Thursday, June 30, 2011


As we move forward as coaches, constantly looking for ways to improve -- we need to always remember to take a look in the review mirror at those who have paved the way.  Dean Smith had an indirect impact on me as a coach.  At Winfield High School, the head boys coach Ron Chambers made a decision to implement the North Carolina system -- in particular the UNC passing game offense.  Coach Chambers gave me a copy of Coach Smith's book "Multiple Offense & Defense."  To this day I still believe it to be one of the best tactical basketball books written.  To this day there has been some guidelines from his passing game that we have incorporated into our Post Exchange motion attack.  I don't believe there is a better stat sheet for understanding the efficiency of your team on both the offensive or defensive end than the Possession Evaluation Chart that we stole from Coach Smith and his book.

Here is a video of Coach Roy Williams paying tribute to Coach Smith last week (thanks to Coach Clarence Gaines II) and is well worth it for everyone to watch.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This list comes from Coach Don Meyer who had done an incredible job of developing assistant coaches who have moved on and had great careers throughout the nation.

#1 Allow some responsibilities and opportunities to talk and teach.

#2 Track their progress and give feedback.

#3 At the start of practice, give each assistant coach some duties to perform.

#4 Ask your assistants for their thoughts and suggestions.

#5 Give them books/articles to read to help their development

#6 Supplement their pay through summer camps

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The following is an excerpt from a post at Alan Stein's blog.  If you haven't bookmarked Alan's site you should.  It you are on twitter and not following you are missing out in a major way.  Follow Alan on twitter at: @AlanStein

Luke Walton has an incredible basketball resume. His father was arguably the greatest college basketball player of all time and is enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts. Luke played for a Hall of Fame Coach in Lute Olsen while at Arizona. He is currently teammates with the best player in the game (Kobe Bryant) and plays for the most decorated coach in NBA history (Phil Jackson).

I asked Luke to name the 5 things that make Kobe Bryant the game’s greatest player and the 5 things that make Phil Jackson the game’s greatest coach.

Here is what Luke Walton said about Kobe Bryant:

1. Kobe’s work ethic is unparalleled. He comes in early and he stays late. He always does more than is asked. He gives 100% in every drill, in every workout, in every practice, and (obviously) in every game. He is never satisfied and is always striving to get better.

2. Kobe’s competitiveness rivals his work ethic. He wants to win at everything. He can’t turn it off. He competes just as hard in workouts and practice as he does in the NBA Finals.

3. Kobe has no fear. He doesn’t fear failure and he doesn’t care what the public or the media think about him. He doesn’t look over his shoulder and he doesn’t try to please everyone.

4. Kobe is a student of the game. He constantly studies film… of himself, of his opponents, and of previous generation’s players. He has a true respect for the game and for those that came before him.

5. Kobe truly believes he is the best player in the game. He has a confidence, swagger, and arrogance about him. He believes he is the best because he knows he has outworked everyone and that he has earned the right to be the best.

Read the entire post at:


Five great time management tools from the master, Brian Tracy!

There are five time management tools and techniques that you should practice for maximum productivity and good personal organization. Each of them takes a little time to learn and master, but pays you back in greater efficiency and effectiveness for the rest of your life.

1. Use a time planner. The first time management tool that you need is a time planning system that contains everything you need to plan and organize your life. The best time planners, whether loose-leaf binders or electronic versions, enable you to plan for the year, the month, the week, and for each day. A good time planner will contain a master list where you can capture every task, goal, or required action as it comes up. This master list then becomes the core of your time-planning system. From this master list, you allocate individual tasks to various months, weeks, and days.

2. Always work from a list. Every effective executive works from a daily list. It is the most powerful tool ever discovered for maximum productivity. When you create your daily list, you begin by writing down every single task that you intend to complete over the course of the day. The rule is that you will increase your efficiency by 25 percent the very first day that you start using a list. This means that you will get two extra hours of productive time in an eight hour day from the simple act of making a list before you start work, of everything you have to do that day. You can bring order out of chaos faster with a list than with any other time management tool.

3. Organize your list by priority. Once you have a list for your day's activities, the next step is for you to organize this list in order of priority. Once your list is organized, it becomes a map to guide you from morning to evening in the most effective and efficient way. This guide tells you what you have to do and what is more or less important. You will soon develop the habit of using your list as a blueprint for the day.

4. Use any time management system you like. The variety of personal digital assistants (PDA's) and computer-based time management systems available today is absolutely wonderful. No matter what you do, in whatever field, there are digital time management systems that you can tap into or load onto your personal computer or mobile device to help organize every part of your life.
5. Set up a "45-file system." There is a simple method of organizing your time and your schedule for up to two years in advance. It is called the "45-file system." This is a tickler file that lets you plan and organize your activities and callbacks for the next twenty-four months. This is how it works. First you get a box of forty-five files with fourteen hanging files to put them in. The forty-five files are divided as follows: There are thirty-one files numbered one through thirty-one for the days of the month. There are twelve files for the months of the year. January through December. The last two files are for the next two years. This is a wonderful system that you can also use with hanging files in your desk drawer.

Action Exercise
Get a time planner of some kind, whichever format you are most comfortable using (eg digital or paper), and invest the time necessary to lean how to use it. The payoff in saved time and increased productivity will be enormous.

Check out:


Coach Don Meyer for a team to reach it's potential, the following three people can't have off days:

1. The Head Coach
2. Your Best Player
3. Your Point Guard


Control the tempo

Get best shooters open shots

Create mismatches

Can run any offense w/out making an entry pass

Goal is to get 2 defenders to guard the ball

Spread the floor

Take shot blocker away from the rim (put in PNR)

Put best defender in PNR

Put worst defender in PNR

Create confusion in opponents defensive philosophy

Cause players not to believe in staff

Teach “pickers/screeners” to slip vs. show or blitz

Pick up easy foul on Big (rondo into top shoulder)

Relieve full court pressure on PG

Make 1 defender play 2

Attack at different angles

No pressure Defense can take you out of this offense

Spread defense allows you to get offensive rebounds

Ultimate team game

Sunday, June 26, 2011


There's a lot of great career advice in this recent post from Brian Tracy.  "It's not what you have but what you do with what you have..." 

This immediately took me back to Coach Don Meyer's Academy in which he would always (and I mean always) recommend to everyone to buy a copy of Frosty Westerling's book, "Make The Big Time Where You Are."  As someone who had numerous opportunities to move on to "bigger" things but chose to make his mark at special places, you had to listen when he would say "It doesn't matter where you coach, it matters why you coach." 

The other part of the equation that Brian Tracy talks about that is critical is the importance of choosing the right career.  Far too many pick the life of being a coach because they like sports.  Wrong reason.  If you want to be successful in coaching -- and enjoy the process even through the adversity, then you better understand that it's about relationships. 

I've probably mentioned it before, but as a freshman at Marshall University, I took a basketball coaching class from the head men's coach, the late Stu Aberdeen.  For an entire semester he never drew a play, never talked about an offense, never explained a defense.  But he constantly spoke about the role of a coach in the life of a young person and how a coach and their team can make a difference in the community.  He was passionate about that and it impacted me and helped me to make a decision to become a coach.

When I got married at the age of 31, one of the people standing beside me at the wedding was my junior high coach Allen Osborne.  It wasn't because he helped me with my jump shot or taught me how to defend (I'll get a wise comment from him on that one) -- it was because he helped me to grow as a person -- and has never stopped helping me.

Here is Brian's recent post titled, "Moving Upward and Onward"

Don't Sell Yourself Short
It's not what you have but what you do with what you have that will determine your success or failure. Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist said that the story of the human race is the story of people selling themselves short. He said people have a tendency to settle for far less from life than they are truly capable of. Many people are spinning their wheels in careers where they should be moving rapidly onward and upward.

Here's how you can put your career on the fast track.

Choose Your Parents Carefully
Someone once said that the key to success was to choose your parents carefully. That may be partially true but it is even more important to choose your job or career with great care. The choice of a job or occupation for which you are ideally suited comes before anything else. If you try to work at something you don't enjoy or don't believe in, you'll never be happy, and you'll never be successful.

Be the Best At What You Do
Which leads us to the next point. If you want to reach the stars in your career, you have to become excellent at what you do. You have to pay any price, go any distance, spend any amount of time necessary to "be the best." Extraordinary rewards only go for extraordinary performance; average rewards for average performance; below average rewards, insecurity and failure for below average performance. And here's a vital key, you are being paid today exactly what you're worth - no more, no less. If you want to earn more, you must increase your worth, your value to others.

The Key to Motivation
The reason why choosing the right career, why doing what you love to do is so important, is because unless you really care about your work, you will never be motivated to persist at it until you become excellent. And until you become excellent at what you're doing, you can't move ahead.

The Key to Peak Performance
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character and self-esteem. The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to effect our behavior and our decisions.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to be more successful in your career.

First, set high standards for yourself and recognize that anything that someone else has achieved, you can probably achieve as well. There are no limits.

Second, select one key skill area that is important in your job and resolve to become absolutely excellent in that area. Start today to get better and better.

Be sure to check out:


This is a great drill for the off-season, individual workouts in the fall or when you want to get some conditioning and shooting in at the same time...we got this drill from Coach Don Meyer.

SET UP (Diagram #1): One player in the corner with one basketball.

EXECUTION: There are five spots on the floor for the player to work from (marked A-B-C-D-E in Diagram #1). The player will start from A and shoot a 3 (if she makes it she gets 3 points)...she must then hustle and get her rebound and dribble back to spot A. She now will self toss to herself, sweep the ball, take one hard dribble and pull up for a mid-rage jumper (if she makes it she gets 2 points)...she must again hustle for the rebound, dribble it back, self toss and now must take it to the rim for a lay-up (if she makes it she gets 1 point). She will repeat this at all 5 spots. When she is done, she must then go to the free throw line while she winded and shoot 5 free throws. Obviously if she were to make every shot, she would have a total of 35 points.

VARIATIONS: When coaches are supervising, we like to give our players 1:30 to complete the drill...that is very tough! We also keep records of players scores totals during their career. If they are along in the off-season we simply challenge them to go as hard as they can.

During our tenure at LSU, only one player hit the 35 point mark -- Seimone Augustus.  Temeka Johnson came close with 34 and numerous players hit 30+ often.

Saturday, June 25, 2011



The following comes from a wonderful book written by the Chicken Soup Guys: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt.  The book is titled "The Power of Focus" and this is my second reading.  Here is a great list of 10 things they think should go into creating your goals:

1. Your most important goals must be yours.
This sounds obvious. However, a common mistake made by thousands of people across the country is to allow their main goals to be designed by someone else. When you let other people or society determine your definition of success, you’re sabotaging you’re future. Decide now to create your definition of success and stop worrying about what the rest of the world things.

2. Your goals must be meaningful.
When you prepare to write down your future goals, ask yourself, “What’s really important to me? What’s the purpose of doing this? What am I prepared to give up to make this happen?

If this doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, visualize the alternative. If you just keep on doing the same things that you’ve always done, what will your lifestyle be like five years from now, ten years from bow, twenty years from now?

3. Your goals must be specific and measurable.
Here’s where most people lose it. It’s one of the main reasons individuals never achieve what they’re capable of. They never accurately define what they want. Vague generalizations and wishy-washing statements aren’t good enough.

Here are three words that will help you tremendously: Be more specific.

Remember, a goal without a number is just a slogan.

4. Your goals must be flexible.
Why is this important? There are a couple of reason. First you don’t want to design a system that is so rigid and cast in stone that you feel suffocated by it. Here’s the second reason: A flexible plan allows you freedom to change course if a genuine opportunity comes along that is so good you’d be crazy not to pursue.

5. Your goals must be challenging and exciting.
When you set goals that are exciting and challenging you acquire an edge that prevents you from settling into a life of boredom. To do this you must force yourself to jump out of your comfort zone.

6. Your goals must be in alignment with your values.
Synergy and flow are two words that describe any process moving effortlessly forward to completion. When your goals are in sync with your core values, the mechanism for this harmony is set in motion.

7. Your goals must be well balanced.
So when you’re setting goals make sure you include areas that give you time to relax and enjoy the finer things in life. Working yourself to a standstill every week is a surefire way to create burnout and ill health. Life’s too short to miss the good stuff.

8. Your goals must be realistic.
At first this sounds contradictory to the previous comments about thinking big. However, a measure of reality will ensure that you get better results.

So by all means think big and create an exciting picture of the future. Just make sure your plan isn’t far-fetched and that you allow a reasonable amount of time to get there.

9. Your goals must include contribution.
There’s a well-known Bible phrase that says, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Contribution can take many forms. You can give your time, your expertise and you can, of course, give financially.

10. Your goals need to be supported.
This last part of your goals checklist is controversial. There are three points of view. Some people advocate telling the whole world about what they are going to do. They rationalize that is makes them more accountable. There’s a lot of pressure when you choose this strategy, and certain individuals thrive on it.

Here’s the second option. Set your own goals, keep them to yourself and get on with the job. Actions speak louder than words, and you’ll surprise a lot of people.

Third, and this may be the wisest strategy, selectively share your dreams with a few people you trust. These are carefully chosen proactive individuals who will support and encourage you when the going gets tough.

Friday, June 24, 2011


I have been working on a book on motion offense for over seven years now -- eventually I will finish it (I hope).  The think I like about motion is that so many of the principles are based on common senses.  I often have discussions with coaches who run continuity and quick hitters and I always tell them that they can still utilize motion principles within their philosophy to improve upon what they are doing. 

A perfect example of that is this list of eight general motion principles.  Sure, they are important to execute successfully when running motion but obviously that can translate into all offensive play.

For us to be able to feed the post, drive the basketball, and make the cuts necessary for good offensive execution, we must first have good spacing. For us, good spacing will be 15 to 18 feet apart from all of our offensive teammates. The only time the spacing should close from that distance is during screening situations.

We want the player setting the screen to call out the name of the player she wants to screen. She should call out that player’s name before she takes her first step towards screening. The verbal call will also help the cutter know the screen is coming in advance and give her the necessary time to set up her defender for the cut off the screen.

Our offense will be best executed when we make three passes before taking a perimeter shot or making a penetrating drive off the dribble. Obviously if the defense breaks down and an open jumper for a good shooter or a drive to the lane comes open, we want to take advantage of it. But until three passes are made, we should let the offense come to us.

By making a pass to the high post, it allows us to place maximum pressure on the defense and gives us a chance for a penetrating pass or ball reversal. It is also an excellent time to have two perimeter players screen for each other.


You should base your movement on what is best for our offense at that particular moment. You might need to screen might need to cut off of a might need to use another type of cut...but you must move, and it must be with a purpose. Don’t mistake activity for achievement. See the floor and what is happening around you. Don’t get caught watching the basketball. Know who your shooters are and set screens for them or look to pass to them as they become open.

We never want to cut to an area where a teammate is already stationed. If a player is already in that area or a player has just started to cut to that area, we want to make a choice that will not allow us to flood an area. This goes back to the importance of spacing. It should be nothing more than common sense to tell us that cutting into an occupied area can be disruptive to what we are trying to accomplish with our offense.

Once you receive the basketball, you should turn and face the basket and utilize a low-ball transfer. Being strong with the basketball, you should hold the ball for at least a two count. This allows you the time to see what is happening on the floor. You should especially be aware of what the passer has done in terms of movement as they will become a screener or a cutter once passing the ball.

It may seem like a small part of the offense but it is very essential. We want to be “hard to guard.” To do this, we must always set our defender up and by using the v-cut. Part of the v-cut is the proper cutting angle along with the timing necessary to get open. Use change of speeds on the v-cut with a slower movement to begin the cut and a more explosive movement to finish the cut.


I recently picked up "Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People" by Rich DeVos who is the cofounder of Amway and the Chairman of the Orlando Magic. It's not a big book but it was a great read. There is no one this book would not benefit, especially coaches. This is a relationship-improvement book whether it's your professional life or your personal life. I will share some of these words and the thoughts but DeVos gives so many great stories that I strongly recommend you get the book.


It's important to encourage a "You can do it" attitude to others and within yourself.  Sometimes it is the only thing that drives a person to accomplish his goal.

You never will discover how far you can go if you don't start "doing it."  Otherwise you limit your whole life and will always have regerst, thinking, I wish I'd tried that.

Too many people never try to do anything because they're afraid -- afraid of failure, that someone might criticise them or laught at them, that they don't have enough training or expertise.  To them I say, "Set a goal and go for it.  You can do it!"

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm a big believer that what a player and/or team does when the coaching staff is NOT around goes a long way into the success level of said player and/or team.  Discipline is about what you do when no one is around to watch.  Obviously, there is no bigger range that the summer months when on the collegiate level, we have no access to our players in regard to what they are doing on the court.

Keys to a good summer should include:

1. Commitment: The staff can make the gym available but it is up to the player and the team to make use of it.  During our Final Four run at LSU, the players would drive us crazy to open the gym for them.  Seimone Augustus would play 2 hours of pick up with the Lady Tigers and then drive across town and play pick up with a boys high school team.  Several of our players would head to the rec center to play with men after pick up.

2. Concentration: It is not enough just to walk in a gym and play.  The great players/teams go into each opportunity knowing there are specific things that they need to work on and they must have a high level of focus during pick to improve upon those areas.  Habits can be developed and improved upon in the summer --good ones and the bad ones -- based on the commitment and concentration of the player(s).

3. Effort: The average player goes through the motions in pick up and in their summer workouts.  They will give a little effort at times but nothing consistent.  And that is largely why they are "average" players.

While we can't be there with them, there are ways for us to enhance the off-season process for the players.  The first thing is to meet with the players individually and the team as a whole and talk to them specifically about the areas that need to be worked upon in the off-season. 

My suggestions would be to give each player something they do well and encourage them to continue to improve in that area.  John Maxwell talks often about how the great ones know what their strengths are and work hard so that it remains a strength.

Obviously you should also give them a couple of weaknesses to improve upon.  With some players, you might be able to list 7 or 8 things -- don't.  Less is more.  Pinpoint a couple and challenge them to come back in the fall better in those areas.

Be specific in how they need to go about improvement.  It is not enough to tell a player to work on her dribbling with her weak hand in the off-season.  Give her some specific drills that she needs to do during the summer and how often you think she needs to do them to gain improvement.  We had one player at LSU that was a very good player but had a poor left-hand.  We gave her a list of drills to work on her game.  But we also told her she was not allowed to use her right hand in pick up -- and we told her team this as well.  We wanted everything she did (other than shoot) to be off of her left hand.  Don't expect to tell a player to work on something and not tell her how. 

Finally, you should be specific in what you expect to see in them when workouts in the fall start. Paint a picture of what you want to see and share that vision with them.  Part of this process should be follow up. 

"How's the work on your left hand coming?"

"Are seeing and feeling any improvement?"

The other thing we did at LSU was to create guidelines for playing pick up.  These not only applied in the summer but anytime during the fall and spring when we were out of season and playing pick up.  Obviously they need to specific to your philosophy and how you play the game.  These were typed on a sheet and placed in their notebooks and we went over them with the team in detail early in the fall and right before summer.

 Here is what our guidelines at LSU were for pick up games

Good pressure on the basketball (even if you get beat on the drive)
Get a hand up on every shot
Make contact, blockout, and finish the possession
Get in the passing lanes
No switching

Spacing: High and Wide
Minimize your dribble usage
Take good shots
Set good screens to get your teammates open
No ball screens
No plays or entries

Even if you have enough for 5/5, start with a couple of half court games
Will help us to develop our man defense and offense principles

After half court games, finish up with full court games

Even 4/4 games can be played full court

3/3, 2/2, 1/1
Play, play, play

Encourage teammates
Upperclassmen teach our freshman how we play
Help freshman to understand offensive/defensive principles

Is there any other way?!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." ~James Bryce

I love to read!  Books, magazines, blogs, anything.  I think what success I've had in coaching and life must be somewhat linked to my habit of reading. Or as Charlie "Tremendous" Jones once said:

"You're the same today as you'll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read."

For fun, I'm leaving the comment box open to this post and would love for everyone to post what book are you currently reading at this very moment. Just check on below where it says "comment."

Monday, June 20, 2011


Another great post by Jon Gordon:

In a world filled with busyness and stress I find that too often leaders can act like hard-charging, fast-driving bus drivers that have a vision and goal within their sights and they’ll run over anyone - even their own employees - to reach their destination. I know this well because early in my business career I was that kind of leader and I have had to work hard to change my approach.

I realized that any hard-charging leader can create success in the short term, but it would take a positive leader with a people and process-driven approach to build a successful organization for the long term.

As John Maxwell said, “If you are all alone at the top, you are not a leader. You are a hiker.”

No one creates success alone. To win in business, you must win with people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Here are 3 essential ways to do this.

Care about them - The main question every employee in every organization is asking is, “Do you care about me; can I trust you?” Employees want to know if you care about them. If you do, they will be more likely to stay on the bus and work with you. Employees are more engaged at work and will work at their highest potential when their manager cares about them.

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

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

It’s a simple truth: When you care about your employees and the people you work with, they are more likely to stay on the bus and work harder, with more loyalty and greater positive energy. In turn, they are more likely to share their positive energy with your customers, thus enhancing service and the bottom line. The greatest customer-service strategy has nothing to do with customer service, but it has everything to do with how you treat your employees. If you model great service, they will provide great service.

Remember, leadership is not just about what you do, but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do. Instead of running over the people in your team/organization, invite them on the bus with you and engage them to help you create an amazing and successful ride.

Be sure to check out:

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I read this somewhere on the internet and laughed knowing full well that I followed this timeline almost to the tee.  As I head into my 50's there are times each day that I think, "what would dad do," and if I can't come up with a solid answer I put in a phone call to him.  Glad he doesn't charge by the minute for the advise he's given me via the phone through the years!

When I was ...

Four years old: My daddy can do anything.

Five years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.

Six years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.

Eight years old: My dad doesn't know exactly everything.

Ten years old: In the olden days, when my dad grew up, things were sure different.

Twelve years old: Oh, well, naturally, Dad doesn't know anything about that. He is too old to remember his childhood.

Fourteen years old: Don't pay any attention to my dad. He is so old-fashioned.

Twenty-one years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out of date.

Twenty-five years old: Dad knows about it, but then he should, because he has been around so long.

Thirty years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he's had a lot of experience.

Thirty-five years old: I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.

Forty years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise.

Fifty years old: I'd give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this over with him. Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was. I could have learned a lot from him.



"As a coach, your high standards of performance, attention to detail and-above all-how hard you work set the stage for how your players perform."

-Don Shula

Saturday, June 18, 2011


One of my favorite stops on the internet is ran by Ernie Woods and Bob Kloppenburg.

Here is some great thoughts on developing the brain of your players:

Player Development: Improving Player Motor Skill Learning
Are you aware that is an excellent way to supplement and reinforce your on the court instruction? Motor skill learning is vastly improved when mental learning takes place between practice sessions. This is where the Player Development section of can become a real tutor and help.

Players on all levels will greatly improve their game, and gain a competitive advantage by using HoopTactics to go way beyond just the hows, and learn the whens & whys of various basketball skills and techniques. HoopTactics will make for a more solid, aggressive and intelligent player, and in the process, increase their self-confidence and playing success every time you take the court. If players want to compete on the highest levels of the game, HoopTactics is definitely for them.

Special Student/Athlete memberships are available for only $19.95. Have your serious minded players signup for Student/Athlete membership now. Click Here

Player Development: Playing Smart

Note: This might be a little too technical in some cases. However, it is the premise that is important.

Was your team in better shape than any team you played last season? Did you win a couple of games each year just on physical conditioning?

There may be much more to being in shape than just gaining a physical advantage. Breaking a sweat on a regular basis can get your players into amazing shape, but new research has shown it can make them smarter too. Physical workouts will not only increase their muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular capabilities, it will also improve their smarts and productivity. Even a 30 minute workout pumps extra blood to the brain, delivering vital oxygen and nutrients it requires to perform at maximum efficiency. Cardiovascular workouts provide the brain with chemicals that enhance functions such as memory, problem solving and decision making. All which are critical to a successful basketball performance.

Working Out the Brain at the Same Time as Your Heart
According to clinical psychologist and memory researcher, Thomas Crook, PH. D, “cardiovascular health is more important than any other single factor in preserving and improving learning and memory. During exercise, all that extra blood bathes your brain cells with oxygen and glucose which they need to function. The more oxygen the brain gets, the better it performs.”

Brain Boosting Benefits of Cardio Exercise
Muscles also send hormones to your brain. These hormones mix with a chemical, called brain-derived neurotrophoic factor or BDNF, which plays a role in brain cell growth, mood regulation and learning. John, Rately, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says, “BDNF is like fertilizer for the brain. Without it, our brains can’t take in new information or make new cells.” He goes on to state that exercise has another vital role in signaling the release of several key hormones that not only affects learning and attention, but also influences attention, perception and motivation. By elevating these hormones in the brain, it helps keeps us in focus, feeling better and releases tension.”

Importance of Practicing at Game Speed
Intensity of the workout does make a difference. A study in Neurobiolgy of Learning and Memory has found that people learned vocabulary words 20% faster after intense exercise than after low-intense exercising. Those who under take a more demanding exercise, experienced higher levels of BDNF, dopamine and epinephrine in their brains afterwards. Therefore, the more you challenge your body physically, the more the brain benefits. By being in great physical shape, it will not only allow your players to play harder and faster for longer periods of time, but will also enable them to think quicker and make better decisions.


Another great ready from Brian Tracy on the importance of being flexibile.  I believe the best coaching philosophies are flexible.  You can play multiple defenses or a singlular defense but within that concept there needs to be some flexibility.  The same can be true in all phases of your program.  Here are some thoughts from Brian:

Highly creative people tend to have fluid, flexible, adaptive minds. Here are three statements that creative people can make easily and which you learn by regular practice.

Admit It When You Are Wrong
The first is simply, "I was wrong." Many people are so concerned with being right that all their mental energy is consumed by stonewalling, bluffing, blaming and denying. If you're wrong, admit it and get on to the solution or the next step.

Face Up to Mistakes
Second, non-creative people think that it is a sign of weakness to say, "I made a mistake." On the contrary, it is actually a sign of mental maturity, personal strength and individual character. Remember, everybody makes mistakes every single day.

Be Flexible With New Information
The third statement that creative people use easily is, "I changed my mind." It is amazing how many uncomfortable situations people get into and stay in because they are unwilling or afraid to admit that they've changed their minds.

Be Willing to Cut Your Losses
If you get new information or if you find that you feel differently about a previous decision, accept that you have changed your mind and don't let anyone or anything back you into a corner. If a decision does not serve your best interests as you see them now, have the ego-strength and the courage to "cut your losses," to change your mind and then get on to better things.

Action Exercises
Here are two ways you can break out of narrow thinking patterns and become more creative.

First, be willing to admit that you are not perfect, you make mistakes, you are wrong on a regular basis. This is a mark of intelligence and courage.

Second, with new information, be willing to change your mind. Most of what you know about your business today will change completely in the coming years so be the first to recognize it.

Check out:

Friday, June 17, 2011


1. Refuse to take any news tragically.
The most powerful leadership tool is to radiate hope in tough times. Avoid the “woe is me” syndrome. Handle tough news by saying: “Okay, what good can we learn from this.. and let’s do it.”

2. Attack the behavior, not the person.
Erase all negative criticism, finger pointing, and howling folks out for less than perfect work.

3. Give specific praise.
General comments are dismissed as insincere. “Thank you, Bill, for staying late last night to finish this project” instead of general praise carries a lot of weight.

4. Happy hello’s in the morning.
The first half hour of the work day sets the tone for the entire day.

5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Poke fun at yourself in front of your employees at the appropriate times.

6. Make merry on the phone.
Answer phones with high positive energy.

7. Color your corner.
Decorate your office for informal openness.

8. Look for the right way, not your way.
A good idea is a good idea, regardless of who thought of it.

Credit: St. Mary’s University Basketball (via Creighton Burns)


Discipline is central to unity.

Discipline is not suppression but the teaching of the correct way to act in our program.

Without discipline we have no common team goals.

Discipline does not mean a loss of individuality.

Discipline means that there is never a deviation from the principles we hold important.

Discipline builds our inner team confidence as we know we can count on each other.

Discipline will be demanded without being demeaning.

From Coach Jerry Wainwright (via Coach Creighton Burns)


I recently picked up "Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People" by Rich DeVos who is the cofounder of Amway and the Chairman of the Orlando Magic. It's not a big book but it was a great read. There is no one this book would not benefit, especially coaches. This is a relationship-improvement book whether it's your professional life or your personal life. I will share some of these words and the thoughts but DeVos gives so many great stories that I strongly recommend you get the book.


Along with saying "I'm wrong," we have to be sorry for it.

When we wrong someone, that person is going to respond to us and spill some anger.

"I'm wrong" and "I'm sorry" are companions.

The ability to say 'I'm sorry" shows that we are able to see the other person's point of view, that we want to maintain a relationship, and that we are not too big to reach out and see the good in others.  An apology is a conscious decision we reach when we have empathy for the feelings of others.

In the late 1980's, I was struck by something Walt Disney had written, and I used his words as the basis of one of my speeches.  Disney said there were three typs of people: "Well Poisoners," who criticise and try to tear people down rather than building them up; "Lawn Mowers," good people who do their jobs, pay their taxes, and take care of their familys and homes but never venture beyond their own yards to help others; and "Life Enhancers," who by their kind words and deeds enhance the lives of others and leave their world a better place for having lived.

The ability to aplogize requires seeing a situation from another person's point of view.  That means taking an interest in people -- even in those who may be nothing like us.


I pulled the following from Tae Tae LeBlanc's notes from when she attend Coach Don Meyer's Perimeter Camp.  Tae Tae was outstanding guard for our Final Four teams -- especially on the defensive end and her time with Coach Meyer improved her play on the offensive end.

1. Be ready

2. Never expose the ball to the defense – keep your body between man and ball

3. Maintain maximum vision of the court

4. Be ready to make the pass

5. Drive against his momentum

6. Pass fake and drive

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The following are excerpts from an article written by Jackie MacMullen back in 2008 on Ray Allen:

The routine is paramount. People don't understand that. They see Ray Allen, his head meticulously shaved, his jersey tucked carefully into his shorts, his socks pulled up to precisely the same length, and they are drawn to his silky jumper. Can you blame them? It is so smooth, so fluid, so seemingly effortless.

Everyone wishes they could shoot like Ray. They tell him that all the time. They are envious, they say, of his God-given talent.

"An insult," says Allen. "God could care less whether I can shoot a jump shot."


Allen's mantra is that you must walk, talk, eat, and dress as though you are the best. Garnett concurs - to a point. KG does not feel obligated to wear tailored suits to prove his commitment, as Allen does.

"Ray is very strong-minded," Garnett says. "When you have other guys who are as strong, obviously you are going to have debates. But I think the young guys can see we can challenge one another without being destructive.

"I'm not going to say it was easy, but it was simple. Communicating is the best thing we do. A lot of people talk to hear themselves talk. Here, guys talk with their soul."

But coach Doc Rivers needed his trio to listen with the same fervor. His three stars were used to going about things in their own way, with teammates who deferred to them. That was no longer possible, and Rivers knew who would suffer the most.

"Earlier in the year, Ray would come to me and say, 'This is the way I used to do it,' " Rivers says. "I'd tell him, 'That's in the past.' Ray is a military guy. It was hard for him.

"But I told him if we were going to win this thing, he had to change."


At UConn, Ray plotted his workouts as if he were one of the coaches. Jim Calhoun would show the team game film and Allen would ask to see it again, not because he needed to, but because he knew his teammates hadn't paid proper attention.

"It's internal," says Calhoun, "but it's there 24 hours a day. Ray does things the right way, and expects others to do them, too. People are sloppy - in their preparation, in the way they present themselves.

"Not Ray. Never."


Buying into concessions

The Celtics have asked Ray Allen to reinvent himself this season. He plays fewer minutes, takes fewer shots, is no longer the focal point of the offense.

"You see him sacrifice," says Perkins, "and you think, 'If he can do it, then I can do it, too.' "

Those changes were palatable for Ray. But he blanched when Rivers changed the team shoot around from the morning of the game to three hours before the game. And when Davis's minutes dwindled, and the coaches asked him to put in workouts before and after games, that cut into Allen's alone time on the floor.

"The last time I talked to Ray, he was ticked at Big Baby for not playing better, because he was messing up his pregame," Calhoun says. "I said to Ray, 'You've been in this league 12 years. Don't you have this down by now?' "


The Celtics have benefited most from Allen, who admits he's made more concessions this season than all the others combined.

"I'm so happy with Ray," says Rivers. "He hasn't fought it.

"Our young guys are lucky to be around him. Too often these kids make it to the NBA and they settle. Ray won't let them."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The Greatest Obstacle to Success
The fear of failure is the single greatest obstacle to success in adult life. Taken to its extreme, we become totally pre-occupied with not making a mistake, with seeking approval for security above all other considerations. The experience of the fear of failure is in the words of  "I can't", "I can't." We feel it in the front of the body, starting at the solar plexus and moving up to the rapid beating of the heart, rapid breathing and a tight throat. We also experience this fear in the bladder and in the irresistible need to run to the bathroom.

The Fear of Rejection Holds You Back
The second major fear that interferes with performance and inhibits expression, is the fear of rejection. We learn this when our parents make their love conditional upon our behavior. If we do what pleases them, they give us love and approval. If we do something they don't like, they withdraw their love and approval-which we interpret as rejection.

The Roots of Type A Behavior
As adults, people raised with conditional love become preoccupied with the opinions of others. Many men develop Type A behavior which is characterized by hostility, suspicion and an obsession with performance to some undetermined high standard. This is expressed in the attitude of "I have to, I have to," and is associated with the feeling that "I have to work harder and accomplish more in order to please the boss" who has become a surrogate parent.

The Most Common Trap
More than 99 percent of adults experience both these fears of failure and rejection. They are caught in the trap of feeling, "I can't, but "I have to," "I have to," but "I can't."

The Key to Peak Performance
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character and self-esteem. The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to effect our behavior and our decisions.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to increase your self-esteem and self-confidence and overcome your fears.

First, realize and accept that you can do anything you put your mind to. Repeat the words, "I can do it! I can do it!" whenever you feel afraid for any reason.

Second, continually think of yourself as a valuable and important person and remember that temporary failure is the way you learn how to succeed.

Check out:


Learning is a daily experience and a lifetime mission. I truly believe in the saying "We work to become, not to acquire." The more I learned, the more I knew I had to learn. In fact, as part of your daily experience I think it is critical to understand why you are succeeding and build on it. For example, I never watched film of what I did wrong. I always watched films of games where I played well so I could learn more about what I did to help the team win that game. In college, K.C. Jones and I worked on not only being the best in the country, we worked on being as astute as we could possibly be. The basketball court became our classroom, workroom, and laboratory. Whether it was learning how to force a certain shot that would result in a certain rebound angle, or how certain players would likely act in game situations, we wanted to understand the game at a level other players before-and I am not sure since-never approached.


From Coach Eric Musselman: Was flipping through a book today and came across a quote from Dr. Ed Penhoet that might have relevance to an assistant coach eyeing a head coaching job or a head coach eyeing a better job:

"Whatever you are, be a good one. Success is always built on doing well the job that's in front of you today. I've found that people who are always worried about the next move in the chess game of their life never quite get at that move. Don't think that way because, if you're always worrying about the next step, it will compromise your ability to do your current job well."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We often talk as coaches about the importance and timing of praise.  We should not that this is not just about your players.  How about praising each other on the staff? Praise your administrators? Praise your managers, secretaries, support staff?  How about praising anyone that you are looking or wanting an improved performance?

Here are some interesting points from "How Full is Your Bucket?" written by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph. D.

Our analysis found that individuals who receive regular recognition and praise:

Increase their individual productivity

Increase engagement among their colleagues

Are more likely to stay with their organization

Receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers

Have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job


Develop a positive relationship with the athletic director:

• Work your ass off to establish a great relationship with your athletic director.

• You need to have a mutual understanding with your athletic director.

• The athletic director is key when looking for your first or next head coaching job.

It’s hard to sustain a program when you are constantly trying to figure out how you are going to play:

• Take a job where you can recruit the kind of athletes you need to play your style.

• Recruit athletes who fit the way you want to play.

• Create a brand of play, it helps you recruit.

If I was to return to coaching I would:

• Press more.

• Shoot the three more.

• I would play more up and down.

• I would play a style that kids want to play.

Recruit Shooters:

• They will win games.

• Get your best players on the floor.

• Play small.

• If you can put four shooters around one low post scorer, they are unselfish, move the ball, and move themselves, you will be successful.

The four-man is the most important piece of the recruiting puzzle:

• Coaches are now recruiting four-men that can shoot the basketball.

Ball screen defense:

• If I was coaching today, I would become more of a zone coach.

• Zone allows you to avoid guarding all of the ball screens in today’s offenses.

• When in doubt switch on the ball screen.

• IF they have the best player coming off the ball screen, trap and force someone else to beat you.

• Switch up the way you defend ball screens.

• Consider playing more man to zone defense and vice versa.

• Who has better zone plays than man plays for a last second shot? So why not play zone defense in this situation?


• Simulate late game situations because so many game sin college basketball have a five points or less differential with five minutes left in the game.

• The success of your team in a season depends on how well you did in close ball games.

• Last part of every practice, Dean Smith would work on overtime situations.

• If you want to win close games, spend more time on end of game situations.

• In fifteen years, I never saw Dean Smith write a play on a clipboard during a timeout: It was all talked about or worked on in practice. He expected is players to remember their responsibilities.

• Talk to your players and practice how to utilize timeouts late in games. When to use them and how to use then.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I recently picked up "Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People" by Rich DeVos who is the cofounder of Amway and the Chairman of the Orlando Magic.  It's not a big book but it was a great read.  There is no one this book would not benefit, especially coaches.  This is a relationship-improvement book whether it's your professional life or your personal life.  I will share some of these words and the thoughts but DeVos gives so many great stories that I strongly recommend you get the book.


I chose to begin with “I’m wrong,” because it’s the hardest of the phrases to say and genuinely mean.

Saying “I’m wrong” is meaningless unless it comes from our heart, not just our lips. That often requires a genuine and profound change within ourselves, because we need to accept that we can be wrong.

Wrongs are inevitable, and denying their existence only crease arrogance and strife.

We waste energy when we hate someone rather than forgive him.


To connect with a group, you must take imitative with the people in the group. To do that, do the following:

Look for ways to compliment people in the group for their ideas and actions.

Look for ways to add value to people in the group and what they’re doing.

Don’t take credit when the group succeeds, and don’t cast blame when it fails.

Find ways to help the group celebrate successes together.

From "Everyone Communicates Few Connect" by John C. Maxwell

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Receiving tips given to our Elite Campers yesterday:

1. Eyes, feet, hands (block and tuck)
2. Get body behind the ball
3. Hands ready knees bent
4. No negative motion...ability to straight into shot
5. Hands ready (hand target) and knees bent
6. Call names
7. Catch with eyes & fingers
8. Go to the ball...ball in air -- feet in air (land in jumpstop)

Saturday, June 11, 2011


“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-the-time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.”

“If you settle for nothing less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your life.”

“If you really want something, you can have it if you are willing to pay the price. And the price means that you have to work better and harder than the next guy.”

“The fourth dimension that determines success or failure is selfless teamwork and collective pride, which accumulate until they make positive thinking and victory habitual.”

“It’s usually the best conditioned team which usually wins the game. I’m going to expect a 100 percent effort at all times. Anything less than that is not good enough.”

“Don’t succumb to excuses. Go back to the job of making the corrections and forming the habits that will make your goal possible.”

“No leader, however great, can long continue unless he wins battles. The battles decides all.”

“The difference between a good coach and an average coach is know what you want, and know what the end us supposed to look like.”

“Adversity is the first path to truth. Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is greater.”

“The important thought is that the Packers thrived on tough competition. We welcomed it. The adrenaline flowed a little quicker when we were playing the tougher team.”