Sunday, April 23, 2017


Below are excerpts from an article on Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau.  You can read the entire article at the Star Tribune.  But here are a few take aways that speak to his attention to detail:
What the Wolves now have is a meticulous preparer who scrawls scouting information on a locker room white board for 15 or 20 minutes before every game. It's a task most head coaches relegate to an assistant.
"He takes his time, too," Towns said. "He'll erase and write, erase and write and when he feels he has it perfect, he leaves it."
Kerr calls it "attention to detail that probably is second to none." Kerr said he considers Thibodeau one of two coaches who most shaped the modern NBA game. Mike D'Antoni did it offensively in Phoenix, Thibodeau did it defensively as associate head coach for three seasons with the Celtics, including the 2008 champions.
"He puts so much thought and preparation into the game, you know he's putting you in the best possible position to win games," Wolves veteran center Cole Aldrich said. "That's what you really have to respect about the guy. He knows his stuff."

Saturday, April 22, 2017


We just read a fascinating article from Dr. Rob Bell on the importance of the start of practice.  You can read his entire article here.  He even sites thoughts from coaches such as Jim Mora and Tom Coughlin.

There is certainly an art to this and it needs to be calculated first by the staff and then by the leadership of your team.  We talk to our team about having a “game day mentality” for practice.  Make sure you come mentally and emotionally read to maximize the day’s workout.  For us, there are a couple of things we utilize such as pre-practice, emphasis of the day and practice goal cards and you can read about of these here.

Dr. Bell talks about a “re-connect” with coach and player each day to start.  One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is Sherri Coale.  While coaching at LSU I took the opportunity to watch Coach Coale and her Oklahoma team practice one summer in preparation for a European trip.  Each practice the players would come out and shoot and stretch.  I observed Coach Coale make physical and emotional contact with every single player before they huddled up to begin.  It might be a high-five, a grab of the arm or a slap on the back but it would be followed by a brief conversation and almost always a smile on the face of the player. Practices at OU started with great energy.

As Dr. Bell writes:

Arriving to practice should involve an emotional and team-oriented approach. Dynamic stretching, warming-up, and bonding between the players and the coaches are all part of arriving both mentally and physically. The arrival period of practice is also the best time for a coach to re-connect with players and get a sense of “what’s going on.”

Arriving early and establishing that expectation helps tremendously with the starting of practice.

Next, how do you emphasize the starting of practice. This is the time that you expect your team to be focused and dialed in. If the arrival has been taken care of, chances are the start will be effective as well.

Friday, April 21, 2017


The following comes from an outstanding article on Bill Belichick written by Suzy Welch for  It’s a detailed article on some Belichick’s philosophy regarding leadership and his team.  It also includes a 16-minute video interview.  You can, and should check out the entire piece here.  Quickly, here are his five rules of exceptional leadership.

1. Leadership means building a team that's exhaustively prepared, but able to adjust in an instant
"The only sign we have in the locker room is from 'The Art of War.' 'Every battle is won before it is fought,'" says Belichick, who started breaking down films of opposing teams when he was 7 years old and hanging out with his dad, Steve, an assistant coach at Annapolis.

"You [have to] know what the opponents can do, what their strengths and weaknesses are ... [and] what to do in every situation," he says.

2. Leadership means having the discipline to deploy your "dependables"
You know your star performers? The ones who can dazzle and amaze, except when they don't? They're definitely appealing, Belichick admits.

But over the years, he's learned they're not his type. He'd rather stick with his tried-and-true people — call them his "dependables."

"There have been times when I've put too much responsibility on people. ... They might have been the most talented, or the people you hoped would do the right or best thing, and they didn't come through," Belichick says.

3. Leadership means being the boss
Belichick says this principle first came to him when he was just 23, addressing the Colts as a special teams coach. Two players, one of them a talented starter, spent the beginning of the meeting giggling and chatting. Inside, Belichick recalls, he was seething: "I'm not afraid of these guys. It's either [them] or me. We can't run a team like this."

Finally, he let loose. "Look, either you shut up or you get out of here. That's it."

4. Leadership means caring about everything going on in the lives of your people
Maybe the previous rule would make you think otherwise, but Belichick strongly believes you must see your team not just as players, per se, but as people who have full, three-dimensional, and often messy lives.

"There are a lot of things that affect what happens on the field that occur off the field," he says. Players "have wives and girlfriends. And they have babies. And they have personal situations. They have parents that are sick. All of it runs in together."

5. Leadership means never resting on your laurels
Ask Belichick if he's still celebrating the stunning come-from-behind Super Bowl victory in February and you get another "You're killing me here" look.

"We're onto 2017. No one cares about 2016 anymore," he says. "You can't look back. We don't talk about last year. We don't talk about next week. We talk about today, and we talk about the next game. That's all we can really control."

Monday, April 3, 2017


These are my complete notes from listening to Coach Don Meyer at the Baden Coaching Clinic in Coral Springs, Florida in 2005.  For those who have read Buster Olney's outstanding book on Coach Meyer, "How Lucky Can I Be," this was the clinic that Coach attempted to drive me off my diet with a pack or Oreos. 

Everything in RED is mine and highlighted as such because it struck a chord with me that day.

Get all the good ideas but you can’t use them.

Keep philosophy simple...Majerus says this is a difficult thing.

Tarkanian: “The more they think, the slower they get.”

Search for the teachable moment:
              -Big Win

What you say after loss or big win is tremendously important.

Why I Coach (Coach Meyer’s list) - make my list
Teach toughness (life skill)
Teach team attitude (everyday)
Teach fundamentals
Teach life skills

Bus ride — team bonding.

We need to collect our player notebooks and review them...periodically check them make sure “they get it.”

Jerry Krause
Be yourself
Find your unique talent or gift
Give your gift away

Real coaching is the test of time.

Wooden: “I miss the smell of the practice floor.” of the things you can control...not looking for pretty—looking to get better.
Hank Iba: “You must practice the game in the manner in which it is played.”

Joe Paterno: “It’s a coaches job to replicated game situations in practice.

7 C’s of Coaching
     play hard you must be in shape
              Communication...early, often, loud
              Concentration...never saw a confident team that was quiet
              Compete...drills must be competitive
              Consistency...result of doing it everyday
              Chaos...must have it in practice because you have it in games

John Wooden: “We might not be the most conditioned team but they think they are.”

Lon Krueger: “Prepare, practice and play like you just lost your last game.”

Morgan Wooten: “Leadership starts at the top.”

Good leaders make the team think they did it.

Got to have internal leaders.  We must develop

“An army of lions lead by an ass will be defeated by an army of asses lead by a lion.”
-sign on Doug Collins office

Wooden philosophy on helping kids: “It is better to go too far than not far enough.”

Points of Contact

Attraction: people feel attractive by you make them see themselves.

Somewhere we need to meet someone who expects greatness of you.

Listen to your leaders as a coach.

Got to have a couple of kids that know the game.

Coaching Energy—
Rest...if you are fatigued you can’t be consistent
Relax...from your work
Enjoy the fruits of your labor

Enjoy the relationships with your kids and your friendships with coaches.

No down time if you coach right.

Savor the success of your work...journey’s a lot better than the end.

Thoughtfully reflect on what you learn in order to improve

Coach Meyer keeps 3 journals
              -Things I learned today
              -Wife (will give to her as a present)

One minute assessments (Develop this in my coaching style)
              1 thing YOU did well and WHY
1 thing WE can do better and HOW

Coach Meyer: “What motivates me?  Being around coaches who care and love to teach.”

3 Stages of coaching:
Blind enthusiasm
Sophisticated complexity
Mature simplicity


No job too small, no sacrifice to big.

Leaders must be accessible to kids (give this quote to our kids)

5 Stages of coaching:
     Striving for Success
     Significant State (dangerous level = jealousy)
     Spent (have burnt the candle all the way down)

You should feel your program is the “front porch to the university” (Mark Emmert)

Demotivational Factors:
Doubt (yourself/system)

Worst reason to take a job is for the money.

MATTHEW 6:25-:34
Do Not Worry
    25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[a]?
    28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
5 “F” Words
              Faith...believe in something not yet seen
              Family...have to have a family with your team
              Friends...have to have them for balance
              Fitness...lifetime goal
     to your kids about

America keeps score by dollars — lousy way.
Money is a terrible master, an excellent servant
Not what you have but what has you.
Money has yet to make a man rich.

Nothing drains your energy more than a non-responsive player.

Life is too short to spend with losers.

Never be afraid to tell a coach, players, or team that you love them.

Coach Meyer’s Morning Routing (I need to develop one for off-season)
List of people to pray for
Goals to achieve that day

Dictaphone (do a better job of using mine)
Coaching pitfalls...

On dealing with administrators: “Don’t wrestle in the mud with the pig because the pig likes it.”

Pressure is good...stress is bad.

A diamond is a hunk of coal made under pressure.

You’re a poor specimen if you can’t handle the pressure of adversity.

Cozy up to pressure.

A good enemy is often better than a good friend.

Coach Meyer will talk to parents about anything but playing time.

Coaches must learn to deal with parents.  Kids don’t pick their parents.

Can we win with you on the floor?
Can we win with you on the bench?

Body carriage
X Factor

“They knew he was going to be great long before they called him ‘Bear.’”

It’s OK to make a mistake...not OK to mope, pout or quit...this applied to players and coaches (coaches first).

Learn from your kids...they’ll surprise you...if not, you’re a bad teacher.

Key to a great program...Look for ways to win!

Are you a victor or a victim?

NBA...Next Best Action

Greatest strength...greatest weakness — be balanced.

Only thing that can keep us safe is humility — lifetime learned.

Coach today the way you want 10 years from now.

Knight is into the common denominator of wins and loses.
Why did we win?
Why did we lose?

Dean Lockwood talking to Pat Summit on plane ride back from Michigan State loss…
...was Michigan State better conditioned...Summit: “No”
...did Michigan State have better athletes...Summit: “No”
...was Michigan State tougher...Summit: “No”
...was Michigan State more skilled...Summit: “Yes”

Team Building
Physically touch 1/3 of your players every day.
LaRussa—red fungo bat — converse with players at batting practice

Northern has daily sign-in sheet with space for comments.

Bulletin board is important but less is more on it.

Water fountain outside of Coach Meyer’s office
Players always stop and get a drink of water
Allows Coach Meyer to have a conversation with them
Sign on fountain: “No true wolf passes by without taking a drink.”

Team building: informal time...informal things together.

Scouting Sheet
              Seniors go over with others
              Watch video together the night before
Team goes to high school games together (community support/recruiting)

Team works concessions for other sports

Coach Meyer takes team on retreat.

“What are you going to give your team everyday?”

Player a better job of checking them!

Camp/Team (3 things everyone does)
Everyone takes notes (including coaches)
“Please”  “Thank You”  “Yes sir”  “No Sir”  “Yes mam”  “No mam”
Pick up trash

Teach Each Other!!!

Northern sometimes lifts after a game.
Stretch before and after practice

Recover procedure

Redshirt workouts
We need to do this with redshirts or little used subs

Keeps them in shape...improves their them value

Wolf Dog Festival
Great for community

have face-to-face with team before they leave for summer

“Getting Things Done”  - David Allen
Anything by Bruce Brown

Juggling — add to our 2 ball routine.

Coach Meyer look to use Swing Offense

Coach Meyer inbounding the ball on the left side to allow point to use right hand to cross main street.

Type, laminate and keep copy on desk and in planner

#1 Allowing “to-dos” to rule day instead of prioritizing

#2 Setting unrealistic number of things to do each day

#3 Failing to have your planning system with you at all times

#4 Forgetting to allow time between schedule appointments

#5 Failing to allow 1 1/2 hours a day for the unexpected

#6 Not having an effective system for capturing and retrieving information

#7 Failing to have a personal management system

#8 Retaining unnecessary information

#9 Failing to plan for “big rocks” weekly, “small rocks” daily

#10 Failing to allow time for advanced planning