Archive for the ‘Discussion’ Category
Monday, February 18th, 2013
Players of all ages and at all levels often aspire to make the All Star team. Some see it as a badge of honor and as being recognized for a job well done.
Others use the potential possibility of being named an All Star as an extra boost of motivation to work hard and stay focused.
Whatever the reason, if you want to make the All Star team you must make sure that you DO NOT play like an All Star!
If you watched Sunday night’s NBA All Star game then you know exactly what I am talking about.
No close-outs, no ball pressure, centers with no range firing up 3 pointers, uncontested shot after uncontested shot, the lane opening up like the Red Sea on every drive to the basket, no one running hard in either direction, no fouls, no steals, very little passing, etc.
Entertaining – yes, at times. Real basketball – not even close! In fact, if you play that way you’ll be lucky to make most middle school teams!
Is it too much to ask that the best players on the planet actually play hard and really compete against one another?
As a real fan I don’t want to watch a two hour dunk contest disguised as a game.
I want to watch great players getting after it, sharing the ball, playing some defense, and actually competing.
I want to be able to tell my sons that if they just play as hard as the All Stars then they’ll be all right when it comes to their own teams.
I’ve been thinking that maybe the NBA should take the same approach that Major Leage Baseball takes – the division (league) that wins the All Star game gets home court advantage during the finals.
Make the game worth something and maybe the players will play harder.
Until then, if you want to make the All Star team, don’t play like an All Star!
Saturday, December 8th, 2012
There are hundreds of coaches, including the legendary John Wooden, who believe that drills should be run for a predetermined amount of time. If the drill is being executed extremely well it can be cut short but if the team or individual involved is struggling, the length of the drill should never be extended.
However, there has recently been a new train of thought when it comes to drills and holding players accountable for executing them properly.
In his book, Develop Relentless Competitors Drillbook, sports leadership expert Jeff Janssen says that High Standards Drills can be set up with virtually any kind of physical drill by making a specified number of consecutive plays in a row or they can be set up by achieving a certain number of successes in a specific period of time.
According to Janssen, “The key concept with High Standards Drills is to establish a specific high standard of performance that your athletes must achieve or surpass before they can complete the drill. If the team achieves or surpasses the goal, the drill is over.
If they fall short, they must keep doing the drill until they achieve the standard. Obviously the drill typically becomes tougher over time as the athletes get more and more tired. Not only will you see Competitors emerge when you do these drills because they want to get them over and done, you will also see leaders attempt to step up, motivate, and refocus the team.”
Before completing ignoring this idea, consider the words of Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer who says “You can’t beat opponents if you can’t beat drills.”
Monday, November 19th, 2012
As coaches we should constantly be grading ourselves and measuring our own performance levels. As much turnover as there is in the coaching profession, you can bet that others are watching and grading almost our every move. Here are some areas where we should know exactly how we are doing:
- Recruiting (Obviously this only applies to college and club coaches but if you recruit well you can usually be an average coach and still keep your job)
- Staff organization and your ability to delegate, lead, and motivate your lower level coaches
- Team chemistry including players and players, players and coaches, coaches and coaches
- Public relations. How is your team perceived in the community?
- Practice organization
- Knowledge of X’s and O’s
- Bench coaching and game management
- Individual and team improvement throughout the season
- Program growth and development. Now that you are in charge is your entire program better off than it was before you started?
- Wins, losses, and playoff appearances
- Are you keeping the people who hired you happy? For example, some administrations care about winning more than others. At some places you can coach forever if your players are outstanding citizens and maintain good grades. I know a very successful coach who was fired because of his reluctance to participate in athletic department fund raising activities and I currently know a newly hired volleyball coach who may lose his job because of his language even though his team may make the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Be true to yourself and to your players but keep the people who hired you happy.
How do you measure up in each of these areas? If you want to keep “playing” and stay in the game you have to play to your strengths and improve your weaknesses. If that advice is good enough for oor players it is good enough for us.
If you feel like you can improve in any of these areas, we highly recommend you check out the “Coach the Coach” program available at Basketball Classroom. It is a tremendous resource for coaches looking to improve themselves in every facet of the profession.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
Several days ago Alabama’s Nick Saban was asked during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference about hurry up, no huddle offenses such as the one used by the University of Oregon. His answer had to be laughable to most modern day basketball coaches and players:
“I just think there’s got to be some sense of fairness in terms of asking, ‘Is this what we want football to be?’
At some point in time, we should look at how fast we allow the game to go in terms of player safety. The team gets in the same formation group, you can’t substitute defensive players, you go on a 14-, 16-, 18-play drive and they’re snapping the ball as fast as you can go and you look out there and all your players are walking around and can’t even get lined up.That’s when guys have a much greater chance of getting hurt when they’re not ready to play.”
Really, Coach Saban? Coaches everywhere know that one of the secrets of winning is to control the tempo of the game and to make opponents play at an uncomfortable pace. Sometimes that pace is slower and sometimes it’s faster.
Can you imagine if anyone ever suggested that we eliminate the fast break or sideline break because they often happen too fast before the defense has a chance to set up? I can almost hear Paul Westhead laughing from here!
What does Coach Saban want teams to do? Maybe instead of having a play clock teams could be required to wait 30 seconds before getting on the line of scrimmage again. On the basketball court we could make a rule that all teams must count to five before advancing the ball on a change of possession and then must pass five times before shooting.
Coach Saban complains that there isn’t time to substitute defensive players out of the game. If that’s the case isn’t it true that there isn’t time to substitute offensive players out of the game either?
Control tempo. Prepare your squad to beat the toughest teams on your schedule. Play to the very best of your abilities. Don’t make or accept excuses. And remember if you can’t beat them you can always join them!
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Coaches and players alike know that even though a team may have the best players and the most innovative offenses and defenses, they will never reach their full potential unless there is complete “buy in” from everyone in the program.
Of course that’s easier said than done, especially when working with young athletes. So once a week for the next five weeks we are going to feature some advice on achieving total buy in from success expert Jon Gordon.
Here is step #1:
Culture First – In 2008 Mike Smith was hired to be the head coach of The Atlanta Falcons after Bobby Petrino left the team and their culture in shambles. I consulted with Coach Smith during that time and his biggest priority as a new coach was to focus on the culture of the team.
Coach Smith knew that he had to first identify, create and share the values, expectations, beliefs and habits that would define the Atlanta Falcons in order to get his players to buy in.
Those who shared these values and beliefs would be enthusiastic and engaged while those who didn’t fit this culture were given other opportunities to play somewhere else. Coach Smith created his culture every day by sharing his beliefs with the team, making his expectations very clear, having the team read The Energy Bus, communicating positive messages on a daily basis, and living and breathing the values he wanted to ingrain in his team.
Monday, October 1st, 2012
High school student athletes who want to compete at a NCAA Division I university currently need to graduate, complete 16 core courses, and earn at least 2.0 grade point average in those core courses.
However, beginning in the 2015-16 academic year student athletes (this year’s 9th graders), will be required to earn a 2.3 grade point average if they want to compete.
If a student’s GPA falls between 2.0 and 2.3 he will still be allowed to receive an athletic scholarship and to practice with the team, but will not be able to travel to any away games or to play in any games regardless of where they are held.
A student with a GPA below 2.0 cannot receive an athletic scholarship, cannot practice with the team, and cannot play in any games.
Besides the minimum GPA, student athletes must also register a satisfactory score on the SAT or ACT tests. Simply put, the higher the GPA, the lower the required test score.
There is a sliding scale that all potential athletes and their coaches should be aware of and that scale can be found at www.eligibilitycenter.org.
I know 2015-16 seems like it is lightyears away but it will be here before we know it. Now is the time for middle school athletes and their parents to start looking ahead and preparing for the future by strengthening current study habits.
Those who wait too long might find themselves on the couch instead of on the court!
Monday, September 3rd, 2012
Over the past few months I have read two books (“The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle, and “Talent is Overrated,” by Geoffrey Colvin) that have discussed how and why great performers reach the pinnacle of their chosen fields. One such reason is the vast amount of hours these performers devote to deliberate and purposeful practice.
However, another reason is that they are usually surrounded by excellence and get to rub shoulders with other hard working, dedicated, high achievers. Athletes, musicians, computer programmers and even scientists have all benefitted greatly from living in an atmosphere of greatness. Watching like minded people who have already reached a certain level of success conduct their personal and professional lives almost always seems to benefit everyone involved.
For example, notice how many world, Olympic, and personal records are set during the upcoming Summer Olympics. Living in the Olympic Village and constantly interacting with a myriad of the world’s best athletes is going to have a tremendous effect on many and is sure to produce several record breaking performances.
Fully realizing the power behind a strong example, the leaders of USA Basketball are taking deliberate steps to ensure the success of the next generation of American world class basketball players. In an article called “The Team Behind The Dream Team,” written by Brett Koremenos on May 30, 2012 and posted on Yahoo Sports, we can see the importance of leadership in action.
“While so much credit is given to coaches helping players reach the pinnacle of self-actualization, it could be argued that peer influence has a much greater effect on player’s career arc. Young draft picks surrounded by solid professionals seem to have a much better chance at reaching their ceilings than those put in organizations loosely bordering on an asylum. The Select Team being paired with Team USA during training creates a guild of sorts where players normally opposing each other are allowed to see how their counterparts prepare. (And before you go on thinking this is a bunch of nonsense, just ask Jared Dudley about the off-court influence that Grant Hill and Steve Nash have had on him.)
For the young players on the squad, most of whom are still finding their footing as professionals; it’s the Chameleon Effect at its finest. After all, much of our social interaction is guided by mimicry. For years our mannerisms have been affected by the visual cues we’ve received from groups we’ve associated with. The callow youngsters in this training camp are no exception to this. Many across the league have surely heard of Kobe Bryant’s insane work ethic, but to see him finishing up a pre-practice workout that started at 6 a.m. drenched in sweat is most likely an eye-opening experience.”
If you are a coach you have a responsibility to create a culture within your program that fosters and rewards hard work and achievement. It needs to be a place where excellence is expected and everyone is pushed higher and higher by their peers. If you are a player, seek out the best players in your area even if they don’t attend your school. Watch and learn everything you can from them – how they prepare, how they practice, how they eat, etc. Remember, that success can be duplicated; all it takes is a great example and a lot of hard work.
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
While watching the 2012 Summer Olympics I have one again remembered that in every match, meet, race, or game there is always a “competition within a competition.” Sure, the athletes, teams, and countries are competing against each other in hopes of establishing or re-establishing themselves as one of the very best in the world. But those very same competitors are also battling themselves while they attempt to raise the bar called “personal best.”
When I was younger I couldn’t figure out why some of the competitors were so obviously thrilled to finish second, third, fourth, fifth or even lower. After all wasn’t the silver medal merely the prize for the first loser?
Of course now I understand that before we can worry about winning the competition with others we need to focus on winning the competition with ourselves. I can’t really control what you do as my opponent but I can (and should) do everything possible to be mentally prepared, to cut down my mistakes, to execute flawlessly, to bounce back after a slow start and to persevere through adversity.
I used to hear Bobby Knight say that he wanted his teams not playing against an opponent but instead playing against the game itself. Get as close to perfection as you possibly can, both as individuals and as a team, and let the results take care of themselves. After USA swimmer Rebecca Soni won the gold medal in the 200 meter breast stroke she didn’t talk about being the best in the world or even about winning the race. She talked about winning the competition within.
“I’m so happy,” said Soni, whose family was in attendance for this after not making the trip to Beijing for her first gold. “I didn’t focus on medals or records or whatever. I just wanted to swim my race the way I knew I could. It’s been my goal since I was a little kid to go under 2:20.”
In other words, she wanted to perform as well as she could and if that was good enough to get the gold then great.
So the next time you see someone thrilled even though they “lost,” do a little more research. Chances are they established a new personal record for themselves and have every right to be absolutely estatic!
Monday, August 6th, 2012
For weeks leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympics it was nearly impossible to ignore all the “Phelps vs. Lochte” debates and those discussions only elevated as the games became a reality. I must admit that I took the bait and tuned into the Olympics expecting to see two guys who absolutely hated each other and whose only goal in life was to publicly embarrass the other one.
Imagine how shocked I was when I saw Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte cheering, laughing, and even high fiving each other while watching USA teammate Nathan Adrian win his race by .01 of a second. To make things even more surprising, the television announcer said the two rivals were actually roommates in the Olympic Village!
It didn’t take long before I realized what was really going on – their heated (and possibly even hated) rivalry took place IN the pool and not OUT of the pool!
As a basketball player, how do you handle competition? Can you constantly battle your teammates during two hours of practice and then hang out with them later that night? Do you get mad when a teammate plays harder and more physical than you do and then take that anger off the court? Do you and your friends take it easy on each because you’re afraid of upsetting the other one or do you push each other every possession? In other words,can you compete like a professional without taking it personal?
Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte can and that is undoubtedly one of the reasons why they are Olympic champions!
Sunday, June 24th, 2012
Forty years ago Title IX was enacted and has given millions of girls the same athletic opportunties that boys receive. (While Title IX concerns many other programs besides athletics, its impact on athletics is what is most widely recognized and discussed.)
This is the official wording of Title IX:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”
That means that facilties, uniforms, travel, coaching, scholarships etc. need to be the same for both boys and girls or else the school (or other organization if receiving Federal financial aassistance) runs the risk of losing their Federal support.
In the spirit of Title IX here are 5 reasons why girls should play basketball:
Why play? You might say “to get exercise” and you’d be right. To have fun? That’s true, too. But there’s more. In fact, there are at least 5 more reasons. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, girls who play sports get a lot more than just fit.
Girls who play sports do better in school. You might think that athletics will take up all your study time. But research shows that girls who play sports do better in school than those who don’t. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage in the classroom.
Girls who play sports learn teamwork and goal-setting skills. Sports teaches valuable life skills. When you working with coaches, trainers, and teammates to win games and achieve goals, you’re learning how to be successful. Those skills will serve you well at work and in family life
Sports are good for a girl’s health. In addition to being fit and maintaining a healthy weight, girls who play sports are also less likely to smoke. And later in life, girls who exercise are less likely to get breast cancer or osteoporosis.
Playing sports boosts self-confidence. Girls who play sports feel better about themselves. Why? It builds confidence when you know you can practice, improve, and achieve your goals. Sports are also a feel-good activity because they help girls get in shape, maintain a healthy weight, and make new friends.
Exercise cuts the pressure. Playing sports can lessen stress and help you feel a little happier. How? The brain chemicals released during exercise improve a person’s mood. Friends are another mood-lifter. And being on a team creates tight bonds between friends. It’s good to know your teammates will support you — both on and off the field!
(The above reasons were adapted from an article found at http://kidshealth.org)