Saturday, July 31, 2010


The uncompromising core belief of Win Forever is to “do things better than they have ever been done before.” This includes football practice. It might seem obvious that, as a coach, I would say that good practice sessions are important. But my view of practice is different from most others. To me, practice is not just something that is necessary for a team to prepare itself for game day. Rather, practice is one of the many places where we compete to be the best.

It is my belief that how we practice makes just as important a statement about who we are as how we play the games. How we practice defines who we are. It is not only something we have to do in order to compete, but our practice is a competitive activity in and of itself. Practice is something we want to be the best at for its own sake. As I began to develop my thoughts about this and to write them down, I recalled a great example to illustrate this point.

From "Win Forever" by Pete Carroll


Thinking As A Team, Becoming A Team, And Always Remaining A Team Is the Single Best Thing That You Can Teach Your Players For The Present Time And For Their Life After They Leave The Program
When you play a game, travel on the road games, register for classes waiting in long lines, eat in a restaurant, befriend or ignore a young child after a game, respect or taunt an opponent, deal with winning and losing, you are making a statement about what the core values are in your program. Coaches, players, and teams are teaching lessons in every encounter along life's way.
We hope it can be said of our program that EVEN WHEN THEY LOSE THEY WIN. The way you accept the hand life has dealt you vividly tells everyone else what your true character is.
The great boxer Sugar Ray Robinson said, "You can tell the most about a man when he is getting whipped".
That is oh so true in a basketball game and life. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP TO BE A CHAMPION. As a coach, you are responsible for the actions of your players and team. You are not a coach if you look the other way and ignore bad behavior. It must be dealt with or you are harming your players for a lifetime. Philippians 2:1-8 gives a description of what a team attitude should be like for coaches and players.


"We didn’t emphasize winning as much we talked about playing well. We thought that if we played well and did certain things in a game, winning would take care of itself. If we played well and the other team had more talent and played better, there wasn’t anything we could do about it. So I always tried—and I suggest that you try—to be intrinsically motivated. Remind yourself every day what’s most important, and keep the broad view in mind. Winning is what you and your administration define it to be. It’s essential that you understand each other clearly on that point. John Wooden never talked to his players about winning."

Former Nebraska Football Coach


The following comes from: -- a great resource site on the subject of leadership

"No More Excuses" by Sam Silverstein is about expanding your accountability zone. To do that it means “reaching the point in your life where you can say, ‘No More Excuses! I’m not going to make excuses, and I’m not going to buy excuses.’” Excuses only legitimize the past, ignore the present, and eliminate the future.

Silverstein’s book is built around The Five Accountabilities he has developed to help you—in a practical way—to move beyond the excuse; to make accountability a way of life for you personally and part of your organization’s culture. The five accountabilities are:

Doing the Right Things. Begin by identifying your strategic intent. What are you trying to accomplish and by when? We are accountable for understanding and identifying our strategic intent—and the activities that support it.

Mt. Everest climber Ronnie Muhl, told Sam: “You get into the habit of asking yourself, ‘If my life depended on the next action I took, how differently would I perform that action?’ —because doing the wrong thing can have massive consequences.”
Managing Your Space. We are accountable to create the new space we need to grow and innovate in our own lives, which sometimes means taking space from something else that we’re doing. “Force of habit prevents us from giving ourselves the physical, mental, financial, or emotional space necessary to shake things up a little bit and put something new in our lives—something that could provide growth and improvement.”
David Silverstein, CEO of the Breakthrough Management Group International, told Sam, “You have to be willing to cannibalize your own business in order to grow.”
Managing the Process. We are accountable for creatively making progress toward whatever it is we are trying to make happen even when we hit an obstacle. It means not throwing up our hands and saying, “If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.”
Kenneth Evans, Dean of Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma told Sam, “The real problem with the way that some people look at accountability is that oftentimes it’s layered into a notion of a rigid set of expectations and performance parameters, and frankly, you can get into very deep trouble if that’s your mantra. How you react to changing events is important as well.”
Establishing the Right Expectations. We are accountable for establishing the right expectations, that reflect our values, that are properly benchmarked, and are a bit of a stretch.
Clothier Elim Chew, spoke to Sam about the leading from where you are at his company 77th Street, “The people who accept responsibility for, say, 10 things that are part of their job description and then accept personal accountability for five more things all on their own are the ones who are more likely to get the bigger bonuses and bigger raises in this company. They’re the ones who may end up running a business of their own someday.”
Contributing to Your Relationships. The success or failure of our relationships depends entirely on the contributions we make. We are accountable for giving to our relationships—without keeping track. “In fact, the quickest way to kill a relationship is to start keeping track of all the reasons it’s not your turn to give to it and support it.” Sam adds, “We should constantly be looking for ways to invest in the relationship and enhance the value of the relationship over time.” Sam says, “Building relationships is about choices, and the choices should always be based on your values. To get a fix on your values, ask yourself: How can I best serve this relationship in the short term and the long term?”
Brian Martin, CEO and founder of Brand Connections, talked to Sam about managing emotions. He said, “I have asked every single person I’ve hired two questions: ‘First, what is most important for you to feel professionally, every day? And second, what’s most important for you to avoid feeling? What would you really rather not go through, not have to replay with your spouse at the end of the day, when that person asks how your day went?’ I keep the answers on file, and I look at those answers every week when I do my own planning.”
Free tools and exercises are available at to help you implement the Five Accountabilities. “If you want to build an organization that achieves its goals and beats the competition, it’s time for No More Excuses.”

Friday, July 30, 2010


A special thanks to friend Lason Perkins for the following:

This list was developed by Patrick Hunt, the coaching education director for the Australian Institute of Sport. I have read some of Coach Hunt's material in the past and thought it was excellent.

1. Great technical knowledge – understand the intricacies and dynamics of their sport which allows them to effectively train and teach players
2. Good communicators – like being around people, honest and open with their communication

3. Care for players – genuine care and investment in developing players to achieve their potential. The old saying “players don’t care what you know until they know that you care”

4. No f***wit policy – have clear criteria about the type of people they allow into their team. Value good culture too much to let “bad eggs” infiltrate their system

5. Recruit players who want to learn – successful coaches are always striving to improve, both themselves and their players. Players must be willing to learn and commit to improvement

6. Eye for detail – believe in the “power of small”. The smallest detail can sometimes have the biggest impact in the long run.

7. Seek opinions – secure enough to be challenged and seek opinions from others. Open-minded to innovation and change.

8. Understand the “why” of their game plan – good coaches don’t just copy another system or game plan. They understand the reason why they use a particular game plan and all the little things that go into executing it. This ties into traits 1 and 6.

9. Coach with enthusiasm and passion – this approach rubs off on players and makes them enthusiastic about the task of learning and improving

10. Life-long learners – always looking for better ways, new information. Seek out other coaches. Study other sports for training and playing methods.


The following comes from

During his coaching career at UCLA, John Wooden led the basketball team to an 88-game winning streak and 10 NCAA championship titles. But Wooden is equally famous for being a mentor and lifelong teacher, with several books published on his insights and methods for leadership. The following include some of his key strategies.

Be enthusiastic about your work.
Enthusiasm is one of the cornerstones of Wooden's "Pyramid of Success." "Without enthusiasm, you cannot work up to your fullest ability and potential; you're just going through the motions. And just going through the motions won't bring you to the level of competitive greatness we seek, whether in basketball, business or life."

Don't get angry when people test you.
"People are going to test you. But don't back down from them on the things in which you believe, because once they take advantage of you and get away with it, they'll keep it up."

A famous incident involving the coach being tested involved All-American center Bill Walton, who defiantly showed up to Picture Day on the eve of the season's first practice with a full beard, which Wooden forbade his players to have. Walton told Wooden that he didn't have the right to tell him how to wear his hair. Wooden agreed that he didn't have the right to tell him how to wear his hair, but he did, however, have the right to decide who would play on the team. "We'll miss you," he told Walton, who shaved his beard before practice the next day.

To get cooperation, you must give cooperation.
"The sharing of ideas, information, creativity, responsibilities and tasks is a priority of good leadership. The only thing that is not shared is blame. A strong leader accepts blame and gives the credit (when deserved) to others."

Don't be afraid to fail.
"If you are afraid to fail, you will never do the things you are capable of doing. If you have thoroughly prepared and are ready to give it all you've got, there is no shame if you fail-nothing to fear in failure. But fear of failure is what often prevents one from taking action."

Be confident but not arrogant.
"Arrogance, or elitism, is the feeling of superiority that fosters the assumption that past success will be repeated without the same hard effort that brought it about in the first place. Thus, I have never gone into a game assuming victory. All opponents have been respected, none feared. I taught those under my supervision to do the same. This reflects confidence, not arrogance. Arrogance will bring you down by your own hands."

Pay attention to the little things.
As a coach, Wooden was known for teaching his players how to put on their socks and shoes on the first day of practice. The lesson: Every detail matters.
Be loyal to yourself and to your organization.
"A leader who has loyalty is the leader whose team I wish to be a part of. And so do others. Most people, the overwhelming majority of us, wish to be in an organization whose leadership cares about them, provides fairness and respect, dignity and consideration…. [Be loyal] and you will subsequently lead an organization that will not waffle in the wind when things get tough."

Remember that success is not defined by victories.
Wooden's definition of success: "peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable."


Players And Coaches, Everyone In Your Program Must Be Willing To Change When It Is For Their Improvement And The Betterment Of The Team

This is the thing that always concerns us in our recruiting of players. We are not for every player. The solid programs will have attrition because there is a standard, a level of excellence, a desire for learning and improvement on and off the court that is demanding and is therefore character building in nature rather than a look the other way. That is probably why we have not had many transfers in our program from four year schools or junior colleges in our 30 years of head coaching. The few that we have had were outstanding kids and developed into great team players.

As a coach you are constantly studying to find a new and better way to teach the game and YOU USUALLY FIND THAT THE OLD SCHOOL WAYS ARE STILL THE BEST. The TEST OF TIME is the master teacher and is cruel but the fairest of all teachers.

You will never have a team if the best athlete on your team is not someone willing to be molded and taught to play the game and conduct them self in the proper manner. If your leader is of suspect character, the fabric of your team will be torn apart when the first negative winds attack from outside the program. If your best athlete is a great leader, no amount of negativity will rip the team apart.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I was talking to Jeff Janssen the other day about "competing." It seems that with each passing class, there seems to be a little bigger gap in individuals and teams competing at their highest level. Jeff is actually working on a tremendous project to help coaches and athletes compete. But until, here are some thoughts from Pete Carroll and his recent book, "Win Forever."


Lots of people talk about competition, especially those who seek to achieve high performance no matter what the profession. In my experience, however, the real essence of competing is often misunderstood. Competition to me is not about beating your opponent. It is about doing your best; it is about striving to reach your potential; and it is about being in relentless pursuit of a competitive edge in everything you do.

As I worked through that process of developing my vision and plan for success, I decided that competition had to be at the heart of everything we would do – absolutely everything. Our stated goal would be to “do things better than they had ever been done before.” When you think about it, that Is a statement about competition in its purest form. However successful you may be, there is always some element you can improve upon, some achievement to exceed.

Once I understood that we were competing with ourselves, it changed my view of future opponents. Many people confuse “opponent” with “enemy,” but in my experience, that is extremely unproductive. My opponents are not my enemies. My opponents are the people who offer me the opportunity to succeed. The tougher my opponents, the more they present me with an opportunity to live up to my full potential and play my best.

From my very first days on the staff, it was obvious to me that Jerry (Rice) felt he had to prove to himself and his teammates that he was great. And this was not just on game day; it was during walk-throughs, training camp, off-season workouts, and even charity events. The beauty of it was that his mentality became a part of the 49er culture, and Ronnie Lott, Steve young, and others followed suit. Still, Jerry was different from anyone else.

As a great competitor, Jerry understood that by staying in the mind-set of always competing he could develop the awareness to capture the “opportunities within opportunities: that other people might miss. In other words, he was constantly seeking a competitive edge. It helps to always be searching for that tiny edge in whatever you’re doing – even if it’s small, silly stuff – because that’s how you are going to catch things that someone else might not when it really matters. It’s an extremely powerful tool.

Just as important as that competitive intensity was the fact that you could see without a doubt that Jerry was really competing with himself. He never allowed his success or failure to be defined by anyone else. Jerry Rice’s ability to maintain his competitive focus made him into one of the great figures in the history of sports. I think his example is an unusually valuable one.


On my flight out to Phoenix yesterday, I brought John Maxwell's "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work." It is the third time I've read. I very much to like to re-read certain books. In part because my retention is not what I'd live for it to be and also because it gives me the opportunity to review material I thought important. My books are always marked up. I underline things...write notes on the margins...then I have a student worker go back and type all that I have marked up.

There were so many great concepts in thoughts in this particular Maxwell book even though it is a relatively short book (120 pages). It is well worth the re-read!

How many times do we as coaches talk about the importance of teamwork? We talk of other teams - "they don't play well together." Or we speak about our own squad - "we still haven't come together yet." I don't think there could possibly be a coach of a team sport out there there would disagree that teamwork is a very essential part of success in their sport.

My question is you work on teamwork?

Team chemistry was so important to Sue Gunter. I learned a valuable lesson while on her staff. It is important lets talk about it, make a plan about it, and execute that plan. Whenever we had staff meetings with Coach Gunter, there would always be specific topics that you could count on such as offense play, defensive play, conditioning, recruiting, practice organization.....

....and team chemistry.

For Coach Gunter, the closeness of a team was important to her -- important enough to talk, plan and execute. Each week she wanted to do something with the team and/or for the team that focused on building team chemistry. It might be a team might be a motivational passout about might be an assignment for them to discuss team...there would be drills in practice designed to bring the team together (those were always difficult ones of course)...we utilize "Secret Santa" at our team Christmas party because Coach Gunter thought it made the team think about each other.

Her thoughts on team were prevalent year round. She would be just as concerned in July with building a team as she would be in October. Every decision she made she would ask, "How does this effect the team?"

If TEAM is important to you than make it important enough to be part of your plan.

Outside of our video room there is a sign with the following Michael Jordan quote selected by Coach Gunter. I thought it appropriate that Maxwell utilized the same quote in his book.

"There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games but teamwork and intelligence win championships."

-Michael Jordan


“A difficult time can be more readily endured if we retain the conviction that our existence holds a purpose—a cause to pursue, a person to love, a goal to achieve.”
John Maxwell

“A life without purpose is a languid, drifting thing; every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves: This day let me make a sound beginning, for what we have hitherto done is naught!”
Thomas A. Kempis

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.” —Stephen Covey

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
Mark Twain

“When we carve out a niche for ourselves in our imagined future, and decide that we won’t be happy until we achieve it, we can only feel threatened and anxious over anything that stands in our way.”
Nido Qubein

“Your purpose explains what you are doing with your life. Your vision explains how you are living your purpose. Your goals enable you to realize your vision.”
Bob Proctor

“Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Your Team Is Never As Tough As They Can Be And You Can Never Assume They Are Tough Enough

When looking in the dictionary you see descriptions for toughness such as: hard to break but not necessarily hard to bend, difficult to get the better of, apt to be aggressive, able to resist, etc. When we think of toughness we immediately think of mental toughness and then physical toughness.


The hardest thing we have to do each day as coaches is saddle up and face the day with the attitude we want our players and team to adopt.


My most difficult task as coach is to be tougher on myself and more demanding than I was the day before.


For every 100 who can handle failure, there is but one who can handle success. Winning can weaken the resolve of those who worship winning and do not plan, practice, play and coach to a higher standard.



1. They Don’t Provide Security for Others.
There’s an old saying: “You cannot give what you do not have.”

2. They Take More from People than They Give.
Insecure people are on a continual quest for validation, acknowledgement, and love.

3. They Continually Limit Their Best People.
Show me an insecure leader, and I’ll show you someone who cannot genuinely celebrate his people’s victories.

4. They Continually Limit Their Organization.
When followers are undermined and receive no recognition, they become discouraged and eventually stop performing at their potential.

From "Go For Gold" by John Maxwell


From Success Magazine comes 10 lessons on leadership from OfficeMax CEO Sam Duncan:

Lesson 1: Remember where you came from and be yourself. Be humble: “Pedestals are for flowers… not leaders.”
1. Establish and follow your core values.
2.Take responsibility for your actions and ownership for the results.
3. Take care of your customers and fellow associates and treat them with respect.
4. Work together, build trust and value in every idea.
5. Work efficiently and stay on task until the job is complete.
6. Move quickly to create change and stay ahead of the curve.

Lesson 2: Listen and learn. By listening, you’ll learn more than by talking.

Lesson 3: Know your audience. This includes your customers, associates, shareholders, suppliers and analysts.

Lesson 4: It’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. “I can’t think of a single instance when I regretted taking action. But I have regretted not taking action.”

Lesson 5: Know your numbers. OfficeMax associates are expected to know sales figures from the prior day, quarter and year to date, and to take responsibility, accept the numbers, and move on.

Lesson 6: You pay for a training program, whether you have one or not. Training harnesses the built-in motivation most people already have to do good work. Investing the time and money for training results in lower turnover and lower shrink.
Lesson 7: Just be honest, no matter how much it hurts.

Lesson 8: Encourage constructive criticism.

Lesson 9: Remember that a leader’s job is to serve. “My motto is ‘Help Other People Every Day’ (HOPE). Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

Lesson 10: Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.


“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”

“It takes time to build a corporate work of art. It takes time to build a life. And it takes time to develop and grow. So give yourself, your enterprise, and your family the time they deserve and the time they require.”
—Jim Rohn

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
—Benjamin Franklin

“Decide exactly what you want and resolve to persist, no matter what, until you achieve it.”
—Brian Tracy

“Nothing of great value in life comes easily. The things of highest value sometimes come hard. The gold that has the greatest value lies deepest in the earth, as do the diamonds.”
—Norman Vincent Peale

“The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal. There may be no heroic connotation to the word ‘persistence,’ but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel.”
—Napoleon Hill

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
—Albert Einstein

“Be like a postage stamp. Stick to it until you get there.”
—Harvey Mackay

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
—Sir Winston Churchill

“Toughness gives you the resilience to keep pressing on, even if your determination and optimism are lagging.”
—Denis Waitley

Monday, July 26, 2010


You Can Pick Captains But You Cannot Pick Leaders (The Foxhole Test)

When we think our team is ready each year, we have our players take the "Foxhole Test." They draw a circle to represent their foxhole. They write their name at the front of the foxhole. They draw a line at their rear, their left, and their right. On each of those lines they write the names of teammates they would want in their foxhole if they were fighting a life and death battle.

The position to their rear is worth three points and is awarded to their most trusted, courageous, and tough teammate. The position to their left is worth two points and is awarded to the second most trusted, etc. teammate, and the position to their right is awarded to the third teammate they would pick and is given a value of one point.

This test cuts through all the friendships, cliques, and is the truest measure of what players really think of their teammates. It might be a good idea for each coach on the staff to do this with his/her coaching staff, administrators, teach associates, and of course your team. There are many people who you would love to have around on the golf course or in a duck blind but deep down you know that defeat is assured if they are in your foxhole.


Got this list via Darren Hardy of through one of his great tweets:

1. Make sufficient sleep your highest priority.
After breathing, sleeping is our most fundamental need. It’s also the first thing we’re willing to give up in an effort to get more done. Begin quieting down at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Avoid anything stimulating, such as the Internet, mysteries, and intense conversations. Wind down with mellow music, a bath, or herbal tea.

2. Exercise begins with the First Step.
If you’re struggling to find the time or motivation to start an exercise routine, buy a pedometer and record the number of steps you take every day. Shoot for 10,000—the recommended daily number of steps to ensure you are getting enough movement in your day to be fit.

3. Prioritize your tasks the night before.
The number of potential distractions, interruptions, and fatigue tends to increase throughout the day. Do the most important work of your day first, before checking email, if possible.

4. Become a Type A Eater.
Decide in advance what you’re going to eat, in what portions, and at what intervals. That’s the best way to avoid endless temptations, unconscious cues, and “that-looks-good!” surprises that override our self-discipline and cause us to veer off track.

5. Breathe deep.
If you feel negative emotions coming on, or when you feel frustrated, annoyed, or anxious, simply take a few deep breaths. Extend the exhale to decrease your physiological arousal and quickly restore a sense of calm.

6. Give Thanks.
Write a note of appreciation to someone in your life once a week. We’re far quicker to notice what’s wrong than to celebrate what’s right in others. You might be surprised to discover how energized and inspired people are when they feel recognized and appreciated.

7. Log Off Your Email.
Try turning off your email completely for at least one hour a day. Use that time to devote your full attention to a significant task or larger challenge you’re facing.

8. Daydream for Breakthroughs.
Schedule at least one half-hour a week to brainstorm around some issue at work. You can help access your right hemisphere by doodling, listening to instrumental music, going for a long walk—anything that lets your mind wander.

9. Take a break.
Taking time to renew every 90 minutes keeps your body in alignment with its natural rhythms. Much as we cycle through stages of sleep at night, so we go through a similar cycle every 90 minutes throughout the day, moving from a state of higher energy slowly down into fatigue.

10. Accentuate the Positive.
Make a list of activities that you enjoy most and that make you feel best. Intentionally schedule at least one of these activities into your life each week.

From Matthew E. May at

Read the entire article:


"As long as I've coached, winning never did anything for me or to me that in any way compared to what losing did. The loss was far, far worse than the win was good. The two never evened out in terms of emotions involved or emotions spent."

-Bob Knight


"Don't be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves."

-Dale Carnegie

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The following comes from Zig Ziglar's email newsletter:

The word “motivation” is one that is often confused with “manipulation.” Motivation occurs when you persuade someone to take an action in their own best interests. Things like people preparing their homework, accepting responsibility for their performance and finishing their education, are the result of motivation. Manipulation is persuading someone to take an action which is primarily for your benefit. Things like selling an inferior product at an inflated price or working people overtime with no extra pay are examples of manipulation. Manipulation self-destructs the individual doing the manipulating. Word gets out on manipulators and people grow less and less likely to respond in a positive manner to their manipulation. Productivity declines. Leadership occurs when you persuade a person to take an action which is in your mutual best interests. Eisenhower said that leadership was the ability to persuade someone to do what you wanted them to do because they wanted to do it. When that happens, performance improves, productivity increases, and both parties win.

Comparing motivation to manipulation is like comparing kindness to deceit. The difference is the intent of the person. Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire, while manipulation often results in forced compliance. One is ethical and long-lasting; the other is unethical and temporary.

Carlisle said, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats the little man.” The value you place on people determines whether you are a motivator or a manipulator of people. Motivation is moving together for mutual advantage. Manipulation is persuading or even subtly coercing someone to do something so that you win and they lose. With the motivator everybody wins; with the manipulator, only the manipulator wins. And to that I might add that the victory is temporary and the price is prohibitive. Leaders and motivators are winners, manipulators are losers who produce resentment and discord. Think about it. Become a motivator, not a manipulator, and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


KEVIN EASTMAN: Competition and game time can do certain things to us that sometimes we’re not even aware of. So often I see coaches (especially assistant coaches) who are so emotionally explosive during games that I often wonder if they have time to actually see what is going on on the floor. They are so wrapped up in the emotions that I wonder what their evaluation level is.

I suggest you give some thought to your own emotion vs. evaluation percentage, especially if you are an assistant coach. The Head Coach gets to choose what he wants to be at game time, but from my perspective, the assistant doesn’t really have a choice. The assistant coach is there to help the Head Coach win the game. He’s not there to be seen — and depending on your head coach, maybe not even to be heard.

An assistant needs to be 90% evaluation and 10% emotion, and in that 10%, I believe 8% should be positive emotion for your team — and zero towards the officials. The remaining 2% has to be used wisely, and not have a negative effect on the game.

Lastly, I would suggest that even Head Coaches analyze their percentages. Are you seeing the game and tracking the game as best you can? Or are you letting emotions steal time way from your evaluation?


From Coach Don Meyer:

1. Inside game – keeps defensive honest
2. Outside game – so they won’t pack the inside
3. Drive game
4. Pullup game


Here are some strategies for developing positive attitudes "Mental Toughness: Baseball’s Winning Edge" by Karl Kuehl, John Kuehl, and Casey Tefertiller:

1. Establish a goal of being positive at all times.
Make this a habit, and emphasize in your mind the importance of remaining positive.

2. Have an attitude awareness
Constantly understand your attitudes and motivations. Without attitude awareness, it’s not possible to control attitudes.
3. When positive feelings lapse, will yourself into thinking and acting positively.

4. Use a positive distraction to overcome negative emotions.
When you cannot drive the negative thoughts from your mind, divert yourself by doing something particularly enjoyable, such as going to the gym to work out anxieties, reading a book, playing a musical instrument, or seeing a movie—something that will divert your mind from the negative.
5. Stay away from people with negative attitudes.
Negative attitudes are a virus that can be contagious. If a teammate cannot be persuaded to improve his attitude, don’t be influenced by him.
6. Right yourself emotionally after a mistake.
Otherwise you will be more likely to make another mistake. Assuming confident body language becomes a conscious effort to think and feel positively and allows you to move past the mistake and refocus on the game.
7. Plan and control your attitudes.
Attitudes control what you do and how you do it. When someone truthfully says, “I don’t know why I did that,” there is an unconscious, out-of-control attitude at work. Positive thinking is a choice of the rational mind, with the ability to convert negatives to positives and prevent negative drift.


The following comes from "How Full is Your Bucket?" by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph. D:

The soldiers actually called it “give up-it is.

Despite the relatively minimal physical torture, “mirasmus” raised the overall death rate in the North Korean POW camps to an incredible 38%--the highest POW death rate in U.S. military history. Even more astounding was that half of these soldiers died simply because they had given up. They had completely surrendered, both mentally and physically.

The “Ultimate Weapon”

Mayer reported that the North Koreans’ objective was to “deny men the emotional support that comes from interpersonal relationships.” To do this, the captors used four primary tactics:

• Informing
• Self-criticism
• Breaking loyalty to leadership and country
• Withholding all positive emotional support

Relentless negativity resulted in a 38% POW death rate—the highest in U.S. military history.

To encourage informing, the North Koreans gave prisoners rewards such as cigarettes when they snitched on one another. But neither the offender nor the soldier reporting the violation was punished—the captors encouraged this practice for a different reason. Their intent was to break relationships and turn the men against each other.

To promote self-criticism, the captors gathered groups of 10 or 12 soldiers and employed what Mayer described as “a corruption of group psychotherapy.” In these sessions, each man was required to stand up in front of the group and confess all the bad things he had done—as well as all the good things he could have done but failed to do.

The most important part of this tactic was that the soldiers were not “confessing” to the North Koreans, but to their own peers. By subtly eroding the caring, trust, respect, and social acceptance among the American soldiers, the North Koreans created an environment in which buckets of goodwill were constantly and ruthlessly drained.

The third major tactic that the captors employed was breaking loyalty to leadership and country. The primary way they did this was by slowly and relentlessly undermining a soldier’s allegiance to his superiors.

But the tactic of withholding all positive emotional support while inundating soldiers with negative emotions was perhaps bucket dipping in its purest and most malicious form. If a soldier received a supportive letter from home, the captors withheld it. All negative letters, however—such as those telling of a relative passing away, or ones in which a wife wrote that she had given up on her husband’s return and was going to remarry—were delivered to soldiers immediately.


Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, understood the power of love to bring out people’s best and make an impact on their lives. He said, “There are a lot of coaches with good ball clubs who know the fundamentals and have plenty of discipline but still don’t win the game. Then you come to the third ingredient: If you’re going to play together as a team, you’ve got to care for one another. You’ve got to love each other. Each player has to be thinking about the next guy.”

From "Becoming a Person of Influence" by John C. Maxwell and Jim Dornan

Monday, July 19, 2010


1. Seeing
See the game
Makes you quicker
See that you are denied and go back door.

2. Talking
Families break down because they do not talk
Talk with your hands and your mouth
Ask for the balls with 10 fingers

3. Flesh on Flesh Contact
Set hard screens body to body
Box out physically

4. Be detailed
Run to the ball as a teammates saves it OOB
Do not dribble a loose ball. Pick it up and chin it
Sacrifice position for possession in the post
.....A. Crack the opponent
.....B. Point your crack in the direction you want the cutter to come
Catch a ball low and loaded
5. Always be on balance
With the ball

6. Finish
Finish every play
Finish every shot you miss in practice
The last part of the play needs to be the strongest
Finish your basket cut to the rim then space out to the 3 pt line

7. Be an actor
Foot fake
Fake the screen away and basket cut
Pass fake/shot fake


The following comes from Brian Tracy and I don't believe there is a greater expert in the field of time management:

There are seven methods you can use to get more done each day. Each suggestion is simple, direct, and costs no money.

Work Harder
Work harder than you are working today. You can concentrate with greater intensity on your work. You can focus single-mindedly and discipline yourself to work without interruption, diversion, or distraction. You can work harder than anyone else, which is a secret to great success.

Work Faster
You can work faster than you do today. You can pick up the pace. You can develop a faster tempo. You can move more quickly from place to place and from job to job. When you combine working harder and working faster, you can get more done in a single day than most people get done in a week.

Batch your Tasks
You can batch your tasks. You can do a series of similar jobs together, taking advantage of the learning curve.

Do More Important Things
You can batch your tasks. You can do a series of similar jobs together, taking advantage of the learning curve.

Do Things You're Better At
Do things at which you excel. The better you are in a key skill area, the more you can get done, and at a higher level of quality. Because you are better at these tasks, they will be easier for you, so you will get them done with less effort, and you will have more energy as a result.

Make Fewer Mistakes
To get more done, you can make fewer mistakes. You can take the time to do it right the first time. You've heard it said, "there is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it over." One of the best time management techniques is to do it right the first time, even if it takes a little more effort and concentration.

Simplify the World
You can simplify the work by reducing the number of steps necessary to complete the task. This makes the job simpler and easier to get done.

Action Exercise
Focus on doing a quality job the first time you do the task so that you do not need to waste time to go back and fix that task.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Trust is in need of some serious repair these days. The cumulative negative effects of big corporate trustbusters such as Enron and WorldCom, plus the self-centered greed of some Wall Street firms have stirred up cynicism and destroyed confidence. On top of that, the economic pressures brought on by the recent recession, the fall of the stock market, and the need to make massive federal and state budget cuts have only reinforced the sense of distrust that people have about organizations.

As a result, rebuilding trust has become a top priority for companies that are looking to break out of the negativity that has become pervasive in many organizations. According to Dr. Pat Zigarmi, Founding Associate of The Ken Blanchard Companies, and Randy Conley, the Trust Practice Leader at Blanchard, a self-centered, “What’s in it for me” attitude robs an organization of the best that employees have to offer. When employees perceive that an organization—or its leaders—are less than forthcoming, employees become unwilling to contribute any discretionary energy or make any commitments to their organization’s well-being beyond the absolute minimum.

As Zigarmi explains, “This lack of trust creates cynicism, doubt, and anxiety that leads to “time off-task” speculation and generally low energy and productivity. When people don't trust their leaders, they don't come toward something; they pull back and withdraw instead. They doubt rather than cooperate.”

Conley adds that, “Often, the result is that employees will stay with the organization and do their job because they need a paycheck, but not much more. It becomes purely a transactional relationship with employees asking themselves, “If the organization does not do right by me, why should I do right by them?”

Four Areas to Focus On
For leaders looking to turn things around in their organization, Zigarmi and Conley recommend that leaders take a hard look in the mirror and examine their own behaviors; are they being trustworthy? Is there transparency and honesty with people at all levels of the organization?

There are four key areas that leaders have to be aware of when they are looking at building or restoring trust with the people they lead

1.ABLE is about demonstrating competence. Do the leaders know how to get the job done? Are they able to produce results? Do they have the skills to make things happen—including knowing the organization and equipping people with the resources and information they need to get their job done?

2.BELIEVABLE means acting with integrity. Leaders have to be honest in their dealings with people. In practical terms, this means creating and following fair processes. People need to feel that they are being treated equitably. It doesn't necessarily mean that everyone has to be treated the same way in all circumstances, but it does mean that people are being treated appropriately and justly based on their own unique circumstances. Believability is also about acting in a consistent, values-driven manner that reassures employees that they can rely on their leaders.

3.CONNECTED is about demonstrating care and concern for other people. It means focusing on people and identifying their needs. It is supported by good communication skills. Leaders need to openly share information about the organization and about themselves. This allows the leader to be seen as more of a real person that a follower can identify with. When people share a little bit of information about themselves, it creates a sense of connection.

4.DEPENDABLE is about reliably following through on what the leaders say that they are going to do. It means being accountable for their actions and being responsive to the needs of others so if leaders promise something they must follow through. It also requires being organized and predictable so that people can see that the leaders have things in order and are able to follow through on their promises.

Read the entire article at:


My coach and mentor Allen Osborne sent me the following from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes' newsletter on Coach John Wooden:

Last summer, Sporting News Magazine did the unthinkable. They made a list of the 50 greatest coaches of all time. That’s right—of all time! What an incredible challenge to narrow down the list to just 50! I bet the biggest challenge was selecting who received the No. 1 spot. If it had been you, who would you have selected as the greatest coach ever? According to Sporting News Magazine, John Wooden deserved that honor.

Why Coach Wooden? Maybe it was because he’d won 10 NCAA National Championships at UCLA. Maybe it was because he was the coach that all the other coaches looked to as the benchmark of success. Either way, Wooden was officially crowned the ultimate coach—a title that players, friends, fans and other coaches had already given him for many years.

Actually, Coach Wooden never wanted this award. He felt uncomfortable with the title and preferred that someone else be recognized. But his reaction to it may provide some insight as to why he is the greatest. Wooden coached with humility and confidence. He learned the art of mixing these two seemingly opposite traits—a feat that many others have failed to accomplish.

Wooden’s purpose in coaching was to instill greatness in others. He was committed to teaching, inspiring and motivating people, and he empowered his players to do great things. For Coach, greatness had nothing to do with himself. He never looked in the mirror when it came to success or accomplishments. For him, greatness was found in focusing on others. He lived out the principle that the fruit of a leader grows on other people’s trees. He was consumed with the simple principle he called “competitive greatness,” which included “not being the best, but being the best that you can be.” Through that message, Coach Wooden touched thousands of lives in a very profound way.

Coach Wooden’s impact has been felt in every sport in every way possible. Name a topic, and I would bet that Coach has covered it in his teaching. Philosophy of coaching, definition of winning, parenting, persevering through difficult situations, integrity, definition of success, teamwork, reaching noble goals, true friendship, life mission statements…Those are just a few.

On the last night of many FCA summer camps, there is a traditional open mic session in which athletes come forward and share how the camp has impacted their lives. It is always the highlight of the week. When I read that John Wooden had received the title “Greatest Coach Ever,” I pictured what an open mic session for him might be like. I imagined an endless line of players and coaches who had been directly and indirectly influenced by him stepping up to share countless stories of personal impact. What an incredible night of celebration that would have been! I’m sure that Coach would have been surprised and blessed to hear the life-changing difference he’d made throughout the years, and I think we all would have been motivated to leave such a legacy ourselves. We are thankful that Coach Wooden never stopped coaching. Even after he officially retired, he lived out the adage, “once a coach, always a coach.” He blessed us beyond measure because he used the game of basketball to coach people about life.

Just two weeks before he passed away, we were reading Coach Wooden the manuscript of the FCA book on him called Greatest Coach Ever (see the side ad for more information), and Coach said, “I am happy being remembered as a man of integrity. I like that.” Yes, he will definitely be remembered as a man of integrity and much more. Coach realizes that a good name is better than national championships, undefeated seasons, and Hall of Fame honors. To be called a man of integrity is better to Wooden than being the greatest coach ever.

What a gut-check for all of us! I was so convicted by his reaction, and I know I will continue to be challenged by the simplicity and clarity of Coach’s life. He inspires me to be the best I can be, to invest in others, to give my life away.

Coach Wooden was pleased with a legacy of faith and integrity. If it were me, what would I want others to remember me by? Coach’s life forces me to come to grips with that very question. Oh, how I long for people to remember me for my heart and not my accomplishments. What about you? How would you finish the sentence, “I am happy being remembered as a …” May your answer, like Wooden’s, shape your future and your legacy in a way that honors the Lord.

1. How would you respond if you were given the title “Greatest Coach Ever”? Be honest.
2. If you could be the greatest ever at something, what would it be? Why?
3. When you reflect on Coach Wooden’s life, what stands out to you? How do these qualities compare with qualities of most coaches today?
4. Why do you think Wooden was awarded the title of “Greatest Coach Ever”?
5. Complete the sentence: “I am happy being remembered as a …”
6. If you died today, how would people describe your legacy?

Ecclesiastes 7:1
Proverbs 3:4


Brian Tracy on how to set standards for excellence and back them with total integrity.

A Commitment to Excellence
Leaders have specific responsibilities and must fulfill certain requirements. One requirement of leadership is the ability to choose an area of excellence. Just as a good general chooses the terrain on which to do battle, an excellent leader chooses the area in which he and others are going to do an outstanding job. The commitment to excellence is one of the most powerful of all motivators. All leaders who change people and organizations are enthusiastic about achieving excellence in a particular area.

Be the Best!
The most motivational vision you can have for yourself and others is to "Be the best!" Many people don't yet realize that excellent performance in serving other people is an absolute, basic essential for survival in the economy of the future. Many individuals and companies still adhere to the idea that as long as they are no worse than anyone else, they can remain in business. That is just plain silly! It is prehistoric thinking. We are now in the age of excellence. Customers assume that they will get excellent quality, and if they don't, they will go to your competitors so fast, people's heads will spin.

Have A Vision of High Standards
As a leader, your job is to be excellent at what you do, to be the best in your chosen field of endeavor. Your job is to have a vision of high standards in serving people. You not only exemplify excellence in your own behavior, but you also translate it to others so that they, too, become committed to this vision.

This is the key to servant leadership. It is the commitment to doing work of the highest quality in the service of other people, both inside and outside the organization. Leadership today requires an equal focus on the people who must do the job, on the one hand, and the people who are expected to benefit from the job, on the other.

The Most Respected Quality
The second quality, which is perhaps the single most respected quality of leaders, is integrity. Integrity is complete, unflinching honesty with regard to everything that you say and do. Integrity underlies all the other qualities. Your measure of integrity is determined by how honest you are in the critical areas of your life.

Integrity means this: When someone asks you at the end of the day, "Did you do your very best?" you can look him in the eye and say, "Yes!" Integrity means this: When someone asks you if you could have done it better, you can honestly say, "No, I did everything I possibly could."

Integrity means that you, as a leader, admit your shortcomings. It means that you work to develop your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Integrity means that you tell the truth, and that you live the truth in everything that you do and in all your relationships. Integrity means that you deal straightforwardly with people and situations and that you do not compromise what you believe to be true.

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

First, identify the area of your work where excellent performance can contribute the very most to productivity and profits. Focus all your efforts in this area.

Second, do your very best on every task. Imagine that everyone is watching even when no one is watching. Imagine that everyone in your company was going to do their work exactly the way you do yours.

Never compromise your standards!


A few years back, while at Xavier, Coach Sean Miller came up with some guidelines for his team as they entered conference play:

1. Don't Cheer Against Anyone.
Recognize that it is a long haul and worrying about who wins and loses will only
distract you from your path.

2. Know You Will Lose.
Ignoring the fact that a loss will occur will only make it that much harder to deal with. Learn from the loss and help your staff and team turn the page to the next game.

3. Stay on The Path.
Have a clear plan, a clear goal, and a clear mission. Talk about
it! Don't deviate from your plan. Keep your team and staff focused on what is important.

4. Don't Waste Energy.
Worrying about issues such as other teams, future games or prior loses only distracts you from your goal. Take it one game at a time and don't allow the small things to become big.


Kevin Eastman of the Boston Celtics lists the following seven basics of skill development (via Coach Eric Musselman).

** Perfect Feet (On Jump Shots)
.......Quality of your feet determines the quality of your shot.
.......Muscle memory in your feet

** Pound Dribble Concept

** Shoulders-Hips ("Get By" Moves)
** Feet First - Ball Second on Moves (On Perimeter or in Post)
.......Feet give you the advantage
.......Ball gives you separation

** Play the Game Low to High - Be Ready for Next Play

** Tight/Violent Ball (NBA Ball)
.......Shot Fakes
....... Jab Steps

** Shoulders Game (Lower than Opponent)
.......On Catch
.......In Post

Thursday, July 15, 2010


1. Have rules on how you’re going to practice
.....Never let a kid step onto the court and shoot on their own
.....They needed to have a coach, manager, or other player with them
.....No free shooting on their own

2. Have things in practice that are physically and mentally tough
.....Drills where players will bang and bruise each other
.....Drills that will challenge their mind

3. Start practice with quick drills
.....Drills that require hand/eye quickness, and get their mind thinking right away
4. Don’t practice too long
.....You get to a “point of no return” with practice time
.....Start of season: 2 hour, 15 min practice
.....End of the season: Never go longer than 1 hour 15min
5. Drills that involve an individual skill – spend no more than 5 minutes
6. Drills that involve the team as a whole – spend no more than 10 minutes







Figure it out for Yourself

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Darren Hardy is the publisher for Success Magazine (amongst a great of other hats that wears). I've been a long-time fan of his magazine (and website) and fell in love with his most recent project: The Compound Effect. It is an amazing book/DVD set that will make you a better coach...better person...better, well you name it.
He recently posted an article about a friend of his (John Lennon) that sells real estate in South Beach, Miami. He is some info on this super salesmen directly from Hardy:
In the past 15 years, John has sold more than $3 billion in real estate on this street (do the math on 3 percent commission—that’s almost as much as the other John Lennon made!).
John took Georgia and me to lunch a couple days ago to give us an update on our property and the market. I took the opportunity to try and pry out the secret to his extraordinary success.
Here is a list that Hardy shared and if you frame each one, it can directly make us all better coaches -- because as coaches, aren't we all trying to sell something -- like our philosophy. I have made my additions in parenthesis:

1. See everyone (players, staff, support people) as unique.
What you assume people are most interested in is mostly incorrect. Start with that assumption. lllllllllllllllllllllllllll

2. Ask questions (of your players, your staff, your support people).
You’ve heard this a hundred times, but you are still making more statements than you are asking questions. Stop it.

3. Watch and listen (your players, your staff, your support people).
If/when you finally do ask questions, listen closely and continue to probe until you discover their real hearts’ desires.
4. Restrain yourself (keep it simple -- less can be more).
This is the hardest step—to stop selling. Insecure sellers make a sale and then ‘buy it back’ because they keep talking, showing presenting or selling. Once you discover their core motivation, connect it with your solution then stop and ask them to buy.

5. Serve, don’t sell (your players, your staff, your support people).
There are countless times when John was servicing my unit, performing functions well below his pay grade. The result? Well, I am writing about him now. No wonder he doesn’t have to sell! There is a clue in that.

And lastly, as the other John Lennon would say, “Only people just know how to talk to people. Only people know just how to change the world. Only people realize the power of people. A million heads are better than one, so come on, get it on!”
Read the entire article at:


A reminder that I am on Twitter and will be twittering this year from practices, games, staff meetings and road trips. I also send out blog updates from Twitter as well along with other coaching information.


After receiving this video from Coach Dale Brown, we forward it via email to our current players and then to our alumni.

Dear Lady Tigers:

Please take a look at this video – it’s a little bit on the long side but it has a very important message…please email me back to let me know you got it, watched it, and exactly what the message is that you got from it.


Basketball "truisms" from Kevin Eastman --

There is a direct correlation between the number of ball reversals and defensive breakdowns.
Our players have to understand that the hardest thing to do defensively is to close out — to be running out at a player from the help position. Having said that, we need to understand that an advantage our offense must look to create is to get the defense to close out as often as possible; we want the ball to be reversed from side to side. With our team I can tell you that our scoring proficiency goes up as the number of passes and ball reversals goes up. Of course we have a shot clock that forces us to shoot the ball quicker, but we still would like a minimum of 3 passes as we then know the ball is getting reversed. When we only throw 1 or 2 passes we find that it is very easy for the defense to load up to the ball

The closer you run your offense to the basket, the more physical your screens can be.
We have found that the officials are more apt to let contact go when it is closer to the basket as they are used to seeing more contact down there as opposed to out by the 3 point line. We feel that is why the flex action is allowed to get away with some physical baseline and pin down screens, and why we have to be careful when setting a back screen out by the 3 point line. So give some thought to having some part of your offensive system where you run your stuff closer to the rim.

The faster the ball moves, the closer the defenders stay to their man.
We have found that when we move the ball a little faster, the defensive players are more concerned with staying up with their man and tend to not jump to the ball and get in help position. We also feel that that leaves us with more room to drive it as the defenders are out of position just enough to allow us to get a good driving angle on them. I would say if you do not have a good scoring post man, you should look to move the ball a little faster at times and create driving opportunities. If you do have a good post man you would want to slow it down and give the post man a good look.


Point guard skills that are essential from Coach Eric Musselman:

Court vision
Decision Making
Entry Passing
Penetration Ability

--Lay-ups in Traffic
--Medium Range Jump Shooting (Catch-shoot & off dribble)
--3 Point Shooting
--Perimeter passing
--Feeding the Post
--Passing after Penetration
Passing on Fast Break

--Various Dribble Moves (Rt & Left Hand, types, techniques)
--How to Play Fast but not be in a Hurry

SCREENING: (All types of screens)

--Receiving Outlet Pass
--Dribble Penetration on Break
--Downcourt Vision/Recognition
--Using the Long Rebound
--Handling Traps
--When to Rebound Offensively
--Time and Score Recognition
--Tempo Dictation


"The foremost thing we require from our players, before anything else, is that they make good eye contact...eye contact is a sign."
-Pat Summitt
From "Reach for the Summit"