Tuesday, March 31, 2015


This was shared on Facebook by Coach Gail Goestenkors and I absolutely thought it was outstanding. It is a portion of a commencement address given at the University of Texas by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, a UT graduate, sharing lessons he had learned from basic SEALS training.  You can read his entire commencement speech here -- you can scroll to the bottom and watch it via youtube.

Here is how Admiral McRaven says we can change the world -- it's lengthy, but well worth your time:

1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews. Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.

Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast.
In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain. Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

#2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 35. There were now six boat crews of seven men each.

I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the the little guys—the munchkin crew we called them—no one was over about 5-foot five.
The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish American, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the mid-west.

They out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim.

But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh— swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer. Nothing mattered but your will to succeed. Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.

#3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection. It was exceptionally thorough.

Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle—- it just wasn’t good enough.

The instructors would find “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain. That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right—it was unappreciated.
Those students didn’t make it through training.

Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill. You were never going to succeed. You were never going to have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.

It’s just the way life is sometimes.

#4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events—long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics—something designed to test your mettle.

Every event had standards—times you had to meet. If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to—a “circus.”

A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics—designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day you didn’t measure up. A circus meant more fatigue—and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult—and more circuses were likely.

But at some time during SEAL training, everyone—everyone—made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list. Over time those students-—who did two hours of extra calisthenics—got stronger and stronger.

The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses.

You will fail. You will likely fail often. It will be painful. It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

#5. But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net, and a barbed wire crawl to name a few.

But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three level 30 foot tower at one end and a one level tower at the other. In between was a 200-foot long rope.
You had to climb the three tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.
The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977.

The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life—head first.

Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move—seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training.

Without hesitation—the student slid down the rope—perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

#6. If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego.

The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed. One—is the night swim.

Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente.

They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark—at least not recently.

But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position—stand your ground. Do not swim away. Do not act afraid.

And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you—then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world. If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

#7. So, if you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

As Navy SEALs one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping. We practiced this technique extensively during basic training.

The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles—underwater—using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface there is some light that comes through. It is comforting to know that there is open water above you.

But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight—it blocks the surrounding street lamps—it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel—the center line and the deepest part of the ship.

This is your objective. But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship—where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

#8. If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.” It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and—one special day at the Mud Flats—the Mud Flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue’s—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.
The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm.

One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing.

We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted.

And somehow—the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

#9. So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.

All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell. Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims.

Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.

Just ring the bell.

#10. If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating. Moments away from beginning your journey through life. Moments away from starting to change the world—for the better.

It will not be easy.

But, YOU are the class of 2014—the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today and—what started here will indeed have changed the world—for the better.


When Coach Smith spoke, he expected your full attention. Anything less resulted in a reminder that not paying attention could affect the outcome of a game.

His behavior during time-outs in close games was a lifetime lesson.  Sure, he'd discuss the upcoming sequence of events and what would be required to make them successful, but he always started with a bigger picture. If we were down three points with a minute to play, he’d enter our huddle with a smile. “Isn’t this fun?”

Former UNC player Woody Coley from the book, "The Carolina Way"


It is important to teach the "why" along with whatever you are teaching.

Correcting an error is 100% better than verbalizing the correction.

Coach Harris' mantra in practice: spend more time on offense but place more emphasis on defense.  Offense requires more timing and skill.  Defend requires more reaction and less skill.

Containing the ball is the most important aspect of defense in the game today.

It is important to stunt and rotate with an understanding of personnel.

It is important to have a Plan A and a Plan B so that you can easily adjust to different situations.

It takes 5 guys to guard the pick and roll; not just the defenders involved in the ball screen.

Don't accept everything you hear or what you've been doing as the best way today.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog on one of my former players Bryan Frampton.  I am publishing the entire post below for any who may have missed it.  It chronicles Bryan's fight with cancer on multiple occasions.  It also talks about his love for his sons who carried on his tradition of competing at Poca High School for his coach Allen Osborne. 

What I left out of the first blog was that one of the final conversations that Bryan had with his sons, one of them asked, "Dad, do you think we'll win the state championship?"  Without hesitation Bryan replied "I guarantee it!"

Last week Noah and Luke and the Poca Dots captured the West Virginia State Championship, with a perfect 27-0 record -- first undefeated team in West Virginia in decade.

And somewhere in heaven there is a fierce competitor smiling!

I’ve been working on this post for over two months. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve had to post. They say the hardest thing for a parent to do is to have to bury one of their children.  The same can hold true for a coach. 

The silent ageless oak tree,
the river running strong,
the mountain set against the sky,
the sweet melodic song.*

I’ve heard that coaches shouldn’t have favorites.  As someone that has coached for three decades, I can tell you that simply isn’t possible.  We all have our favorites.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t love all of our players and that we don’t give them all our very best.  We want them all to succeed.  But there are those who’s kindred spirit inspires us, the teacher.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

As a coach you work hard not just to teach your student-athletes how to pass, shoot and screen.  You want to lay a foundation that will last them for the rest of their life.  You want them to learn about teamwork, commitment, and sacrifice.  When they leave your program they should understand goal development and time management.  There is nothing greater for a coach then to see that player 10 years removed and they are successfully navigating through life...raising a family...holding down a job...making a positive contribution to society.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

Every once in a while, you have the privilege of coaching a young person who lives just as they played.  Giving life every bit as much as they did the game of basketball on the court.  The type of person that leaves a legacy on the program they participated with, as well as a legacy in life to his family and friends.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

I only coached Bryan for one year which speaks to the impact he had on me as a coach.  I was between college coaching stops at West Virginia State College and Marshall University when I had the opportunity to work for my junior high school coach and mentor Allen Osborne at Poca High School.

In that one season, I learned more about teaching and coaching than any other stop I’ve had in my professional career — Allen is that good!  But we also had a special team.  For those that coach you already know that special team translates to special people.  But I’ve never coached a special team that didn’t have at least one warrior.  That one player that took it personal not just on game night, but at every practice, in every drill.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

The storm that rages wildly,
the faith that never alters,
cannot compare with a warrior's heart
for his heart's strength never falters.*

Bryan passed away December 1 of 2013 after a long battle with cancer.  And when I say battle, I mean it in the warrior’s sense.  Cancer may have finally took Bryan, but I promise you it was exhausted after the battle.

After a great career at Poca High School, Bryan felt the need to compete at a higher level.  He joined the United State Navy.  It was during his tenure with the Navy that his first battle with cancer occurred — one that forced doctors to amputate his right leg.  No problem for Bryan.  Remove it and let’s move on.  Move on he did.  Securing a job, getting married and raising a family of three boys, Nathaniel, Noah and Luke.

Noah and Luke now carry on the Frampton tradition at Poca High School playing for Allen.  Once, when Coach Osborne was looking into purchasing a shooting machine for the team, Bryan asked if he could take the brochures home with him.  He later called Allen and of course Bryan had picked out the most expensive machine for his boys urging Allen to purchase the one with the computer digital read out.  When Allen told Bryan it was the most expensive, he replayed a message he had learned playing for Allen: “It always cost a little more to be the best.”
Bryan continued to be a great fan of the game, encouraging his sons to play and becoming a loyal supporter of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  Now the thing you have to know about Bryan is that God has never placed a more loyal soul on this earth than Bryan Frampton.  In Bryan’s heart there was the University of Kentucky and then there were the enemies.

A few years ago Bryan had a pain in his shoulder.  For the longest time he shrugged it off.  That’s what warriors do.  Finally, upon seeing a doctor and going through tests, it was discovered that he had a new battle with cancer — this time the cancer stretched from his lungs up into his shoulders.

The cancer was aggressive and wide-spread.  Bryan Frampton was aggressive also — he was a warrior.  As doctors worked with Bryan, they also looked at some of the best facilities in the nation to send him for additional help such as M.D Anderson in Houston, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and the Duke Cancer Center in Durham, North Carolina.  Please remember our earlier passage about Bryan’s strong love for his Kentucky Wildcats and his amazing loyalty.  He quickly informed the doctors that he would not be going to Duke.  He was always quick to inform anyone that “you can’t spell Duke without UK.”

Such was Bryan Frampton.

The oak may be cut down,
and the river may run dry,
the song will end, the storm will break,
but a warrior will never die.*

Bryan was also an active outdoorsman despite having only one leg.  He loved to fish and he loved to hunt — and he loved doing both with his sons.  One day, while out weed-eating, he fell and broke his hip.  The doctors encouraged him not to repair the hip because the surgery was too complicated and could be fatal because of what he was going through in his cancer treatments.  Sorry, said Bryan.  We’re doing the surgery.  “Gotta hunt and fish with my boys.”

Today, both Luke and Noah are playing at Poca — one of the top teams in the state.  Now let’s talk about the love a coach has for his player — after they have played.  Allen would often go over to Bryan’s home last year with game films so Bryan could watch his sons play.  Allen and Bryan would of course critique the videos — that what competitors do.  The cancer was taking its toll at that point and he was often so sick he could not attend games.  Below you will see a shot his son Noah hit to win a game — another game Bryan was unable to attend.  I would tell you that it looks similar to the shot Christian Laettner hit to beat his beloved Kentucky but Bryan would not want it described that way.

As the Poca Dots play through the remaining part of their season, Noah and Luke take turns wearing #34 in honor of the father.  I believe strongly that the best way to honor the passing of a loved one is by the life that you live.  Bryan’s sons certainly have some big shoes to fill — but with dad’s DNA flowing through them I’m going to bet that they are going to be competitors, hard workers, great husbands and fathers.

Such was Bryan Frampton.

Their memory lives on, eternal;
their spirit guides us through;
their courage gives us hope:
brave warriors, ever true.*

*indicates from "A Warrior's Heart"
A Poem by Gonflet

Monday, March 23, 2015


Another quick glimpse into Greg Brown's outstanding book,  "The Best Things I've Seen In Coaching," includes an incredible list he got from Coach Don Meyer.  This title of the list should peak your curiosity enough -- Things I Wish An Older, Experienced Coach Would Have Told Me When I Was Young.  The list, compiled by Coach Meyer, has 50 bullet points of outstanding information.  Here is a look at just 10 them:

#2 Be what you is because if you be what you ain't, you ain't what you is.  Kids can spot a phony or con man a mile away.

#12 All the greats know how to keep is simple - Jack Whitaker.

#13 Average tennis players have a great variety of shots while great tennis players his the same old boring winners. -Vic Braden

#24 Who is working for you when you are not there. -Tommy Smith

#25 I never allowed myself or my staff, or our players to get satisfied. -John Wooden

#27 The saddest day of your life will be the day you find that you are no longer productive.

#31 Have a thoughts and notes journal that you keep just for you. -Dick Bennett

#34 Learn who you are and what your game is. -Rick Majerus

#36 Don't wrestle in the mud with a pig because you both get muddy and the pic likes it. (My uncle on administrators)

#44 Teach, teach, teach. You better have good practices. -Al McGuire

Want to see the entire list? Buy the book -- it is so full of great material that Coach Brown learned while working for Coach Meyer and Pat Summitt.  And even more importantly, proceeds from the book will be divided among the Meyer and Summitt Foundations.

For ordering information, click HERE.

Monday, March 16, 2015


The following comes "The Carolina Way" written by Dean Smith:

I break down the idea of working hard into three main components:

1.      Pure effort: It may seem paradoxical, but it’s the people who bring the same great effort to work effort to work every day who don’t burn out.

2.      Concentration: You must stay in the present and focus on each task, one at a time. Don’t jump ahead to another problem before you finish with the one at hand.

3.      Self-discipline: Managers must work until they finish a project. That means having the patience to repeat things until they are done correctly. Usually it’s the dreary 5 percent of the wrap-up that’s the hardest.


I recently finished reading a book titled "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman.  It was a fascinating read about what goes into a good quarterback these days through the eyes of development "coaches" that work individually with the athletes.  But the chapter "Manningland" was worth the cost of the book alone, taking a look at some of the things that makes Peyton Manning great.  Over the next few days I wanted to share a few outstanding passages from Feldman's book on Manning.  You can read the first part here which speaks to his attention to detail in everything -- especially the weight room. The second deals with Peyton's work ethic including watching practice video immediately after workouts and you can click here to read.  This one again shows great attention to detail with Peyton creating his own system of viewing video.  Viewing video in this manner allows his focus to be more channeled in one specific area:

Cody Fajardo, a quarterback at Nevada, who worked the camp in 2013, asked Peyton Manning, “How do you watch film?”

“The thing about that is, they’re full-time NFL guys, and I’m still a college student,” Fajardo later explained the rationale for his question. “My time management is a little tougher, but Peyton told me on Mondays, he will watch all third downs. On Tuesdays, he’ll watch first-and-tens and first-and-ten-plus. On Wednesdays, he’d watch all the blitz tape. On Thursdays, he’ll watch the complete game. On Fridays, he’ll watch the complete game again. On Saturdays, he’ll watch a bunch of cut-ups and what he wants to see in situational football. He’s got it all mapped out in increments, so it’s not boring. He’ll take notes. That’s what I’m gonna try to implement in my film study, so instead of watching an entire game in one sitting, you’re looking at stuff in increments and still getting good work in the film room.”

Friday, March 13, 2015


Coach Don Meyer would always talk about the importance of terminology and word pictures in helping teach and motivate your team.  I think he'd like what the Atlanta Hawks are doing with the concept of "vitamins."  Here is an excerpt on an article that ran in the New York Times written by  Scott Cacciola.  It's a great article and you can read it in it's entirety here.
“It’s as important as anything we do,” Coach Mike Budenholzer said of the team’s emphasis on player development.
Spend some time around the Hawks, and one word continues to surface: vitamins. It is a metaphor for their philosophy, and it helps explain their 50-14 record. They take their vitamins when they hit the cold tub for treatment. They take their vitamins when they lift weights. They take their vitamins when they study film and watch their diets. Above all, they take their vitamins when they head to the gym for individualized skill sessions with Budenholzer’s assistants.
“It’s that daily nourishment that your body needs,” said Budenholzer, 45, who was hired before the start of last season after spending 19 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, the last 17 as an assistant under Coach Gregg Popovich.
Budenholzer, who acknowledged appropriating the vitamin concept from one of his fellow assistants with the Spurs, seeks consistent improvement. In Atlanta, he has his players spend as much time working one-on-one with members of his staff as they do in traditional team practice settings. He wants opportunities for Paul Millsap to hone his outside shooting touch and for Jeff Teague to identify passing angles and for Kyle Korver to add a floater to his repertoire.
Before the Hawks faced the visiting Sacramento Kings on Monday night, the public-address announcer revved up the crowd by shouting, “Some still do not believe! Do you believe?” What followed was another clinic in a season full of them. All five starters reached double figures in scoring early in the third quarter. The Hawks assisted on 42 of 53 field goals. They set a franchise record by making 20 3-pointers. And they won by 25.
The win was only minutes old when Budenholzer began thinking about the work that still needed to be done. His staff soon joined him in a theater room at the arena. Budenholzer really likes meetings. He meets with his coaches before practices and after games, when they remove their ties and make plans for the next day.
“They’re probably up there right now, deciding whether we should have vitamins or not,” small forward DeMarre Carroll said after Monday’s game. “There will be some coaches fighting for us to get rest, and there will be some coaches fighting for vitamins. So they go in their little room and sort it out.”
Once the coaches decide on the schedule — they try to form a consensus, although Budenholzer has veto power — they debrief Wally Blase, the head athletic trainer, who sends late-night text messages to the players with the various times they are expected to report to the arena. Blase also lets the players know which coaches have been assigned to work with them for their vitamin sessions. Typically, no two players have the same schedule, so communication is vital.
“We do everything but send smoke signals over their houses just to make sure they know what’s going on,” Atkinson said.
In addition, each assistant receives a sheet that details his day: his allotment of vitamin sessions, along with the material that the coaches have agreed to cover. The message is uniform, and the coaches try not to overload the players with information.
“It’s not like we say, ‘Here’s 10 things for you to work on,’ ” Atkinson said. “No, here’s one or two.”
For Kent Bazemore, most of his vitamin sessions have centered on his reconfigured shooting stroke. Not long after Bazemore signed with the Hawks last year, he began working with the assistant coach Ben Sullivan, who picked apart Bazemore’s mechanics. Bazemore had an elongated motion, and the ball tended to come off his ring finger and pinkie.


I recently finished reading a book titled "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman.  It was a fascinating read about what goes into a good quarterback these days through the eyes of development "coaches" that work individually with the athletes.  But the chapter "Manningland" was worth the cost of the book alone, taking a look at some of the things that makes Peyton Manning great.  Over the next few days I'm going to share a few outstanding passages from Feldman's book on Manning.  You can read the first part here. The second deals with Peyton's work ethic including watching practice video immediately after workouts:

Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was a young assistant coach at Tennessee when Peyton was the Vols’ quarterback. Roper, himself the son of a coach, said the college kid taught him more about preparation that anyone he’d ever been around. “When I played at Rice, nobody watched practice right after and took notes like he did.”

“His work ethic, and his ability to be singularly focused on winning from week to week and controlling his mind and preparing for his moment was amazing. Nobody I’ve ever been around, coaches included, have the drive that he has to prepare. He is just different than anybody else.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


As I like to do, I took time to read my timely passage from "The Maxwell Daily Reader" written by John Maxwell.  Each calendar day there is a message and it is always amazing how it fits in with something going on in my life. Today's, March 11, spoke about how we view failure and how our thought process in this regard goes a long way towards success.  To make his point, Maxwell used one of my favorites, Tony Gwynn as example:

On August 6, 1999, a major-league baseball player stepped up to home plate in Montreal and made another out -- the 5,113th of his professional career.  That's a lot of trips to the batter's box without a hit!  If a player made all of those outs consecutively, and he average four at bats per game, he would play eight seasons (1,278 game straight) without ever reaching first base!

Was the player discourage that night? No.  You see, earlier in the same game, in his first plate appearance, that player had reached a milestone that only twenty-one other people in the history of baseball have every achieved.  He had made his 3,000th hit.  That player was Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres.

During that game, Tony got on base with hits four times in five tries.  But that's not the norm for him.  Usually he fails to get a hit two times out of every three attempts.  Those results may not sound very encouraging, but if you know baseball, you recognize that Tony's ability to succeed consistently only one time in three tries has made him the great hitter of his generation.  And Tony recognized that to get his hits, he has to make a lot of outs.

One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge isolated situations in their lives and label them as failures.  Instead, they have need to keep the bigger picture in mind.  Someone like Tony Gwynn doesn't look at an out that he makes and think of failure.  He sees it within the context of the bigger picture.  His perspective leads to perseverance. His perseverance brings longevity.  And his longevity gives him opportunity for success.


The follow came from a report on Comcast that speak of the type of commitment needed to excel:

Following the Warriors' 102-93 win over the Bucks on Wednesday night, Klay Thompson wasn't ready to go home.

The 2015 All-Star returned to the Oracle Arena floor well after the final horn to work on his jump shot.

Thompson scored 17 points against Milwaukee on 5-for-16 shooting (3-for-8 3's).

The game prior, the 25-year old shooting guard suffered one of his worst shooting nights of the year -- 3-for-17, including 1-for-9 from the 3-point line in Brooklyn.

The night before that, he went 9-23 from the floor (2-10 3's) against Boston.

Despite his recent struggles, Thompson is shooting 43 percent from the deep on the season, good for fourth in the NBA.

His 178 treys trail only Stephen Curry's 193.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


A great thought on LOVE from Coach Vince Lombardi -- so good it is our team's motivational passout for today.


Going over some old clinic notes and came across some great practice concepts from Del Harris:

Targeted, mistake-focused practice is essential to increased learning efficiency.  Daniel Coyle, in his book "The Talent Code" refers to this as "deep practice."

#1 The key is that when a mistake is made in execution of an action that you start from the positions everyone was in and show the correct action from the beginning point and complete the actions as opposed to starting all over again.

#2 It is important to isolate the error and do the correct movement.  Doing the correction is worth multiple times more than any demonstration or verbal correction.  "One real encounter is worth several hundred observations" is the mantra.  Important to understand that video is not the total package in correcting.

#3 Slow it down -- learning to do it over and over slowly allows perfection and the body and brain to correlate the activity.  Seeing oneself in slow motion also speeds up execution which is where video can play an important role.

#4 Repetitions -- must be attentive repetitions.  Fire the impulse, fix errors and hone the circuit.

#5 It is only repetition from "deep practice" that matters.  Work ethic is overrated because it always involves a time equation when one speaks of it.

#6 Spending more time is effective only when you are in the "sweet spot" of your effort, attentively honing your circuits.  Practice that is focused, passionate, even desperate is the ultimate state.  Keep it interesting and helpful.

Monday, March 9, 2015


I recently finished reading a book titled "The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks" by Bruce Feldman.  It was a fascinating read about what goes into a good quarterback these days through the eyes of development "coaches" that work individually with the athletes.  But the chapter "Manningland" was worth the cost of the book alone, taking a look at some of the things that makes Peyton Manning great.  Over the next few days I'm going to share a few outstanding passages from Feldman's book on Manning.  The first deals with Peyton's amazing grasp of details along with his desire to always do more than was originally required of him:

An hour before the eighteenth annual Manning Passing Academy began, ninety minutes north at LSU, Tommy Moffitt, with his barrel chest and Paris Island voice, was getting nostalgic. Asked about Peyton Manning, the Tigers strength coach took a big gulp of air before reaching into his desk and pulling out a bright orange folder with the name MANNING scribbled across the front. Moffitt, the strength coach at Tennessee when Manning was the Vols star QB in the mid-90’s, had shown all Tiger freshman when they reported to school this frayed old folder that contained pages of the workouts he’s prescribed for the quarterback during the summer going into his senior season. Inside, the printed sheets of paper were covered with notes Manning had jotted down, showing the player’s attention to detail and indefatigable level of preparation. There were some crossed-out poundages of prescribed workout routines where Manning pushed himself to do five or ten pounds more than Moffitt had anticipated. Everything was accounted for and documented with check marks and pluses along with margin notes such as “threw good on the outside 1 on 1… 7x Hills Threw… Agilities/Sand.”

Moffitt told all his newcomers at LSU that he had never-in twenty-five years-seen anybody as meticulous in their preparation as Peyton Manning. The weathered orange folder was Exhibit A, an artifact worthy of its place in Canton once Manning took his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I tell them all, ‘Right now, you’re a better athlete than Peyton manning ever was or Peyton Manning ever will be,” Moffitt said. “But this-THIS!-is what makes him so special. His preparation and his attention to detail and the things he does that nobody else told him, that, ‘This is what you have to do to be great.’”

Moffitt’s favorite highlights of Manning’s career didn’t take place in Neyland Stadium. They happened around the Vols’ football complex at odd hours, when almost no one else was around. Such as the time Moffitt heard a tap on the window to his office. Manning was outside. He needed help. Said he had a bunch of VHS tapes in his SUV that needed to go upstairs. Moffitt came outside to Manning’s old black Oldsmobile Bravada and did a triple take when the senior quarterback opened the trunk.

It was jammed with tapes of every practice, every game, every opponent. Tight copies. Wide copies. End zone copies. Four years of film study. The ingredients to Manning’s secret sauce. They ended up with two full shopping carts and kept unloading and filling.

Or the time Moffitt watched from his office window a nineteen-year-old Peyton tying a surgical cord to a goalpost and the other end around his waist so he could work on his drops from center. Back and forth. Back and forth. For what seemed like hours. Moffitt had never seen any other quarterback dothat, and certainly not doing it on his own, without any coaches or teammates around.

“Nobody here told him to do that,” Moffitt said.


Saturday, March 7, 2015


Here are three amazing quotes about teamwork that I have not read before from Coach Pat Summitt.  They come from Coach Greg Brown who has wrote a book about Coach Summitt and Coach Don Meyer, whom he both worked for.  These are but just a small sampling of some great notes that Greg took while being in staff meetings or listening to Coach Summitt talk to her team:

"Teamwork is not a matter of persuading yourself and your colleagues to set aside personal ambitions for the greater good. It's a matter of recognizing that your personal ambitions and the ambitions of the team are one and the same.  That's the incentive."

"Teamwork is not created by like-mindedness.  It's an emotional cohesion that develops from mutual respect and reciprocity and from coping with good times and adversity."

"To me, the greatest reward for being a team player, far outweighing any personal gain, is that it means you will never be alone.  Think about that.  Life has enough lonely times in store for all of us.  The wonderful thing about partnership is that it halves your sorrow and compounds your joys.  When you are pressure, your teammates will only multiply it.  The amount of success you are capable of enjoying and the pleasure you are capable of feeling, is equal to the number of people you are willing to share it with."

The name of Greg Brown's book is "The Best Things I've Seen In Coaching."  It's an outstanding book and you can order a copy HERE.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


As one of those coaches who enjoy watching video, I obviously enjoyed this article on the Atlanta Hawks Mike Budenholzer.  The story is written by Shaun Powell for NBA.com and tells the tale of Budenholzer's connection to Gregg Popovich and how it started in a film room:

In the summer of 1992, Popovich returned to California to join Don Nelson's staff with the Golden State Warriors. Budenholzer's time at Pomona came and went, and after a short stint playing professionally in Denmark, he returned to Arizona, jobless and anxious. Call Pop, said Vince. It couldn't hurt.

So Budenholzer dialed a man he'd never really met or knew and made a pitch. And Popovich was like: What does this kid want from me?

"He said he didn't have anything to do and that if I ever wanted help, he'd be available," said Popovich. "I figured he was someone else I'd have to bring in my office and talk to a bit and then get rid of him. I didn't have time for this stuff, but he did go to Pomona. So he comes in and I immediately liked him. Engaging young man. I talked to him and then said I had work to do and wished him good luck. Tried to get him out of my office. But he wouldn't leave. He said he'd do anything."

Popovich took Budenholzer to the Warriors film room and had him break down film and explain what he saw. Budenholzer, leaning on lessons from his father, surprised Popovich with his savvy for players and schemes. So Pop gave instructions: Come here every day, hand me film, don't say anything to me, don't ask me for tickets and definitely don't ask me for money.

And Budenholzer did exactly that.

"The whole time," said Popovich, "I don't think Nellie ever saw him, didn't know who he was or that he even worked for us."

During the next offseason, back in Arizona, Vince Budenholzer's phone rang. Popovich on the line.

"Where's Mike?" said Pop.

"I think he's out, but he'll be back soon."

"Well, if you can get ahold of him, I might just hire his ass."

Pop was on the move again, this time back to San Antonio in 1994 to be the Spurs' executive vice president of basketball operations/general manager and soon begin the tremendous run as coach that will someday put him in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"When I left the Warriors," said Popovich, "I took only two people with me: R.C. Buford (now the Spurs' GM) to do scouting and Mike to do film work."

This is a lengthy column by Powell that also speaks to the role that Budenholzer's father played.  It's well worth the read and you can see it in it's entirety here.

Monday, March 2, 2015


A couple of article recently on practice and playing time for collegiate basketball players spoke to the different philosophy between minutes at practice and minutes at games.  In an article by Chris Carson, it mentioned that some people had criticized Syracuse's Jim Boeheim for the big minutes some of his starters have been playing. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski came to his defense:

Faced with three players dealing with ankle injuries and a fourth recovering from shoulder and rib issues, Krzyzewski was asked if he worried about the minutes piling up on his players.

"Not minutes, it's injuries," Krzyzewski said. "Kids don't get tired from playing minutes. They get tired from over-practice. There's no kid in the world who gets tired from playing. You've got to be kidding me. You get tired if you play long minutes and then you practice long. None of those kids want to come out. That doesn't tire them out. It's how you practice."

Like Syracuse, Duke has just eight healthy scholarship players. But despite having more quality depth than the Orange, Krzyzewski paid little heed to the concept of a "freshman wall."

Krzyzewski played freshman Justise Winslow for 40 minutes against the Orange on Saturday and freshman point guard Tyus Jones for 38. Duke guard Quinn Cook is among the top five in minutes played in the ACC this year.

"Our practice is amazingly short and no contact," Krzyzewski said. "They've been interesting, let's put it that way. We don't tire them out. You worry about being in shape and how you run without contact or change surfaces and stuff like that. They all want to play 40 minutes."

In another article, by Mike Waters, he details Notre Dame's Mike Brey as to how he controls practice time while also allowing big minutes for key starters:

"The older guys know how to play 40 minutes,'' Brey said of his veterans. "They can fight through the fatigue mentally way better than a younger player. If it's younger guys, you can have an issue in game and length of season. Connaughton and Grant? They're men.''

Brey said he prefers to play with a shorter bench, giving more minutes to his top-line guys.

"I think it can help you,'' Brey said of a short rotation. "I think it helps your offensive efficiency. Guys know they're going to play. They'll move the ball. They're patient. When you play a lot of different guys, you get a lot of different guys playing together and they're more apt to turn the ball over. Also, nobody's looking over at the bench expecting to get the hook.''

Brey said he prepares his players to play more minutes from the time practice starts in the fall.

"In our practices, we get to 5-on-5 quick,'' Brey said. "We're 5-on-5 in that October to November stretch. They're getting their playing legs because we're playing in practice early in the season.

"You also have to start shortening your practices earlier than you'd think,'' the Notre Dame coach added. "You have to understand the value of rest days in November and December.''

By this time of year, Notre Dame's practices are practically walk-throughs compared to other schools.
"I haven't been on the floor more than an hour and 15 minutes since January 1,'' Brey said.

On Thursday, the day after Notre Dame's win over Duke, Brey said his team would not have a regular practice.

"These are what we call recovery days,'' Brey said. "We'll watch a little film of us, a little film of Pittsburgh, we'll let them stretch, they'll get a lift in, but no practice.''

Notre Dame's players also get massages regularly and have a chiropractor available as well.