Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Another great passage from Coach Urban Meyer's book "Above the Line."  We read this one to our team last week.  Players all want more playing time, more opportunity, but what are they doing to maximize that opportunity when it arises.  This is a great story:

The outcome is that you are prepared to make the play when your number is called.  There is no better example than Kenny Guiton.

In 2012, Kenny was a junior backup to quarterback Braxton Miller.  Throughout all of our practices that fall, Kenny was the most mentally and physically engaged player on our team.  When Braxton was running players, Kenny was 10 yards directly behind him, make the same reads and checks, executing the play mentally.  Then, when the ball was snapped to Braxton, Kenny would perform the correct motions just as if he were taking the life rep.  That was our culture at work.  He was preparing in case his number would be called.

That October, Kenny's number was called.  We were down against Purdue by 8.  On the last play of the third quarter, Braxton went down and was injured for the rest of the game.  Kenny game in.  It was the final drive of the game and down by 8 points with 60 yards to go, forty seconds left on the clock, and no timeouts left.  He led the offense down the field, and threw the game-tying touchdown pass to receiver Chris Fields with only three seconds left in regulation.  On the very next play, Kenny tied the scored on a perfectly executed pass play to tight end Jeff Heuerman for the 2-point conversion.  After taking the game into overtime, running back Carlos Hyde dived over the line for the game-winning score.

We won that game and kept our undefeated season intact because Kenny Guiton fully embraced our culture of competitive excellence.

Our third core believe is power of the unit, and it means that our players have an uncommon commitment to each other and to the work necessary to achieve our purpose.

People see the remarkable performances of these players on Saturday, but they do not see the tireless work that those players and their unit leaders put into training and preparing to compete.  And they did the work not knowing when, or even if, their numbers would be called.


We in coaching have all read, heard and shared the first two verses of Law of the Jungle from Rudyard Kiplings' "The Jungle Book":
Now this is the Law of the Jungle --
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back --
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

I've always loved this passage because it speaks so much to the value of team.  This morning I got the following passage from my dear friend Joe Carvalhido which puts even more value on being a part of the pack:

"A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other."

Saturday, December 12, 2015


As a follow up to the "The Price That Must Be Paid," here are some great thoughts from John Maxwell on "The Price of Teamwork."

There can be no success without sacrifice. James Allen observed, “He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much.”

Time Commitment:
Teamwork does no come cheaply. It costs you time-that means you pay for it with your life. Teamwork can’t be developed in a microwave time. Teams grow strong in a Crock-Pot environment.

Personal Development:
Your team will reach its potential only if you reach your potential. That means today’s ability is not enough.  Or to put it the way leadership expert Max DePree did: “We cannot become what we need to be remaining what we are.”  UCLA’s John Wooden, a marvelous team leader and the greatest college basketball coach of all time, said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”


“When you give your best to the world, the world returns the favor.”
-H. Jackson Brown

And if you give your best to the team, it will return more to you than you give, and together you will achieve more than you can on your own.


The following is a great passage from the book "Toughness" written by Jay Bilas which speaks to the mindset of a player in regard to practice.

How many players start practice with the intention or goal of simply “getting through” practice? Instead of “getting through” a workout, players need to “get from” a workout-to get the most from it, and the most from themselves. No player ever got better by just getting through something. True toughness is competing through the end of a practice or workout after having prepared yourself mentally to compete. That is a key mind-set of the toughest players.

A key question for us as coaches is how can we help our players with this process? There are several things that have served me well and here are a few.

We often begin the day in our film room or meeting room.  We might watch some video clips or go over things and I've found that notebooks are a tremendous way to get a point across to a team and have them hold on to it because they are writing it down.  We never have one of these sessions before practice that we don't outline a couple of objectives for practice.  Here is an older post about the topic of Notebooks.

This is a short period at the beginning to do position work.  It's also quality time between a coach a small, select group of players.  As a coach, you can set the tone in terms of what needs to be accomplished as a player and a team for this particular day.  Here is an older post about the topic of Pre-Practice.

We believe this is a great way of focusing a team's attention for a practice.  Picking a phase of basketball or an intangible and making that a special focus for that day.  We will have specific drills to highlight it as.  Here is an older post about the topic of Emphasis of the Day.

If its going to be important, find a way to measure it.  We keep practice stats everyday.  We might keep a special stat on a specific day to compliment a particular emphasis -- and we share it with our players...often in the middle of practice to let them know how they are doing.  Here is an older post about the topic of Practice Stats.

Something I started last here with our freshman post player Khaalia Hillsman was to have an individual practice goal.  I created some cards for her and placed them in her locker.  Each day she has to pick something that she wants to give extra concentrated effort on.  I let her pick it...she writes it down...she gives it to me when she first comes to practice.  I then make sure I am watching her to see how she is doing.  I compliment her when she is successful and remind her when she falls short about her goal.  After practice, I give her a grade on her goal and from time to time support that grade with video.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Good teachers care less about proving they have a great system than about finding the best way to make each student grow.  "This one needs a spur," said Plato, one of history's great teachers, about a student who seemed a little too lazy and self-satisfied.  "That other one needs a brake," he sad about a know-it-all too eager to rush ahead in his lessons (who happed to be Aristotle).  Extraordinary coaches also know that sometimes the same person who needed a spur last week needs a brake this week.  Good coaches cut through clutter and chaos.  They direct your attention to the details that make a difference.

From "Resilience" by Eric Greitens


The following are excerpts from a chapter titled "Relentless Effort"  from Coach Urban Meyer’s book “Above the Line.”

In our world, at the end of the day it is pretty simple; either you worked harder than your opponents or you got out worked.
At Ohio State, we have made relentless effort part of our DNA, and here is why: great effort can overcome poor execution, but great execution cannot overcome poor effort.  Toughness and effort are the foundation of our success.  I place a premium on relentless effort because in all my years coaching, I’ve never been in a football game where the team that played the hardest didn’t win.

One of the ways we accomplish this is by embracing what we call the grind.
We believe that being elite is not about how talented you are.  It is about how tough you are.  To achieve anything great in life, you have to fight for it.  Every day.  The grind is mental and physical.  In fact, it is more mental than physical.  Physical ability is important, but it will only take you so far.  You won’t be achieve excellence until you train your mind to take you there.

The principle of relentless effort applies to everyone, not just college football players.  Here’s the not-so-hidden secret for achieving extraordinary success: clarify what you really want, then work as hard as you can for as long as it takes.  Toughness can achieve things that talent by itself can never accomplish.
Success is cumulative and progressive.  It is the result of what you do every day.  Both successful and unsuccessful people take daily action.  The difference is that successful people take action Above the Line.  They step up and act with intention, purpose, and skill.
For every goal you are pursuing a process is involved.  There is a pathway you must follow.  To achieve your goals you must commit to the process with daily Above the Line behavior.  Not just once or twice, but repeatedly over time.  Success is not achieved by an occasional heroic response.  Success is achieved by focused and sustained action.  All achievement is a series of choices.  The bigger the achievement, the longer the series and more challenging the choices.

Goal clarity is essential, but so is the process clarity.  For every goal you have set, be exceptionally clear about the process necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
Sometimes it’s a grind. Sometimes tedious and uncomfortable things are required for success.  And that means doing what needs to be done even though you don’t feel like it.  It will be uncomfortable, maybe even for long stretches, and it will be tempting to settle for an easier way that is more convenient and less difficult.  But don’t compromise. Don’t give up.  Step up and embrace the grind.

Relentless effort (not talent or intelligence) is the key to achieving great things in your life.  Struggle is part of the process.  It is hard and often painful.  But it’s also necessary, because it’s in the struggle that great things are achieved.
Do you decide what to do based on what is comfortable and convenient, or based on what is productive and necessary?  Following your passion isn’t always 100 percent pleasurable.  Sometimes it means doing things you don’t’ want to do for the sake of achieving your goals.

If you want to win in the future, you must win the grind today.  And then tomorrow and the next day and the next. Many people give up – they compromise – must too easily when life gets difficult.  Be the exception and step up to the challenges you face.  The grind is when it gets tedious, tiring, and difficult.  But that’s what separates the elite from the average.


Sunday, November 29, 2015


Outstanding list compiled by BasketballHQ.com (outstanding website).  Click here to read the entire post which also includes video.

1. Ball Reversals
  • Make the Defense Move
    • The more times the ball goes from side to side, the more the defense must rotate and closeout.
    • Be down ready on the back side as the ball is swung to you.
    • Attack closeouts that are too close, and shoot the ball when the defense closes out short with hands down.
  • Don't Catch and Hold the Ball
    • Be thinking one play ahead and be decisive with your moves.
    • Don't waste your dribbles. Either drive the closeout, shoot, or move the ball.
2. Player Movement
  • Don't Stand
    • Players that stand are easy to guard and force one on one offense.
    • Sometimes you may need to space, but most of the time you should always be moving.
  • Hard Cuts
    • Read your defender and make the appropriate cut.
      • Back cut
      • Face cut
    • Make decisive cuts.
    • Set up your defender before cutting.
    • Slow to fast.
    • Look to score on every cut.
    • Your cut may open up a scoring chance for a teammate.
3. Screens
  • Set GREAT Legal Screens
    • Use screens to help get other teammates open.
    • Must head hunt on screens.
    • Never screen and stand.
    • Read the defense and offensive player using the screen to determine whether you should roll or space after you set the screen.
    • Slip the screen if you are being overplayed.
  • Use Screens to Get Open
    • Set up your defender before using a screen. EVERY TIME.
    • Read your defender when using the screen and then make the appropriate cut.
      • Curl cut
      • Straight cut
      • Fade cut
      • Pro cut
  • On the Same Page
    • The player using the screen and the player(s) setting the screen must work together.
    • Must have great timing and spacing when executing a screen.
  • Hand Offs
    • Use hand offs similar to ball screens to help teammates get open.
    • If your defender is cheating the hand off, fake it and then make a move.
4. Penetration
  • Drive and Kick
    • Great penetration forces the defense to suck in and help, which opens up the kick out pass.
    • Get your shoulders to the basket before making the kick out pass.
      • This sells that you are attacking the basket and makes the defense sink in.
    • Receiver needs to be down ready to either shoot, drive, or swing the ball. Don't catch and hold!
      • If you catch and hold, the defense can recover and the ball movement is dead.
  • Stay Under Control
    • Don't leave your feet and open yourself up to charges and wild passes.
    • Don't over penetrate into trouble.
      • If you get too deep into the defense, there are too many hands to deflect your pass.
5. Passing Angles
  • Receiver Needs to Create Passing Lanes
    • Don't stand and watch on penetration.
    • Either slide up or down to create a great passing lane.
    • A great time to move is once your defender turns their head to watch the ball.
    • Find the passers eyes, especially when the ball goes into the post.
  • Down Ready
    • Don't catch the ball standing straight up and down.
    • Anticipate what you are going to do with the ball by how the defender is guarding you; shoot, drive, or swing pass.
6. Inside Out
  • Post Play
    • Get the ball into the post and then look for kick outs when the defense helps.
    • Find the post players eyes and create passing lanes by moving up or down.
    • Hard cuts on the weak side will be open with a great post passer.
  • Pass Fakes
    • Being unselfish opens up opportunities for pass fakes and keeps.
    • Works great for hand offs in the high post area.
    • Must sell the pass.
    • Use your body to shield the ball from the view of the defender.
7. Designed Plays
  • Executing Offense
    • Use set plays to help establish ball movement and player movement.
    • It can be a set play or a motion offense.
  • Read the Defense
    • Don't be a robot to the play.
    • If the defense is cheating the play than make them pay.
8. Unselfish Plays
  • Extra Pass
    • Turn down an okay shot for a great shot.
    • This type of play will be contagious and lead to better shots for everyone.
  • Set Up Teammates
    • Make a move with the specific desire to set up another teammate for an easy shot.
    • Not just the point guards responsibility.
  • Celebrate Winning Plays
    • Get excited when a teammate makes an unselfish play.
    • It must be all about the team.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Our motivational passout to our team today with an assistant from Lipscomb head coach Greg Brown who tweeted this yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


“Rebounding is one of his staples,” said Izzo’s former associate head coach and current Northern
Illinois head coach Mark Montgomery, whose own team finished last year atop the Mid-American Conference in rebounding. “It’s something he’s going to work on every single day.”

We came across an article from a year ago from Grantland.com written by Brett Koremenos on the culture of rebounding at Michigan State and how it is developed by Tom Izzo. The article is titled "How Tom Izzo Turned Michigan State into a Rebounding Factory." Below are a few excerpts I took from the article but you'll want to click on this link for the entire post because Koremenos has video to go along with his column.

Montgomery says that everything Michigan State does — from its film sessions to past players coming back to impart wisdom — is aimed at creating the tough, gritty culture we see embodied in its play every season. The emphasis on rebounding is a key part of that because, along with defense, tracking down a missed shot doesn’t require any basketball-related talent.

“There’s no skill involved,” Montgomery says. “You want the ball more. It’s in your heart. It’s body on body. It’s kamikaze. You go in there and come away with it.”

In order to rebound, as with anything in life, you have to learn to crawl before you can walk. And Izzo starts by breaking down his rebounding technique in the form of one-on-zero, one-on-one, and two-on-two drills from different spots on the floor. Except, Michigan State doesn’t drill the traditional boxout that most fans associate with the game. You won’t go to a Spartans practice and find players putting their backsides into an opponent, trying to shield them off from an errant shot. Instead, Izzo teaches a technique for defensive rebounding he calls “hit-find-fetch.”

Michigan State players spend a good portion of their practice time honing this technique and mentality under Izzo’s watchful eye. Many other coaches spend only a cursory amount of time on this facet of the game — not that it makes them inherently better or worse, just different.
Izzo doesn’t just stop at those smaller breakdown exercises, though. In fact, they’re only a prelude to the grand march of rebounding drills: the war drill, a 5-on-5 slugfest featuring one ball and 10 Big Ten athletes trying to secure a rebound amid total chaos.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Here are some excerpts from a well-written article by Anthony Oppermann for the Galveston County Daily News on Houston football coach Tom Herman.  Coach Herman has his Cougars 8-0 and he gives credit to the evolution of the culture he is creating. You can read all of this article here, but here is a section I really enjoyed:

Ask Herman about the team’s perfect record or national ranking, and he will tell you it doesn’t matter, none of it matters.

But then he will say something that does.

“Praise always feels a lot better than criticism in the short term,” Herman said the Monday after the Tulane game. “As humans, we try to seek out praise, and what I told (the team) is the really successful people seek out criticism. They want to be criticized, and they want to be helped to improve on their craft.”

Herman has admitted that his role is equal parts football coach and novice psychologist, especially when dealing with 18- to 22-year-olds.

“They’re prone to just revert back to being primal, and the human element, the human side of things says, ‘I’m just going to cruise through today and do what’s easy.’ What’s easy is to go through the motions,” Herman said earlier this season.

And speaking of primal, there was the moment after Houston’s 59-10 win at Central Florida when Herman applied his primal principle to dealing with adversity.

“The primal human instinct, human element is to freak out and try to do things that you’re not trained to do,” Herman said. “We want to make sure that our guys, even when faced with a tremendous amount of adversity, they’re very mindful, they take a deep breath, and they go just focus on the next play.”


There are different kinds of simplicity.  Some are better than others.

The master instructor knows the details but coaches with simple instructions: stand tall, breath and so on.  The master teacher understands every word of her text but concentrates on the central idea.  The ability to explain complicated things with clarity is a mark of mastery.

Unfortunately, it's sometimes those who have mastered the least who talk the most.

Simplicity is easy.  Clarity is earned.  We earn clarity by confronting complexity.

From "Resilience" by Eric Greitens

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Our team's motivational passout today includes a great quote and concept via Tom Izzo.  Team's that take ownership of their program, that hold themselves and each other accountable, have a far great opportunity of succeeding and achieving their potential than those teams that rely on their coaching staff for everything.  Team ownership and accountability is the ultimate culture.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


As a coach, there are so many things that you deem important -- things you want your players to know and understand -- things that are high on the priority list in terms of what you want to teach players.

Certainly there are numerous things that players need to learn and improve on.  Some they are willing participants in the education and development process.  Work with a player on improving his or her shot and chances are you will have a focused pupil.  The same can be said in dribbling and ball handling.  All players, regardless of position, want to be able to put the ball on the floor.  And while this at times least to the overuse of the dribble, players certainly will list and work if you want to help them improve this area of their game.

But it is important for them to understand that the large majority of the game, on the offensive end, they will be playing WITHOUT the ball.  Their ability to properly execute the fundamentals of footwork while learning to move without the basketball is far more important than many of them understand.

And nobody has phrased it better for them to understand it than Coach John Wooden:

"What you do before you get the ball, 
determines what you can do after you get it."

That is a very profound statement yet not enough coaches spend the time to develop this area and of course very few players give thought to it.

Are you teaching the proper footwork for moving without the basketball?  The most foundational cut in basketball is the v-cut...do your players master it?  The v-cut allows them to get open on the perimeter or to set up the defender for a back cut.  The v-cut allows them be better screeners or to utilize screens better.  The v-cut allows a post player to move better in the post.  Are you working to improve your v-cuts daily?

The ability to read the defender makes a difference in if, when and where you catch the basketball.

We mentioned screening.  I'm not sure there is a better way to get open than by being an excellent screener.  The key is being "excellent."  Are you teaching a correct screening stance couple with the proper screening angle?  Are they sprinting to screen?  And, the biggest key, are the screening with the screener is the 2nd cutter mentality?

Do you show video of your team or other teams and have your players focus on what's going on away from the ball?

Because the best offensive players in the game truly understand Coach Wooden:

"What you do before you get the ball, 
determines what you can do after you get it."

Friday, October 30, 2015


Another assist to my guy Steve Finamore -- passionate about learning and sharing.  By the way, Steve is a great follow on Twitter. To follow is Part III (and the last segment) of some thoughts and quotes via Tom Thibodeau that Steve has collected:

“We can accept our circumstances as they are, or we can do all we can to change them and turn them into something positive. That’s one of the things I’ve admired about our team — they’ve accepted every challenge.”


“To me, we all owe it to each other and the organization to give everything we have every single day. Just concentrate on what’s in front of us. Practice well today, get ready for our opponent tomorrow, concentrate on improvement, and get better. You never know what happens.”


On Taj Gibson:
“You can’t say enough about Taj. He is tough as nails. Whatever you ask him to do he does. You can start him, bring him off the bench; he guards everybody, he rebounds, gives you great effort, pure heart, plays for the team, plays to win, disciplined, practices every day, practices hard. He is a great practice player. He has a great motor. When you put him in the game, he doesn’t need 5-10 minutes to warm up. He’s ready to go.”


On Marco Belinelli
“He plays for the team. The team is first all the time with him. I was not surprised that San Antonio picked him up because I know how much Pop values those things.”


“We’ve got a core of guys that understand it (on defense) and are really good at it. Our guys put forth the effort. That is what it is all about. As a team they are committed to that. We know if we defend and rebound and keep our turnovers down we will be in a position to win. Right now, when you are shorthanded, that is what you have to do. It is also what you have to do in every game, when you are completely healthy.”


“We’ve got to get the fight. That’s the first part of it — the determination, the fight and the will. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We have to turn it around tomorrow. We have to get ready to play and we have to come out with an edge.”


“On nights you are not shooting well, there are many other things you can do to help yourselves win.”


“It’s hard to execute when you don’t practice. We need time in the gym.”


‘‘We’re improving, but we still have a long way to go. You’re trying to build concentration over a long period of time, and you’ve got to grind. This season is about grinding and working. You’ve got to put the work in. You can’t skip steps, you can’t take shortcuts. You’ve got to put a lot of work into it.’’


‘‘I measure everything on whether it’s being done at a championship level. Whether it’s your preparation, how you practice, how you conduct yourself in the weight room, how you conduct yourself in a film session, how you conduct yourself on the bus. There’s a lot that goes into winning, so you’ve got to be willing to pay the price.’’


On Kyle Korver:
“Every year he gets better and better. It’s a tribute to the way he works at it, studies, and prepares, his offseason conditioning work he puts in. It’s incredible. It’s not an accident what he’s doing. Everyone knows it’s coming. He knows how to get open. He plays for a team whose shooting complements its stars. And he’s a star in his own way. He has always embraced his role. He has always played for the team. The numbers say that (he’s among the elite all time shooters).”


On Jimmy Butler:
“I get a kick in the off-season, everyone’s had a great summer, everyone looks good, but Jimmy actually puts the work in. He doesn’t have to say anything. You look at him and his actions tell you what he’s doing. There are no shortcuts with him. He puts the work in and gives you a solid day’s work. You can’t say enough about it him. He takes big shots, plays defense, and gets to the line. He makes plays, plays unselfishly, plays hard and doesn’t take any possessions off.  My thing to him is why put a lid on it? Where can it go? I don’t know. All I know is [his ceiling] keeps going up. That is how I want him to approach it. He brings great concentration and great effort every day. You bring those things and couple that with his talent, great things are going to happen and he’s showing that. The best leadership you can have is by doing all the right things. You can’t put any more in than he’s putting into it now.”


On Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich:
“Two great pros. Tough minded, give you everything they have. Both of those guys are great pros. When you have young guys like we do, that’s the best kind of leadership you can have. They come in every day, they practice hard, they execute. Do all the right things.”


On Anthony Davis From USA Basketball:
“He was all business. That’s what stood out the most. He’d get there early, work on his game, practice hard, and get in the weight room. You can tell he’s hungry.”


“If they say we’re playing at midnight on the roof, you should be saying let’s get the ladders.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I took the time to watch University of Minnesota Jerry Kill's press conference where he announced he had to step down the the Gopher's head football coach due to health reasons.  It was obviously that he is very passionate about coaching and therefore leaving his profession that he clearly loves was extremely disappointing to him -- and to all of us that love our jobs and viewed the press conference.

Let it give us perspective.  Had a bad practice yesterday?  Have a player with an attitude problem yesterday?  Have a conflict with an administrator yesterday?  The media get after you a little bit yesterday?  A recruit turn you down yesterday?

The key word is "yesterday."  Because if you woke up "today" and you still get to coach -- if you still get to that thing you love so much, then we are truly blessed.

Here are a few take aways from Coach Kill's press conference.

"Last night when I walked off the practice field, I felt like a part of me died.  I love this game.  I love what it's done for my family.  I thank God for giving me the opportunity to coach this game...

"I don't want to cheat the game...

"This is the toughest thing I've ever done in my life...

"I went as hard as I could."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Another assist to my guy Steve Finamore -- passionate about learning and sharing.  By the way, Steve is a great follow on Twitter. To follow is Part II of some thoughts and quotes via Tom Thibodeau that Steve has collected:

“We’re excited. Whenever they tell us to play, we’ve got to be ready. There are no off nights in the NBA. That’s the one thing. Even being here, when you see all the great talent that we have in our league, if you take someone lightly, you’re making a big mistake and we can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to put the work into it because there’s a lot of work and commitment that goes into winning. To say that we’re going to win because we feel we’re talented—doesn’t work that way. There’s a lot of talent in this league. It’s the teams that are willing to make that commitment and endure throughout during the course of the season, to work hard all summer, to work hard in training camp, to work hard throughout the season, to commit to playing for each other, those are the teams that build winning habits and that’s what we have to do. We have to build winning habits throughout the course of the year.”


On His memory From the 2013-14 Season/Team:
“How they wouldn’t quit. When I look at the team, we took a couple of big hits the last couple of years, actually the last three years. They fought like crazy that year. These guys, they fought like crazy to make sure we had a good season. When a team commits to playing as a team, playing together and playing for one another, they give you everything they have, there’s nothing more you can ask for. I think other people would have just laid down and we didn’t do that.’’


“Five-man offense, five-man defense, and everyone is connected. If one guy is not doing their job, it’s going to make everyone look bad. We have to be tied together.”


“We’re not changing. We’re trying to win games. We’re not changing our approach. Every game, analyze what we’re doing well, what we’re doing not as well as we would like, make our corrections, move on to the next one, know the opponent well, keep moving forward. That’s all we can do.”


“Rah-rah is good, but it’s more the effort plays that matter. I thought our guys showed a lot of toughness. Our guys have the will to continue to fight.”


“I don’t see any negative from practicing hard. I don’t see any negative from playing hard. You’re building habits every time you step out there. I think you’ve got to develop a physical toughness and a mental toughness along the way. Because down the road when you do get there, there’s going to be a lot of fire that you’ve got to go through. And you’ve got to be prepared to deal with it.”


“There’s not a lot of difference between the elite teams. It’s will, determination. That’s not something you develop once you get there. You’d better develop it all along the way.”


On What a Team Can Take From a Loss:
”Study, learn, correct and grow.”


“To me, it’s preparation. You’re guarding a great shooter and you’re going under on a screen — it doesn’t make any sense to me. Or you’re just whacking at a guy after he’s already buried you in the paint. To me, that makes no sense. That makes no sense. You got to play this game with energy and toughness, and intelligence. And you got to get yourself ready, and you’re on the road. You have to have a mentality. This is business. This ain’t hanging out having a good time. If you’re serious about winning you prepare yourself the right way.”


On Joakim Noah:
“There are not many players like him. His all-around defense, every aspect, the rebounding effort, to seeing things early (and) how they’re developing. It’s just great effort. But the most important thing is his ability to make two, three or four efforts on the same play. Oftentimes I don’t know how he gets to the ball. It’s just great effort. I think when you see those types of things, that helps unite and inspire your team.”


“I’m going with the guys who I think give us the best chance to win, I don’t care who they are. So when we hit that six-minute mark it’s based on what we’re doing and what we need, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”


“We have good guys. Sometimes when things aren’t going your way there’s a tendency when you’re trying to get out of a hole to try to do more yourself. And that’s what you have to (fight). You have to do more together. Not more yourself. So while the intentions are good, sometimes they’re misguided. So if we try to go too much one on one we’re not going to have success like that … we can’t be fragmented. We have to be together. Through the good, the bad, and just keep fighting. We have to fight the good fight every night. We can’t sideways and that’s a big part of this league.”

Monday, October 26, 2015


Another assist to my guy Steve Finamore -- passionate about learning and sharing.  By the way, Steve is a great follow on Twitter. To follow is Part I of some thoughts and quotes via Tom Thibodeau that Steve has collected:

Taj Gibson on Coach Thibodeau:
“If you want to be coached & pushed, he’s the coach for you. If you don’t want to get better, this isn’t the team for you.”


“You want to be a championship team, there’s a price to pay. And that’s what you have to do. There are no shortcuts. You can’t shortcut your way to success. I’m going to give everything I have each and every day, and I have no regrets.”


‘‘On the first day of camp, if you went to all 30 teams, everyone would say, ‘Yeah, we want to win a championship.’ Very few teams are willing to make that commitment over a long period of time in putting the necessary work into it each and every day. It’s easy to say it; it’s harder to do it.


“We’re asking everyone to sacrifice and put the team first, so we have quality depth. Some night’s guys will play a little more than others, but they’re all sharing and they’re all going to have to sacrifice, and that’s what’s important for our team. As you wind down, it’s situational. A lot of it is what’s going on in the game: Do you have a lead? Are you trying to protect the lead? Do you need more scoring? Hopefully you have that answer on the bench. The big thing is everyone is sacrificing for the team. You have to put the team first. Whatever gives us our best chance of winning, that’s what we’re going to do.”

“You have a pretty good idea of who you’re going to finish with. But that can change if guys are performing well. The big thing is it’s not an individual thing. It’s how the group is performing. We look at everything.”


“Trust is work. That’s how you build trust. You got to know what you’re doing. You have to be tied together. You have to work at it. Where you get trust is from the work. The magic is in the work. It’s working together. It’s timing. It’s being tied together. One guy being off is going to hurt. You need everyone working together. And it doesn’t end. You’re not going to have it figured out in three days. You’re trying to do something great. Nothing great was ever achieved without great work and great ethic. It’s really that simple.’’


"People always talk about going on offensive runs. But you can go on defensive runs too."


“I’m watching San Antonio, and they’re going after it. Parker, Duncan, they’re playing huge minutes right off the start. I think it’s a strong message what they’re saying right now. They’re preparing themselves to defend their championship. And so in order to get that way from them, you’re going to have to wrestle it away from them. They’re not just going to give it away. Your mind-set has to be right.’’


“Your mindset has to be right. They say Duncan never leaves the gym. When you look at great players, when you read about guys who have achieved something great, it’s usually them getting past adversity, them making great effort – their readiness to accept a challenge. I think you need a great commitment from your team if you want to do something special. That commitment has to start at the beginning, and it has to remain throughout.”


“Whatever it is that you’re facing, you’ve got to be ready to accept that challenge and be ready to play.”