Archive for the ‘Stricklin’ Category
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
Last night my wife and I went and watched the movie “42” while in Phoenix and was disappointed that there were only a handful of viewers. There are great lessons in the movie for everyone but especially for athletes. In fact, I really think that every coach and athlete, regardless of age or gender or sport should go watch “42.”
Of course the movie only tells part of the real Jackie Robinson story. For example, Jackie competed in four sports – including basketball - in high school, junior college, and then at UCLA.
Football was probably his best sport although he did win an NCAA Championship in the long jump. Surprisingly, baseball was his weakest sport and he turned out to be a much better pro player than he was in college.
After World War II ended Jackie spent a year as the men’s basketball coach at Sam Houston College in Texas before joining the Kansas City Monarchs, which is where the movie “42″ starts telling his story.
I know it sounds silly but knowing that he had a basketball background both as a player and a coach has made me feel even more connected to him and the things that he experienced.
I realize that Jackie Robinson went through more adversity that first year in major league baseball than anyone should ever have to experience, but after leaving the theater I couldn’t help but think that we all owe Branch Rickey, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, some gratitude as well.
There were several African American athletes who were capable and willing to be the first baseball player to break the color barrier but there was only one owner willing to give someone that opportunity.
I don’t know what Branch Rickey’s ulterior motives were and truthfully I don’t care. All I know is that every sport, including the one that I love the most, has benefitted from his decision.
Thank you Jackie Robinson. Thank you Branch Rickey.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
The NCSA is a recruiting service that matches enrolled high school athletes with interested college coaches.
Not too long ago the NCSA surveyed their database of student-athletes in order to find out why athletes commit to a particular school.
Here are the top 5 responses:
- Coaching staff
- Awarded a scholarship
- Culture (campus, social scene, reputation, etc.)
- Location of the school
- Cost of the school
What’s interesting to note is that academics, majors offered, or career preparation aren’t listed amongst the top reasons why athletes choose to attend a school.
Athletes seem to either forget or ignore the facts that coaches leave all the time and that scholarships can be rescinded and that it is much easier for those things to take place than it is for athletes to transfer.
With the Spring signing period just right around the corner, Senior basketball players everywhere (and their parents and coaches) should not make their decision based solely on emotions. (I know a player near my home town who made her college decision based on the fact that it might put her in a position to be reunited with an ex-boyfriend.)
Instead, the decision should be thoroughly thought out and all pros and cons carefully considered. The decisions made in the next month or so will undoubtedly have an effect on the rest of a student-athlete’s life.
Sunday, April 14th, 2013
The following questions came from a series of tweets posted by Pure Sweat (@PureSweat)
You talk about success, read about success, watch videos about success, but don’t do anything to become a success? #YouDontWantIt
You want the girls, the fame, the money, and the lifestyle, but you’re not willing to do what it takes to get it? #YouDontWantIt
You wake up early to be the first one to the gym, but you don’t accomplish anything during the extra time that you’re there? #YouDontWantIt
So you’re telling me you didn’t have time to work out today, but you had time to text, talk on the phone, tweet and watch TV? #YouDontWantIt
You wanted to gain an edge over your competition so you’ve been eating healthy, but you go out drinking on the weekends? #YouDontWantIt
(If you have any other examples of “You Don’t Want It” please comment on this post so we can share them with other readers.)
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
When skills sets are similar, foot speed, quickness, and agility are often the deciding factors when determining which player is “better.”
One of the very best, and simplest, ways to improve these important areas is by working out with a jump rope.
If the jump rope you are using is a heavy rope then you also get the added benefit of an arm and shoulder work out as well.
Here is a very simple jump rope workout that will pay big dividends if used twice a day:
- 2 feet – 1 minute
- Right foot – 30 seconds
- Left foot – 30 seconds
- Alternate feet – 1 minute
- 2 feet – 1 minute
- Combine all – 1 minute
If you don’t already have a Heavy Rope click here to get one.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Like many other basketball fans across the country I was glued to my television set all weekend watching both the men’s and women’s Final Four games.
To me the most interesting matchup was on the women’s side between UCONN and Notre Dame.
For about the last twenty years UCONN has been in the forefront of women’s basketball, winning 7 National Championships and being in the running for several others.
However, up until Sunday night Notre Dame had beaten UCONN in seven of their last eight games including three straight this year.
As I watched the game Sunday night I couldn’t help but notice how much better UCONN looked (after a slow start) than they did earlier in the season.
Do you want to know who was responsible for their improvement?
Notre Dame! If it wasn’t for Notre Dame and their recent dominance of UCONN, the Huskies would not be playing as well as they are now.
I guess this can best be explained by the words on a plaque that I saw while in Florida a few years back.
My competitors do more for me than my friends do.
My friends are too polite to point out my weaknesses but my competitors go to great expense to expose and exploit them.
They make me search for ways to improve and they motivate me to stay away from complacency.
If I didn’t have any competition I would be lazy, complacent, and average.
I need my competitors and the discipline they force me to acquire. God bless my competition!
I have no doubt that after each of their previous losses to Notre Dame the UCONN women went back to the practice gym with a renewed determination to improve and prepare.
Each loss ultimately brought them just a little bit closer to the big win.
I don’t know if UCONN will play well enough tonight against Louisville to win the National Championship or not.
But if they do, they just might want to thank their competitors at Notre Dame!
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
About five years ago, Louisville coach Rick Pitino wrote a book called “The Rebound Rules” which offers a great deal of advice on how to make a comeback after facing life’s difficulties and how to pick yourself up after being knocked down.
As you read the following excerpt from the chapter entitled Gaining Perspective, think of Louisville player Kevin Ware and how he is handling the tragic injury he suffered last week.
- Tragedy will test you like nothing else. Keep your faith and rely on it to help you through – even if you’re questioning it at the time.
- Let your emotions out and work through them. Catharsis is necessary to avoid bitterness.
- Turn your grief into good. Let your hard earned new perspective be the catalyst to a more humble, charitable you.
- Don’t demand answers tot he inexplicable. Sometimes there are none.
- Don’t miss the lessons you can learn in these trying moments. A child’s act of grace can teach you so much.
- Don’t marinate in bitterness or preoccupy yourself with revenge. Both are unproductive.
Image Source: abcnews.go.com
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
In the Final Four being able to win the last four minute segment of the game is often the difference between being named National Champions and being disappointed for life.
To win this segment of “crunch time” and ultimately the game it is always extremely helpful to have at least one timeout remaining at your disposal.
Because of this fact, there are several situations during the course of a game when players should NOT call a timeout – even if their mom is screaming for them to call one from the stands.
Players should not call a timeout in the first 90% of a game -
- When they are tired
- When they are being trapped
- To “steal” or prevent a possible jump ball situation
- To prevent a 5 second violation
- As they are trying to save a ball from going out of bounds
Several times I have seen teams call a timeout in the first minute of a game to prevent a jump ball being called only to find themselves a timeout short in crunch time.
Granted, every possession is important but at the end of the game there is usually more pressure and more emotion involved and so having a minute to get everyone back on the same page is often invaluable.
Timeouts need to be called for a specific reason and to make specific adjustments. Instead of using one of your irreplaceable timeouts to protect a possession early in the game, get the ball back by playing great defense.
Essentially this will allow you to “save” the possession while still saving an all important timeout.
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Despite all the excitement and enthusiasm that teams like Florida Gulf Coast and LaSalle have generated over the past several days, all news coming from the NCAA Tournament has not been good.
In the past two days UCLA’s Ben Howland and Minnesota’s Tubby Smith have been fired from their jobs for supposedly underachieving. Howland, who had previously taken the Bruins to three Final Fours, guided UCLA to this year’s regular season Pac 12 Championship.
Smith, who won an NCAA Championship while at Kentucky, took over an abysmal Minnesota program and brought it back to respectability if not national prominence. The Gophers were ranked as high as #8 earlier in the season and beat teams such as Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Indiana.
Both UCLA and Minnesota made it to the NCAA Tournament as “at-large” picks, something that even Kentucky could not do this year. Both UCLA and Minnesota chose to pay out millions of dollars in buy out clauses than keep their coaches, which has to make me wonder if there is something going on behind the scenes that no else knows about.
Anyway, here’s some sound advice that Tubby Smith once shared with author Pat Williams:
- Be very involved with your players. Be able to adapt to your personnel.
- Have a plan and work it. From top to bottom, everyone has to know what the goals are for your team.
- Be highly organized and prioritize your schedule. Good time management is essential.
- Do what it takes to be successful. You’ve got to have an outstanding work ethic to stay ahead of the competition.
- You’ve got to have a sound philosophy and a certain image you want to project tot he public.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013
I enjoyed watching ESPN’s “Survive and Advance” so much the other night that I’ve already watched it a second time.
The thing that impressed me the second time was how much fun those former NC State teammates were having just being in each other’s company.
I don’t have any idea how long it’s been since those guys had seen each other but they laughed, and joked, and ragged on each other like it was only yesterday.
There was no mention of scoring averages, or All Conference, or future playing and coaching careers.
Everything was about the team, even though no one has been on the team for 30 years.
Watching those teammates interact reminded me of something that Coach Rick Pitino once wrote back when he was with the Celtics;
It’s the one lesson that all great teams have to tell us. If you read about great teams, and the people who played for them, the two things that connect all of them is 1) the team eventually became bigger than all the individuals who played for it, and 2) the players ultimately realized that playing for a great team was the best experience of their professional lives.
Love your coaches and your teammates and make the most of every single second you get to spend together.
If you’re lucky, really, really, lucky – you’ll get to sit around a table with your teammates 30 years from now and relive the journey.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Coaches have been using team and individual shot charts for years for various reasons but players should use them as well, especially with spring and summer workouts just right around the corner.
Players, try charting each one of your misses as you work your way through your shooting workouts and specifically note if you are missing left, right, short, or long.
If the vast majority of your misses are either left or right, then you know there is probably a flaw in your shooting alignment that needs to be fixed.
If you are missing short or long, then the problem undoubtedly lies within your release and follow through.
Once you can narrow in on the causes behind your missed shots, it will be much easier to correct any potential problems and increase your shooting efficiency.