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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Isn't Figure Skating

There are no points awarded for style in basketball. Sometimes players and even coaches forget this from time to time. Players want to look cool for the crowd and their friends instead of playing basketball. Coaches will undervalue a player who looks awkward or unorthodox while getting the job done instead of realizing they do the task time and again. It doesn't matter how it looks if it is effective.

So remember basketball isn't ice skating...there are no style points award.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pointing the Finger

There is a classic saying that goes like this..."When you point a finger at someone, three are pointing back at you." Of course that means you should examine yourself closely and objectively before you chose to blame or point a finger at someone else.

Terrell Owens is the ultimate finger pointer. It is never his fault. He led the league in dropped passes a couple years ago, but that wasn't his fault. He has played with great QB's but yet they are never doing their job good enough. How many times has he taken responsibility for anything? I would guess never. He does no wrong in his own eyes.

Pointing fingers at each other will tear a team apart faster than anything else. Players have to be responsible for doing their job. It is up to the player to put a focused effort on display every time they take the field or court. No one can make you try your hardest. It is up to the individual to know what his best effort is and not to let himself or the team down.

The world loves to blame other people. It seems like taking the blame is the worst thing in the world to some people. Things rarely get done if people are blaming others. Things go much better when people will step up and admit mistakes they have made. Things get fixed that way and then the next time when someone else messes up they remember when you took responsibility for the last mistake and more often then not they will follow your lead.

Quit blaming others...if you are going to place blame then place it on yourself!

Cuttino Mobley Retires

Cuttino Mobley's career has been forced to end due to a heart condition that was found during his physical which happened because of a recent trade. Here is the story from ESPN.

As a coach, one of the worst things that you can imagine is a player collapsing on the court. Although most coaches are required to know CPR or have an athletic trainer on duty it is still a situation that no coach ever wants to be put in.

One of my classmates collapsed during a track practice my freshmen year. Our athletic trainer responded quickly but was in the school and not on the track since we only had 1 athletic trainer for the whole athletic department. He was revived on the track and then taken to the hospital where he eventually died. I believe he had the same heart condition as Mobley, Reggie Lewis, and Hank Gathers. His condition went undiagnosed until it was too late.

I bet Cuttino never thought being trading would save his life. Looking back that might have been exactly what happened. Life brings surprises when you least expect them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jimmy V

This is Jimmy V week on ESPN. ESPN uses it to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation. Created by Jim Valvano to develop cancer research.

If you have never seen Jimmy V's speech then you truly need to watch it right now. It is one of the greatest speeches in history. Here is Jimmy V's speech

True wisdom and enthusiasm from a guy that had no energy or strength because cancer had worn him down. He knew he was dying soon and he delivered a great speech.

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it's the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.

Great stuff!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Playing With Poise

Playing with poise is an underrated facet of the game. The ability to play under control with a clear head allows the player to perform to the best of their ability. If a player gets rattled by another play or just the situation itself then the player's performance will more than likely drop dramatically. Thinking about failure is a surefire way to fail. The champions think about winning, about hitting the game winner, about stopping their man from hitting the final shot...positive things.

I firmly believe in telling yourself you will make the free-throw instead of saying I can't miss this free-throw. The littlest things matter in crunch time. Being positive, focusing on the moment, and doing all the small things right lead to a good outcome.

Some people are born with poise. They don't get rattled under pressure. They know to slow down in crucial times, they don't speed up. I think it can be taught in many ways though. Teaching to block out distractions, block out thoughts of failure or even success in some cases. One can force themselves to relax by deep breathes and focusing on the task at hand. Do rights right and good things will happen, sometimes the rest is out of your hands anyway.

Slow down under pressure!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Defensive Communication

All good coaches stress defensive communication. But how many outline what the players should be saying to each other. Most kids just know "ball" and "help" then are lost on what else they should be saying. Here are a few examples of what the defense should be saying to each other...

Shooter- One that is very important in while playing a zone to make sure people know they need to get out on a particular player.

Skip- Let everyone know there was a skip pass since that involves drastic defensive movement.

Cutter- Probably more important while playing zone than m2m but you can still let teammates know of cutters while playing m2m.

Over/Under- Telling your teammate how you want to get around a screen.

Obviously, there are a lot more but that is a start to get more talking during defense. Some players don't want to ask what they should be saying because they assume they should know and will get looked down upon for asking.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Feast Week

Feast week is here and I could not be more excited. ESPN has a full slate of games from 3pm to midnight on Monday so plan accordingly and set your dvr's. Maui will be a great tournament as always. Indiana almost wastes their trip to Maui this year since they do not have a realistic chance at winning the tournament. The rest of the field is mighty strong though.

There are also good match-ups in the CBE Classic tomorrow. I believe it is the semi finals of that tournament. Syracuse and Kansas are both in action. I have not been able to see either of those teams play yet so I look forward to seeing what Kansas has added to their team.

This week is also the start of the regular season for Indiana high school basketball. I'm hoping to see most of my AAU players play this season while also seeing the top talent around the state. The talent in the state is as good as ever. The sophomore class (2011) could be a great one, but things can change when you are talking about potential. Many coaches have been fired because of their players' great potential that was never realized.

I love basketball season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Changing Pace/Direction

When teaching dribble moves it is common to detail many different change of direction moves. They might include crossovers, spin dribbles, behind the back dribble in the package of moves. Coaches often under teach the art of changing pace at the younger levels.

Changing pace can often be more effective against a pressure defense than change of direction. How many presses and traps rely on the defense to "turn" the offensive player? Take a run-n-jump press for instance. The press relies on the offense to turn or at least change direction drastically. If a player can change his speed well though, the defense has no chance to trap because he will always be seeing the whole floor.

How about on a fast break...let's say it is one on one in the open floor. A good hesitation dribble around the free throw line or three point line will get the defense to start closing the gap so the player cannot shoot. At that time, the player accelerates and can get his hips passed a quicker player.

One of Bobby Knight's favorite sayings about basketball is "mental is to physical that 4 is to 1." I believe the same can be said about change of pace to change of direction. I would say change of pace is two or three times as important as change of direction moves. Yet, how many coaches work on change pace or really emphasize it?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Arizona's Fouling Mistakes

If you have not seen or heard about Arizona's ridiculously bad late game mistakes from Tuesday night you can watch the clip here.

If you make that mistake once in your life or see it once in your life you should learn the importance of time and score immediately. For it to happen twice in the same game by the same team in the final minute of a game is just absurd. It will make a coach's head explode. I guess it shows the importance of communication even with things you assume players know. Assuming players know something will always get a coach in hot water.

I can imagine the Arizona coach didn't want to dwell on the mistake in the huddle when they were designing their final shot but you probably must say if there is a turnover or missed shot just get back on defense and make them hit a tough shot. That way you don't dwell on the huge mistake, but also remind the other players that you don't need to foul.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

By the way this is one of the areas of coaching I have tried to improve the most and I think I have made leaps and bounds but still need even more improvement. Coaching is just like playing...you are either getting better at it or getting worse. I don't believe you can stay the same. It might be a tiny fraction for better or worse but there is change.

Fast Breaks

I was able to watch a lot of games with ESPN's marathon of games to kickoff the season and the way teams have been running the floor in the early part of the year was trying me nuts. About 90% of the fast breaks I have seen have been poorly executed by the offense. They either don't get wide enough and allow one guy to guard two people or they don't pass the ball on time. Meaning, they get down too far and then decide to pass it which usually leads to a turnover and a non-finish by the guy receiving the ball. Have teams quit running 3-man weave drills? I don't think so. Have teams quit doing fast break drills? I don't believe so. I guess it is just early season mistakes because they want to score so badly that they actually keep themself from scoring.

Kevin Eastman
, who is an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, had a good article on his blog about spacing. He talks about why you need spacing and what spacing the floor actually means. Some players know they are supposed to space the floor, but they are never taught why they need to so they don't realize how important it is. I believe players learn quicker if they know why they are supposed to do something. If they ask why it forces the coach to know why. If the coach doesn't remember why than he should probably re-think his point.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ESPN Marathon

ESPN is currently running a 23-hour college hoops marathon to kickoff the college basketball season. I think it is a great idea since there is no official first day of games like the NBA or other leagues. It would be interesting to play a midnight game like some teams played last night or this morning. They played at midnight in Memphis, St. Mary's (CA), and Hawaii. The Hawaii game was a 4am est tip. I'm a night owl but that was even too late for me.

I was back up in plenty of time for the 10am game between Penn and Drexel. It was a very solid game. Both teams played well with the factor of it being an early season game combined with the fact that the tip was at 10am. Both teams are the type that can make noise in the tournament. Fundamental teams with good shooters always have a chance to pull upsets in the tournament.

The highlight game is the finale tonight at 9pm. UNC without Tyler Hansborough versus Kentucky and Patrick Patterson. Kentucky is coming off the loss to VMI at Rupp Arena. I would suspect a focused effort from UK after that type of loss. Those losses are not acceptable at a program like Kentucky.

Happy Viewing!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Michigan State

Michigan State will win the Big Ten Conference regular season if Delvon Roe gets/stays healthy. He would be the top frosh in the conference if he didn't have micro fracture surgery (the thing Greg Oden had) ten months ago. He is trying a quick recovery. Tom Izzo said he is about 60% right now. Even though he is not completely healthy he still can help the Spartans. He is a very smart player which is usually a characteristic of the nonathletic players. Once he regains his full athletic ability he will be fun to watch.

The Spartans are slightly undersized at the guards, but have superior quickness. They are very deep as they want to play up tempo while applying a lot of pressure on the basketball. Gordon Suton is back for his senior year and I expect him to up his play. He has always shown flashes of being a good player but lacked the consistency. I predict he puts it together this year and helps the Spartans big time.

Raymar Morgan could contend for player of the year in the conference. He is super athletic and can play inside and outside. They will be running a lot this year and he should get a lot of "easy" (you have to work hard to get easy points) points in transition. He definitely lacked consistency last year and Michigan State will only go as far as he takes them.

I expect Michigan State to be in the top 10 range nationally all year. They might not be a top 5 team, but somewhere right outside of that. They have the talent, but I have to question if they have quite enough experience to make a deep run in the tournament. Only time will tell.

Early Thoughts: Wisconsin

I just watched the first half of the Wisconsin-Long Beach State game. Long Beach came out playing well from the start. They are coached by Dan Monson who is the former Minnesota coach.

Wisconsin is pretty young especially for a Badger team. They usually like to play upperclassmen for the majority of the minutes. They are still experienced compared to most teams just not up to par with the "Wisconsin style."

They didn't look good on offense in the first half. It is the first game of the season so that can be somewhat expected. They lacked much movement. Long Beach State was moving without the ball much better than Wisconsin in the first half. Long Beach State would have been leading at the half if they did not start to take some suspect shots...mainly off balance three's.

Wisconsin will be solid this year of course. I would predict they will be in the 15-20 range in the national polls all year. They will be solid defensively and you will rarely get more than one shot on each possession against them. They won't make many unforced turnovers and when you do all those things you will be in any game. That's basically the Badger recipe.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

First Week of College Games

This week college basketball started its regular season. I've had a chance to watch a few games. Here are some of my early thoughts.

Indiana will be slightly better than most expect. That said, it will be a long year. Northwestern State forced them to turnover the ball way too much. IU got caught in the air with no where to go many times. They have no inside guys to go to offensively. They will probably get out rebounded every game this year.

They will improve a lot over the season. Some of their guards have the athleticism, but made a lot of fundamental errors and Coach Crean will clean that up quickly. IU played everyone tonight so that hurts rhythm between the players. They will shorten their rotation after a couple more games.

Michigan hasn't looked too impressive early. They struggled against Michigan Tech until late and they played a little bit better against Northeastern, who is a solid mid-major team. Manny Harris is the real deal though. He is my pick for Big Ten player of the year. I believe the coaches picked Robbie Hummel from Purdue. Hummel makes Purdue go, but Harris is the most skilled player in the league.

Michigan needs an inside presence. They are bringing Sims off the bench right now, but I think he will end up starting as the year goes on. The reason for my logic in that is they need him on the court as much as possible. If they get their 1-3-1 half court trap working really effectively it could help them win some games they have no business winning since you don't see many 1-3-1 traps throughout the season.

I'll try to get some predictions and previews up here in the next few days.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Coach's Journey Forum

I have created a coaching forum. I hope to grow it into a big forum with superb information. I'm contacting all my coaching friends and hope to get them to contribute regularly. I have found most coaching forums are either for the really basic or for people to advertise their products. I'm hoping to provide a place for any coach at any level to contribute and learn from the forum. Here is the link to the forum... http://www.hoosierhoopsreport.com/smf/index.php?action=collapse;c=5;sa=expand#5

I have also listed it in my links section for future reference. I encourage all coaches to register and to visit the forum regularly! Thanks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Perception is Reality

Perception is reality is an old saying. It's very true in basketball. If people perceive you as being a fundamental team then you probably are a fundamental team. If people perceive you to be lazy and undisciplined then you probably are a lazy and undisciplined team.

I coach AAU in the spring and summer. My team is pretty talented...no top 100 players in the nation but solid players with the potential to play college basketball. Many will be borderline division 1 players. I have been around AAU tournaments for many years from either playing or now coaching. I will tell you after the top 50 players in the nation (which is very easy to see the difference in the top 50 and everyone else) it is a bunched and crowded group. You know how many 6'2 shooting guards there are in America? What seperates them all...athleticism, skills, but an often overlooked factor attitude.

I'll define attitude not just as body language and actual language but also the willingness to hustle and make the extra effort plays. It's the perception of what kind of player/person you are. College coaches don't want to take a borderline talent that is going to cause them problems. So, even though the player might be a great kid and usually has a good attitude if they come to the bench moaning about coming out or are complaining to the refs...those things could hurt a "good kid."

Perception is reality and kids need to understand they are being judged more often by their worst moments instead of their best.

NBA League Pass

NBA league pass broadband is doing a free preview until Nov. 11th. I decided to try it out last night and I wish I would have known about this from the start of the season. It's pretty sweet. Can watch 3 games at once and get stats whenever you want.

If the college version is like this for the computer I would have to look into it. I prefer college basketball over NBA but I still enjoy the NBA more than most people do. College is more intense and players play with more energy overall. NBA players are in the NBA for a reason (usually). They are truly the best of the best if they play focused.

I would check out the free preview of NBA league pass broadband if you like basketball. It's pretty neat and its free so you can't beat that.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Situational Scrimmaging

How often do you scrimmage in practice? Most coaches try to scrimmage a little bit at the end of practices if not more. Although they are usually controlled and stopped for teaching points I think more would be accomplished with applying situations to the scrimmage. It adds game dynamics and game strategy but it also will add to the players' focus. They aren't just "playing" for the sake of scrimmaging. They have goals and things they must get accomplished.

Any coach will agree that practice must be as close to a game environment as possible, but most don't had situations to scrimmages. Coaches might practice situations once a week, but why not add a few situations to all scrimmages. Even setting the scrimmage at a tie game and 3 minutes to go. It doesn't have to be drastic, but anything is better than nothing.

I was at a Butler University practice the other night and Brad Stevens said "the more situations the better" and it really clicked with me. Preparing for late game situations is crucial. In pressure situations you need the confidence that you will get the job done.

The more situations, the better.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Players Love To Run?

Ask any player if he wants to play on a running team and he will question yes. No question about it. In theory, they want to run. In theory, coaches want them to run. The problem begins when only 2 or 3 of the players run on a break. They start to take plays off both on offense and on defense.

The whole team has to be committed to running. All five guys must bust their butt every play to be a true running team to really punish the opponent. The players have to be in great shape...better shape than their opponent. That's when players start to realize that running is harder than they thought. It's just not running to get lay-ups. It's running to get ball reversal shots. It's running to get the defense scrambling and off balanced.

Those are the things players don't realize from my experience. They don't understand the effort and constant committment needed to be a true running team. Explaining these things to them before asking the question could help them understand, but I'm guessing they will say they want to run no matter what. Them actually doing it for more than a few games will probably be a different story though.

Players Love To Run?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

NBA Season Tip-Off

Christmas is here! My life has been empty since the finals concluded over the summer. Finally, the gaping hole will be filled tonight with the start of the NBA season! It starts off with a bang, too. Lakers play the Trailblazers. Greg Oden vs. Andrew Bynum, an early test for both coming off injuries last season. If Oden dominates the middle this year, I expect Portland to contend for a top 3 spot in the tough Western Conference. If he gets injured or doesn't play up to par then I don't see the Trailblazers having a better year than they did last year.

The Bulls also play tonight. Rose makes his debut for Chicago. He needs a good big man with him. He would make a mediocre big man look like an all-star. Too bad Chicago doesn't even have a mediocre big man. Thomas, Noah, Gray are not going to cut it. Gooden is decent, but more of mid-range guy than back to the basket. I expect Rose to struggle as teams cut off his pentration and force him to prove that he can hit the three (ala what teams did vs. Rondo last year).

Many teams are looking for big impacts from rookies. It could make for a lot of interesting stories. You never know what rookies decide just getting drafted is enough for them and start living the celebrity lifestyle instead of working on being a basketball player. Many are content and how can you blame them when you get so much money right out of the gate. We'll just have to wait and see.

Happy Holidays to all! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Individual Skills Work Out

Right now, I'm trying to figure out a "perfect" individual skills work out for basketball players of the high school to college age. I think the most important part of any work out is the way you do it. If the player is going 50 or 75% that player will not improve as much as they should. Frankly, it's a waste of their time and anyone who is helping them. You must try to go as hard as you can. Let me state, I don't think anyone can truly give 100% let alone the infamous 110% that I hate.

I would like the work out to include all facets of the game. Offense will probably be the majority of the work out since that is the easiest to work on alone, but it should try to encompass defense too. I want it to be achievement oriented...not goal oriented. I want it to be limited in time and times must be made to ensure intensity and focus.

I believe all work outs should emphasize focus, intensity and attention to detail. A half hour with those things executed properly is better than three hours without it. A lot of players work at the game on their own. How many of them really get after it when they are by themselves though? How many focus on staying low and exploding on their jab step drives? How many are thinking about other things while they shoot their 200 shots? I believe those are the types of things that hold some players back. They are willing to put in the time which a lot of players aren't but they aren't willing to put in the focus.

If anyone has a individual work out that they feel meets my criteria please email it to me at tandershock@gmail.com. I would appreciate it very much. Also, if you think I left out anything that needs to be added please inform me of what it is! Thanks

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preseason NBA

I'm watching the NBA preseason game between Miami and New Jersey right now. Both teams have a lot of talent. Miami should be much improved if they can stay healthy. Wade, Marion, and Beasely are a tough trio. If they can find a point guard then they will win a lot of games especially in the Eastern Conference.

That brings me to something I saw in the game. The Heat used a draft pick on Mario Chalmers from Kansas. Chalmers had a decent year on a well balanced championship team. He is not a point guard though and that's what they are trying to have him play. I really think his shot in the tournament got him drafted. They test and work out guys so much before the draft and then they basically give them the benefit of a doubt because they hit a big shot in one game. It has happened many times before and I don't think it is right or smart by the team drafting the person.

Just a little bit of a rant, haha

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Crazy Drought of Posts

A lot has happened since the last time I posted. I will try to get a quick recap in. I will probably forget a lot of what has taken place but oh well.

July was a coming out for a couple of my players. July being the month when college coaches can come watch the tournaments. One of our first games we had Indiana State, Purdue and Ohio watching. It's probable that they were watching someone from the other team but no one stood out for them and we man-handled them. A couple of my guys had monster games. So, hopefully the colleges took notice and at least made a note to watch them again in the future.

Towards the middle of the month I was contacted by the Head Coach of Coffeyville CC in Kansas about an assistant coach opening he had. I sent him my resume and he called my references quickly. They are a very good JUCO program in a very elite junior college conference. I didn't end up getting the position, but it felt good to be considered even though I haven't finished my degree yet.

I haven't landed a coaching job for this winter. I don't plan on looking anymore as of now. If someone contacts me then I will look into it. For right now, I just plan on attending as many college practices as I can. Hopefully, I will get to a lot of Butler practices. They practice in the morning so it might be a test of my will. I made a goal to attend a practice at every D1 and D2 school in Indiana this year. I'm pretty sure I will be able to accomplish this unless something happens to my car or gas prices sky rocket again. The trip to Evansville to see University of Evansville and University of Southern Indiana could be a painful one. I'm hoping I can catch both on the same day if possible.

I have already been to work outs for Butler and University of Indianapolis. U of Indy has a new coach this year in Stan Gouard. Coach Gouard was an assistant at Indiana State the past few years. He is an incredibly nice. I hope he turns Indianapolis into a D2 powerhouse.

I'm also coaching in a high school fall league right now. The players are basically invited to play in the league or their high school coach has to recommend them. So, it is a top level league. There are about 50 kids and I'd say at least 10-15 will end up playing D1 at the very least. There obviously isn't too much coaching. It's more just helping players individually. Telling them small things. Reenforce some things that their high school coach has probably been on them about anyway. It's good to hear it from a new voice though. Sometimes as a player you start to think the coach is just getting on you for no reason and a new voice helps confirm what the coach has been saying.

I think that is about it for now. Only about 10 days til official college practice starts. It's pretty much like counting down the days til Christmas for a little kid. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Steve Nash 20 Minute Work Out

Areas of Improvement

As a coach just like a player I am always looking to improve. The main thing I am looking to improve on right now is player development skills. The finer, technical things that help players improve. Small things make a big difference. If you don't know exactly what you are looking for you will be lost when it comes to player fundamentals.

I saw a clip of a Michael Jordan training dvd. He was explaining a jab crossover move and showing exactly where your first dribble needs to be. On a crossover move your first dribble past the defender can't be out away from your own body because it gives a defender with long arms an opportunity to poke it away. I had never really thought about that although in my playing days I picked a lot of people because they did get their first dribble past me away from their body.

It's small things like that. I think it comes with experience and a desire to learn the game at a higher level. I have that will to learn now I just need to get the job done.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Proudest Coaching Moment

Good coaches aren't in the business because they like winning. They aren't in the business because they like the game of basketball. Good coaches are in the business because they like to help players grow. They like to teach life lessons through the game. Basketball is a great way to learn about life.

This past weekend was the State AAU tournament. We have been entered into it since March. It has been on our schedule since February. For one reason or another, we only had 6 guys for our pool games and then 5 guys for the bracket play portion. It was very disappointing in many respects, but it might have turned out to be a good thing for the guys that were there.

The first day we played two tough teams. One team was 10 deep and play a very unselfish brand of basketball. The other was super athletic and poised a different kind of problem. We won both games in narrow fashion.

Sunday, we were down to 5 guys. No subs, no resting, no assistants on the bench, no one to come bail you out if you let the team down by picking up silly fouls. It was the definition of having your back against the wall and your only way out was to fight and claw your way through. That's exactly what my team did.

In quarter final play, we played a quarter and half with 4 guys on the court. We had the game tied with two minutes to play. The other team was stalling and we were trapping with 4 guys. How do we get turnovers playing 4 versus 5? We needed to win. We didn't want to win...I swear our guys needed to win. We didn't just get one steal off of it, we got two on back to back possessions. That is pure desire and heart. Something I have questioned with my team time to time. We ended up losing, but it was one of the greatest team efforts I've seen. Especially in the AAU circuit.

We bounce back and beat a solid team that had 12 guys by 31 the next game. We played harder than they did. Less than an hour after playing a game with 5 and 4 guys. That is shear willingness to outwork a guy. That's a life trait that those players will be able to rely on for the rest of their life when things are tough and it seems like there is no way to get the job done. They've been in the position before and they know they can get it done.

The weekend could have been a disaster and a huge disappointment. We had thoughts of pulling out on Friday night. It turned out to be the proudest coaching moment of my young coaching career. I will always remember that tournament and the players that busted their ass like crazy to compete.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Catch-up Post

I haven't posted in a very long time again. Time has been flying by lately. It still seems like March to me, but maybe that's because the weather hasn't been great recently.

There have been a lot of ups and downs. A couple of my players have quit. Both were unnecessary and could have easily been worked out if they were handled differently. There isn't much you can do except move on. It is like one of your best players breaking his leg mid-season. It won't do you any good to dwell on it. You just have to move on and adjust to it just like any adversity in life. Concentrate on the solution and not the problem.

I have talked to a few Junior Colleges about being an assistant for this upcoming season. I received a lot of positive feedback with a couple of places being very interested in my services. Even if I don't receive a job from it I have made a few new contacts from my exploration.

Camp season is almost here. I'm scheduled to work three weeks for the Brad Stevens Basketball Camp for Butler University. I'm also booked to work the Notre Dame camp at the end of June. I'm still waiting to hear from Purdue University to see if they need more workers for their first camp. They asked me to work their end of June camp, but that's when I am working the Notre Dame camp. In July, I am booked to work 2 sessions for Five-Star Basketball camp and I'm waiting to hear from Central Michigan and Michigan for the very end of July. I look forward to the experiences.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Early Tests

We were tested early and often in our first tournament of the year. We played 3 very good teams. We haven't had many practices with everyone attending because of spring breaks. We competed pretty well in every game. The games didn't finish as we had hoped and we ended up 1-2 in the tournament.

Once we get more comfortable with each other I think things will really start to go well. We lack height, but we have a lot of solid athletes at the wing positions. 15u is a big jump in competition level from 14u and even high school ball. Fundamental habits are key. We just need to refocus on a few things and we will be a tough team.

Next weekend, we play in another tournament here in Indianapolis.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Indyball.com

First tournament of the AAU season. I'm excited and nervous, of course. My team has no "big man." It reminds me of the Villanova team a few years ago that made the 4 guard lineup work. Hopefully, we can be as good as they were. ha ha. We play 3 games Saturday. After that first day, I should know a lot more about my team.

Check for updates at Indyball.com. I'm not sure if they will update it, but it doesn't hurt to check.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Computer Crash

I haven't made a post in a very long time due to my computer crashing. It is a frustrating thing for a person with little money. I am working on finding a cheap computer at the moment and then updates will be more frequent again.

AAU season has started and we have been having practices. Practices haven't been well attended due to different spring breaks at each school. The first tournament is next weekend so it could be a rough start. I'm trying to stress the fundamentals as much as possible. We will see how things go.

Sorry, but I have to run. I will start to have short updates even if I don't get a computer soon so check back often.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bobby Knight Resigns

Robert Montgomery Knight is known for his shocking moments. This week he added to those moments by abruptly resigning as Head Basketball Coach at Texas Tech University. Many people speculated that Coach Knight was near the end of his coaching career, but no one expected it to happen with games left in the 2007-2008 season. He has said he is tired of coaching and right now seems like the perfect opportunity to let his son start his head coaching career.

Bobby Knight is the winningest coach is Division I college basketball. He has won 3 national championships. He has won an Olympic gold medal. When it comes to college basketball coaching Bobby Knight has done it all. He was an innovator of many concepts used by the majority of coaches. Most of his unique ideas came in the area of man to man defense, but he was also one of the first coaches to use the motion offense.

Of course, all of Coach Knight's accolades and accomplishments are overshadowed by his outrageous temper. His temper got him in trouble on and off the court. Although, I would argue while he was on the court he used his temper in a controlled way to motivate his players and to intimidate officials. Knight's temper did get out of control on a few occasions though. He is not one to be disrespected. Bobby was never one to let things slide by him or to just ignore little things. That is one reason why he was such a great coach, but also why he got in trouble often.

I am a lifelong Indiana University fan. I grew up watching Indiana basketball and Bobby Knight. It was my dream to play for him. So, I am little bit biased towards him. I have his book "Knight-My Story" and he puts his own spin on events that have happened to him. I love the book though. He is a master of human psychology. He wanted to break every player down and build them into a great competitor just like the military does. Knight started off his coaching career at West Point so that is probably the basis of that technique.

As a coach myself, I hope Bob Knight is remembered for his whole coaching career and not just his worst moments. If you judge any persons' life on their worst moments then everyone will appear to be less than admirable. I will remember Bob Knight for getting the most out of his players, on and off the court. He admitted in his book that he often skipped classes at Ohio State, but he checks to make sure his players went to class everyday. He did not want his players to make the mistakes he did. I know I will always think of Coach Knight as one of the greatest coaches of all-time. He won championships without ever breaking a single recruiting violation. Today, that is unheard of in major college basketball. Coach Bob Knight is a coaching legend and he should be remembered for that.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Moral Victory-Does It Exist?

The common definition of the moral victory is losing the competition, but feeling as though you won. A moral victory might be forcing a more talented team to their limits and almost winning the competition with less skillful players. Most people do not believe in the moral victory. They will say that you either win or you lose, there is no middle ground.

I have always been ultra competitive. I want to win no matter what. There was nothing worse in life than losing a competition in my mind for many years. If someone told me "good job" after losing a game, they might as well have been spiting in my face. It insulted me. I did not believe you could have done a "good job" if you had lost a game. The game did not have to be very significant. The game could be as small as a friendly game of miniature golf. I wanted to win!

Now, I am a coach. I still have the competitive drive to win. It might be even greater now than ever before. The will to want to win can numb you or worse it can blind you. It can numb you during stressful situations because you are focused on winning instead of doing what it takes to win. Wanting to win can blind you by overlooking mistakes because of the fact you won. That is being results oriented. The mind is trained to be results oriented. If you have good results, you must have done things correctly. Then, you repeat what things you did to get good results. Most times in life, being results oriented is incorrect. You must examine if you did things correctly or if you got lucky.

A coach cannot be results oriented. If you are coaching a less talented team, you will not make any progress by just looking at the win-loss column. If you are coaching an extremely talented team, you will overlook mistakes and that will probably lead to your failure down the road. So, you are not supposed to be focused on results...what should you concentrate on then? Every person in a competition should be playing against the game itself instead of their opponent(s).

The athlete should be trying to play the perfect game. They should be concentrating on their fundamentals. The athlete should be trying to execute at a higher level than they ever have before. The basketball player should be focused on footwork, passing, dribbling, shooting, and playing defense without making mental errors. Physical errors will happen in any sporting event. Mental errors do not have to happen.

The coach should be closely watching each athlete. The coach must watch for fundamental mistakes and mental errors. If an athlete is out of position, it might not cost the team immediately but at some point it will come back to haunt them. Ther time it bites you could be when you cannot afford it like at the end of a tied game.

Do I believe in the moral victory? I do believe in the moral victory, now. I believe it is rare though. A moral victory would include playing a near perfect game at near the team's potential. Both of those things are extremely rare. I do not believe anyone can achieve their full potential because you can always improve. It is just like giving 100%. It is impossible to give your full 100% in a sporting event. You might be able to get to 90% for a short time, but it's not sustainable. So, I do believe in the moral victory, but only on specific occasions.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What Makes a Good Youth Coach?

Go to any youth sporting event and you will see it from grade school to high school. It is hurting today's youth more than they know. What is it? Out of control youth coaches. The out of control coach wants to win at all costs. They do not allow the lesser players to participate and they verbally abuse the players that get to participate.

So, what makes a good youth coach? It starts with their outlook on the game and life. Competitiveness is an important part of sports, but it is not the only part. No one cares if you won the Little League state championship when you were twelve years old during a job interview.

Youth coaches should, instead, focus on playing the game the right way. The right way being the fundamentally sound way. Athletes are made from the ground up. If the athlete does not get taught how to do basic skills, they will never be able to progress. For example, in basketball, coaches should be teaching the young athlete to dribble, pass, and shoot without making mistakes. When they do make mistakes they should be corrected immediately. Overcoming mistakes is a huge part of sports and young athletes need to understand that.

A good youth coach will combine teaching fundamental skills with teaching life lessons at the same time. They have to take their knowledge of the sport and mix it into a "big picture" perspective. Today's youth are more protected and shielded from reality than generations before. Most young athletes lack mental toughness. Athletes can be taught mental toughness and fortitude, but it is a slow process. Verbal abuse is not the best medicine. Constructive criticism should be given, but you must be aware of how the athlete reacts to the criticism. No one likes to hear criticism. As you grow up, it is important to learn to accept criticism and not to take it personally.

If coaches ignore the score and try to get young athletes to compete against the game itself, it will benefit everyone greatly. I'm not saying wins and loses should not be recorded. Score should still be kept in sporting events. Winning at all costs should not be the motivation of coaches though. Youth coaches should put their effort towards getting the athletes to play the game correctly and to the best of their ability.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Review of Online Coaching Sites I Visit Daily

There are a lot of sites with great information for coaches. Basketball is always changing so as coaches you need to constantly be learning new ideas. Here are some of the websites I visit for coaching ideas and advice.

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/coachinghoops/
The first one is a yahoo group. I have the group messages sent directly to my email which makes things easy. The group is wide ranging from youth coaches to college coaches. The group is great for philosophy questions and advice on how to teach different things. I'm glad I found this group.

http://www.coachesclipboard.net/
This site is for youth and high school coaching. There are a lot of good articles on the site. The forum doesn't have much participation but it sometimes has some good things. The articles are the best part of the site though.

http://hoopscoach.wordpress.com/
A coaching blog that is written by a Junior College head coach. He writes about current events in the coaching world and provides links to the stories he writes about. It is a very good site to keep up to date in the coaching world. There are many posts about coaching philosophies and what coaching should be about.

http://www.coachrb.com/resources/article.php
Overall, the site is designed to get people to pay Coach Rb for mentoring. I like the idea of mentoring, but hate the idea of commercializing it. The link I provided is to his free articles that have some very good stuff in them.

These sites are a great way to learn to be a better coach. They are just a starting point, but combined with other resources it can really help you grow as a coach and teacher. I think they are useful for aspiring coaches and coaching veterans alike.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I need to write more

I noticed I get decent traffic to my blog even though I have been averaging less than 1 post per month lately. I haven't been doing anything new and exciting lately to enhance my coaching career.

One thing I have looked into is being a D-2 student assistant coach. I have emailed a large number of D-2 coaches to ask about the position. Most D-2 teams do not list a student assistant on their sites. If they listed a student assistant on their site, I sent the coach an email about the position. I have not gotten a good response so far. A few have said they are nothing more than managers. It seems like a good option to kick start your career while getting some money for tuition.

I have also begun to email schools to set-up my camp schedule for this summer. It is too early to email them about summer, but I wanted to get an early start. UNC already turned me down saying they have plenty of help from former players and people who have been working the camp for 10-15 years. It is disappointing, but it is obviously hard to get into a camp like that. I'm planning on working the Butler camp for at least two weeks in June and then branching out for the last two weeks in June. Then maybe finding a couple of camps in July to work around AAU tournaments.

For Christmas, I asked for and received some literature from coachmeyer.com. He has written out some very good stuff. He really lets you in his head. I like to hear about the coach's thought process, I believe that's how you grow as a coach. I would suggest his site for any coach.

I think that is all I have for now, but I promise I will write more blogs in the future!