Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This was part of an email post I received from Rick Warren today and it moved me greatly in thinking about our team. This includes everyone from players, managers, coaches, trainers, strength coaches, administrators and boosters -- everyone involved in our program. I sent it out today via email to our team and will post it on our teams blog site:
Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now. Proverbs 3:28 (TEV)

Real servants pay attention to needs. Servants are always on the lookout for ways to help others. When they see a need, they seize the moment to meet it, just as the Bible commands us: “Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10 GWT).

When God puts someone in need right in front of you, he is giving you the opportunity to grow in servanthood. Notice that God says the needs of your church family are to be given preference, not put at the bottom of your “things to do” list.

We miss many occasions for serving because we lack sensitivity and spontaneity. Great opportunities to serve never last long. They pass quickly, sometimes never to return again. You may only get one chance to serve that person, so take advantage of the moment.
“Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now” (Proverbs 3:28 TEV).

John Wesley was an incredible servant of God. His motto was:

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”

That is greatness. You can begin by looking for small tasks that no one else wants to do. Do these little things as if they were great things, because God is watching.


As an avid reader and someone who believes in the benefits of reading, I wanted to pass along one of Brian Tracy's blog in regard to that subject. I try to read a book a week minimum along with magazine articles and things I find on the web. We also make reading assignments to our players in forms of books, articles and various things we send them via the email. We believe in the need of the assignment to make sure they are reading it more importantly understanding what we want them to get from the passages. Here is Tracy's blog on the subject:

You've gone as far as you can with what you now know. Any progress you make from this moment onward will require that you learn and practice something new.

Commit to Lifelong Learning
One quality of leaders and high achievers in every area seems to be a commitment to ongoing personal and professional development. They look upon themselves as self-made people, as "works in progress." They never become complacent or satisfied. They are always striving toward ever greater heights of knowledge and understanding.

Get to the Top in Five Years
Earl Nightingale said many years ago that one hour per day of study in your chosen field was all it takes. One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you'll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.

Read Everything You Can
Read all you can about your field. Subscribe to the executive book clubs and book summaries. Build your own library of important books in your field. Never be cheap about your education.

In fact, if you make a decision today to invest 3% of your annual income back into yourself, back into your own personal and professional development, you will probably never have to worry about money again.

Go Through 50 Books Per Year
If you read one hour per day in your field, that will translate into about one book per week. One book per week translates into about 50 books per year. 50 books per year will translate into about 500 books over the next ten years.

Join the Top 1% of Money Earners
If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.

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

First, ask the successful people around you for their best book recommendations. Whatever advice they give you, immediately go out and buy those books, take them home and begin reading for one hour every morning before you start work.

Second, when you read, underline and take notes when you find important ideas that you can use. Implement them immediately. Take action of some kind on good ideas. You will be amazed at the change in your career.


From Gonzaga head coach Mark Few: To stress the importance of taking care of the basketball they will start scrimmaging in practice and have a ball rack on the sideline at practice with x number of balls on it. With each turnover the players commit, the ball is thrown away and they take a new one off the rack. When the rack is empty they stop scrimmaging and run for the remainder of the time.


1. Deny every pass & get back-doored every time = Overplay, ear in chest, on & up the line
2. On catch, put your nose on the chest, force dribble, and level him off.
3. Stance = On ball, Denial, Help.
4. Front the Post = At all times when ball is outside of the funnel
5. Foul Shots – All great shooters know their exact FT%; all bad ones preface with “about”
6. Close out to everybody as though they are a great shooter = no jump shots
......a. Get a nose in their chest & force baseline without opening the game

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Congratulations to Kyle Schwan and Colorado Robertson for correctly answering the question that John Maxwell posted to Coach John Wooden, "What did he miss most about coaching?"

Of course, the answer was "Practice -- the smell of the gym."

We will get each of the winners a copy of John Maxwell's "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" in the mail.

We still have one copy left to give away and will have another contest later in the week. Thanks again to Thomas Nelson Publishing!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


1. Teams that are hardest to press are the ones that just play by breaking the
press and scoring off of the press without having to take the ball out to half
court and set something up.

2. At the end of the game I’m putting my 5 best scorers in the game.

3. To play depth – you must have guys who can play offense.

4. I do not want players who do not have a keen desire to win and do not play
hard and aggressively to accomplish that objective.

5. If you can score you have a much better chance to win.

6. If you let guys play tired and coast it will cost you in the long run [unless
you have no depth].

7. Stunting is an important untrained defensive skill – drill it daily .

8. In the 1st half we want the opponent to not reach the bonus.

9. Giving up control to have freedom is one of the most difficult things to do as
a coach.

10. Never can get away with fouls on the road like at home.

11. 3FG% is a very important defensive statistic.
-- (Thanks to Creighton Burns via Heath Millar)


This comes from a blog I wrote back in early March from two people that have served to mentor directly (Coach Wooden) and another indirectly (John Maxwell - through his books, blog, videos, etc.).

The following comes from "Today Matters" by John Maxwell:

I mentioned earlier in the chapter that I fulfilled my lifelong dream of spending half a day with John Wooden. He is an amazing man. He coached basketball for over forty years. And, in all those years, he had only one losing season (his first). He led his UCLA teams to four undefeated seasons and a record ten NCAA championships, including seven in a row. No wonder he is called the Wizard of Westwood (the Los Angeles suburb where the UCLA campus is situated).

Before I went to see him, I spent three weeks rereading his books and devouring every bit of information I could about him. Then, on the appointed day, I met him for lunch at a little diner near his home where he eats regularly. When we met, he was ninety-two years old. But you wouldn’t know it to talk to him. He’s alert. And he is sharp!

As we ate, I must have asked him a thousand questions, and he answered them all graciously. I wanted to learn as much as I could about his leadership. I wanted to know why he thought he had been able to win as he did. He said he attributed it to four things: (1) analyzing players, (2) getting them to fulfill their roles as part of the team, (3) paying attention to fundamentals and details, (4) working well with others. I also wanted to know what he missed most about coaching. At first his answer surprised me.

What was the answer? The first two people to email me at: with the correct answer will receive a free copy of John Maxwell's "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect."

As I mentioned earlier, I've been given copies of "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect," from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I must remind everyone that NCAA rules prohibit me from giving them away to high school coaches, AAU coaches and prospective student-athletes (one day I may blog about some of these NCAA rules!). With the recent passing of Coach Wooden, and his relationship with John Maxwell (who mentions lessons learned from Coach Wooden in several of his books), we thought a Coach Wooden question would be perfect today.


Some reasons why communicating, and more importantly connection, make such a major impact on leadership from John Maxwell's "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect."

I am convinced more than ever that good communication and leadership are all about connecting. If you cannot connect with others at every level—one-on-one, in groups, and with an audience—your relationships are stronger, your sense of community improves, your ability to create teamwork increases, your influence increases, and your productivity skyrockets.

Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.

According to the Harvard Business Review, “The number once criteria for advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively.”

If you want to become more productive and influential, learn to become a better leader because everything rises and falls on leadership. And the best leaders are always excellent connectors.
Presidential historian Robert Dallek says that successful presidents exhibit five qualities that enable them to achieve things that enable them to achieve things that others don’t: vision, pragmatism, consensus building, charisma, and trustworthiness.

Four of these factors depend heavily upon the ability to communicate on multiple levels.

Presidents, like all leaders, need to be able to describe where they are going (vision), persuade people to come along with them (consensus), connect on a personal level (charisma), and demonstrate credibility, i.e., do what they say they will do (trust). Even pragmatism depends on communications… So in a very real sense, leadership effectiveness, both for presidents and for anyone else in a position of authority, depends to a high degree upon good communication skills.

“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” -Gerald Ford

When you connect with others, you position yourself to make the most of your skills and talents.

Later today, we will give away a free copy of John Maxwell's book "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect."

As I mentioned previously, I've been given copies of "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect," from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I must remind everyone that NCAA rules prohibit me from giving them away to high school coaches, AAU coaches and prospective student-athletes (one day I may blog about some of these NCAA rules!).


Some thoughts from Brian Tracy on what he believes the key is to motivation:

Your Real Goal
Your goal is to become a transformational leader, the kind of person that motivates and inspires people to perform at levels far beyond anything that they had previously thought possible.

Keep People In the Know
Transformational leaders empower others by keeping them "in the know," by keeping them fully informed on everything that effects their jobs. People want and need to feel that they are "insiders," that they are aware of everything that is going on. There is nothing so demoralizing to a staff member than to be kept in the dark about their work and what is going on in the company.

Give Regular Feedback
One empowering behavior practiced by transformational leaders is regular feedback on performance and results. People need to know how they're doing so they can improve if performance is below standards and so that they can be proud of their successes. The more feedback you give to people, the better it is, as long as the feedback is objective and not critical. My friend, Ken Blanchard, says that, "Positive feedback is the breakfast of champions."

Be Generous With Praise
Be generous with your praise and encouragement. Remember, people are the only asset that can be made to appreciate in value by giving them warmth, respect, approval and by creating a climate of positive expectations.

Create An Exciting Future
What companies and countries and institutions need today are courageous visionary leaders who are committed to creating an exciting future for themselves and others. You have within yourself the ability to evolve and grow as a leader and to make a real difference in the world around you. And the one thing you can know for sure about yourself is that, no matter what you've accomplished up to now, there is far more that you can do.

As you practice the behaviors of effective leaders, you will grow more and more toward the realization of your full potential. It's completely up to you.

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

First, hold regular meetings with your staff and tell them everything that is going on. Invite their comments, questions and concerns. Make everybody feel as if he or she was an insider in the organization.

Second, continually look for opportunities to give positive feedback, praise and encouragement. People need praise and encouragement like roses need rain and sunshine. Take every opportunity to make people feel better about themselves and their work.


“Accept complete responsibility both for understanding and for being understood.”
Brian Tracy

“The substance of your communication is the response it generates.”
Tony Jeary

“The greatest communication skill is paying value to others.”
Denis Waitley

“Writing is the gold standard of communication. Learn to do it well, and see more gold.”
Chris Widener

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Self-expression must pass into communication for its fulfillment.”
Pearl Buck

“The organization that can’t communicate can’t change, and the corporation that can’t change is dead.”
Nido Qubein

“Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Friday, June 25, 2010


One of the absolute best pieces written about Coach Wooden since his passing comes from Don Yaeger:

As I write this, I'm on my way to Los Angeles for a celebration of the life of John Wooden, who passed away on June 4. Coach Wooden was such a significant presence in the life of so many people over the course of his 99 years that UCLA had to require tickets for tomorrow morning's memorial, even though it's being held in one of the largest arenas in LA. And it was reported that the number of people who wanted to be there could have filled the arena four times over.

How does someone impact that many lives? It is mind-boggling really. But what made John Wooden so special was that he lived as we should all aspire to live. Every month I try to tell a story about a lesson in Greatness learned from someone in the world of sports. The truth is that after several years of working with and learning from John Wooden, I know that each of the 16 Characteristics of Greatness I believe exists in true winners were absolute pillars in his life.

This is a much longer newsletter than usual, but please indulge me as I share some nugget about each of these characteristics that can be learned from this amazing man. Consider the many ways that he embodied Greatness:

1. It's Personal
Coach Wooden invested himself in the lives of his players and in teaching them the fundamentals of the game that they all loved. His personal dedication resulted in an unprecedented 10 National Championships in 12 years.

2. Rubbing Elbows
He paired players together who could push each other to grow - most notably Swen Nater and Bill Walton, as I recounted in a previous Greatness newsletter. Coach Wooden truly understood the value of association and helped his students to understand how working with people who would continually challenge them to grow was the best way to ensure than they developed their talent to the fullest degree.
3. Believe
His faith was central to his life, his marriage, and the shaping of his character - and he encouraged personal spiritual development in his players, as well. He was never especially public about his beliefs but held them very deeply and sought to express his faith through his actions and his genuine love for other people.

4. Contagious Enthusiasm
Just about everyone who ever played for Coach embraced his methods of teaching and his philosophies on life. Even those who initially thought his ideas were out of touch or outdated eventually came to realize how much they valued his outlook and spirit, and how important his gentle excitement for life was in uniting the team around a common goal of true success.

5. Hope For the Best, But...
He believed in being brilliant at the basics. All the fancy moves in the world will get a team no where if its members are not competent at the fundamental elements. Coach Wooden went so far as to teach his players how to put on their socks and shoes correctly to minimize blisters that might cut into practice time. "Failure to prepare is preparing to fail" he often reminded his teams. They were to do whatever they could, no matter how simple it might seem, to make sure they were ready to give their all come game time.

6. What Off-Season?
Coach never stopped working. Even though more than a third of his life was lived post-retirement, following the 1975 season, he continued to promote causes, give speeches, write books, and meet with anyone who asked to visit him. "Make each day your masterpiece," he often said. He did not believe in allowing a single moment to go to waste but instead committed himself to learning and teaching every single day that he lived in order to continue growing in character and wisdom - up until his last day on earth.

7. Visualize Victory
At the beginning of season, Coach would write down his prediction for how the next year would unfold, and place it in a sealed envelope in his desk. Though he never shared those goals with anyone else, he told me he was always almost exactly spot-on - and with ten National Championships to his name, as well as an 88-game undefeated streak, those goals must have been pretty high;yet he led his team to reaching them year after year.

8. Inner Fire
The biggest challenge of Coach's life was the loss of his beloved wife of 53 years, Nell, in 1985. Yet rather than withdrawing from the world as he mourned her loss, he challenged his intense grief into charitable works they both believed in and to speaking publicly about the importance of a solid marriage relationship. He used his own pain to help others.

9. Ice in Their Veins
In 1947, when he was still coaching in Indiana State, his team received an invitation to the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball National Tournament, but Coach Wooden turned it down because the NAIB refused to allow African-American players to compete and Wooden's team was integrated. It was a risky move to refuse the invitation because he ran the risk of alienating the governing board; but his risk paid off the very next year when they received another invitation - and his integrated team made it all the way to the finals.

10. When All Else Fails
Coach Wooden was not a fan of the zone-press, but it was clear that the basketball was trending in that direction. It wasn't until a former player and assistant coach named Jerry Norman challenged Coach Wooden to adapt his game that the Bruins were able to take full advantage of the speed and size of their players. The change was a difficult one for Wooden to make but afterwards, he was grateful that he'd not let his pride stand in the way of changing. "Whatever you do in life," Coach said of that decision, "surround yourself with smart people who'll argue with you."

11. Ultimate Teammate
When a player scored in a game, Coach encouraged him to give a nod to the teammate who had given him the pass or set a pick for him. He didn't want any superstars to get the idea that they were more important than the team. If an assistant coach made a suggestion that ended up succeeding, Coach Wooden always tried to make a point of publicly praising that individual in the press conference following the game. If the suggestion failed, Coach Wooden took the blame upon himself since he felt that as the Head Coach, the ultimate decision was his.

12. Not Just About the Benjamins
Coach never made more than $38,000 per year, and he never asked for a raise. It was more important for him to be surrounded by a good team of assistant coaches and to be loyal to the school where he worked than to go out and seek more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. And as a testament to his leadership, many of his assistant coaches turned down head coaching positions somewhere else in order to stay a part of Coach Wooden's team.

13. Do Unto Others
One of the most fundamental rules for his team was that they treat those around them with respect, no matter who they were or what they did. This respect was especially important, in his eyes, to the players, fans, and staff of the opposing teams. More than once, Coach Wooden received a letter of thanks from the maintenance crew at a rival school for the neat and orderly way his players left the locker room there - a gesture of respect that Coach stressed from the beginning.
14. When No One Is Watching
Integrity was an integral part of Coach's life. As he famously remarked: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

15. When Everyone Is Watching
Coach Wooden was always aware of his high-profile position, and sought to act accordingly. He made it a personal goal not to lose his cool on the court or lash out at referees - and on the rare occasions where he did break his calm demeanor, he always apologized to the person afterwards. He felt that setting a good example was an important responsibility that came with his position.

16. Records Are Made to Be Broke
The walls of his home were lined with awards, ceiling to floor, and in many places the plaques and certificates were stacked four and five deep. It seemed the whole world wanted to celebrate him, but Coach Wooden didn't see his career as his most important or lasting legacy. That honor belonged to his role as a mentor both to his own family (two children, seven grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren), as well as to the millions of fans who looked to and learned from his incredible example.

He was truly one of the Great Ones, and even though he will be sorely missed, John Wooden's legacy will live on in each of us who seek to learn from his example and make his Greatness our own.

Visit Don's site:


"Make your personal standard of performance -- your behavior in all areas -- so exemplary that those under your supervision will find it hard to match, harder to surpass. Be hardest on yourself -- the model for what you want your team to become. Don't look for others to be your quality control expert. Be your own harshest critic."

-John Wooden

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Coach Mike Krzyzewski once gave the following advice to a 24-year-old coach:

"Wake up happy every day that you're a coach...and don't forget that during a bad practice."


A great post on communication by John Maxwell. By the way, we will be giving away a few more of his "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" books this weekend so stay tuned. Here is just a small sample of why Maxwell is an absolute expert in the field of communication:

For my whole life, I have opened my car door by inserting a metal key into a physical lock. Now, I can unlock the doors and start the car at the push of a button. It seems like magic to me, but it's actually a simple application of science.

Keyless entry and keyless ignition are made possible when a transmitter within your key fob communicates with a radio receiver inside the car. Two conditions are necessary for this communication to take place: 1) the transmitter must be set to the same frequency as the receiver, and 2) the transmitter must send a uniquely coded message which the receiver has been programmed in advance to recognize.

Communication acts as a leader's "keyless entry" into relationships. It can open the mind of an employer, the wallet of investors, and the hearts of loved ones. Talented communicators seem magical when they weave their words together. However, much like the concept of keyless entry, great communication depends on two simple skills—context and delivery. Context attunes a leader to the same frequency as his or her audience. Delivery allows a leader to phrase messages in a language the audience can understand.

As we explore context and delivery, we'll draw upon Steven K. Scott's book "The Richest Man Who Ever Lived." In the book, Scott offers commentary on the words of King Solomon, the wealthiest man in history. Renowned for his wisdom, Solomon's writings are filled with advice about effective communication.


Listen before Speaking
"He that answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame unto him." —Proverbs 18:13
Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it. As the Greek philosopher Epictetus observed, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

Understand Human Nature
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." —Proverbs 12:18
Words are powerful, and they can build up or tear down those who hear them. Regardless of your audience or avenue of communication, the following principles enable you to communicate constructively.

People are insecure. Leaders can bestow confidence by demonstrating their trust and belief in a person's abilities.
People want to feel special. Leaders win a loyal following when they are generous with compliments and acts of appreciation.
People are looking for a better future. Leaders inspire through an optimistic outlook and words of hope.
People are selfish. Leaders learn to motivate when they begin speaking to the needs of their people.

Be Emotionally Aware
"Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day… is one who sings songs to a heavy heart." —Proverbs 25:20
Communicating within context involves taking the emotional temperature of others. Pay attention to facial expressions, voice inflection and posture. They give clues to a person's mood and attitude.


Adopt an Appropriate Tone
"A soft answer turns away wrath but grievous words stir up anger." —Proverbs 15:1
When you're emotionally aware, you're halfway to effective communication, but you still have to deliver your words appropriately. Many times it's not what you say, but how you say it. Adopt a fitting tone to address the emotional state of those around you, and your words will have their desired effect.

Speak Persuasively
"The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips." —Proverbs 16:23
The National Storytelling Festival, held in Jonesborough, Tennessee, features some of America's most captivating communicators. Listen for a while, and you'll discover traits that allow them to persuade listeners to take interest in the stories they tell.

Enthusiasm. The storytellers obviously enjoy what they are doing, expressing themselves with joy and vitality.
Animation. The presentations are marked by lively facial expressions and gestures.
Audience Participation. Almost every storyteller involves the audience in some way, asking listeners to sing, clap, repeat phrases, or do sign language.
Spontaneity. None of the storytellers have notes. The festival is truly an oral event. Storytellers don't read their stories; they tell them, which allows for eye contact.

Be Honest
"He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool." —Proverbs 10:18
In an effort to persuade, leaders may be tempted to cross the line into manipulation. When doing so, facts may be fabricated or spun deceptively. Lies add complexity to life since the liar has to operate under the guise of falsehood. Eventually, lies are brought to light and undermine credibility. Leaders protect their character by using discretion in their language. They speak truthfully—even when honesty is costly.


Poor communication is the No. 1 culprit of failed relationships—in business and at home. Since relationships are the foundation of success, leaders would be wise to invest in the communication skills of context and delivery. Master them, and you'll more easily gain favor, more readily make friends, and more effectively motivate others.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Great article on dealing with General Honore and his thoughts on dealing with the media:

As a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army, Russel Honore was never one to sugarcoat anything. He became known as the "Category 5 General" for the way he commanded the military response to Hurricane Katrina, which was also a mission that thrust him squarely into the media spotlight.

"I learned from six weeks of almost 12- to 18-hour days, about dealing with the media," says Honore, who now is a paid consultant to CNN on issues such as the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

"When I was in Katrina, I was always asked how I feel about it. What the sh** do you mean, how do I feel about it? This is what I think. If I'm a leader, I have a mission," Honore says. "I ain't answering no feeling question."

The man in charge knew that anything he might say at any point during those long days might come back to haunt him, and in fact, there were some who didn't like Honore's style at all, but he says he tried hard never to let his guard down too much when talking with the media.

But in retirement, Honore was a little more willing to talk about his feelings, even putting pen to paper last year in a book that included a passage about how to handle yourself during a crisis. In "Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save You and Your Family," Honore lays out the simple lessons he learned about when and how a general should deal with the press:

Rule 1. Keep your mission in mind when answering any questions.
Rule 2. Never give praise of criticism to political leaders.
Rule 3. Remember that you've taken an oath to obey the orders of the president.
Rule 4. If you don't want to hear or see it again, don't say it.

"There is no such thing as off the record, 'cause you can say things when you're tired, frustrated, and in war, all kinds of negative stuff is said, and I knew that my style of operating, there were a lot of retired officers who didn't like my demeanor, 'cause I was direct and sometimes used colorful language and sometimes became a little too passionate," Honore says, "but one of my other rules in dealing with the press is that it's a battle drill between you and the press in terms of speaking to the American people."

What if a general becomes so important to a mission that he feels like he can say almost anything? What happens then? I ask. Honore quotes back another famous general to me. This one, the legendary French Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who once said, "Graveyards are full of indispensable men."

"He had something there," Honore says

Read the entire article at:


The following comes from an article on Geno Auriemma and his quest to push his team to great levels of play:

"I tried to explain to my players it's impossible to be perfect, but we can try hard every day to be as close as we can," Auriemma said afterward. "If you could only see all that goes into this, it's unbelievable."

Believe it.

Believe in perfection.

"Being undefeated is a big deal to everybody else as you go through the season," Auriemma had said before the game. "For us it only becomes a big deal if you finish the regular season and the tournament undefeated and look back and go, 'Wow, that was unbelievable!'

From Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Currant

Read the entire article:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Another great post from Brian Tracy -- one that I think is excellent for assistant coaches to read:

Anyone who does a great job consistently, over and over, kicks open the doors of opportunity in all directions. Such a person will be hired, paid well, promoted, advanced and given additional responsibilities because there are so few of them.

Make a Decision Today
You can put your life and career into an upward trajectory by making the decision, today, that you are going to become one of the best time managers in your field. And in this session, you will learn how to do it.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."

Exploit Your Most Precious Resource
Time is your most precious resource. It is all you really have. It is your life. As long as you have lots of time, you can do almost anything. But if your time is cut off for any reason, all of your possibilities are cut off as well.

Queen Elizabeth I of England was one of the richest women in the world. She owned half the country. Yet, when she was on her deathbed, she turned to her doctor and said, "I would give all I have for a few more minutes of time."

Start This Very Minute
The time for you and I to begin to appreciate how valuable and precious each minute is, is right now, not a later time when our minutes and hours are draining away.

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

First, resolve to become an expert at time management. Work on becoming more efficient every day.

Second, ask "Why am I on the payroll?" Whatever your answer to this question, work on it all day long.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Congratulations to Rob Passage and Bruce Hough for coming the closest to predicting the Lakers victory and their 83 points. A copy of "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" by John Maxwell is in the mail -- I promise you are going to love the book!

We will have another contest in the next few days to pass along more copies of this book given to us by Thomas Nelson Publishing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The one word most often used to describe my coaching style through the years has been “disciplinarian.” Some people look at this as a derogatory comment, but I think being called a “disciplinarian” is a compliment. I don’t know how anyone can be a successful parent, teacher, coach, manager, entrepreneur, husband, wife, or friend without understanding the role discipline plays in life, and without in some form or another being a good disciplinarian. Far from shying away for it, I’ve worked hard to be the firmest and fairest disciplinarian possible, whether it has been as a parent, a coach, or the manager of a staff. Discipline is not what you do to someone, but what you do for them.

Every construct in life requires discipline. Marriages require both spouses to suppress their selfish urges for the good of the relationship. That is a form of discipline, and the consequences of not following those rules are a troubled marriage. If you don’t have enough self-discipline to pay your monthly bills, you will soon suffer the consequences while sitting in the dark. If, as a parent, you don’t discipline your children, they grow up without any boundaries, which damages them well into adulthood. If you have no discipline in the workplace, then an “anything goes” attitude will soon prevail, and your company will be in trouble.

In government, we have laws that impose consequences upon certain actions society deems unacceptable. And in my profession, achievement, performance, and teamwork are rewarded, while a lack of those qualities requires corrective action: discipline. If enforcing standards had made me a disciplinarian, then I gladly accept the title and plead guilty as charged.

From "Wins, Losses, and Lessons" by Lou Holtz


I sometimes think it is ironic that John Maxwell once played basketball and that he still studies some of the coaches and players and utilizes what he has learned in his teaching since so many of his thoughts have made in impact in how I coach and what we do in our program. When Allison Hightower was recently interviewed after being drafted by the Connecticut Sun she was asked her favorite book and she replied, "Talent is Never Enough." I smiled because that was our team's assigned reading last year.

In his recent book, "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect," he goes into great detail about the methods of us properly communicating. His thoughts include:

"Connecting increases your influence in every situation."

"According to experts, we are bombarded with thirty-five thousand messages a day."

"Talk is easy. Everybody talks. The question is, how can you make your words count? How can you really communicate with others?"

Is there anything more important for us in coaching/teaching than communication? That's why this is such a special book. In the beginning of the book, Maxwell talks about three things needed for effective communication.

When we try to communicate, we must include:

• Thought: something we know
• Emotion: something we feel
• Action: something we do

Maxwell believes those three components are essential to connect with others as well. Fail to include any one of the three and there will be a disconnection from people and a breakdown in communication. More specifically, here’s how he thinks the breakdown would occur. If I try to communicate:

Something I know but do not feel, my communication is dispassionate.
Something I know but do not do, my communication is theoretical.
Something I feel but do not know, my communication is unfounded.
Something I feel, but do not do, my communication is hypocritical.
Something I do but do not know, my communication is presumptuous.
Something I do but do not feel, my communication is mechanical.

As I mentioned earlier, I've been given copies of "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect," from Thomas Nelson Publishing. I must remind everyone that NCAA rules prohibit me from giving them away to high school coaches, AAU coaches and prospective student-athletes (one day I may blog about some of these NCAA rules!). But in honor of John Maxwell's love for basketball, we will utilize a basketball contest to give away two of these outstanding books.

With game 7 in front of us tonight, we will utilize that for our contest. Pick a winner and a point total for the winning team and email it to me at: Your predictions must be emailed to me no later than 7 PM CST. We will take the two predictions that come closest and those people will win a copy of the book.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The following comes from Dave Ulrich who is a professor of business at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and co-founder of The RBL Group and Wendy Ulrich who has been a practicing psychologist for over twenty years and is the author of two books. They have published a new book, The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win.

At some point, all leaders have been followers. Effective leaders can identity and learn from both their good and bad leaders who motivated them and modeled how they now lead. Unfortunately, some leaders seem to forget what it means to be a follower once they become leaders. Leadership is a team sport and without followers leaders have no impact. If leaders see themselves as meaning makers, they can position themselves to guide employees to find purpose, an outcome that we believe directly benefits customers, investors and other stakeholders, and the bottom line.

Leaders understand followers by customizing work so that followers not only meet goals, but also find meaning and purpose from their work experience. A number of disciplines have attempted to figure out how people make their lives meaningful. We have adapted these insights into seven questions followers ask and leaders can answer so that their followers feel well led.

Identity: What do I want to be known for as an employee?
Employees bring personal strengths to their work. When leaders recognize these strengths and use them to strengthen others, employees are more motivated. Statoil, headquartered in Norway, is one of the largest oil firms in the world. As they begin to do business in emerging markets, they realize that they need to identify which employees seek the adventure and sometimes trauma of working outside their home country. As they match employees' strengths and desired identity with business requirements, the right employees take the right job, find more meaning and are more productive.

Purpose: What matters most to me?
Employees are motivated by different things. In Pfizer's R&D group, many scientists are motivated by the insights they can generate from their research. In Pfizer's sales and marketing group, employees are more likely to be motivated by the thrill of the sale and can be motivated by setting and meeting goals. In Pfizer's government relations group, employees need to find ways to collaborate with government officials to meet federal guidelines. Many of Pfizer leaders are motivated to help build the next generation of employees. Leaders who attend to what motivates followers will help them find what matters most to them.

Relationship: Whom do I work with?
High performing teams are high relating teams. When employees connect with each other socially and emotionally, they are more likely to combine their different skills into meeting customer needs. (Leaders can help build relationships at work by referral hiring where top employees refer peers to join the company, by disagreeing without being disagreeable, and by attending to personal issues at work.)

Work environment: How can I work in a positive work environment?
Google has publicly committed to creating a positive work environment where leaders act with humility, information is widely shared, decisions are made through involving others, and the physical work setting reflects the employee's unique identity. Others have worked in a work setting characterized by politics, backbiting, and negativity. Leaders who work on culture do not have to be personally present to influence how employees feel about their work.

Work itself: How can I customize the work I do?
We have a friend whose ideal job would be a toll booth operator. This would not work for us or other of our friends. But she claims that this simple, repetitive, and routine work would allow her to do it well and to focus her energy on personal off-work pursuits. Leaders need to help followers customize work so that it is easy, energizing, and enjoyable. This might mean tailoring the type of work (social, intellectual, or physical), location of work (inside vs. outside), characteristics of work (routine vs. innovative, autonomous vs. control) and when I work (flexible hours vs. in office). When leaders shape work to meet the needs of followers, followers adapt to the job and are more productive.

Learning and growth: How can I learn and grow from the work I do?
Change happens. Leaders who help followers learn and grow from change build more successful organizations. A leader once told us that it took 50 years to create a company that can be lost in two years if it does not adapt quickly. P&G believes that being first to market with new products gives them up to 50% of market share with lagging competitors competing for the rest. Leaders help employees change by learning and being resilient from successes and failures. Followers who learn to anticipate and adapt to change rather than being threatened or overwhelmed by it find more meaning from work.

Delight: How do I come to enjoy work?
Sometimes work is a four letter word and can be demanding and draining. But, leaders can help employees have fun at work by using humor, by being playful, by laughing at oneself, by celebrating successes or personal days, and by encouraging civility. A leader at a technology company brought cookies to work to give employees a symbol of his concern when corporate budgets for treats were cut. When followers find fun at work, they respond in kind.


Nice article on dealing with conflicts within your team written by Amy Gallo of the Harvard Business Review:

The conflicts that often arise in teams can make you want to throw up your arms in despair, retreat to your office, and live out your career in team-less bliss. But collaboration is here to stay, and while it isn't easy, putting more minds on the job usually yields better results. If your team has dissolved into arguments or two members just can't seem to get along, how can you get things back on track? How you do you turn a team marred by dysfunction into one that excels together?

What the Experts Say
Conflict is part of working on a team and, while it's often uncomfortable, it can also be healthy. "There will, even should be, conflict in a group with a task that has even a minimum of complexity," says Jeanne Brett, the DeWitt W. Buchanan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at Kellogg Graduate School of Management, the Director of the Kellogg School's Dispute Resolution Research Center, and co-author of Getting Disputes Resolved. Understanding why teams fight, how and when to get involved, and how to prevent fights in the future is a critical skill for all team leaders.

Stop Disputes Before They Happen
Unfortunately, most team leaders assume they'll deal with disagreements as they come up. But Brett advises doing more prep work than that — to have "solid conflict management procedures in place to deal with [conflicts] when they arise, because they will arise." These rules will also help you work through issues more quickly. "Solving disputes after they happen is a hell of a lot more work," adds Richard Boyatzis, Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and co-author of Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence.

Another important proactive measure is ensuring that your team shares the same purpose, values, and identity. Boyatzis says teams should "devote a certain amount of time to talking about the team itself." In these discussions, instead of focusing on easier, more concrete issues like goals and measurement, get the group to agree on its purpose first. Do this when the team forms, and throughout its existence. Boyatzis is part of a consortium that has met twice a year for the past decade. The group starts every meeting by reading aloud the team norms they agreed to ten years ago. He concedes that this might seem odd to an outsider but thinks this is what keeps the team grounded and focused.

How and When to Intervene
Some of the most common disputes include conflicts over tasks, working norms, or process. Regardless of why your team is fighting, following a few simple guidelines can help you resolve disputes quickly.

•Intervene early. When two or more team members are engaged in a conflict, the sooner you step in the better. Once the dispute starts, emotions can run high, making it harder to diffuse the situation. Letting conflicts fester can result in hurt feelings and lasting resentment. Boyatzis points out that a simple disagreement can turn into a serious conflict in milliseconds, so it's critical for team managers to be aware of the team dynamics and sense when a disagreement is percolating.

•Focus on team norms. The best approach to resolving disputes once they've erupted is to refer back to something the team can, or has already, agreed on. These may be explicit or implicit team norms. If you haven't previously discussed norms as a team, now is a good time to hold the conversation. Be careful not to frame the discussion around the dispute but to focus it on setting rules of engagement for going forward.

•Identify a shared agreement. Your job as the team leader is to help the fighting team members reach an accord. "The key is to respect each party and the reason behind their point of view," says Brett. The only way to do this, according to Boyatzis, is to talk it through. He says that most team leaders "cut short dialogue or don't do it in an inclusive way." Once the cards are on the table, you need to "facilitate an outcome that takes into account both parties point of views," explains Brett. Compromise often has a bad connotation in the business world, but the resolution doesn't need to be a lowest common denominator answer. Rather, it should integrate both parties' interests. Whenever possible, connect the resolution back to shared purposes, values, or identity that can help both parties see eye to eye.

Moving On After a Disagreement
Boyatzis says the best way to heal war wounds is to start working again. Get a relatively easy task in front of the group to help them rebuild their confidence as a team. As the leader, you can model moving on and focusing on work. If people have been ostracized because of the dispute, make efforts to bring them back into the fold by assigning them an important task or soliciting their opinions. If feelings have been hurt, you may want to let the parties have a break and not directly work together for a short time. Going forward, it will be useful to establish a practice of regularly checking on how you all are working together. This will help you identify problems before they turn into full-fledged disputes.

Principles to Remember

•Set up conflict management procedures before a conflict arises
•Intervene early when a fight erupts between team members
•Get the team working together again as soon as possible

•Assume your team agrees on its shared purpose, values, or vision
•Let conflicts fester or go unattended
•Move on without first talking about the conflict as a team

Read the entire article:


Become more productive by deciding what you will do and what you’ll not do today. Greg Reid, best-selling author of The Millionaire Mentor and Positive Impact, reminds us learning how to say no is critical to productivity. “Too many people measure how successful or important they are by how many balls they can keep in the air at a given moment,” he says. But it’s not about how much you can do; It’s what you can do well.

“We all know a computer runs at its slowest when it has too many programs open at once,” Reid says. “The same applies to our production.” So, when you have a full workload, learn to say no in a courteous manner. Being realistic about your workload helps you to better perform the most important tasks at hand. Then the new project can be passed along to another person who may offer more attention to it.

-Darren Hardy


From Jeff Janssen's book "Championship Team Building," comes 10 tips for sending messages to your players:

To make your messages more effective and to minimize the chances of miscommunication, you should construct and send messages that can be easily understood by the receiver. Use the following tips when sending messages.

DIRECT...Coaches and players need to communicate directly with the person they want to receive the message. When you tell someone else to relay a message to another person, you risk them forgetting to deliver the message, distorting your message and not being able to clarify if necessary.

COMPLETE AND SPECIFIC...Tell the whole story. Too often we assume the other person knows what we mean and we often leave out important information. Make sure you include all the details.

CONSISTENT WITH EACH OTHER...Consistency is a big key to communication. Make sure that what you want on one day is basically the same thing the next day.

STATED TO COMMUNICATE NEEDS AND FEELINGS...Communication allows us to transmit our needs and feelings to other people. Be sure that your communication clearly states your needs and feelings.

FOCUSED...Focus your communication on one topic at a time. You confuse your listeners when you jump from topic to topic.

REDUNDANT...Use the triple tell technique when sending messages: A) Tell them what you are going to tell them. B) Tell them C) Tell them what you told them.

AT YOUR RECEIVER’S LEVEL...Be sure you use language and terminology that can be understood by your receiver. Too often coaches are more focused on teaching topics than they are on teaching people.

POSITIVE...Focus your messages on the things you want to have happen versus the things you want to avoid. How many times have you told your team “Don’t foul” in the last minute of the game only to have your player commit a foul? Instead, tell them to “Play smart defense.”

ATTENTION GRABBING...Using another person’s name is more likely to grab the person’s attention as well as make them more open to your message.

CHECKED FOR UNDERSTANDING...Be sure the people you send messages to clearly understand your intent. One of the best things you can do after sending a message is to ask the person, “What did you hear me say?” If they cannot tell you, you have a great opportunity to clarify or correct what you said.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have been given five copies of John Maxwell's latest book, "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect" to give away from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The book is one of the best on the subject of communication that I have read. I am currently creating a contest to give these away and it will involve my twitter account. So if you aren't following me on twitter yet and are interested in getting a copy of this great book, sign up to follow me at:

Now here is the only bad part of the deal...NCAA rules prohibit me from giving the book away from high school coaches or prospective student-athletes so it will be basically opened to college coaches, fans and anyone else following me on twitter.

I will be giving away the first copy on Thursday!


An absolutely great post by Jon Gordon on Coach John Wooden. And if you haven't read his book "Training Camp," I highly recommend it:

If you read my book Training Camp you know I was influenced deeply by Coach Wooden. In this spirit here are 7 lessons I learned from him.

1. Success Is All About the Little Things
On the first day of practice Coach Wooden didn't discuss basketball strategy. Believe it or not, he taught his players the proper way to put on their socks and shoes so they didn't get blisters.

2. Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome
Coach Wooden didn't focus on winning. He focused on the character of his team, key fundamentals, daily improvement, effort, potential and selfless teamwork. As a result he won...a lot.

3. There's No Such Thing as an Overnight Success
Wooden was at UCLA 16 years before they won their first national title. Today we live in a world where people expect instant results. If a coach doesn't win a title in a few years he or she is fired. Wooden is a testament that greatness takes time.

4. Selfless Teamwork is Great Teamwork
Wooden said, "A player who makes a team great is much more valuable than a great player."

5. There's Power in Humility
Norman Vincent Peale said that humble people don't think less of themselves. They just think of themselves less. Wooden made his life about coaching, leading and developing others and in doing so exhibited true power.

6. Faith Matters
In our politically correct world where people are afraid to mention God, even though it says it on our dollar bill, I find it interesting how in all the media reports about Wooden they talk positively about how his faith guided his life, principles and actions. There is power in faith. More importantly there is enormous power when your faith moves you to love, serve, inspire, coach and make a difference.

7. Your Legacy Matters
The most important thing you will leave behind when you die is your legacy. And the greatest legacy you can leave is your life, your principles and the lives you touch. Wooden didn't spend his life amassing wealth and trying to make a fortune. He invested in others. And while buildings will fall, jewelry will tarnish and money will get spent, his legacy will live on in those who carry his teachings in their heart.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Some great stuff from Coach Phil Beckner of Weber State. Coach Beckner is great to pass on some good stuff are way from time to time and I think this is a fascinating list -- especially for thos that coach on the men's side of the game:

I was able to visit w/an NBA scout today who has been attending several of the current NBA pre-draft workouts. I wanted to pick his brain and ask what players are lacking or do not realize while going through these workouts. I wanted to learn more about the difference in making the jump from college to the NBA.

Here are 5 major things he emphasized...

1. They must “Play Harder Longer”!
Most players do not realize how hard you have to play in order to get a job. There have been several players that have struggled to make it through an hour workout because of their conditioning.

2. College players do not understand how hard it is to make the NBA! They do understand that most players in the league are the hardest workers.
The ultimate example of this is Kobe Bryant. He really emphasized how everyone in the NBA knows how hard Kobe works on his game! Most NBA players are extremely hard workers! Another example he gave was a guard from the Big 12 who has showed up to his workouts 20 lbs over weight and out of shape, but still expects to make an NBA roster.

3. Players must be able to play PNR ( pick n roll):
The more experience they have at this, the more valuable they look. This is on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively (on an average night, an NBA point guard could have to guard over 60 ballscreens)

4. College players must be able to extend their range to NBA 3:
Around the arc the NBA 3-point line is currently 23ft .9in and 22 ft. in the corners. The college 3-point line is 20ft. 9in. This can be up to a 3 foot difference in taking/making the 3 point shot.

5. Be able to find ways to score/have “solutions”:
Perfect floaters, running layups, 3-point shots, fade aways etc. Whether the player is small or oversized for his position he must constantly work on expanding his game and simply finding more ways to score. Steve Nash calls this having “solutions” around the basket.


Great stuff from Boston's Kevin Eastman on self-improvement from coaches:

As you study coaches at all levels around the country, it’s interesting to try to figure out what truly makes them successful. Let me throw out a few thoughts to get you thinking about where you fall in each of a few key things a successful coach needs.

A successful coach must have the knowledge and the continued interest in keeping up with new trends, better ways of doing things, new ways to make his or her program more efficient and those little things that just might make the difference in a given season.

Coaching is as much about dealing with people (players) as it is about knowing how to teach. Without your players believing and trusting in what you're teaching, there will be no success. Invest the time and energy in developing strong relationships with all those who are part of your program. The old axiom definitely applies..."Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Every team at every level has problems. Finding a way to deal with and fix a problem is the key. It's not about yelling and screaming and hoping the problem disappears. It has more to do with the ability to find out what the problem actually is, breaking down the problem, thinking about how to best fix it, and having the relationship that will ensure that the parties involved will listen to you and trust that you can help fix it.

Coaching is about making adjustments. You have a plan for the game and the other coach makes an adjustment; now you have to make an adjustment. In basketball you have to be prepared to make very important decisions with very little time to make them. It comes down to having the poise under pressure, and that comes from having spent the time to think through every possible decision that may come up in a game.


This is an area that separates the successful from the rest. There are many coaches who know a lot about the game but can’t seem to get the players to do what they want done. The key is to put the knowledge into a system that you believe in, and, most importantly, a system that you can teach. Just having the knowledge -- without the ability to transfer it to the players -- is a recipe for failure.

Put some thought to these things in the off-season. What areas can you improve in? How will you implement these changes for yourself or your team? We ask our players to come back from the off-season as improved players, so we should demand the same of ourselves!

Hear is a link to information on Kevin's "Coach U Live" Clinic:


Leaders cannot afford to overlook the importance of momentum:

With momentum, leaders look better than they actually are.
With momentum, followers increase their performance.
Without momentum, leaders look worse than they actually are.
Without momentum, followers decrease their performance.

To maximize the value of momentum, leaders must: (1) develop an appreciation for it early; (2) know the key ingredients of it immediately; and (3) pour resources into it always.

Momentum is the greatest of all change agents.

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


“I think long term, long haul. People who have integrity, whose word you can count on, who you know will work hard, who will be loyal—those are people who are more successful over a long period of time. I’ve talked a lot to our players about issues of character. We had a theme of the week that we talked about where one week it would be perseverance, another week it would be honesty, another week it would be self-sacrifice, another week it’s be courage, and we’d have a number of quotes by famous people about that topic. I’d talk to them about the theme and we’d have it in the scouting report. We’d talk about it on Monday and then talk about it again around Thursday and then again on Saturday morning on the day of the game. And how it related to having a good team and being a good player and what we were trying to get done. So in the course of going through thirteen games you really had talked about thirteen different themes and most all of those were character-related. It was really a course in character education that was never labeled as such. And hopefully, as coaches, we were able to model those traits most of the time. I think for the most part our team bought into it, and I think generally speaking we had a good level of character among our players.”

From, "How to Succeed in the Game of Life" by Christian Klemash

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I received the following email from my mentor Dale Brown last night. He titled it "My Tribute To Coach Wooden."

My dear friend John Wooden is truly an American treasure. He was kind, caring, highly intelligent, vibrant, strong-willed, principled, humble, and one of the most fascinating men of this or any generation.

Why was the greatest coach that ever lived like this and not egotistical, selfish, arrogant, and greedy like so many that reach the pinnacle of what the world often defines as success?

It is because he firmly believed in what the first Webster’s dictionary ever printed in 1806 describing success as, fortunate, happy, kind and prosperous. And not how dictionaries define success today, which is, attainment of wealth, fame and rank.

Coach Wooden’s definition of success parallels’ that of 1806, he said, “Fame, fortune and power are not success. Success is peace of mind, which is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

I have also heard him mention on several occasions that the four things mankind craves the most are freedom, happiness, peace, and love. And none of these can be obtained without first giving them to someone else, and oh how he gave for so many years.

The best way I can describe Coach is that every time I left him I felt better about mankind and had a quest to strive to be a better human being. Perhaps, a better way to define Coach is what Einstein said about Gandhi: “Generations to come, will scare believe that such one as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon the earth.”

He is indeed a legend in basketball but more importantly he was a legend in serving mankind as a master teacher.

Now that Coach has left this earth, I ask myself how can I ever thank him for being my friend for 40 years. And, as usual, my answer comes from the words of Coach himself. In the last letter I received from him he said, “Although thanks is a rather simple one-syllable word that too often is used without true feeling, when used with sincerity no collection of words can be more meaningful or expressive.”

Thanks Coach!

(And thanks to Coach Brown for sharing his feelings!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This certainly applied to athletics, but in all walks of live the biggest hurdle we all face is how we handle adversity. It is naive to think we can avoid it. So an absolute major key to success is what to do when faced with obstacles and setbacks. John Maxwell, in his book "Self Improvement 101" points to the fact that it is our attitude about problems. His theory, and one that you hear from all successul people is that we should fear adversity but to embrace it! Here is what Maxwell's reasons to embrace adversity and persevere through it:

1. Adversity creates resilience.
• Nothing in life breeds resilience like adversity and failure.

2. Adversity develops maturity.
Adversity can make you better if you don’t let it make you bitter. Why? Because it promotes wisdom and maturity. American playwright William Saroyan spoke to this issue: “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.”

3. Adversity pushes the envelope of accepted performance.
Until a person learns from experience that he can live through adversity, he is reluctant to buck mindless tradition, push the envelope of organizational performance, or challenge himself to press his physical limits. Failure prompts a person to rethink the status quo.

4. Adversity provides greater opportunities.
I believe that eliminating problems limits our potential. For example, in 1978, Bernie Marcus, the son of a poor Russian cabinetmaker in Newark, New Jersey, was fired from Handy Dan, a do-it-yourself hardware retailer. That prompted Marcus to team with Arthur Blank to start their own business. In 1979, they opened their first store in Atlanta, Georgia. It was called The Home Depot. Today, The Home Depot has more than 760 stores employing more than 157,000 people, the business has expanded to include overseas operations, and each year the corporation does more than $30 billion in sales.

5. Adversity prompts innovation.
The ability to innovate is at the heart of creativity—a vital component in success.
6. Adversity recaps unexpected benefits.
Horace Walpole said that “in science, mistakes always precede the truth.

7. Adversity motivates.
Years ago, when Bear Bryant was coaching the University of Alabama’s football team, the Crimson Tide was ahead by only six points in a game with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Bryant sent his quarterback into the game with instruction to play it safe and run out the clock. In the huddle, the quarterback said, “Coach says to play it safe, but that’s what they’re expecting. Let’s give them a surprise.” And with that, he called a pass play.
When the quarterback dropped back and threw the pass, the defending cornerback, who was a champion sprinter, intercepted the ball and headed toward the end zone, expecting to score a touchdown. The quarterback, who was not known as a good runner, took off after the cornerback and ran him down from behind, tackling him on the 5-yard line. His effort saved the game.
After the clock ran out, the opposing coach approached Bear Bryant and said, “What’s this business about your quarterback not being a runner? He ran down my speedster from behind!”
Bryant responded, “Your man was running for six points. My man was running for his life.”
Nothing can motivate a person like adversity.