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Friday, October 17, 2014

DONOVAN, GATORS USE "INSIDE THE ROPE" TO KEEP TEAM TOGETHER

 
I came across a good website today - www.BetterBasketballTribe.com.  And I came across a great post by Kyle Gilreath -- you can read the entire post here.  What I love about this motivational technique that he describes is that it gives a strong visual with the physical presence of a prop.  We have used various props in the past and it makes a big difference.  Here is what Gilreath was a part of at Florida.

During my time at the University of Florida I was very fortunate to be part of two of the best teams in college basketball history. After winning the 2006 National Championship, three amazing men (and lottery picks) decided to return for their Junior seasons. After running through the regular season with only a few minor bumps in the road we received the overall #1 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. However, at the same exact time the “Distractions” started coming out.

As soon as the morning practice was over before we headed to New Orleans for our First Round match-up vs. a very good Jackson State team, Coach Donovan pulled out this enormous yellow rope. He handed one end of the rope to one of the players and told everyone (players, coaches, & staff) to form a large circle; then he instructed everyone to get on the inside of the rope and take hold of a small area. By this point, the rope was just large enough for everyone to fit inside…then Coach Donovan said, “This is our family inside this rope, don’t let ANYONE else inside our family, don't let ANYONE inside our rope, STAY INSIDE THE ROPE!"

This was one of those goose bump moments I will never forget for the rest of my life. This phrase became the motto for the rest of the season and was preached 24/7. “STAY INSIDE THE ROPE”! This message became such a meaningful part of the team that it was inscribed on the 2007 NCAA Championship ring.

Every team typically has a motto each year and they are printed on the back of their shirts or practice shorts, and more times than not they are “Hard Work”, “Toughness”, “Play Hard”, “Defense Wins”; these are all great and wonderful but if you have to preach to your kids about working hard everyday, that is taking time from your practice. Implant something into their heads like “Stay Inside the Rope”, make it something unique that applies to them and will keep them focused and ignore the distractions.

ATTRIBUTES OF THE TRULY COMMITTED

The following comes from the book "Monday Morning Choices" by David Cottrell:

1.       They do what they say they’ll do because they have made the commitment to do it. You can count on them every time. When they tell you they will do something, you can consider it done.

2.       They believe so strongly they can achieve a goal that they can envision themselves crossing the finish line. They can vividly see success.

3.       They write and verbalize their commitments. This doesn’t mean sitting around talking about what they plan to do. They put their goals into words and then get busy.

4.       They’re realistic. They don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Whatever they say, you can believe it.

5.       People who choose commitment invest in achieving their goals. They may invest the classroom time necessary to earn a college degree, energy on the basketball court practicing three-pointers, or hours at the computer pounding out that first novel. When they commit, they invest.

6.       Committed people don’t beat themselves up for falling short. They use that experience to learn and continue the process.

7.       People who choose to commit always plan their lives around what it takes to achieve a goal. They are focused, and they make their success a top priority.

8.       Most committed people don’t understand the term “fail.” They think it means “one step closer to success.”

9.       People who commit themselves to a goal have an impact on the lives of those around them. Enthusiasm and commitment are contagious.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MICHAEL HYATT: 4 WAYS TO KEEP INSPIRATION ALIVE

One of my absolute go-to blogs to read  is written by Michael Hyatt.  It is hard for me to believe than anyone, no matter their occupation, could not improve their craft by regularly visiting Michael's site.  He deals with everything from organization, time management, motivation, teamwork and much more.  He should also be a must-follow if you are on twitter.

Here is an excerpt from one of his blog posts (you can read the entire post here) titles 4 Ways To Keep Inspiration Alive:

As a leader, here are four ways you can keep inspiration alive in your organization:

1. Connect people to the larger story. People want to know the organization they work for matters. They want to know it is making a difference in the world. For this to happen, you must connect them to the larger story.

Why was your organization founded? Why does it exist? What would happen if it disappeared? What is really at stake? You can’t talk about this too much.

2. Remind people why they matter. It’s one thing to understand the organization matters. It’s another thing to understand they matter—and they do. But they must be reminded and affirmed.

They must understand how their actions contribute to the overall mission. While this might be clear to you, it is probably not clear to them. Your role as a leader is to help them “connect the dots.”

3. Resist creating new policies. I have seen this over and over again in organizations. Someone makes a mistake. Rather than dealing with the problem—which is likely an exception or an anomaly—the leaders create a new policy.

Over time, these policies slow an organization down, like the ropes that rendered Gulliver immovable. The better tactic is to deal with problems and people head-on and only institute a policy if the behavior happens repeatedly or spreads beyond the original situation.

4. Set the pace for what you expect in others. This is ultimately your most important leadership tool. You cannot create an inspiring organization without being an inspiring person.

If you want people to be positive and upbeat, you must be positive and upbeat. If you want people to be flexible and embrace change, then you must be flexible and embrace change.

Like it or not, your people will mimic your priorities, values, and behavior. To quote Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

HONESTY (EVEN BRUTAL HONESTY) IS THE BEST POLICY

A well written column on Gregg Popovich by Williams Scott Davis for Business Insider.  You can read it in it's entirety here.  I love Pop's thoughts on communication and honesty in dealing with his players:

“They are different. I just try to be as honest with them as I can. I just think blowing smoke at guys and trying to manipulate guys or trick guys into thinking this, that and the other, it doesn’t work. And it’s tiresome. You got to remember what you told somebody last week. And this week, I can’t do that because I did that, and now I got to do this. That doesn’t work. So if you’re just brutally honest with guys, when they do well, love them and touch them and praise them and if they do poorly, get on their [butt] and let them know it and let them know that you care. And if a player knows that you really care and believes that you can make it better, you got the guy for life.”

Friday, October 10, 2014

YOU CAN'T TEACH WHAT YOU DON'T POSSESS

The following comes from the book "You Haven’t TaughtUntil They Have Learned: John Wooden’sTeaching Principles and Practices" which was written by one of Coach John Wooden's former players, Swen Nater.  Chapter 4 is titled "You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Possess" and this is an important lesson for all coaches, especially young coaches.  You have to be a student to teach!  You have to know your subject matter.  In fact, the better you know your subject matter, the more you can peel back the layers and present it in it's simplest form.  Here are some things Nater learned from Coach Wooden:
 
v  Student interest is directly proportional to the depth and breadth of teachers’ knowledge; and student interest is vital to effective teaching.

v  The close games are usually lost, rather than won. What I mean by that is, games are mostly won because of the opponent making mistakes during crucial moments.”

v  Here is the interesting and strange part- failing to fulfill a role is not limited to a lack of ability to perform. Failure can also come from a physically gifted player who tries to do more than his role requires.

v  How did Coach Wooden come to possess deep subject matter knowledge? He took it upon himself to create his own research and development system.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS AND THOUGHTS FROM THE BEST

The past three days I have posted a lot of tweet via my twitter account.  In case you missed them, here they are all compiled:

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: "It is not the system, but the execution of the system, that counts." -Tex Winter

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Run a play out of timeout that is a wrinkle of your normal offense and your players will be able to execute it.” –Doc Rivers

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Shot discipline and role identification go together.” Coach K

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Encourage team play -- achieve results through cooperation and unselfish effort on the part of every player.” –Dean Smith

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Spread defense allows you to get offensive rebounds.” -Brendan Suhr

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “If you had two things, and only two things, you could have a decent offense. They are good shot selection and spacing.” –Kevin O’Neil

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Design you offense so that your players get shots where they can make the most shots.” –Sonny Smith

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Maintain spacing: Is your team maintaining spacing on the 3rd side of the floor after 2 reversals.” –Rick Majerus

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “You have to win inside regardless of your post game.” –Jim Crews

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Cutting is the most important way a player can contribute to our offense.” –Bob Knight

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The habit of watching a teammate's opponent when making a pass should be developed." –Clair Bee

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The toughest thing to guard is a great shooter that screens.” -Roy Williams

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Don’t do drills in practice that don’t represent a portion of your system.” -Gary Williams

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The key to posting is do your work BEFORE you catch the ball.”
@CoachDonMeyer

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “My emphasis is not on running an offense...it is on teaching my team offense. We want players who can play offense, not run an offense.” -Coach K

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “You have to win inside regardless of your post game.” -Jim Crews

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Repetition is the key to success — doing what you have to do over and over and always doing it right.” -Pete Carrill

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Find good things to break down a defense.” -Pete Gaudet

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The best attitudes in the world won’t help win ball games if they’re not accompanied by a fundamental competence in the game.”
-Dr. Jack Ramsay

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: ”I am literally a fanatic of spacing.” –Tex Winter

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Shot selection – I’ll stop practice and ask how many of you liked that shot?” -Roy Williams

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Play the Man on Offense…Play the Ball on Defense” -Coach Knight

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: ““We don’t ask any kid to do something he is not capable of doing. Don’t put players in roles that they can’t be successful.” -Jim Crews

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “If you don’t have anything to complain about, you can always complain about screening.” -Jim Crews

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Bad shooters are always open” -Pete Carril

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “It is an axiom of basketball that the better a player screens, the better the chance of a good close shot for the screener." –Pete Newell

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The toughest thing to defense is movement and the toughest movement to defend is screening.” -Coach K

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: ““In all my years of coaching, I have never been successful using somebody else’s plays.” #Lombardi

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: "Offense is spacing...spacing is offense." –Chuck Daly

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “The best drills work on both offense and defense at the same time.” -Bob Knight

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: “Only take shots that have over a 50% chance of going in.” -Bob Knight

OFFENSIVE CONCEPTS: "Concentration leads to...Anticipation, which leads to...Recognition, which leads to...Execution, which leads to ...Completion." -Bob Knight

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IMPORTANCE OF FUNDAMENTAL COMPETENCE

 
 “The best attitudes in the world won’t
help win ball games if they’re not
accompanied by a fundamental
competence in the game.”
 
-Dr. Jack Ramsay

Monday, October 6, 2014

HALF-COURT OFFENSE: PHILOSOPHY, COMPONENTS, DEVELOPMENT

Several years ago I ran a series of three blog posts on the philosophy, components. and development and thought it would be a good time to share all three as we starting installing our offensive schemes with our teams. We spoke of philosophy, development and strategy.  We got a lot of great feedback at that time so I thought we'd list all three parts below.

In the first part of our series we talked about why it is important to execute in your half-court offense. For teams to be consistently efficient offensively, they must be taught and coached to execute their half-court offense.  We could certainly debate the advantages and disadvantages of the various half-court offensive approaches from motion to continuity to quicker hitters and beyond but we will skip that instead just to stress the need to be good in the half-court. Click on the link below to read the entire post on our thoughts on half-court execution:

THOUGHTS ON HALF-COURT OFFENSE (PART I)

In the second part of our series we talked about the key components that go in to the making of a good half-court offense.  What are those components of good half-court offense and how can we give you some things to consider when your are putting together your offensive system of play?  Click the link below. 


THOUGHTS ON HALF-COURT OFFENSE (PART II)

In the third part of our series we asked what are some of the things that promote the best teaching of half-court offense. Though years of coaching and, more importantly, watching some of the best teach in their programs, I have noticed a few common denominators and share them in the link below:


THOUGHTS ON HALF-COURT OFFENSE (PART III)






Friday, October 3, 2014

THE IMPORTANCE OF TEAM/INDIVIDUAL STANDARDS

There are some great books that I think can help coaches and teams, and as I've mentioned before, one of the best I've read in recent years is "How to Build & Sustain a Championship Culture" by Jeff Janssen.  One of the areas that Jeff gives great detail to is the standards you set for your team -- your non-negotiables.  Do you have a set that you have developed with your team?  Have they been discussed what they are and more importantly why they are significant to the success of your team?  How do you evaluate these standards?  How you holding each other accountable?

Here are just a few thoughts on standards from Jeff's book: 

“A major part of becoming a team, then, is the establishment and collective acceptance of your standards, based on your team’s makeup and centered on your unique goal. Once a group of individuals formulates and agrees to their standards, they become united, single-minded in purpose. Standards are not the things that we ought to do, they are the things that we already do- they compromise who we are.”
-Mike Krzyzewski

“There’s probably not enough attention paid to this issue. I learned a number of valuable lessons from Parcells and Belichick when they came to the Jets. Everyone was under evaluation. The doctors, trainers, equipment men, travel department, security, public relations and groundskeepers all were under the microscope. Too often, people who are in contact with the players have little or nothing at stake professionally breed a losing culture in the building.”
–Pat Kirwan, Former NFL Assistant Coach

“Ideally you want your standard of performance, your philosophy and methodology, to be so strong and solidly ingrained that in your absence the team performs as if you were present, on site. They’ve become so proficient, highly mobilized, and well prepared that in a sense you’re extraneous; everything you’ve preached and personified has been integrated and absorbed; roles have been established and people are able to function at a high level because they understand and believe in what you’ve taught them, that is, the most effective and productive way of doing things accompanied by the most productive attitude while doing them.”
–Bill Walsh
 
 
 

COACH MEYER: PROCESS OVER RESULTS

I have spent the past few nights re-reading "How Lucky You Can Be," the outstanding book written by Buster Olney on the life of Coach Don Meyer.  This weekend we will have our 3rd Annual Gary Blair Coaching Academy.  I designed the Academy in a format extremely similar to the legendary Academies put on by Coach Meyer.  In fact, one of my speaking topics this weekend will be: Coach Don Meyer: Lessons Learned and Leaving a Lasting Legacy.  Buster's book gives great insight into who Coach is and what he stands for -- it's a great read for all coaches of any sport on any level.

There has also been a lot of banter on twitter the past few days on the importance of process over results in the development of players and teams.  Here is a passage from the book and how Coach Meyer was also a process-oriented coach:

Meyer's strength as a coach, (Randy) Baruth thought, was in the daily intensity that he imparted to his team -- an intensity level that his players mostly learned to match -- as well as his ability to identify the smallest fundamental flaws that prevented players from executing.
Jerry Meyer thought his father loved the process of finding solutions to basketball problems more than the games; it was if Don Meyer were a musician who preferred the practice sessions in the garage to the concerts.
Don Meyer focused on the process and taught his players to think more about the process than the results -- but of course, he understood that a preponderance of correctly executed plays would almost inevitably lead to victories.  A rival coach thought this was a brilliant method through which Meyer took pressure off his players: He relieved them of the big-picture worries about potential wins and losses by relentlessly training them to think only about what they could do better in any given moment.
What Meyer did far less than other coaches was focus on major in-game adjustments of tactics.  If an opposing player got hot and was wrecking Meyer's team with his shooting, Meyer did not usually make  significant alterations in the defense by switching to a zone or to some sort of specialized coverage designed to slow down that player as many coaches would do.  This was partly due to Meyer's belief in his own system, Baruth thought.  A rival coach once stood next to Baruth and said about Meyer, "You know what I like about Don?  His attitude is: "This is my team, this is what I do.  Find a way to bet me."