Monday, October 10, 2011


We used notebooks at LSU and I am a big believer in the effect it has on our team. That's why I was so pleased to know that the UCF program also greatly utilizes player notebooks.  There have been studies that suggest some of the most successful people in all fields have been great note takers; it is a skill within itself that we can teach our student-athletes.

At UCF, practice it like a class...we want them learn mentally from it as well as through the physical execution of practice.  We may stop practice and have them take notes during a rest. We may tell them something at practice and ask them make sure they write it down in their notebooks.  It helps greatly with the retention of concepts.

The notebook is something that the players are required to have with them at all basketball related activities including video sessions, practices and road trips. Here is a photo of the front of our player notebooks for this year.

Possible sections for a notebook would include:

In this area we would include the various guidelines we have for our team including academic and study hall guidelines. We outline our expectations in terms of appearance in class and while we travel. This also would includes a section with phone numbers of their teammates, managers, coaches and other essential members of our athletic department.

This section is designed for the players to take notes anytime they are involved in a meeting. The majority of the time this is in the video room where our team is watching video on practice, games or our next opponent. It could also mean an individual video session with one of the coaches or a meeting with her academic advisor. We will at times stop practice and have them right something down in regard to how we play. This is especially true during the fall in our early developmental practice sessions. Here is what a page might look like:

This is an area where we provide passouts for our players on the various phases of our system. They would store such things as an inbounds play, a motion entry, guidelines for defending screens, etc. This is a little different because it is already prepared for them to put in their notebook as opposed to them having to write it down. Here is what a playbook passout would look like:

This is an area where they can store their scouting reports and take down notes on our next opponent. Our preparation is very important because of our system of play. This an important element of the notebook.

We give our players a great deal of motivational items. Many of them you can find under Motivation in the Winning Edge section on this website. We also like to give them something called “In The News” which would be an article from the paper or a website pertaining to something other than basketball that we believe they should be aware of.  Here is a sample of a motivational piece from our playbook:

Our philosophy is that we want to treat basketball just like a class. We often tell our players that the mental is to the physical as 4 is to 1. We want them to think the game as well as play the game. We believe the player notebook has been very important to our success. We will occasionally “test” our players on the info that we pass out. We will also from time to time, take a look at their notebook to make sure they are taking good notes. As Don Meyer has taught us, “it’s not what we say, it’s what they hear.”