Excellence is accomplished through deliberate actions, ordinary in themselves, performed consistently and carefully, made into habits, compounded together, and added up over time.
Since it is mundane, it is within the reach of everyone. Please don’t confuse this with success. In competitive athletics success is mutually exclusive. There are winners and losers. One team finishes first and the other finishes last.
So this is your challenge:
Through deliberate actions (the things players do in training)
Ordinary in themselves (everyone can do them, there are no real secrets)
Performed consistently (done on a regular basis)
And carefully (with high standards and extreme focus)
Made into habits (until they become part of you)
Compounded together (harnessing all of the elements)
Added up over time (when done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis)
One of the best ways to teach motion offense is in a 4 on 4 setting because it opens up the middle of the floor and encourages cutting, driving, and flashing to the ball.
One way to use a 4 on 4 setting is to take a particular play or movement and completely isolate it so that it can be executed over and over again. Here are some examples:
Pass and screen away only
Pass and basket cut only
Pick and roll only
Drive and kick only
While executing any of these plays it is always o.k. to cut backdoor if overplayed or to execute a dribble hand off. Later in the season you can instruct your team to execute any two, or any three, of these plays. However, no play can be run twice in a row. Eventually the team can be allowed to run any or all of the options.
While this drill will certainly improve your offensive efficiency it should also be noted that it will strengthen your defense as well as your defenders will get countless repetitions in stopping basketball’s most common offensive movements.
The following quote was taken from Pete Carroll’s Always Compete
Our whole thing is based on one simple thought: We want to win forever. Winning forever is not necessarily winning all your games, although he fans and certainly the alumni would like to see that happen, but it’s about having a blast, having fun, enjoying the heck out of it by finding out how good you can be. Competition gives us the mentality we can live in. we want to make it fun, but put it in a competitive mode.
The better the other team plays, the harder they make you play, and that makes you better.
Here’s a quick video that really highlights what makes Pete Carroll such a great motivator and coach. He is a master at getting players to buy-in to the team rather than themselves and it’s a huge contributor to his success.
Here is the third and final post containing an article written by Chris Dortch for NBA.com. It has some great advice from names we all recognize!
Basketball is a game of quick reactions. The best coaches don’t cloud the minds of their players with a ton of excess baggage for fear they’ll start thinking too much rather than reacting. Eastman’s tried and true shooting tip, for example, is remarkable in its simplicity.
“Ten toes to the rim,” Eastman said. “If you do that, you can’t be anything but square. And if you’re square, you’ve got a good chance to make the shot. It’s stuff like that we’re trying to get it down to.”
Atkinson, who has an extensive international player development background, has changed his approach over the years to better approximate game conditions. How simple is that?
“I used to be a big repetition guy,” he said. “Let’s make 25 shots from one spot. But I’ve come to find that as limiting; you’re not challenging the mental process. In a game you’re going to get different shot opportunities; you might get up a 3, then go to the rim the next play. So why not work on expanding the thought process?
What are you going to do in a game?”
Besides simplicity, Eastman has another thing going for him that makes him one of the best in the business. It’s called passion.
The Celtics have done a great job developing lower draft picks, thanks in part to the careful eye of executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and in part because of their player development program. Eastman is quick to credit the franchise’s various player personnel successes to head coach Doc Rivers and his other assistants. But make no mistake, Eastman has played his part.
ESPN analyst and former Duke player Jay Bilas works with Eastman during the summer at the Nike Skills Academy and speaks in reverential tones about the effort Eastman puts into his teaching and his willingness to share what he knows.
“When we finish a workout, he sweats as much as any player out there,” Bilas said. “He throws every ounce of his being into it.
“Every time I’m around him, I learn stuff. I take a ton of notes. Kevin’s the type of guy that, if he gains a piece of knowledge about the game, he would never keep it to himself. He would consider that an affront to the game.”
Here is the second of three parts of an article written by Chris Dortch for NBA.com:
NBA coaches know what to look for in the selection process. During a recent workout, Kenny Atkinson of the New York Knicks sidled over to a 6-foot-10, 260-pound post prospect and told him the trajectory of his jump shot was a bit too flat.
“So I told him to get his elbow up a little, and he started making them,” Atkinson said. “Then we worked on his footwork a little bit, and he went to the corner and started to make 3s. I’m sure the mentality with him has always been, ‘you’re 6-10, you need to be down on the block.’ But to me, with that shot being worth an extra point, it adds to your value if you can make it. It won’t be his bread and butter, but it expands his game.”
With that brief exercise, Atkinson could report back that this player was coachable, just like Landry Fields, whom the Knicks took in the second round last season. A couple of tweaks to Fields’ jumper by assistant coach Dan D’Antoni turned Fields into an NBA 3-point threat. His career percentage from the college three-point line was .343. As an NBA rookie shooting from three feet farther than he did in college, Fields shot .393 from behind the arc.
“A lot of that was footwork, getting more arc on it,” Atkinson said. “Dan will be the first to tell you those weren’t monumental changes, they were subtle changes.”
The key was that Fields was willing to make them.
Clearly, the prevailing opinion on the Knicks staff is that poor shooting mechanics can be corrected.
“There’s a lot of argument back and forth [in the coaching fraternity] about what skills you can improve,” Atkinson said. “There are guys who debate whether you’re a shooter, or not a shooter. As a coach, I’d like to think you can improve shooting.”
Eastman, who has been immersed in skills development since he wrote a 30-page booklet as a senior at the University of Richmond in 1978, believes that, too. And the process is easier than a lay person might imagine.
“A trait that I have is the ability to simplify something,” Eastman said. “We try to get every skill to three or four teaching points, no matter what it is.”
That comment reminds me of something amateur golf legend Bobby Jones once wrote about swing thoughts. If he took one thought to the course, Jones believed, he would play well. If he had two floating around his brain, he was in for a challenging day. And on those days when three or more thoughts fought for his attention, he couldn’t beat his grandmother.
Here is the first of three posts sharing an article written by Chris Dortch for NBA.com. The information applies to every player and coach at every level of basketball!
One of the best talents any player can have is the ability to be coachable. Taking instructions & information and applying it. That is called being coachable. Not just having a good attitude and being a good teammate, but taking information that your coaches are giving you and IMMEDIATELY applying it!
NBA prospects need talent – and ability to be coached
By Chris Dortch, for NBA.com
As NBA teams work out and interview potential draft picks in the remaining weeks heading up to the draft, one of the most important traits the various general managers and directors of player personnel will be looking to uncover is whether a player can handle the truth.
“The NBA is all about the truth,” said Boston Celtics assistant coach and skills instructor extraordinaire Kevin Eastman. “You can’t lie your way through to this level. Sooner or later, your skills, or lack of skills, will be exposed. So you deal with the truth straight on.” What Eastman means, and the reason my recent conversation with him turned all Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men is this: NBA teams want to know whether a player they’re about to invest millions of dollars in is coachable. And if the answer to that most basic of questions is yes, the next question is, can that player understand and agree with a realistic assessment of his game, warts and all?
In other words, can he handle the truth?
If he can, and he’s willing to put in the time to improve, he can make a nice living in the best basketball league in the world. The NBA assistant coaches I consulted for this column contend that most any weakness can be improved upon.
Talking with college coaches, I hear all the time about how their players, freed of the NCAA’s 20-hour rule (which limits a student-athlete to 20 hours a week of athletics related activity), can blossom at the next level, where they can work on their games as often as they choose. Not surprisingly, in a league that is constantly adding 19, 20 and 21-year old talent, skills development has become refined and sophisticated, practiced by game-improvement mavens who draw upon any means necessary to get their points across.
“The younger the league gets, the more important skill development becomes,” said Denver Nuggets assistant John Welch. “Before, a lot of that stuff was done in college, but now it has to be done in the NBA. With a team like ours, where we’ve traded older players and gotten back younger players, it’s become very important.”
The following was taken from Coach and Athletic Director magazine:
Understand what motivates your players. In practices and in games, we’ve got to know how to get our teams going. I often tell my teams that games aren’t the time for teaching…go play and we’ll fix it later. The same goes for us as coaches. We’ve got to remember to use practice time to figure out how each player is motivated to learn, how they’re motivated to push themselves, and how they’re motivated to excel. In the same manner, we can use scrimmages to see how they’re motivated in stressful competitive situations.
Do what it takes to be a champion. Winning cultures win. I’m sure you’ve played teams that your team was better than…but that other team had crazy swagger. They expected to win more than your team hoped to win. Before we can create a culture of winning, I believe we’ve got to create a culture of success. You all know by now how deep my love of John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success goes, he was awesome. He was also a champion.
Be a learning leader. Isn’t the coaching cliché that the best coaches steal from the best coaches? With so many coaches out there, I can’t think of a reason that we can’t all find someone to learn from! I believe in being a coaching nerd and learning from as many folks as I can, whether it’s another coach or a business leader.
Provide vision for your program. What is important to you? What is your coaching philosophy? How do you want your team to be perceived? All of those things go into creating a vision for your program. Then you go out and get it. Without knowing what you want, how will you know what players to recruit? Beyond that, how will your players know when they’re successful?
Put the team first. Everything we do has to be about the team. Whether it’s being incredibly prepared for every drill, practice, and game…or making sure you’re on the same page with your assistants. All of that puts the team first. Add to that all of the intangibles that we teach our athletes, they’ll appreciate that it’s “we before me” and model that behavior.
Have fun. Hopefully you love your sport. Hopefully you love going to practice. Hopefully you love coaching. Hopefully you love your athletes (even when they’re driving you crazy). Hopefully you get along with your coworkers. Hopefully you’ve got rock star assistants. If you’ve got all of that, then you’re having fun.
Leading, coaching…it’s not easy, but it’s the best job ever! We can learn from those folks who’ve not only been successful, but who’ve been continuously successful over a long period of time.
The following information came from a relatively older book (1981) entitled Coaching Basketball’s New Passing Game Offense by Pat McClary:
There are five requirements that you must consider before adopting the passing game (motion) philosophy. These five requirements are:
A well organized method for teaching the offense
A sound conditioning program
Players that possess fundamental offensive skills
A philosophy of discipline
A simplified method for using the offense
While Coach McClary applied these requirements to running motion offense, they certainly appy to any offensive system that you might utilize. Quickly think of the offense that your team is currently using – how many of these requirements do you have firmly in place? Notice how the first requirement describes teaching the offense – not coaching it!
Here are some quotes taken from a great book by Charlie Jones called “What Makes Winners Win”
Confidence is only born of one thing – demonstrated ability. Bill Parcells
To win, you have to lose and then get pissed off. Joe Namath
Most people go into everything looking out for their own ass. There’s nothing wrong with that but you’ll never be part of something truly significant if that’s going to be your attitude. Pat Riley
There’s no such thing as natural touch. Touch is something you create by hitting millions of golf balls. Lee Trevino
My goal was not to work harder than anybody else. My goal was to beat everybody else. It still is!Tom Kite
I am a winner. I just didn’t win today. Greg Norman
Only by pushing beyond our limits can we really learn something new about ourselves.
Single-mindedness. I hate to say it because I don’t think it’s the best thing for developing a person, but the single-mindedness – just concentrating in that one area – that’s what it takes to be a champion. Chris Evert
Every night when I went to sleep I saw myself winning. Bruce Jenner
If you want to be the best, you’ve got to be willing to do what no one else is willing to do. Johnny Miller
You become addicted to the adrenaline of the game. Bob Trumpy
The gift of a champion is the ability to compete under pressure, to give a peak performance at a peak moment. Very few are capable of performing in that realm.