-side, rotations, and an overall effort by all five players on the floor is required.

8. 3-Point Game: Refers to both on offense and on defense. On offense, it’s simple enough – your team must make open 3’s. The players that are great 3-point shooters need to be the ones taking those shots. On defense, we always stress the concepts of “No 3’s to a 3” and the concept of a “Dead 3," who is a player that has at least 50% of his/her attempts from the three-point line. A Dead 3 gets no standing looks; he/she must dribble to a shot. Thus, how well did your team defend the 3-pointer? Also, how well did your team get your 3-point shooters open?
9. Floor Game: The floor game encompasses a wide range of possibilities, including getting loose balls, taking charges, saving the ball from a turnover (saver-savee idea), etc. Your team could have a goal of taking a minimum of 2 charges, or getting 90% of all loose balls, etc.
10. Assist Game: The assist game can mean many things. As a coach, you can look at your team’s assist: turnover ratio, possibly with a goal of 2 assists to 1 turnover (2:1). In addition, you can look at the assist to made basket %. Another, less subjective way of tracking assists would be to track how many “screen assists” your team has in a game; the number of times that a team member’s screen (possibly a back or flare screen) led to a wide open shot or lay-up.

Friday, May 21, 2010


From GIANT Impact comes "Communicating Vision" by John C. Maxwell. I have posted some of my thoughts in regard to coaching in purple italics.

Nothing motivates an organization like a clear and compelling vision. But it can be tricky to paint a picture of what's in your mind so that others can see exactly what you're seeing. As a leader, how do you enable others to glimpse your vision and how do you inspire them to adopt it?

1) Connect relationally
Leaders err when they believe the content of their vision will sweep others up by itself. Don't focus on the mechanics of your message to the point where you disregard connecting with your team. People buy into the leader before they buy into the leader's vision. Touch a person's heart before you appeal to their head and ask for a hand.
Quite simply, it's about people. It's the quote that "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." As coaches, we must let our student-athletes know that they are much more than just a basketball player and that we care about them not just today but forever.

2) Simplify the message
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address has a place among the great speeches of American history, yet it was barley three minutes in length. As leader, we can learn a lot from Lincoln. When communicating vision, what you say is important, but how you say it determines whether or not the message sticks. Slice and dice your vision until it can be shared in a single sentence. The more concise you make your vision, the more memorable it will be.
For coaches, we've all been told that so many times, "less is more." But how many of us truly subscribe to this theory and try to incorporate it into are teaching methods. It's just as true in painting our mission for our team. Our we single-minded in what we trying to get them to achieve or all we all over the place with different thoughts?

3) Embody the vision
People need to see a vision to connect with it, which is why the great communicators harness imagery to amplify the power of their message. Storytelling gets much more mileage than fact-spewing. However, the best representation of a vision occurs when a leader embodies it. People sooner follow what they see than what they hear. When a leader is ablaze with passion, people invariably are attracted to the flame.
At LSU, we are big believers in visual teaching and visual motivation. It is not just enough to say it -- they need to see it. Video has been a big part of what we do. But beyond video, it is how we "frame" our message. To through to our team we need to be about a lot more than a page of bullet points.

4) Prioritize Influencers
Leaders treat everyone with respect, but they certainly shouldn't spend equal time casting vision to each person. To make sure your vision catches on in your organization, prioritize sharing it with key decision-makers. Set up one-on-one meetings. Field questions and respond to concerns. Don't rush this step. If you convince key personnel to buy-in to your vision, oftentimes they will sell it for you to the rest of the organization. On the contrary, if you cannot gain their support, implementing your vision will be an uphill struggle.
An important part of coaching is recognizing who your leaders will be -- as well as who will be the followers. There will be different types of leaders. Some will lead by example and others will be more vocal and active in their leadership roles. They key is to make sure you take the time to lead them so they are sharing the message you need to be shared.

5) Honor the Process
Speechmaking has merit, but vision casting happens daily, not just on one occasion. It's a process rather than an event. To communicate vision effectively requires continual reminders to keep it in the forefront of people's minds.

Once the vision begins to take shape, every victory is an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce the vision. Also, each defeat must be evaluated and put into perspective lest the setback dishearten people. Unless a leader actively and continually champions a vision, with time it will evaporate.
This was an important lesson we learned from Nick Saban. We focused greatly on the process which means that every minute of every day was about improving. We stayed away from result-oriented goals and worked with our team to understand that working on the process daily is what makes us reach our potential.

6) Call to Action
Leaders don't impart vision to make people feel good, but rather to change something. Communicating vision should motivate people to take action by enlisting them in a focused strategy. The goal isn't simply to get people to agree with a vision, but also to take responsibility for translating it into reality.
For us, this means being organized in our practice to make sure that we are giving them the best possibility to exercise the process. It also means that we need to be working as well and not just barking out commands.


Thanks to Josh Hinds for tweeting this posting by Jim Stovall

Effort is the one element that has to exist in all success formulas. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without our own best efforts. Sometimes, these efforts involve us making an error or mistake.

These mistakes can be temporarily painful and costly, but they need not be fatal. As long as the attitude is good and the effort is consistent, we have the potential to succeed.

The most dangerous type of mistake is a mistake of apathy. Doing the wrong thing can sometimes create a bad result, but doing nothing is always a recipe for failure. I would rather strike out while swinging for the fences than be called out by the umpire while resting the bat harmlessly on my shoulder.

All successful people are part of a team. Your team may include friends, family, colleagues, clients, and anyone who is a part of your success. From time to time, members of our team will have a temporary failure.

Read the entire post at:


From Brian Tracy on developing a sense of urgency:

Perhaps the most outwardly identifiable quality of a high performing man or woman is "action orientation."

Take Time to Think and Plan
Highly productive people take the time to think, plan and set priorities. They then launch quickly and strongly toward their goals and objectives. They work steadily, smoothly and continuously and seem to go through enormous amounts of work in the same time period that the average person spends socializing, wasting time and working on low value activities.

Getting into "Flow"
When you work on high value tasks at a high and continuous level of activity, you can actually enter into an amazing mental state called "flow." Almost everyone has experienced this at some time. Really successful people are those who get themselves into this state far more often than the average.

In the state of "flow," which is the highest human state of performance and productivity, something almost mirac ulous happens to your mind and emotions. You feel elated and clear. Everything you do seems effortless and accurate. You feel happy and energetic. You experience a tremendous sense of calm and personal effectiveness.

Become More Alert and Aware
In the state of "flow," identified and talked about over the centuries, you actually function on a higher plane of clarity, creativity and competence. You are more sensitive and aware. Your insight and intuition functions with incredible precision. You see the interconnectedness of people and circumstances around you. You often come up with brilliant ideas and insights that enable you to move ahead even more rapidly.

Develop a Sense of Urgency
One of the ways you can trigger this state of flow is by developing a "sense of urgency." This is an inner drive and desire to get on with the job quickly and get it done fast. This inner drive is an impatience that motivates you to get going and to keep going. A sense of urgency feels very much like racing against yourself.

Create a "Bias for Action"
With this ingrained sense of urgency, you develop a "bias for action." You take action rather than talking continually about what you are going to do. You focus on specific steps you can take immediately. By employing this technique you concentrate on the things you can do right now to get the results you want and achieve the goals you desire.


Today on the LSU campus, three of our managers will walk across the stage of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center and pick up their diplomas. Certainly it is not easy task for a student to commit towards obtaining their degree, but the difficulty is magnified for a manager. We ask a great deal of our "team behind the scene." The are there before the players each day and the last ones to leave. Just because the players have a day off doesn't mean they do. There is no off-season for staff and players which means there is no off-season for managers. The word LEGACY is very important at LSU and not just for our players and our accomplishments on the court. It means just as much for all of our students and what they accomplish in all facets -- on the court, in the classroom and in the community. We have a tremendous tradition of great managers that go on to great things beyond LSU and the three that graduate today will continue that tradition.

Below is a passage from "The Carolina Way" by Dean Smith:

Every person on the team was important. There were no exceptions. This included not only the man on the team but also the student-managers, who worked hard on our behalf. They pick up towels, washed uniforms on road trips, made sure equipment got to where it was supposed to be, set the gym up for practice. They came early and stayed late. I told many business friends that if they wanted to hire a great employee, then choose one of our student-managers. They 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.
I thought Coach Smith's thoughts were ironic. Coach Van Chancellor met one more time with the three managers this morning in his office to thank them for their contributions and made a point to tell them that they could call on him "day or night" for anything they may need.
"I'd be honored to help you in any way, including assisting you to gain future employment," he told them. "You have proved to me that you have all the tools to be successful and I expect great things from you all."
This blog is dedicated to: Ali Laughlin, Jerriel Bazile and Ebonie Mathews.


In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goetzel published a reveling study of 413 famous and exceptionally gifted people. The study was called Cradles of Eminence. These two researchers spent years trying to understand the source of these people's greatness, the common threat which ran through all of these outstanding people's lives. The most outstanding fact was that almost all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were. Their problems became opportunities instead of obstacles.

From "Holy Sweat," by Tim Hansel


I always get a kick out of some of our fans when they ask, "What do you guys do in the off-season?" For the ones that are committed to excellence they are following the footstep of Greg Brown and the staff at Central Florida as they go back through their game footage and break down elements of their play. On Greg's blog, which is excellent, he recently spoke about how they are breaking down their defense:

We are spending a lot of time analyzing our play from last season. What we did well, what needs improvement. Most importantly we are looking at the WHY? Then, working on the HOW to correct and improve for next season. Listed below is an outline we are using for our defensive analysis:

1. One on One Defense
.....a. Focus on our player’s ability to fight through
...........i. An off ball screen
...........ii. An on ball screen
...........iii. Closeouts
...........iv. Shot pressure
...........v. Ball pressure Coverdowns
...........vii. Blockouts
2. Post Defense
3. Vision
4. Opponents Scoring Sequence
.....a. How are they scoring on us?
...........i. Transition
...........ii. Put backs
...........iii. Vs set defense
...........iv. Out of Bounds
...........v. FT’s
5. Penetration
.....a. Where does penetration occur?
.....b. How did they generate the penetration?

If you get the chance, check out Greg's blog. Greg was an assistant for Don Meyer at Lipscomb and then for Pat Summitt at Tennessee -- he has a lot of knowledge to share and does so at his blog:

Thursday, May 20, 2010


For those new to this blog, we wanted to let you know that we have another blog that is committed to student-athletes. We post to it about once or twice a week. It covers areas such as attitude, work ethic, being a good teammate, and goal setting to name a few. Each post we email to our players in hope that it continues to help them with their growth. We wanted to make sure that you were aware of our Hoop Boost blog in case you feel it may benefit your team.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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

The players don’t care if you are short or tall, black or white, a former player or not, all they care about is whether you can help them.

When I was 29 and an assistant with the Knicks, Pat Riley told me I could be a head coach in the NBA. Then Pat said, “Remember these four things, and you can lead anyone:”
......Competence—know your stuff.

John Wooden and Dean Smith were right. Focus on the process and not the result. That is how you get better. The more you talk about winning, the less winning you do.

Don’t accept in victory what you won’t accept in defeat. You can’t overlook mistakes when you win a game, because they will come back to haunt you later.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Greg Beacham, AP Sports Writer inks an article on the Los Angeles Lakers that displays a major reason they are a championship team -- late in the season and they are still driven to improve.

The Lakers then never even allowed the Utah Jazz to think they could play with the champs, dispatching them twice in emphatic fashion at Staples Center.

Coach Phil Jackson believes such playoff poise usually must be learned through tough experience. Bryant and Fisher are the Lakers' only holdovers from the championship teams in 2000-02, and Jackson doesn't need to ask either veteran to lead.

"They keep kind of an even keel for the rest of the players because of their experience," Jackson said. "Now Pau is at the point with the number of playoff games he's played that he's starting to show that, too."

Jackson isn't satisfied, either. His last two practices were particularly long and detailed, according to Ron Artest, who said the Lakers are working on the fine points of defensive communication to stick with Steve Nash and the Suns' sophisticated offense.

"We're still trying to get guys to find themselves and get immersed in what they have to do to play their best game," Jackson said. "We want that to be habitual. That fourth game of the Utah series, we want to count on that every night."

Read the entire article:


In 1964 I got my first job in football as assistant coach at Hastings College in Nebraska. Hastings was a small Division III school, with rivals like Colorado Mines and Chadron State, but I thought I was coaching in the Rose Bowl every week, believe me.

Our best player at Hastings was a rough-and-tumble hardworking guy name Jack Giddings, who played fullback on offense and safety on defense. We were heading toward big game of the year, with Nebraska Wesleyan, which had been killing people all season with a bootleg pass play. I took a lot of time that week drilling our defense to stop it.

The first time Nebraska Wesleyan got inside out 20-yard-line, they ran that bootleg. And scored an easy touchdown on Gidding's side of the field.

Well, I was irate. Almost out of control. I got on Giddings something terrible: "I went over this with you -- how could let this happen?" I ranted for a while, until Dean Pryor, my head coach, came up and said, "Leave the player alone."

"But, Coach, we worked on this a hundred times in practice ---"

Pryor stopped me cold: "Well, you didn't work on it enough, because he didn't get it."

That cut like a knife in my heart, but it was one of the best lessons I've ever learned.

Accountability starts at the top. You can't build an accountable organization without leaders who take full responsibility.

From "Finding A Way To Win" by Bill Parcells with Jeff Coplon


One of the greatest gifts I received from my mother for the gift of reading. My mother constantly read and encouraged us to read. Even when money was tight, she always seemed to have enough to buy me books. She also introduced me to the library at a very young age. I greatly enjoy reading and know that it has without question made me a better coach/teacher.

I learned to take reading to a greater level when I came to LSU to work for Dale Brown. I've never seen anyone read like Coach Brown. He was starved for knowledge and could read a book faster than anyone I'd ever met. He also made the book personal. He would be constantly underlining certain passages and making notes on the sides of pages -- something I started doing as well. When done reading, I will either type up those underlined words (it helps with my retention) and notes or have a student-secretary do it. Some of the things I've read and underlined have made for some great blog material -- but more importantly, have helped me as a coach. Often it has been I that has been educated but it also gives me great information to share with our staff and players.

At home, I have a library. I like to keep my books. Very often I will re-read a book -- either the underlined section or in some cases the entire book. One of my absolute favorite books is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. I've read it eight times -- each time finding something new or reading something that hits me a little differently than during my previous readings.

Below is an article by Denis Waitley on reading and it's importance to our growth:

Why do fewer than 10 percent of the public buy and read nonfiction books? One reason is that many would rather get home than get ahead. They are motivated to get by and get pulled along by the company, the economy or the government.

Another reason is that many individuals believe that information found in books, computer programs and training sessions has no value in the business world. How self-deluding!

As the new tools of productivity become the Internet, the DVD,direct digital download of text, audio and video, and the combination of the interactive computer with telecommunications, the people who know how to control the new technologies will acquire power, while those who thought that education ends with the diploma are destined for low-paying, low-satisfaction jobs. In almost the blink of an eye, our society has passed from the Industrial Age to the Knowledge Era.

Increase your reading by 100 percent. Decrease your television watching, and that of any children in your family, by 50 percent. Surf the Internet and subscribe to book summaries, or download free chapters from different sources. By reading book summaries, you can gain the essence of all the top business books in a very brief period of time.

Action Idea: Read at least one book each month, and listen to at least one additional audio book during your commute or downtime. One of the best sources for business audio books online is

All kinds of reading and listening to fiction and nonfiction will increase your vocabulary and writing and presentation skills. Incredibly, a mere 3,500 words separate the average person from those with superior vocabularies.

Keep a dictionary beside you when you read and look up every word you don’t fully understand. Doing that on the spot helps make those words part of your vocabulary forever. And don’t depend on your computer’s spell checker for your spelling. Not all e-mail service includes spell check. Also, you maybe called upon to write longhand notes, memos, or information on whiteboards or black boards at meetings. You not only want to use the right words, you also will want to spell them correctly.


I have wrote before of the importance of statistics and how they can help shape and mold your team. I'm not talking about stats of the normal stat sheet thought they are important as well. What we do at LSU is to keep stats of things that are important to us. For instance, we have a screening chart and a blockout chart. We also set up a defensive chart with several positive and negative categories. If you'd like a copy of our stat package, email me at:

First we believe that kids today are very stat oriented. The believe in stats so we wanted to create some that would bring their focus to areas of importance for our team. Second, we believe it is important to measure things to understand our progress (or lack of) in some of these important areas.

Below is a great column from the late Jim Rohn talking about the importance of weighing, counting and measuring:

Three key words to remember: weigh, count and measure. Now why weigh, count and measure? To see what your results are from your activity, your attitude and your philosophy. If you find that the results are not to your liking, there are only three places to look. Your philosophy needs to be fine-tuned, your attitude needs to be strengthened or your disciplines need extra skill. But that’s it. Activity, attitude and philosophy create results.

Now on results I teach that life expects you to make measurable progress in reasonable time. But, you must be reasonable with time. You can’t say to someone every five minutes, How are you doing now? That’s too soon to ask for a count. Guy says, “I haven’t left the building yet, give me a break!”Now you can’t wait five years—that’s too long. Too many things can go wrong waiting too long for a count to see how you’re doing.

Here are some good time frames:

Number one: at the end of the day. You can’t let more than a day go by without looking at some things and making progress. The New Testament says, “If you are angry, try to solve it before the sun goes down.” Don’t carry anger for another day. It may be too heavy to carry. If you try to carry it fora week, it may drop you to your knees. So some things you must get done in a day.
Here’s the next one: a week. We ask for an accounting of the week so we can issue the pay. And whatever you’ve got coming, that’s what you get when the week is over. Now in business there are two things to check in the course of the week: your activity count and your productivity count. Because activity leads to productivity, we need to count both to see how we’re doing.

My mentor taught me that success is a numbers game and very early he started asking me my numbers. He asked, “How many books have you read in the last 90 days?” I said, “Zero.” He said, “Not a good number.” He said, “How many classes have you attended in the last six months to improve your skills?” And I said, “Zero.” He said, “Not a good number.” Then he said, “In the last six years that you’ve been working, how much money have you saved and invested?” I said, “Zero,” and he said, “Not a good number.” Then here’s what he said: “Mr. Rohn, if these numbers don’t change, your life won’t change. But if you’ll start improving these numbers, then perhaps you’ll start to see everything change for you.”

Success and results are a numbers game. John joins this little sales company. He’s supposed to make 10 calls the first week just to get acquainted with the territory. So on Friday we call him in and ask, “How many calls?” He says, “Well.” You say, “John, ‘well’ won’t fit in the little box here. I need a number.” Now he starts with a story. And you say, “John, the reason I made this little box so small is so a story won’t fit. All I need is a number because if you give us the number, we’re so brilliant around here we could guess the story.” It’s the numbers that count—making measurable progress in reasonable time.

Here’s the best accounting. The accounting you make of yourself. Don’t wait for the government to do it. Don’t wait for the company to do it. But you’ve got to add up some of your own numbers and ask, “Am I making the progress I want and will it take me where I want to go now and in the future?” You be the judge!

Monday, May 17, 2010


We once had Dr. Kevin Elko address our team and an important theory he passed on to our team was to "remove the clutter." His thought was that we had complete control over the things that rented space in our head. Dr. Elko had our team come up with a word/catch phrase that we could say to ourselves or to each other to being us back to centrally concentrating on the task at hand and to help us "remove the clutter."

From Darren Hardy of Success Magazine comes four suggestions to get in control of the information you allow into your head:

1: Cut the Cord.
Most of what passes for news is negative, sensational and appalling and has no contribution to your personal goals in life. Stop watching any broadcast TV, don't read the newspapers and don't listen to news radio.

2: Selective Listening.
Set up RSS feeds to pull information on specifically what you need/want to read about. Register for newsletters or blog updates on topics and subjects that are relevant to your objectives. Once they become unproductive then unsubscribe.
3: Low-Information Diet.
If you aren't comfortable getting only the most productive and relevant information you need to be more successful, then at least put yourself on a low-information diet. Find 15 minutes a day to catch up with national and world news updates—whether through a favorite news aggregator online, newspaper or single radio program—then don't overconsume.
4: Mind Your E2E Ratio.
What is the primary difference between the 5 percent who are wealthy and those who are not? The 95 percent focus their attention and extra time on entertainment while the 5 percent look to spend their extra time on education. Evaluate yourself: How much time do you spend on entertainment and how much on education? The imbalance of this equation could be the reason your life isn't where you want it to be.


From Jon Gordon:

I realized that any hard-charging leader can create success in the short term, but it would take a positive leader with a people and process-driven approach to build a successful organization for the long term. As John Maxwell said, “If you are all alone at the top, you are not a leader. You are a hiker.”

No one creates success alone. To win in business, you must win with people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Here are 3 essential ways to do this.
Care about them - The main question every employee in every organization is asking is, “Do you care about me; can I trust you?” Employees want to know if you care about them. If you do, they will be more likely to stay on the bus and work with you. Employees are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when their manager cares about them.

Develop a relationship with them - Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many managers and leaders share rules with their people, but they don’t have a relationship with them. So what happens? The people rebel, and they disengage from their jobs and the mission of the team. I’ve had many managers approach me and tell me that my books helped them realize they needed to focus less on rules and invest more in their work relationships. The result was a dramatic increase in team performance and productivity. To develop a relationship with your employees, you need to build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them and mentor them.

Appreciate them - The main reason why people leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. For example, Doug Conant, the CEO of Campbell Soup, has written more than 16,000 thank-you notes to employees in the past seven years and created a very positive business in the process. It’s as easy as saying (or writing) “Thank you.”


I recently heard Buzz Williams of Marquette speak at a Nike Clinic and he posed the question, "If there was a blind man that came to your practice, what would he think of your team?"

I thought it was a fascinating question. What does a good practice "sound" like? Obviously there would be a lot of talking. The talking would be instructional and encouraging. But at a good practice, the vast majority of talking would come from the players. You should hear some hand clapping...constant squeeking of shoes.

In terms of vocabulary, what are the words you want to hear coming from your players?
Coach Williams went on to say that he has shown film to his team minus the visual part -- simply a black screen for them to hear practice. He said he even has practice dumped on CD at times so he can "listen" to it in the car on the way home.

I think it is an outstanding concept and one that we are going to use with our team this year. Communication is huge with Coach Williams and I will share some more of his thoughts and theory in this regard in the near future.


The following list comes from Steve Brennan:

1. Made free throws. There is nothing more demoralizing than to sit on the bench and watch the opposing team sink free throws. Research shows that the people who shoot the most free throws and score the most free throws win about 80% of their games.

2. Steals and interceptions.

3. Deflections. There is nothing more inspiring to a team than to have a 4-on-1 situation (you’re the one) and that one player deflects the ball out of bounds. It gets everyone excited.
4. Baskets off the transition game.
5. Good, tough defense.
6. Rebounding.

7. Teamwork and assists.

8. Appearance of the Big play. The 3 point shot is a good example of the big play. A steal could be a big play.

9. Made field goals and made free throws at the end of the quarter.

10. Blocked shots that turn into baskets or possessions for your team.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


John Wooden once stated that we should be more concerned with our character than our reputation. His believe was that our character is what we are while our reputation is merely what others think we are. In the book, "Becoming a Person of Influence," authors John Maxwell and Jim Dornan share more on the difference of these two words:

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010


After coming back from the Assistant Coaching Professional Development Symposium I will from time to time share some of the things I learned. It was an amazing weekend. I was honored to be a presenter in two sessions but genuinely came back with more than I gave. Hats of to Felicia Hall Allen and her husband Johnny Allen for putting together something that help assistant coaches grow -- and in effect, help us grow the game!

The following notes come from Illinois assistant Lisa Cermignano talking about "How To Think Like A Head Coach."

1. Anticipate...always stay 2 steps ahead.

2. Speak your head coach's language...have open and honest dialogue with your head coach.

3. Put the time in...strive to be better each day; always look to learn.

4. Know your boss.

5. Understand where you are working and who you are working with.

6. Be about an example and keep everyone on the same page.

7. Be proactive...become a housekeeper.

8. Work Ethic

9. Be confident...know the game; know the business; know you.

10. Be loyal! It is not your program; it is not about you; it is not about power; it is not about money.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The following notes comes from Weber State's Phil Beckner following a meeting with
strength and conditioning coach Tim McClellan.

As a coach what are some ways you find to motivate athletes to be great vs. good?

1. COACH HEART... “They do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care” “Change a heart, change them forever” Tim thoroughly expressed being able to capture your player’s heart by showing and telling them that you believe in them and their goals/vision. ***This is one of the best things I heard from him, because I could feel his passion, and knew that he truly believed in this. At times I have not made this a priority in coaching athletes, and I left inspired to coach their heart first, before their skills.

2. Be Prepared: “All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.” Gain as much knowledge as possible in your sport. Everything you read, everyone you meet, everything you do will have an effect on this. Look for every opportunity to better yourself, and in turn you can better your players.

3. Find a Way: Help your players buy into the vision of what they can be and where they want to be! Show them that you believe in them and you are willing to do whatever you can to “find a way” to give them every tool they need to get there. Tim once opened up his garage at 10:30pm for a 2 hour workout when he had to be up at 5am the next day because an Olympic gold medalist missed his workout and could not go to sleep knowing he had not put in his work that day! As a coach, if you want to take your players from good to great you have to be willing to do everything possible to get them there, and that may mean you sacrificing sleep, fun, or free time as a coach.

4. Be Willing to Battle: they must be challenged and reminded that they need to do whatever it takes in order for them to become the best they possibly can. They must be willing to pursue the goal/vision they have w/out fear and with confidence! They must battle whatever obstacles and adversity that may present itself. As a coach you must be willing to battle with them and for them! Battle to push them to be their best, battle to motivate and inspire daily, and battle to give them every opportunity possible to succeed.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Another great post on Brian Tracy and on that can effect coaches, players or pretty much anyone. I spoke at the Assistant Coaching Symposium in Atlanta a few weeks ago and one of my topics was scouting. One of the important parts of scouting, in terms of taking it to a higher level is to understand the "why" and "how" of what other teams do. It is not just enough to diagram the set. If you know why and how they run that set you better attack it. In others words, what is the "objective." Her is Tracy's thoughts on the subject:

Learn from the Lessons of History
The concepts of military strategy have been studied and written about for more than 4,000 years, going back to the early works of General Sun-Tzu in China more than 2,000 years BC. These principles of strategy that have been developed and perfected over the centuries have direct applications and implications for strategic thinking, both personally and corporately.

Decide In Advance What You Want
The most important military principle is the Principle of the Objective. This principle requires that you decide in advance exactly what it is that you are trying to accomplish. What exactly is your objective? In my experience, fully 80% of all problems in personal and corporate life come from a lack of clarity with regard to objectives and goals.

Clarity Is Critical
Clarity of objective precedes all other elements in strategic thinking. Here are some questions that you can use over and over again to focus and clarify your objectives. The first question is, "What am I trying to do?" The second question is, "How am I trying to do it?" The third question is, "What are my assumptions?" And the fourth question is, "What if my assumptions were wrong?"

Question Your Assumptions
Having the courage to ask these questions, and to question your assumptions, both spoken and unspoken, is a key mark of the superior person. Sometimes individuals avoid questioning their assumptions for fear that they will have to change their minds or do something other than what they started out to do. However, false assumptions lie at the root of almost every failure. The only way that you can root out these wrong assumptions is by carefully analyzing them and discussing them, and then by demanding proof or evidence that these assumptions are still valid.

Project Forward In Your Mind
Another method for clarifying your objectives is for you to project forward and look backward. In other words, imagine that you have already achieved the objective that you are working toward. Project yourself forward in your mind and then look back to the present day, to the present moment. What do you see? What changes could you make looking back from this imaginary perspective of hindsight? This is a key peak performance thinking technique.

Determine Why You Want It
The final part of clarifying your objectives revolves around your identifying the reasons why you want to achieve this objective in the first place. Why is it important? Is it still as important as when you started off? Is this objective more important than any other objective that you could be working on? It is essential that you be clear about the answers to these questions.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to apply the principle of the objective to your personal and business life:

First, take out a piece of paper and answer the question: "What am I trying to do?" What are your goals? What are your objectives? Why are you doing what you are doing in the first place? Is this the very best use of your time and energy?

Second, question your assumptions. What things are you assuming are true about yourself, the people around you and the situation? What if one of these assumptions turned out to be false? What changes would you have to make if you found that your most cherished assumptions were not based on reality, or were contradicted by facts?

Be sure to checkout:


Thanks to Coach Creighton Burns and his newsletter for the following:

I came across this great definition of knowledge:

“Knowledge is information that changes something or somebody — either by becoming grounds for actions, or by making an individual (or an institution) capable of different or
more effective action.”

-Peter F. Drucker

Don’t just give people information, give them the knowledge they need to be effective.

Friday, May 7, 2010


The follow comes from John Adair’s book, "Not Bosses But Leaders: How to Lead the Way to Success."

1. Direction.
Do you generate a sense of direction? “Finding a way forward involves setting new objectives and identifying new products, services, or markets,” says Adair.

2. Inspiration.
To be a leader you must inspire others to follow. “Leaders’ words and examples kindle the motivation-the moving energy- already present in the organization,” says the author.
3. Team Building.
A leader thinks and motivates in terms of teams. “Groups of individuals are transforms into teams,” says Adair. “Equally, teams tend to look for leaders rather than bosses.”
4. Example.
Actions speak louder than words- an old adage that is especially true in leadership. Are your actions worth following? Adair says, “A leader will have his or her own output or direct contribution to the common task, thereby leading from the front.”
5. Acceptance.
“You can be appointed a manager but you are not really a leader until your appointment is ratified in the hearts and minds of those who work with you,” says Adair.


Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik utilizes statistics to help evaluate players. He says that stats and video are critical in the process because "otherwise players don't believe you." He has no problem with players looking at the basic post game stat sheet but uses these stats to help grade his players and team.

1. Point Guard Pushes

2. Offensive Rebounds

3. Running the Lanes in Transition

4. Charges

5. Cutouts (Blockouts)

6. Shot Challenges

He and his staff will use video to gain these stats the night after a game and he goes over with his team the next day.


The myths of leading from the middle of an organization come from John Maxwell and his book 360 Degree Leadership (a great book -- especially for assistant coaches):

1. Ninety-nine percent of all leadership occurs not from the top but from the middle of an organization.
2. You don’t have to be held hostage to your circumstances or position. You do not have to be the CEO to lead effectively. And you can learn to make an impact through your leadership even if you report to someone who is not a good leader. You learn to develop your influence from wherever you are in the organization by becoming a 360- Degree Leader. You learn to lead up, lead across, and lead down.
3. Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit.
4. You can lead others from anywhere in an organization. And when you do, you make the organization better.
5. “To do nothing in the middle is to create more weight for the top leader to move. For some leaders- it might even feel like dead weight. Leaders in the middle can have a profound effect on an organization.”
6. Every level of an organization depends on leadership from someone.
7. Anyone can choose to become a leader wherever he is. You can make a difference no matter where you are.


I just received this via email from my junior high school coach and mentor Allen Osborne. Allen has built an elite program at Poca High School in West Virginia and continues to work to make me a better coach.
Three things in life that, once gone, never come back:
1. Time
2. Words
3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person:
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose:
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable:
1. Love
2. Family
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain:
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


After coming back from the Assistant Coaching Professional Development Symposium I will from time to time share some of the things I learned. It was an amazing weekend. I was honored to be a presenter in two sessions but geniunely came back with more than I gave. Hats of to Felicia Hall Allen and her husband Johnny Allen for putting together something that help assistant coaches grow -- and in effect, help us grow the game!

The following comes from UNC-Charlotte head coach Karen Aston who was for years recognized as one of the nation's top assistant coaches. Her input I thought was invaluable because after being an assistant coach she is now a head coach and you could tell her her understanding from both sides as she spoke. Her topic was "Position Yourself As A Valuable Part of the Program."
Take Ownership and Initiative
1. Have options and ideas ready.
2. Be prepared in meetings and have a checklist of tasks. make sure you have checked them off.
3. Be embarrassed if your head coach has to continually check on you (phone calls, letters, emails, etc.)
4. Don't be the motivated -- be the motivator!

Be A Buffer
1. Be a buffer between the head and the players. Explain the coach's methods and teachings. Always, always, speak the same language as the head coach.
2. Talk to parents after games, etc.
3. Talk to fans, administration, etc. whenever possible. Be an advocate for the program and the head coach.

Study Basketball
1. Study film on your team and opponents.
2. Share with friends in the business who are from successful programs. Steal from them and share.
3. Know all answers about opponents and scouting. Be prepared when the head coach asks questions about an opponent.

Be In The Office and On The Court Before and After The Head Coach
1. Don't be the first one off the court after practice.
2. Spend outside time with players during the season. Head coaches want them in the gym and it gives players extra attention.
3. Don't let the head coach beat you to the office.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Another great article from One of my absolute favortie sites!

Fouling plays a critical part in the outcome of the game, especially when it comes playoff time. Fouls were added to the basketball rule book to penalize; however, intelligent players and teams can use fouls to their advantage. When trailing by more than two offensive possessions late in the end, the clock is your worst enemy not your opponent. Every second counts, so if you have to foul, foul immediately. Do not let any precious time run off. Legendary, Hall of Fame coach, Dean Smith, was a mastermind of this end of game strategy.

However, when it comes to fouling to gain a competitive edge do not assume that players know how to foul. Have you practiced fouling? in reality, when a coach tells their players to foul, they are most likely to just push or grab an opponent resulting in an intentional foul. Since the opponent gets to shoot free throws and retains ball possession, this is disastrous. Players need to know how to foul, when to foul, and who to foul.

These end of game fouling techniques must practiced. When taking a quick foul, players should first attack the passing lane and go for the ball. A steal, five second count or picking up an offensive charge is much better than a foul. If unsuccessful, players should foul by trying to knock the ball out of their opponent’s hands. Every once in awhile, they just might be successful in knocking the ball loose. In addition, officials will, occasionally, be out of position and not call the foul. When trapping, execute one hard trap and then foul. Learn more see Clock Management & Fouling – Premium Members Click Here

Wise Substitutions

When faced with a must foul situation, do not forget to substitute!!! During a timeout or when shooting a free throw, be sure to make defensive substitutions and put players into the game that can afford to foul instead of putting your best players into foul trouble or even losing them to disqualification. Once the foul has been committed and the clock stopped, players in foul trouble or key players can be reinserted back into the game. How many times in the recent NCAA Tournament games have you see key players, needlessly, foul out in must foul situations?

Read the rest of this article at:


Players need to know roles.

LA Lakers have had more great players but not as many championships as Boston Celtics
Put players around superstars that know there roles.

Basketball is the ultimate team game… Everyone needs to think alike.

The greatest players see the game in slow motion.

Important to hire the right coach for the right team.

Decided to trade Norm Nixon after they won the championship because he was not the right fit.
2 things in life he values: Humility & Giving… The words hate & I should be taken out of the dictionary… It’s about us!

Character: Are you willing to work… All you need is one special skill to play in this league.

Best players in the league are multiple position players.

College coaches: Recruit basketball players not numbers.

If you are not at the elite level (Duke, UNC, Kentucky etc.) look at kids with a future.

Basketball IQ is extremely important

Understanding possessions are most important (Tech fouls) can cost games.

If you are good, you don’t have to tell anyone = Humility

Loved how John Thompson handled recruits… He had a deflated basketball on his desk to point out you can’t count on basketball forever.

Coaches can not win without talent.

Lot of great coaches in the NBA… Even some that are coaching bad teams.
Likes Greg Popovich, Pat Riley & Larry Brown because they produce other coaches.

As a player & coach he took losing personal… Never blamed anyone else… He felt he let his teammates, organization & city down when he lost.

Believes Phil Jackson is a difference maker as a coach because he found a way to work with players & runs a system.

Great players drive teammates.


Some great stuff from Stephanie Zonars on something that is very difficult for many of us in the coaching profession -- finding balance:

Leaders are overwhelmed with many roles and responsibilities. Making life work means figuring out how to integrate the various areas of life in a way that brings satisfaction and meaning.

We’re working our way through seven key life areas that impact your life balance. So far we’ve addressed faith, family and wellness. This month we’ll look at career.

Most of my clients don’t struggle with job satisfaction, but rather with keeping their career in perspective. Perhaps you can relate. Has your pursuit of professional excellence taken over your life, prohibiting you from giving attention to other areas?

Former Ball State Associate Head Coach, Lisa McDonald, loved being a Cardinal for the last 9 seasons. Though she developed better life balance habits in recent years, life as a college coach allowed her only about 3 weeks a year with her family in Arizona. She decided it was time for a change and recently left coaching to move back to Flagstaff to work with her brother's company as a personal trainer.

For Lisa, better life balance and living a values-driven life meant changing jobs. Better life balance for you may not require a job change, but it will likely require some change. If you have trouble:

• Turning off your cell phone, or not answering work calls/emails at home or after hours
• Being “all there” mentally and emotionally when you are with family/friends
• Leaving your office at a reasonable hour
• Relaxing and turning “work” off in your mind
• Making time to exercise, recreate and eat right
• Getting through a day without caffeine
• Saying no
then it’s time to evaluate your career and make some adjustments to live a healthier life.

You want to know the truth? Are you ready? Ok, here you go— you will never get it all done! No matter how long you work, there will always be more to do. And yet, we weren’t created to work 24/7/365. Stress, burnout and health issues besiege those who try.

Your work is part of your life—and a good part. But it’s not meant to be your life. Here are a few ideas to help create more separation between your career and the rest of your life:

Take a vacation: Americans earn the least amount of vacation days in the world, and still 35% of employed US adults don’t use their vacation days. Make a commitment to take all your vacation days…every year.

Go unplugged: Decide to spend daily, uninterrupted time with your family, a friend or even by yourself and refuse to answer work calls or emails. Put it in your schedule and tell your co-workers.

Leave the office: Schedule appointments that will force you to leave the office at a reasonable time. Agree to pick up the kids three days/week or to meet someone for dinner.

Be accountable: If you know that changing a particular habit will give you better balance but you can’t seem to change it on your own, agree to pay a friend $10 for every time you don’t follow through. It’s amazing how a little cold, hard cash motivates!

Life Beyond Sport Bottom Line: you were not meant to work all the time. Losing perspective on your career and believing that you're indispensable at work leads to unhealthy habits, sending the others areas of your life into a tailspin. Get perspective on your career, set some limits around it, and become more productive and happy.

Visit Stephanie's website: