Monday, May 30, 2016


I believe it is a great measure of someone's character as to what they do -- beyond just what they say.  Results come from actions and not intentions.  Those results can be measured. Intentions not so much.

"A garden requires patient labor and attention.  
Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. 
 They thrive because someone expended effort on them."
-Liberty Hyde Bailey

Here is a passage regarding intent vs. impact from "Above the Line" by Urban Meyer:

We have a saying that is fundamental to what we do:

I see better than I hear.

Or as Andrew Luck told me, "Your actions are so loud I can't hear what you're saying."

Sometimes we express it another way: Don't give me theory.  Give me testimony.

We are not measured by our intentions, but by our actions.


Here are some thoughts from Lin Dunn that I got listening to her speak and spending some time with her at A Step Up Assistant Coaching Symposium a few weeks ago:

As a pro coach, she spend 15 minutes each day on fundamentals.

Building Confidence:
     Preparation (goal is to be over-prepared)
     Investment (being the best you can be)
     Trust in the System
     Have goals
     Consistent Improvement
     Believe in People
     Believe in Teamwork

Core Values -- the will be the foundation of your program
     What is important to you
     Work ethic (walk the walk coaches)

Characteristics she loves in players
     Mentally tough
     Loved coaching kids who had faced adversity
     Failure = Opportunity
     Poised & Composed
     Highly competitive
     Ability to Focus in the moment
(notice this list was about intangibles)

True champions value giving back.

Mental toughness: bend without breaking

Be careful what you say after a game...only player acknowledgement after the game.

If you have a sense of humor, use it.

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Success leaves footprints -- I firmly believer that.  Follow (and study) those that are successful and you will learn a great deal.  However there are always a few common traits of the great and one is they are they are continually looking to improve -- no matter at what level they currently hold.  To follow is a great story that comes from "3 Things Successful People Do," by John Maxwell:

It's said that when Spanish composer-cellist Pablo Casals was in the final years of his life, a young reporter asked, "Mr. Casals, you are ninety-five years and the greatest cellist that ever lived.  Why do you still practice six hours a day?"

What was Casals's answer?  "Because I think I'm making progress."


Those loyal followers of our blog know of your strong belief in Process Over Results.  This weekend I've been rereading "The Xs &Os of Success" by Coach Lon Kruger and loved this passage.

During practice drills, the desired outcome has nothing to do with a scoreboard, thus the score annot be used as a metric.  We want our players to embrace this and focus on more identifiable and more immediate results.

Compete for the strong block out.  Compete to set the proper screen.  Compete to finish the shot.  Players have control over these outcomes by they compete for the desired results.

We want our players to play every possession like it's the last possession of the game and will determine the result.  We want this to become a habit.

Competing to win each possession means we must always focus on the details.  We never talk about simply winning with our team.  We do talk about doing all of the little things well and that will give us the best chance to win, regardless of the score.

Once your team begins competing based upon the score, you will find slippage within the details and the fundamentals.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


One of the problems with young athletes today is that when they see the best they believe in large part that they have achieved greatness naturally -- though their talent.  The great ones can at times make it look easy. I spend a lot of times sharing stories of hard work and sacrifices of sports finest with my teams so that they hopefully realize that greatness comes with a price and that it must be earned.

One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball is Ted Williams.  What made him great was a tremendous desire to be the best.  In the book "The Kid" written by Ben Bradlee, Jr., there was a story of someone who told Ted when he was young that he went to see too many movies and that it might strain his eyes.  Ted stopped going to the movies.

In 1936, Ted signed a minor league contract with San Diego.  Here is story from the book:

Frank Shellenback (William's manager) was impressed early on by Williams's work ethic, drive and determination.  After home games Ted would ask Shellenback for a couple of old baseballs.  When the manager asked what he did with them, Ted said he used them for extra batting practice after dinner at the park near his house. Shellenback found that hard to believe, having seen Ted come in to Lane Field at ten in the morning for extra hitting in addition to the regular workout every day.  As Shellenback told the Boston Herald's Arthur Sampson in 1949, one evening he drove to Williams's neighborhood to investigate and saw the rookie "driving those two battered baseballs off over the field.  Ted was standing close to a rock which served as home plate.  One kid was pitching to I'm.  A half dozen others were shagging drives.  The field was rough and stony.  The baseball I had given him were already showing signs of wear.  The stitching was falling apart.  The covers were rough as sandpaper.  Blood was trickling from Williams's hands as he dripped a chipped bat.  But he kept swinging.  And hitting.  Ted made himself the great baseball players he is today."


The following are Part III (and the final part) of notes I took from Coach Mike Dunlap at the A Step Up Assistant Coaching Symposium two weeks ago.

Know the ingredient of a good drill:
              1. time
              2. score
              3. rotation (likes assistants teaching players as they rotate off)
              4. element of surprise
              5. rebounding

Izzo has assistants charting rebounding at practice.

Drills have to have purpose — have to connect to your philosophy.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Coach Dunlap’s power word is “Servant”

Qualifications for an assistant coach.

#1 Be a servant — it’s not about you
     Be interested in the process...if you’re good, they’ll find you

#2 Shut your mouth
     The head coach needs your eyes to see what he/she can’t see
     Know you

When players “push back” they are testing you.

Make your questions to players more specific

No ball rebounding (ball kills the drill)

“Get the ball out of the drill when you want to get it right.”

Add by subtraction — take the dribble away

Simplify questions

Don’t give away your standards...don’t allow them to lower the ball.

Compliment them when they ask a good question
Let them answer it
Allow them to be wrong
That’s teaching

I was willing to wait 20 years to get the dream.

Most of us aren’t willing to pay the price.

Success = change in behavior

What are the trends...think of common denominators

Sunday Morning piece by Charles Osgood on 3 guitar players with the same teacher...teacher asked what was the key for the one who became a star:  “The start could deal with discouragement.”

Nick Saban: “Be great where you are at.”

Friday, May 27, 2016


The following are Part II of my notes from Jim Boone's lecture on Pack Line Pressure Defense at last week's TABC Coaching Clinic in San Antonio.  Jim has been a life-long friend and a special member of my coaching circle.  He is absolutely one of the best teachers around and an excellent clinician.


1. Pressure on the Basketball (based on ability/athleticism)

              “Kobe” - (Driver/Shooter) — elbows bent...finger touch closeness
              “Rondo” - (Driver) — “Sometimes not to guard is to guard.”
              “Curry” - (Dead 3)
Closeouts are about seeking leverage

Doesn’t like to switch — wants to maintain the integrity of the match-up

JB: “We are an eye-to-eye” program.”

Utilize echo yells

2. Already in Help

Chuck Daly: “Defense can’t guard two things in a row.”

Guarding non-ball defender
2 feet in Pack
Closer to the ball than your man
See ‘em both
TP: Defend with near arm, near leg (no open stance)

2/2 Full Court — Seal the gap
TP: Get off and get ahead

Tates Locke “Rule of Two”
              2 minutes to Teach a Drill
              2 days to Learn the Skill
              2 months to make it a Habit.

JB doesn’t use a whistle in practice...wants player to be able to lock into his voice.

3. Can’t keep them from getting shots but can influence where those shots come from.

Things we can control:
Conversion Defense
Defensive Rebounding
Low Post Defense

JB likes to “Red” the post — double big to big

All players are denied pass inside of 16’
JB: “We don’t get to the mid-line on help because we don’t deny.”

Don’t concede post feed.

Side Ball Screen (Outer Third)
“Body Up” - make ball use screen
“Body In”
Screen Defender: Hand on hip
2 Steps Thru

High Ball Screen—Level/Show

JB: “If I was a high school coach I’d have an alternate defense for playing from behind.”

Al McGuire: Greatest emotion is winning
2nd Greatest emotion is losing
Winning goes to the head
Losing goes to the heart
Must learn to move forward

Thursday, May 26, 2016


The following are Part II of notes I took from Coach Mike Dunlap at the A Step Up Assistant Coaching Symposium two weeks ago.

Must have a goal/game plan watching film with your team: What do you want to get out of these video clips.

Steph Curry is special because he has mastered the ability to make space.

Coaches, when you are in practice, don’t pick a space and moving.

Nick Saban: “You can only be where your shoes are.”

Wooden: he rotated during practice and staff rotated with him (Dale Brown taught this — probably got it from Wooden).

Practice Building:
              Practice plan: Has 4 to 5 rewrites and has them with his staff
              Doesn’t adjust practice seasonally
              They are a “1 more” program
              Promise less, do more
              Look for reasons to shorten practice

Players don’t get better the last third of the season because of the lack of attention to skill work.

Big believer in finding time to player 1/1 and 2/2 late in the season...create tournaments (got to play for something)

Coach Dunlap wants them “going out of practice with their voices humming”

Always teach heavy stuff in the beginning