Archive for the ‘July 2011’ Category
Friday, July 29th, 2011
In an article for Success magazine, John Maxwell had this advice:
“Winning teams have competent players, The Law of the Chain from my book The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork states that the strength of a team is impacted by it weakest link. And that weakest link is always going to determine the load the team is able to carry.
Lou Holtz told me over lunch some time ago that if you have a bad coach and bad players, you most definitely are going to have a bad team. If you have a bad coach and good players, you’ll have a fair team. But to have a good team you need a good coach and good players. That weak link – whether it’s the coach or the players – will always keep you from reaching your potential.
It’s not that the weaker player doesn’t have a role on the team. It’s highly possible your weak player is simply in the wrong position. Countless NBA players have been drafted as the next great point guard but for some reason didn’t get the job done. They either had too many turnovers or were not making their teammates better by getting them the ball where they needed it. But they flourished as soon as they were move to a shooting guard position. They weren’t bad players – they were just playing out of position.”
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
For many high school programs across the country, the summer is usually filled with team camps, summer games and individual workouts. Since it is generally viewed it is generally viewed as the ideal time to work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths and so most coaches and trainers put individual development as a top priority. Whether it is to strengthen their athletes’ off hands, increase their shooting range or improve their physical strength and athletic ability, the goal is to make as many improvements as possible before school starts.
With so much emphasis and concentration on developing top notch athletes, some coaches often neglect the importance of strengthening the overall team chemistry. The summer can often make or break a high school team and while I agree that individual development is extremely important, I’m convinced that coaches should also give equal attention to the meshing and bonding of their team.
One common myth is that team chemistry is best built during the spring because it allows the kids to interact everyday with each other at school. However, there are many others that argue this is not true. Here are two reasons why the summer may be the best time of the year to develop team chemistry:
1) Because school is out, many of the everyday distractions such as homework, teenage social drama and “non teammate” friends will be out of sight and out of mind.
2) Summer is also a time when it is easier for your athletes to view you and your staff as being coaches and friends who have their best interest at heart rather than teachers and authority figures. In other words, kids seem to bond better and quicker in more relaxed atmospheres.
Because of the current economy, many coaches are hesitant to promote team bonding with the use of expensive activities may prevent some athletes from participation. Here are several inexpensive yet fun and effective activities that you and your team can do this summer.
- Overnight camping trip
- Team hike
- Day on the river or lake
- Pizza Party and watch the big game (NBA playoffs, Major League baseball, World Cup soccer, WNBA)
- Video game competition
- Conduct a clinic or summer camp for younger kids
- Play city league softball or soccer
- Frisbee Golf
- Service project for boosters (yard work, painting, hauling debris)
The possibilities here are endless. The important thing is to spend some time together and to have fun. Guaranteed it will pay off next winter!
Monday, July 25th, 2011
I don’t like to lose. In fact I can honestly say that I HATE to lose. I am sure that if many of you answered this question honestly you would find that we share this same passion and that you feel the exact same way. With all sports at all age levels becoming more and more competitive every day, the pressure to perform well and win has been greatly magnified. Did you notice how I said “I hate to lose” instead of “I love to win”? This is a reflection of the perspective our society has taken as a whole. There have been various studies conducted and all of these have concluded that out kids are feeling more pressure than ever – pressure from parents, coaches, friends, and the media. Because kids today are so scared of letting everyone down by losing, many of them are not playing to win but instead they are playing not to lose. Big difference! Sometimes as coaches, and more often as parents, we get so competitive and want our kids to succeed so badly that we contribute to this additional but unnecessary pressure.
As a coach I am always trying to learn from the great winners throughout the entire sporting world and so I am currently reading a book on the dominant tennis champion, Pete Sampras. For those of you who do not know much information about this great athlete let me share a couple facts. Pete has won 7 Wimbledon Championships (the most coveted tournament in the world of tennis) 64 individual tournament titles and has earned over 43 million dollars in prize money. Pete IS the greatest tennis player to have ever picked up a racket. As I was reading his book, Pete Sampras: A Champion’s Mind, something jumped out to me. On a chapter about his childhood years, Pete claims that he never, ever, not even once choked in a big moment.
Later on in the chapter, Pete went on to explain why he never choked. He first defined in his own words what chocking was, and the difference between choking and losing. “Choking is being in a position to win, and then experiencing some critical failure of nerve or spirit. That never happened to me. And I can’t help but think it was because I was never afraid to lose. “
Michael Jordan is famous for, among other things, hitting clutch, game winning shots over and over again. In an interview, Michael was once asked, “What goes on in your head moments before taking a last second shot?” I will always remember his reply. Michael calmly looked the reporter in the eye and said “Why would I ever think about a shot I haven’t taken yet?”
Kids do feel the pressure to succeed and win. We all do. But if you can teach and encourage your team to play hard consistently and to play to win without any fear or worry of the consequences, they are much less likely to choke in big situations.
It’s worked for Pete Sampras!
Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
One of the questions that concerns many coaches is what size playing rotation should they use to maximize their opportunities to win.
If your goal is to win, eight players seems to be the optimal number to play. For most levels of competition five starters, one post sub, one guard sub, and one “other” is generally the ideal mix. The “other” is preferably a multi skilled athlete who can play a number of positions. If that type of player is not available, then the eighth member of your rotation would be your next best player regardless of position.
Larry Brown, the only coach to win both an NCAA (Kansas Jayhawks) and NBA (Detroit Pistons) Championship liked to base his teams around nine players. Coach Brown’s ideal roster includes:
- 3 Guards
- 2 natural point guards who can play together
- 1 natural shooting guard
- 2 Athletic, small forwards (What many would label as 3’s)
- 1 who can also play the 4 if needed
- 1 who can also play the 2 if needed
- 4 Bigs who can play either the 4 or 5 spot
How many players actually got into a game obviously depended on many factors but Coach Brown liked to have the available options that this type of roster provided.
Friday, July 22nd, 2011
Watching The World Cup Final last weekend got me thinking about Anson Dorrance, the women’s soccer coach at the University of North Carolina who has won 21 National Championships and one World Cup Championship. A few years ago I read a book by Dorrance called The Vision of a Champion and even though I don’t know much about soccer, I thought it was one of the best coaching books I have ever read. There are so many ideas and strategies in here that apply to all basketball coaches and players and to parents of athletes as well. Here are just a few of the notes that I took while rereading that great book:
Feel as if you are the margin of victory. Be part of the reason your team wins. On a day to day basis, take responsibility for everything: your fitness, whether you win or lose, whether you get to play or sit, whether you are a positive life force or a whiner, whether you are going to improve that day or “coast” Believe that you are in control of everything.
Look like Barbie but play like Attila the Hun
Find things in your game that you can have more control over. For me, that’s my defensive effort and my work ethic
An army of deer led by a lion is more to be feared than an army of lions led by a deer
Watch the best players. A good coach can talk to you about it but you need to see it demonstrated in order to imitate it when you play
To develop into a great player you have to highlight your strengths. . . .You want to focus on getting even better at what you are already good at. Seek to become truly excellent in at least one or two areas of the game.
If you are going to rise to the highest possible level, you need at least one quality that permits you to dominate in some aspect of the game.
Competitive drive is not governed by innate ability but by self discipline and desire.
Like competition, fitness is not a skill
In order to improve, and to foster competitive drive, you must consistently push yourself to places that aren’t comfortable.
Thursday, July 21st, 2011
A lot of players (and coaches) look at summer as being the “off season,” a time to rest and relax and stay out of the gym. Now while we all need some time to recharge our batteries, we should also realize that the summer is the perfect opportunity to improve our skills and to gain a competitive advantage.
You can increase your vertical jump, work on your ball-handling, shoot lots of game quality shots, or watch a video on drills and strategies. Do something and do it NOW!
Here are some great quotes for your bulletin board on being action oriented:
“The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything.” (Denis Waitley)
“The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.” (Anthony Robbins)
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” (Albert Einstein)
“What we think or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only thing of consequence is what we do.” (John Ruskin)
“One of the marks of superior people is that they are action oriented. One of the marks of average people is that they are talk oriented.” (Brian Tracy)
“Knowledge might be power, but only when you take action.” (Richard Keeves)
“People who want to retire so they can sit under a coconut tree watching the grass grow baffle me. We were created for meaningful work, and one of life’s greatest pleasures is the satisfaction of a job well done.” (John Maxwell)
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
- Down-screen and pin
- Give and go into a post up
- Dribble hand off and roll into the post
- Pick your own defender then post up
- Receive back screen then post up
- Flash into the post from the weak side
- Run to the front of the rim in transition
Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
Watching the USA Women’s Soccer Team compete in the World Cup today made me think of something North Carolina’s Anson Dorrance once said about soccer great Mia Hamm:
How hard do YOU work when no one is watching?
Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
I received these ideas yesterday in an email from www.briantracy.com and its given me a lot to think about!
“You can increase your efficiency and your effectiveness by becoming better and better at your key tasks. One of the most powerful of all time management techniques is for you to get better at the most important things you do. Your core competencies, your key skill areas, the places where you are absolutely excellent at what you do, are the key determinants of your productivity, your standard of living, and the level of achievement you reach in your field.
Identify the one skill, the most important skill, the one that, if you developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on your career. Whatever it is, set a goal, make a plan, and go to work to become excellent in that area. You will be absolutely amazed at the difference it will make in your career.”
What one skill do you need to develop to become a better coach or a better player? Most schools start in about six weeks and basketball season starts a couple months after that. It will be here before you know it! You don’t have to be great at everything but should strive to great at the one thing that will make the biggest difference!
Sunday, July 10th, 2011
Last week, when speaking to a gym full of campers and parents, Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer said something that is definitely worth thinking about. She said that “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.”
The more I have thought about this, the more I realize just how true a statement it is. You can coach without enthusiasm but you’ll never be a great one. You can be a player without enthusiasm but you’ll never be a great one. The same holds true with teaching, leading, writing, parenting, etc. Without passion and enthusiasm one will never be able to reach his or her full potential. Regardless of what you apply this to, this is a great quote to live by! True words of a great CHAMPION!!
Here is some more advice from Coach VanDerveer taken from the Ultimate Coaches’ Career Manual:
- Enjoy the process. Bring excitement and enthusiasm to the job every day. Always be positive.
- Do the little things and don’t be above any job. Do whatever it takes to be a great coach.
- I learned how crucial a teacher can be in nurturing or ruining a student’s passion. A teacher needs to find the trigger inside each student that will release his or her best work. Some students need to be pushed; others need space. Some need every detail explained; others work better on instinct.