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Monday, December 13, 2010

My own crunch-time.


Today's post is exciting. It's about my latest (last sunday's afternoon game) crunch-time situation, and how I managed it. I give you the two crunch-time plays I ran.

Please read it carefully, and give us your comments/opinions / suggestions ! We will be posting the best ones !!!

Coach M

Friday, September 24, 2010

Must Read for Coaches: Bill Belicheck Motivational Strategy

Bill Belicheck met with his team shortly before the playoffs. He showed them a video of the Breeders' Cup (horse race) and paused the tape halfway through the race with the outcome still up in the air.

He asked the team "Who will win?
The horse with the most experienced jockey?
The horse who has won the most money?
The horse with the best odds prior to the race?"

The team was puzzled, "No, it's the horse that runs the best race from here on out."

You can't focus on prior accomplishments/failures, you must only focus on the present and doing your best the next play.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coaching Wisdom from Doc Rivers, Hubie Brown, Nick Saban, and more

-Doc Rivers: "With our ball pressure, we know we're going to get beat off the dribble at times. The only guy that can't get beat is the helper."

-Jay Wright: "Drive like a scorer not a passer."

- "The job of a leader is to rally people to a better future." –Marcus Buckingham, author

-Mike Brown: versus a coach that is a staunch believer in his defensive matchups (doesn't like his matchups to get switched), create a problem for him with your own defensive matchups. Against the Celtics, Brown will put Lebron on Rondo because he knows that the Celtics want Pierce guarding Lebron on the other end and that Paul Pierce 7 times out of 10 won't be able to get to Lebron in transition of a miss.

- "I don't micromanage, but I have micro-interest. I let my people work, but I do care about the details. I want intimate knowledge of what's going on." –Tachii Yamada, president of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

-Jeff Bzdelik: "Before you get into the workings of any defensive system, your team must know how to closeout."

-Bill Self: "When defending a ball screen, the screener's defender should hedge at the same angle in which the screen is set (the defender's feet should be parallel with the screener's—"on the same board"). Hedge defender is trying to get the ball handler coming off the ball screen doing 1 of 3 things: pick the ball up, change direction, or be called for a charge."

-Tom Crean: "Never go beyond the next game ("1 Game Winning Streak"). Look at your next game as the most important game on your schedule."

-Stan Van Gundy spent his year off after getting let go by Miami studying the league and asking himself the question, "What will I do when I come back?"

-Nick Saban: Alabama players were charged with the task of putting together a team affirmation (defined as a "positive assertion repeated by players to keep them focused on all the same things needed to achieve the long term goal of a national title.") For offense the team affirmation was to "strive to be capable of an explosive play on any given snap." The defense's affirmation was to "never give up an inch."

-Hubie Brown: "Don't be turned off from aggressive play by high foul calls in your first year(s) of your tenure. As you start to establish that (aggressive defense) as your style, they (the refs) will respect you and foul numbers will decrease.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

National Championship Coach UNC Roy Williams on Leadership

National Championship Coach UNC Roy Williams on Leadership
As part of the cutting edge Carolina Leadership Academy, UNC national champion men's basketball coach Roy Williams recently shared his insights on leadership and team building as well as some behind the scenes stories during Carolina's run to the 2005 National Championship.

Here are some of the highlights from Coach Williams talk with the Tar Heels captains and coaches:

1. Trust is the foundation of leadership.
Coach William's first goal when he made the transition from Kansas to Carolina was to establish a sense of trust with the UNC players. "You've got to get your players to believe in you." Coach Williams immediately scheduled individual meetings with each of the players to begin the trust-building process. Because first impressions are so important, especially when taking over a different program, Coach Williams wanted to start off on the right foot with each of the players.

2. We'll have a chance to win it all next year...
Coach Williams told the UNC players that if they did exactly what he and his staff asked them to do, they would make the NCAA tournament in the first year and have a chance to win it all in the second year. This inspiring vision gave the players an exciting goal to shoot for as well as a realistic timeline to accomplish it. It set the program's expectations from the onset and gave them a motivating reason for the daily work they would need to do.

3. Coaching is about adjustments. Your game plan is only good for the first six minutes - the rest is all about adjustments. According to Coach Williams, coaching (and playing for that matter) is all about adjustments. You can and should formulate a game plan going in, but much of your team's success depends on your ability to make efficient and effective adjustments. As a coach you must be able make the strategically adjustments, but just as important, you must help your team make the mental adjustments that need to be made to manage the momentum of competition.

4. You can push them but you can't go personal.
Many thought former North Carolina coach Matt Doherty was excused because the Tar Heel players thought he was too tough on them. Interestingly, most Carolina insiders note that Coach Williams is much more demanding of his players than was Coach Doherty. The primary difference lies in how Coach Williams is tough on them. Coach Williams insists that you can and must push your players - but you can't make it personal. Much like effective parenting, coaches should criticize the behavior, not the person.

5. Regardless of how hard you work, I will be working harder. It all starts at the top. Coach Williams talked about how his passion, commitment, and work ethic must set the tone for everyone in the program. He has to continually demonstrate in his actions the standard necessary to achieve success. The players see how much he invests in them and the program and are naturally inspired to give a high level of commitment back to him.

6. I'll take a person who is a little short on ability and academics, but I will not take anyone who is short on character. For Coach Williams, character in recruiting is a non-negotiable factor. He flat out refuses to sign anyone who is not a person of character. "You can't consistently win that way, and it certainly is not as much fun." This bedrock principle was especially satisfying to hear in light of today's Terrell Owens-type athletes.

7. Be on the lookout for the little things in recruiting.
While he is a very personable guy, Coach Williams directly tells people not to chit-chat with him over the summer when he is recruiting. From the time he walks into the gym before games start to the end of the day, he is on a mission. Coach Williams meticulously watches EVERYTHING a potential Carolina recruit does. He especially watches how kids act before and after games, how they interact with coaches, teammates, parents, and officials. He even watches water breaks closely.

He related a story about current Atlanta Hawk and last season's ACC Freshman of the Year Marvin Williams: Marvin fouled out near the end of a close AAU game. His coach called a time out to talk with the rest of the players. Marvin ran to the end of the bench and filled cups of water for each of his teammates who were still in the game as a way to contribute even though he was on the bench with five fouls. "I don't want the kids who are too cool. I want guys who are focused on how they can help the team. I absolutely love it when the best player on the team is also the best leader."

8. Winning TEAMS get the individual awards and rewards.
Coach Williams continuously stressed to his players that the end of the year individual awards and rewards go to the teams that win the most games. Player of the Year and All-Conference Awards almost always go to players on the teams that win the most. Thus, Coach Williams team approach would yield the collective rewards of a championship season as well as the individuals awards.

9. Team vs. Talent - that's a welcomed insult.
The media billed the Illinois vs. Carolina national championship game as Team vs. Talent. Coach Williams took great offense to this characterization and bombarded his team with it in the 48 hours before the game. "Everyone thinks we're too selfish to win a championship. They think we are just a bunch of superstars who aren't willing to play together to win. Let's show them that they're wrong and we can win this thing as a team."

10. Illinois is too good of a team not to make a run - I've got to be the calmest person in the crowd when they do. Going into the championship game against the #1 ranked Illinois' high-octane offense, Coach Williams realized that there would be a point when Illinois would get on a roll. He knew that his composure during this run might be a critical factor in the game and prepared himself ahead of time to deal with it.

Sure enough, during a nine-minute span in the second half of the championship game, Illinois made 60% of their three-pointers to close within one of Carolina. As his panicked players came to the bench for the media time out, Coach Williams got their attention and calmly reminded them that everything was okay. "Hey guys, we're fine. Illinois is a great team; they've been ranked #1 most of the year. You have to expect them to hit some shots. But as the game goes on and the pressure mounts, they'll start to tighten up. And there's no way that they will make those jump shots." By preparing for and remaining calm in a potential crisis, Coach Williams effectively refocused his team and helped them weather the inevitable storm of adversity that too often spooks other teams.

11. You can coach someone and still see 30 years later the impact you had - whether good or bad. Not many outside of Asheville, NC have ever heard of high school basketball coach Buddy Baldwin. But without his example and influence decades ago on an impressionable high school hoopster named Roy Williams, Coach Williams would likely not be coaching today. "Coach Baldwin was the first person to give me confidence that I could do something. And I really enjoyed how good he made me feel. And I thought that coaching would allow me the opportunity to help other people feel as good as Coach Baldwin made me feel about myself." Although seemingly insignificant perhaps at the time, Coach Baldwin's leadership legacy lives on through Coach Williams - who has made thousands of Kansas and Carolina players and alums feel good about themselves.

Finally, all coaches will take some comfort in knowing that Coach Williams' first season as a high school coach his team went 2-19. Ouch! From an inauspicious start to the pinnacle of Division I men's college basketball, Coach Roy Williams has always stayed true to himself and his roots and is clearly one of the class acts in coaching today.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mental Toughness: Are You a Baby?

For those that follow my blog, you know I am the proud father of 6 month old twin sons, Luke and Jack. While I am not 100% certain (haven’t had them actually tested), I am confident they are geniuses. I’m serious!

Why? Because they have already figured out the 6 keys to success:

1) Persistence: they never quit. Ever. When they want something… to be fed, to be changed, or hold a toy… they do not stop until they get what they want. Right now they are learning to crawl… and they spend hours and hours “practicing.”

How persistent are you in getting what you want? How relentless are you in your development?

2) Communication: they speak their minds. Granted, it’s in the form of crying, grunting, laughing, and Gibberish... but they do communicate. And they are attentive listeners. When Mr. Wiggles is talking, my boys are listening! They communicate with me (coach) and they communicate with each other (teammate).

Does everyone on your team know their role? Their strengths and weaknesses? The team’s goals? Is this being communicated among coaches and players?

Quick side note: My wife is the Head Coach of our family; I am a lowly assistant.

3) Enthusiasm: they have a passion for everything they do! When they are happy, they bounce around and their faces light up the room. When they aren’t, they flail their limbs and they cry like wild hyenas.

How much passion do you have for the game? Is your enthusiasm contagious? Do you raise the level of those around you?

4) Structure: they are on a schedule. They go to sleep at the same time every night, get up at the same time every day, and eat (and nap) at scheduled intervals. They have a consistent routine.

Do you have a daily routine? Do your workouts/practices have structure or are they haphazard?

5) Uninhibited: they don’t care about looking cool. They will (literally) crap their pants while staring at directly at you. They don’t care if they fall on their face or if they have vomit on their shirt. They are comfortable being themselves. And they aren’t afraid to make mistakes.

Are you worried what others will think if you make a mistake? Do you only practice the skills you are good at so you don’t look bad?

6) Imagination: they think outside of the box. They can spend an hour playing with a ball of tissue paper. They make the most of what they have.

How much imagination do you put in to your own workouts/practices? When you are doing drills, do you imagine there is a defender… or do you just do the drill?

So there you have it, Luke and Jack have figured out the 6 keys to success. Now, it’s my job as their father to make sure they maintain these traits as they get older.

If they go through life with persistence, can effectively communicate, have an unbridled enthusiasm, have a consistent daily schedule, aren’t afraid to make mistakes, and can think creatively… they will be successful in whatever they choose to do.

I have my fingers crossed its basketball.

Just kidding.

No I’m not.

I will leave you with this…

Your answer to the question I ask at the beginning of this video clip will determine how successful you will be:

Please let me know if I can ever be of service to you for your program. You can email me at

Train hard. Train smart.

Alan Stein

PS: I will be speaking about proper pre-season and in-season strength & conditioning at basketball coaching clinics in Columbus, OH (September 27), Orlando, FL (October 1), and Houston, TX (October 2). If you live in one of those areas, I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Equalizer: Effective Practice Planning

Practice Planning: Why and How

We all have roughly the same amount of time and what we do with that time is what separates the best coaches from the average coaches. Time is an equalizer.

There are many considerations for how and why to plan practice. Each coach has generally the same amount of practice time whether you are in the professional ranks, college level, or high school. What separates the best coaches from the mediocre is what they do with those two hours of practice time. Organization and planning can make any practice more efficient and effective. Below are some considerations for coaches:

1. The most important – the length of practice – which should be determined by the time of season

2. Space available: one full court, 6 goals vs. 4 goals

3. Time available. How long do you have the facility?

4. Number of players to work with – 18-20 players requires different approaches than working
with a squad of 10-12

5. Number of returning players. Large number, you can allow less time for explaining drill procedures, rotation of drills, etc.

6. The school year schedule: holidays, concerts, and other functions that will take the gym. Considering these things in your master plan or weekly plan will help ensure getting what you need in on other days, or planning a day off.

7. When we think of conditioning, we consider both physical and mental. Through the year, we plan for and extemporaneously use tapes, records, talks by our staff, selected articles, and poems etc. to facilitate making the players more coachable.

8. We always try to begin our practices with flexibility and warm-up drills, and close with competition and fun.

9. One of the laws of learning is repetition. We believe in giving small doses and repeating frequently. Maximum effort for short periods of time.

10. We believe in small group or station teaching.

11. The most important considerations we can give to devising our practice plan is the organization of a drill so that the players are not standing in line for long periods of time.

12. Plan water breaks.

13. We try to make sure that all of our drills are applicable to our offensive and defensive systems and simulate game conditions. Don’t drill just to drill.

14. We believe in using drills that incorporate all or most of the fundamentals every day. The players know this.

15. We try to introduce new drills, or plays in the early part of practice. Most players learn better when they are fresh and not tired.

16. When presenting a new team system, we present the whole on the floor first, then work on the breakdown next, and present the whole on the chalkboard, before implementing the whole again on the floor.

17. Most importantly, record and file every practice for later evaluation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cinderella Madness

During March, every hoop fan hopes to witness at least one Cinderella game. In other words, an upset. From UNLV (1990) to Princeton (1996) to George Mason (2006), each low-seeded team had something special to come up with. This year, if you did not watch a lot of NCAA, you would say Butler was one Cinderella-team; I won’t agree, but I won’t argue either. If you watched the Northern Iowa VS. Kansas game, now we can talk. Actually, I think we can qualify the 9th seed-UNI the Cinderella team of the Tournament, upsetting no.1 Kansas 69-67.

That game was a big one, but I was anxious to watch the game after [the upset], to see if The Panthers were for real. When I saw that MSU was advancing, I thought: Wow, I can’t wait to watch that game over and over. Two of the most set-plays oriented teams of the Tournament were going head to head in the Sweet 16! Hoping for a close game, I got what I needed: great execution from both teams, solid man-to-man defense and, thanks to Tom Izzo, good rebounding!

Running a lot of box sets, The Panthers got a lot of quality looks to the basket. Often in that contest N.-Iowa tried to take advantage of their shooting bigs. Coming out of pick-and-pops or creating their own shots, Panthers’ forwards/centers found the bottom of the net from 15 or more many times. Contributing to almost half of their team points, the Purple-jersey guards ran the floor brightly (scoring 12 points off MSU’s turnovers), while being able to get to the line also. However, the rebounding battle was amazing. Winning the war 32 to 26, The Spartans scored 6 of their 59 points off 2nd chance opportunities. Surprisingly, Northern Iowa got the same score at 2nd chance points. You know what they say, there are a lot of bad first shots, but there aren’t a lot of bad second shots...

For the green and white jerseys, playing without Kalin Lucas could’ve been a hard task, but Spartans’ Korie Lucious and Durrell Summers managed to put 29 points on the score board, each of them grabbing over 6 rebounds. As I expected, Izzo came up with his sharply-executed set-plays, the same ones (or almost) he was running 10 years ago in the Championship Game against Florida.

Finally, I truly wish that the Northern Iowa program keeps progressing under Coach Jacobson.
Get MSU plays over here :
Tennessee VS MSU play :
Butler VS MSU Final Four play :
Coach Morrow

Traits of Successful Coaches

This list was developed by Patrick Hunt, the coaching education director for the Australian Institute of Sport. I have read some of Coach Hunt's material in the past and thought it was excellent.

Great technical knowledge – understand the intricacies and dynamics of their sport which allows them to effectively train and teach players

Good communicators – like being around people, honest and open with their communication

Care for players – genuine care and investment in developing players to achieve their potential. The old saying “players don’t care what you know until they know that you care”

No Bad attitude policy – have clear criteria about the type of people they allow into their team. Value good culture too much to let “bad eggs” infiltrate their system

Recruit players who want to learn – successful coaches are always striving to improve, both themselves and their players. Players must be willing to learn and commit to improvement

Eye for detail – believe in the “power of small”. The smallest detail can sometimes have the biggest impact in the long run.

Seek opinions – secure enough to be challenged and seek opinions from others. Open-minded to innovation and change.

Understand the “why” of their game plan – good coaches don’t just copy another system or game plan. They understand the reason why they use a particular game plan and all the little things that go into executing it. This ties into traits 1 and 6.

Coach with enthusiasm and passion – this approach rubs off on players and makes them enthusiastic about the task of learning and improving

Life-long learners
– always looking for better ways, new information. Seek out other coaches. Study other sports for training and playing methods

"One who gives less than what he has to give is telling you what he thinks about both you and him. " (Pete Carrill former Head Basketball Coach at Princeton University)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



In order to be at my best this pre-season, I need to rest the month of August. My blog will be back, better than ever, after Labor Day.

With that said, I am not the only one who needs to rest. Most players have been going just as hard as I have with individual workouts, AAU tournaments, summer league games, and elite camps. I know of several players who haven't slept in their bed at home for more than a dozen times the entire summer!

With such a rigorous schedule, your body is banged up, fatigued, and broken down. You need to get in some quality active rest between now and when school starts. Honestly, scheduling an adequate period of active rest may be the most important thing you do all summer.

You need to get away from the game, mentally and physically, to re-charge your battery and be refreshed and ready to start the school year and your team’s pre-season workouts.

I recommend you take anywhere from a few days, to two full weeks, and do nothing physically active except for the 5 recovery exercises listed below. You need to evaluate your current state. If your summer wasn’t too exhausting, then take a few days off. If your summer was packed tighter than an airplane bathroom… then you should probably take an entire week or two off.

And when I say “off”… I mean off. That means no lifting, no conditioning, no shooting, no ball handling and no pick-up games. Trust me, it will do you good.

Perform the following exercises every day during your active rest period:

Lacrosse Ball Foot Massage

Why it’s important: Basketball players’ feet are constantly confined to rigid, stiff basketball shoes and ankle braces 20-25 hours a week. If your feet are constantly in basketball shoes, your ankles and feet get weaker and less mobile. Performing a “self massage” on a lacrosse ball helps loosen up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your feet.

How it’s done: In just your socks, balance on one foot and roll your other foot on top of the lacrosse ball. The more weight you put on the ball, the more pressure and the deeper the massage.

How many reps: Do two sets of 30 seconds for each foot.

Foam Roller

Why it’s important: It has a similar premise to the lacrosse ball. It’s a self-massage that helps elongate your muscles and rid your body of lactic acid and “knots.”

How it’s done: Start with your lower calf. Roll back and forth on top of the foam roller as if you were kneading dough. Follow the same protocol for your hamstrings, butt, outside of your hip, lower back, upper back, and your shoulder.

How many reps: Roll over each body part for 30 seconds.

Variation: You can substitute the foam roller with an over-inflated basketball.

Lunge and Reach Stretch

Why it’s important: Great stretch for the entire body!

How it’s done: Step out as far as you can into a forward lunge. Keep your ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing forward. Put your palms on the floor in front of you (inside of your front leg). Straighten you back leg. If your left leg is forward, keep your right palm on the ground and raise your left palm toward the ceiling (by rotating your core). Look up as you reach up. Then perform the same movement with your other hand (left leg forward, raise your right hand). Then switch legs and repeat.

How many reps: Perform 5 reps for each hand on each leg.

Assisted Hamstring Stretch

Why it’s important: Tight hamstrings can cause numerous problems.

How it’s done: Lay on your back with both legs flat. Wrap a towel or elastic band or jump rope around the middle part of one foot. Keeping both legs straight (one stays on the ground), slowly pull your foot towards your nose. Make sure your ankle stays dorsi-flexed (“toes to your nose”). Hold for 15 seconds. Then, keeping your torso and hips flat on the ground, drop your leg laterally (if you are stretching your left leg, drop your leg down to the left). For a more intense stretch, continue to pull your foot towards the top of your head. This is a great groin stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Lastly, cross over and drop your leg to the opposite side. For a more intense stretch, continue to pull your foot towards the top of your head. This will give a stretch to your low back and IT band. Hold for 15 seconds.

How many reps: Perform 3 rounds of all 3 phases (straight, lateral, crossover… each round takes 45 seconds).

Bodyweight Hangs

Why it’s important: Helps decompress your spine.

How it’s done: Find a sturdy pull-up bar that is high enough that you can hang from it without your feet touching the ground. Then simply grab the bar and hang. Let every muscle relax and let gravity decompress your spine.

How many reps: Hang for 3 sets of 15 seconds.

If you need additional info, or a visual on how to perform these exercises, please check out the initial episodes of the Can He Dunk? Project at We performed these movements with the participants before every workout.

We will post a new episode each week for the next 3 weeks… so make sure you stay tuned to see who ends up dunking!

In addition to the Can He Dunk? videos, I just posted the remaining two videos from the Nike Basketball Skills Academies. These will be my last two YouTube videos of the summer (videos will return after Labor Day, along with the blog).

Kevin Durant Nike Basketball Skills Academy:

Amar’e Stoudemire Nike Basketball Skills Academy:

Please enjoy your last few weeks of August and get the rest you deserve.

But then get back to work. Your pre-season workouts will lay the foundation for your season.

We will be offering a very comprehensive 8 Week Pre-Season Strength & Conditioning Program download at in early September. It will include everything you need to get stronger, more explosive, and in great basketball shape.

Remember… the best players and the best teams are in the best shape!

In the meantime, please let me know if I can be a resource to you for your program. You can email me at

Friday, July 30, 2010

Better luck next time, Hoosiers ...

One of the ugliest first half in Final Four’s history would turn into a real championship game 20 minutes too late. When any of the two teams can’t find their rhythm, it’s hard to have a good basketball game… When Hubbie Brown says he has never seen a worst Final Four game, you know there’s something wrong. When the best passing point-guard of the country, Steve Blake, throws chest passes in opponents’ hands and alley-hoop pass to invisible Maryland’s ghosts… Well you got to bench him a little. So far, doesn’t look good huh …?

However, watching the second half was more than exciting. Indiana coach Mike Davis decided to put motion away and set up his players with plays, which worked perfectly. Even though they were cold from the foul-line, the Hoosiers drained 10 of their 23 3-point attempts. With guards lighting it up from 3, the Hoosiers still couldn’t get the lead, against a solid Maryland defense. With 6 blocks and 12 steals, the Terrapins did really good on the defensive end. With Lonny Baxter and Chris Wilcox in the paint, Indiana struggled to get to the line, which wasn’t Maryland’s case. In fact, Maryland scored 20 points from the line, while Indiana only shot 7 of them. Even though Blake didn’t have a good game (0.8 AST/TO ratio), his teammate Juan Dixon gave the Terrapins a solid rhythm, scoring 18 points in 38 minutes of play.

Personally, I thought Maryland would come up with a much better offensive pattern; no, I do not doubt Terrapins’ talent. All I’m saying is that if TV didn’t show the score, any folk would’ve thought Indiana won the game (or almost won…). Expecting flex sets from everywhere and solid motion play, I saw a lost Maryland team, led by a point-guard that could barely make an inside pass. If Maryland didn’t have physical advantage, the rebounding game would’ve been a lot different (Thanks to Maryland’s bigs, grabbing 21 of 33 defensive rebounds.). Capitalizing on the fast-break, the Terrapins won with 2v1s, 3v2s and rebounding. The only easy shot out of a half-court set was seen early in the second half. Indiana opened every possible door for a blowout, but Maryland closed them all with terrible passing and bad shots.

From a Hoosiers stand point, they had an excellent second half, and fought until the end. Indiana players are always fueled with fundamentals, good footwork and toughness, which make them competitors for titles so often. With great set-plays execution and team defense, they succeeded to stay in the game, and tying the game a couple times. Here are some plays Indiana Hoosiers games:


Hoping to see Hoosiers come back on top again,

Coach Morrow

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Embrace Adversity

Embrace Adversity…

“All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”-Walt Disney

After making it to the Final Four the prior year, we entered last season ranked #2 in Class 4A. We returned a senior-laden team, with seven guys playing their last year of high school basketball. The previous year we lost by 2 after holding a double-digit half-time lead, ending a very trying season. I say to this day that the things we had to endure as a team that year bonded us together. One of our team leaders had to sit out the entire first half of the season for disciplinary issues. (We have two areas of discipline that we focus on with our team. One is the discipline of our standards and the other is the discipline of hard work. The discipline of our standards deal with how our players conduct themselves off the court, and the discipline of hard work deal with how our players practice and play on the court.) We had over ¾ of our games where someone was sitting out due to discipline issues. We new we had the talent, but was not sure we had the discipline to be a great team. It was the adversity that the team faced that made us stronger as we moved down the stretch. We were a team that had an under .500% record (15-17) entering into the final four. I think after a very long trying season, our guys were satisfied with just getting to the final four. We faced one last shot of adversity of holding off a determined team, but we lost the battle.

We gave the guys two weeks off and we were back in the weight room preparing, with one goal in mind. We had a better spring and summer preparation than we did the previous year, and I always shared with the coaching staff that I was waiting to see how we would handle adversity. Again coming into the season, we had players who had to sit out games due to disciplinary issues, which included our two Senior leaders. One Coach asked me, “Is this the adversity you keep talking about?” I told him no because we had overcome as a team that adversity last year. I was looking for something that was going to test the very character of our team. As was the team that made it to the final four the previous year, again, we had a very talented team. It was the same talent that catapulted us to a #2 ranking in the state, which was our biggest challenge. We had scheduled a very difficult schedule for our team, yet I knew that from the difficult schedule, the adversity that we needed would not come from that schedule. During the regular season we went undefeated in our Area Play and we went undefeated at home during the regular season. We lost several games on the road, with key players having to sit out, yes due to disciplinary issues, and we also suffered an embarrassing lost in an out of state Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Other coaches on the coaching staff kept asking is this the adversity that you were looking for, and I still told them, “NO.”

On Senior Night, we were faced with a situation where several of our seniors decided to get haircuts that were not according to the standards that we live by. This was a very big issue because what they did, called for them to miss the game, because a player was not allowed to play with the type haircuts they got for senior night. I can’t begin to tell you the rift that this caused on the coaching staff. The final decision was to let them play, and they practically won that game on their own, with very little coaching. The coaching staff met the next day and ironed out some details and needless to say practice was not pleasant the days following Senior Night. Coaches asked me is this the adversity that I was looking for, and I told them not for the players but it was good for us as coaches. After looking over the situation, had we not allowed those senior guys to play on senior night, we would have lost that team and lost our season. (Not to mention the uproar not dressing the seniors on Senior Night would have caused)

We finished the regular season ranked #4 after being dropped out of the top 10 for several weeks. Entering the season we had 9 goals, and those were to:

1. Go Undefeated At Home
2. Win All Area Games
3. Host The Area Tournament by accomplishing Goal #2
4. Win The Area Tournament
5. Host Sub-Region by accomplishing Goal #4
6. Win Sub-Region Game (If you lose this game, your season is over)
7. Win the Regional Championship
8. Make It To The Final Four by accomplishing Goal #7
9. Win 4A State Championship.

As Area Play began we easily made it pass the first round. In the Championship Game we played one of the worst defensive games we had ever played. The opposing team shot over 50 free throws that game and we lost by one point for the first time on our home court that season. We stood there in our gym forced to watch the opposing team hoist the Area Championship Trophy in our own gym. After that game, I spoke to the team during or post-game talk that we had just faced the adversity that we needed to face as a team. We were unable to check off goals 4 and 5 on the goals sheet. We had to go on the road and win to continue our season. Going on the road and trying to end another team’s season in their gym, was not something we looked forward to doing. I shared with them that all our dreams could come to an end, just like that, if we try to rely on our talent alone to win the State Championship. The adversity that I was looking for was the kind that would challenge their talent level. Something that would make them see that they could not rely solely on their talent, but they had to rely on the discipline of hard work to win. We eventually had to beat this same team in the Regional Championship game to advance to the Final Four.

From that day until the State Championship game the discipline of hard work, and the focus needed to be champions was present. We ultimately won the state championship last season. Had we not had the right type of adversity for this team, I do not think we would have won. We needed that kick in the teeth at that time.

I am not wishing on any team adversity late in the season, but there is no way we can control the winds of adversity. Late-season adversity tests the true inner strength of a coach and the bond of a team. I have seen many teams fail to recover from late-season adversity, but with the right focus and plan of action, recovery is possible, and I do mean recovering to still accomplish your goals.

For a coach that may be reading this blog, I challenge you to embrace adversity throughout your season. I say embrace it because whether you want to deal with it or not, you will face some type of adversity. Maybe it is an injury to a star player, a multi-game losing streak, or losing a player to academic suspension, you will face adversity.

The following are some focal points to assist you when you are faced with adversity. This is not the “gospel” on how to handle adversity, but it gives you a map to navigate through the adversity.

1. Embrace the Adversity (Rosemarie Rossetti once said, ““Adversity precedes growth.” If you embrace the adversity you will embrace the growth of your team)
2. Ask yourself, “What is the purpose of the adversity?” (Determine The Purpose of the adversity in scope to the total team. Knowing the purpose of something gives you strength to endure)
3. Don’t Let Them See You Sweat. (When adversity hits, all eyes will be on you, even if you are not ok, the team should never know. Have people in your life, maybe a mentor, or a peer coach, whom you can be vulnerable with)
4. Be Optimistic. (You must have the right attitude)
5. Re-Hash The Season Goals (Re-assure the team that the goals have not changed and the mission is still to complete the objective)
6. Limit-The Focus (Don’t let the problem overshadow the ultimate goals of the team)
7. Stay Consistent (Don’t drastically change how you relate to the team, stay consistent with them)
8. Don’t Quit (Give everything you have to your team to put them in a position to accomplish their goals and be successful)

I hope that this blog has helped you in some way. Every team faces adversity, and I hope that you have gained some kind of insight that will help you embrace the adversity of the up-coming season. Let’s Go!!!!!!

I would like to thank Coach DeForest for the opportunity to contribute to the blog. It is my prayer that I was able to help you on your journey.

Terry Drake is Assistant Coach of Ramsay High School in Birmingham AL. Lead Trainer of Pinnacle Basketball, a Basketball Skill Development Company.



You can contact me at:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Identity problems ? Not for the Orange !

Having an identity… As a person, as a team and as a basketball coach. For some, having an identity, your own philosophy, is one of the most important thing in the game today. Basketball is a fast game, full of opportunities. At some point, during a basketball game, you will have to make a choice, to take decisions; as a player, and, certainly, as a coach… That is where your philosophy comes into play. Before practice, during the team meeting, those key words you repeat and repeat again, rely on your game philosophy. During the game, when you get pissed off, and you feel like your heart is going to explode... That often means somebody on the team didn’t stick to your plan that relies on your philosophy.

Every Championship-Winning College teams had a clean and clear identity… Every year. When everyone knows what the coach is clearly asking for, it is easier for the players to get together and work as a team. In clinics, every great coach tells other coaches to be their-selves, not anybody else. You can’t steal identities. Personally, I would rather pay to go watch two average clearly-defined IVY-League teams compete against each other, then any NBA game (Okay, let’s say regular season games…). Watching teams that seem lost on the court, getting yelled on by a coach that wants everything, but doesn’t want to give up anything, really pisses me off. Thank God, I got to see the 2003 NCAA Championship game. You remember now? I’ll give you a clue: Orange. Still didn’t find out? Here’s another one: 40 minutes zone defense. Well, if you are still searching, we forgive you anyways, but you got to watch the Syracuse Orangemen play defense! That’s right, the 2003 Championship was opposing two strongly defined teams, in Syracuse and Kansas. The game was not even started, that I hoped Syracuse would win, and I wasn’t even a big fan of the Orangemen.

The Boeheim’ squad played extremely well on the offensive end. Yes coaches, it was NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony first and last college year, but Syracuse did win with beautiful team play. With Gerry McNamara, one of nation’s best shooting-guard, Syracuse had a strong back-court. Evidently, the Orangemen played zone defense, according to Coach Jim Boeheim’s philosophy. However, I do think that Kansas got too many points in the paint. Even though the Jayhawks had good perimeter players and great bigs, Syracuse got lucky that Kansas didn’t shoot over 40% from the free-throw line, one of the worst championship-game foul-shooting percentages ever. Even though I blame the Orangemen defense, maybe I should look on the other side and admire Kansas’ zone offense. One of the better words to describe the way they got all these looks is: SIMPLE. The Jayhawks did put on a clinic on zone offense, against one of the best zone teams in the country. Now you tell me Kansas had two 6’11 big man, with greats hands and good feet, and taking example on them wouldn’t be fair. Wrong answer. You don’t need 7-footers to run simple and efficient Kansas zone offense, because you probably don’t have 7-footers defenders in your league. If so, please send me an e-mail and I would be glad to go watch your games! With a few quick-hitters, clever passing and player movement, Kansas was 4 points away from a Championship, falling to Syracuse in a 81-78 loss.
Here is one of Syracuse quick-hitting play :

Coach Morrow

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

pe of adversity. Maybe it is an injury to a star player, a multi-ga

u to embrace adversity throughout your season. I say embrace it bec

very is possible, and I do mean recovering to still accomplish your

ason, but there is no way we can control the winds of adversity. La

do not think we would have won. We needed that kick in the teeth at

ip game the discipline of hard work, and the focus needed to be cha

State Championship. The adversity that I was looking for was the ki

the team during or post-game talk that we had just faced the adver

situation, had we not allowed those senior guys to play on senior

e gave the guys two weeks off and we were back in the weight room p

that made us stronger as we moved down the stretch. We were a team

issues. We new we had the talent, but was not sure we had the disci

deal with how our players practice and play on the court.) We had o

er holding a double-digit half-time lead, ending a very trying seas

We returned a senior-laden team, with seven guys playing their last

Four the prior year, we entered last season ranked #2 in Class 4A.

in the world for you."-Walt Disney

After making it to the Final

e it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing

troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realiz

Embrace Adversity…

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sideline Out of Bounds Play Provides Multiple Options

Hi Coaches! My name is Melissa and I am a Varsity Girl's Basketball Coach in Northern California. Coach DeForest was kind enough to extend me an invite to contribute to the blog and I am honored to do so. As a fellow hoops junkie, I hope I have something to add!

One of the things I struggle to find time for in practice is Sideline Out of Bounds (SLOB) plays. At our level, we rarely struggle to get the ball in-bounds from the sideline against pressure, but I am looking to get more scoring opportunities out of those in-bounds. This is an easy to execute set that has a first option of getting your best shooter a quick three, or run through gets your best player (in my case my small forward), a look at a 3 pointer or a clear-out on the right side.

Click on the link to check it out!

NBA Top 100 Camp - Separating Good from Great

NBA Top 100 Camp - Separating Good from Great
Alan Stein
The past 6 weeks have been an exciting whirlwind. I have worked the Chris Paul Elite Guard Camp, the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp, all of the Nike Skills Academies (Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Paul Pierce, Amar’e Stoudemire, & LeBron James), and the Nike Peach Jam EYBL Championships.

Having had the opportunity to be around the most talented players in the country, I noticed there is a key factor that separates the good from the great.

That is the ability to compete.

Mediocre players rarely compete. Good players compete when they want to. Great players compete all of the time… every drill, every workout, every day. Their competitive fire never stops burning.

And competing doesn’t always have to be against another player. Great players compete against themselves. Great players compete against the clock. Great players compete against the drill. They are never satisfied with what they have already accomplished and are constantly competing to improve. They aim to raise the bar every single workout. No matter how much success they have had, they are always looking to go to another level.

Kevin Durant doesn’t pick and choose when to compete, he competes all of the time. KD just won the NBA scoring title, was an All-Star, and led the Thunder to the playoffs. Yet he competed as hard as any high school or college player at his Skills Academy (in both drills and scrimmages). KD played with the hunger and urgency of someone who still needed to prove himself, even though he obviously doesn’t.

I can tell within 5 minutes whether or not a player is a true competitor. I can tell in their preparation. All I have to do is watch what they do the 15 minutes before the workout begins.

Are they waiting for the workout or are they preparing for it? There is a difference.

Players who are waiting to work out are usually lounging around in their flip flops and headphones or just casually shooting. They are literally killing time until the workout begins. That’s when they plan to “turn it on.”

Players who are preparing to work out, are dressed and ready and going through some type of standard routine, such as a structured warm-up or doing some form shooting. They aren’t joking or grab assing around. They are focused on getting mentally prepared. They are all business.

Despite the stress of “The Decision,” and the fact he was technically an unsigned free agent at the time, LeBron James laced them up and played with both the high school and college players at his Skills Academy. Even though these were just nightly pick-up games, LeBron went through his standard pre-game preparation, which included being thoroughly stretched by his trainer and running through some basic shooting drills to get a sweat. The only thing he didn’t do was throw chalk in the air!

LeBron James is a competitor. LeBron James knows how to prepare.

Each night, there were two games going on simultaneously on adjacent courts. The games played on LeBron’s court were always twice as intense and competitive as the other court. Why? One reason was because LeBron’s competitiveness and intensity was contagious. The other reason was because the other players wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of playing against the NBA’s reigning MVP. They were more competitive because something was on the line and they felt they had something to prove.

The key to being a great player is learning to play that hard and intense all of the time. Why not compete like you are playing against LeBron in every game you play? Why not compete in every drill as if a college coach or NBA scout was watching?

If you can figure out how to do that, you will be well on your way. When you learn to treat an off-season workout with the same importance as a championship game, then and only then, have you learned how to truly compete and maximize your potential. I have seen plenty of very talented players fall short because they didn’t make competing a habit.

Don’t think you can just “turn it on” when the season starts. You need to start competing now… every drill, every workout, every day.

Are you waiting for the season to start… or are you preparing for it?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The road ends here ...

Hard full-court defense and relentless rebounding… What more can a coach ask for? Actually, a lot of talented teams, at the college level, that can play good collective defense and control the glass properly are often still playing in April. Now I’m not saying that any good defensive team with considerable rebounding margins are always in Final Fours, no. What I am saying is that when you got NBA-talented guys, playing great defense and going hard for every possible rebound… You might win a lot of basketball games.

As a hoopjunkie, when you think about great rebounding teams, you think Wake Forest, Michigan State, Kansas, UConn, Georgia Tech … But when two of these teams meet in the Championship, you expect World War II in the paint, every time a shot is taken. Coach, if you remember the Georgia Tech V. UConn game on April 5th 2004, you got what you expected: UConn won the war 50 to 43.

If your name is Jim Calhoun, you were very proud of your squad on that night. Actually, as a rebounding coach, you were proud of Emeka Okafor (2004 NBA 2nd overall draft pick), grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds and scoring 24 points for the Huskies. With Josh Boone (2006 NBA 23rd overall draft pick) dunking every possible put-back on the offensive end, Charlie Villanueva (2005 NBA 7th overall draft pick) cleaning the painted area and 13 rebounds off the bench, not surprising UConn benefited of extra possessions on the offensive end. Even though Connecticut is a top-rated shot-blocking program, that wasn’t a factor on that night. As much as the Huskies had a gifted front-court, as much the back-court was deadly: Taliek Brown, a clever senior guard, was setting up his teammate Ben Gordon (2004 NBA 3rd overall draft pick), mostly on half-court sets. In fact, the Huskies used a lot of their box series and flex actions to break the Yellow Jackets’ defense down.

From a Georgia Tech stand point, Coach Hewitt can’t be upset with his team performance; actually, he can be disappointed about the referees’ performance, missing lots of calls! With all due respect to Georgia Tech’s program, I do not think Hewitt’s teams are top-executing teams. However, I was shocked by the way the Yellow Jackets completed their half-court sets, and seemed like they understood the Princeton concepts. Is it because a guy named Jarett Jack (2005 NBA 22nd overall draft pick) played the point? Maybe. Anyways, it was amazing to watch Georgia Tech going up against the big and tall Huskies. We can’t ignore the fact that both teams grabbed 18 offensive rebounds. Even Though Calhoun is known for his full-court pressure, GTech’s back-court was too much for that type of game. Only problem for them is that UConn’s back-court was just as quick and talented. Was it fun to watch Georgia Tech putting full-court pressure on Ben Gordon (maybe the last time of his entire life he got pressured full !) ? Yes, I said it earlier; the only thing is that the Huskies were one of the most comfortable fast-paced teams in the country that year. Indeed, Hewitt’ squad got scored trying to pressure UConn, even if they got rewarded with some steals late in the ball game. UConn committed 16 turnovers in the game.

A great comeback was made by GTech in the second half, outscoring the Huskies with a 24-11 run with minutes remaining to the game. Final score was 82-73, giving Connecticut men’s basketball program its second Title, and in the same year, women’s basketball program its fifth Title. Notice that this only happened once in history that both teams win the same year.
Hoopjunkies offer you a complete scout-pro report including 30 championship plays. Here are some free crunch-time plays from both teams :
2004 Championship Split post set :
GTech V Fl.State crunch-time play [2] :

GTech V Fl.State crunch-time play [1] :
Clemson V GTech crunch-time play :
UConn V Syracuse crunch-time play :

Coach Jeffrey Morrow

Friday, July 9, 2010

2005 NCAA Championship

Scouting the North Carolina Tar Heels can be described in one word: RUN. In fact, Roy Williams once said: ‘’Playing fast doesn’t allow me to worry about what just happened’’. I thought I once heard Steve Smith say something like that too… Anyways, like I said in Florida’s reports, trying to break down the offensive strategies of a fast-breaking team can be either very easy, or very difficult. Some teams got dozens of secondary options, and some just have two or three basic movements then play off scratch. However, running (the right way) offensively can be a very efficient equalizer, especially for an average team. The only thing is that if you got NBA-potential players on your team, lightning-quick guards and a very competent coach… You might win championships. In fact, Roy Williams and his team did win a championship in 2005, against a fantastic Illinois team.

How amazing it is, each year, watching two college teams/coaches going head-to-head for the most prestigious title (in my thoughts) in sports. What is also exciting is watching coaches exchanging on-the-edge set plays, mixing defenses, creating mismatches with screens, etc…

And it is exactly what the Tar Heels and the Fighting Illinis did.

Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini is a bit different though. As much as the Tar Heels seemed lost against a set half-court defense, as much Illinois were executing sharp plays offensively. Illinois had everything to make up for the lack of size: a roadrunner-fast Dee Brown, a pure shooter in Luther Head and one of the best floor-general in the game today, Deron Williams. But don’t be fooled by this rock-solid backcourt, Illinois bigs were excellent too, setting screens and rebounding offensively. One sad thing for the Fighting Illinis was their 4-man foul trouble, James Augustine. That shooting-big had problems guarding the enormous Sean May inside, getting everything he wanted on fast-break post-ups. Indeed, UNC’s center scored 26 points, all in the paint (or at the line) and added 10 rebounds to his stats sheet. If you guys want to teach your players how to set solid screens, you got to make them watch that game. Near of illegal-screening, Illinois got every shot they possibly wanted on the perimeter. Adjusting to Roy Williams 1-3-1 zone and 2-3 match-up, Illinois got the job done shooting 30% from the outside and 39% from the field. Besides that, the only important statistic was rebounding: Illinois winning the battle 39 to 34, including 17 offensive rebounds compared to the 8 ones UNC got.

Committing only one but deadly turnover in the second half, the Fighting Illinis won the second half 43 to 35, but lost the game 75-70.

Coach, we got what you need: over 30 plays from Coach Williams (UNC) and Coach Weber (Illinois), two of the best in the business! Learn how The Fighting Illini made their tenacious come-back with baseline screening sets, how UNC got all those baskets running the floor, and more! We will show you Williams’ key statistics and give you some of his personal thoughts. But wait, don’t think this report is just about the Tar Heels, because we got every single Illinois’ championship sets! The University of North Carolina is known for its hard-nosed defense, and their coach’s philosophy to destroy opponents offense… And Illinois still scored off their sets !

Here are some links for free crunch-time plays, involving the Tar Heels and the Fighting Illini :
Tar Heels quick-hitter :
2005 Championship game play :
UNC VS Purdue play :

Coach Morrow

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Top 5 Lessons the Military Can Teach Coaches

The military can teach many lessons from what to do during a chemical attack to how to clear a room. Those are military jobs and skills. What are some of the leadership lessons that a basketball coach can use to better improve their coaching or their love of the process? These are a few that I have learned along the way and have learned to adapt to my perspective on coaching.

1. Be a Follower First then a Leader - One of the great lessons taught by the military is the fact that you must first learn how to be a great follower before you can expect to become a great leader. The idea that leaders are born and not made does not apply in the military. In other words, you do not simply walk in and announce you are the next coming of Patton. Instead you are taught about chain of command and your place in it.

When you first enter the military, your place is the splinter of wood on the bottom of the ladder - a fact you will be reminded of daily as you scrub toilets, do pushups until you cannot move, and other fun human games unknown to Milton Bradley. Remember, great leaders are born through the fire of daily discipline and correct character choices.

Your time will come be the follower that you will expect your followers to be.

2. Suck Scum - Be the guy that is willing to do the things that others will not do.
When you are coaching basketball this means working your tail off in the July recruiting period, getting up early to work out your players, and all the little things involved in preparation. In the military you have no choice. You accept the job given to you and work hard to accomplish it in the most efficient way possible. Period. There is no room for emotions - only execution.

When you coach basketball, so many times, people expect good things to happen because they work hard. Hard work does not guarantee success - it is only the ticket to the party. Suck scum and work hard because you do not deserve success without paying this price.

3. Stay Fit to Lead Effectively - Leaders in the military are in physical shape. You know this because you cannot stay in the military without meeting a standard of physical fitness. Also, you cannot rise in rank without paying your dues which takes time. That being said, you know that those leaders in the military are disciplined and expect you to perform at a level that they have already surpassed.

In basketball coaching, I believe that your ability to coach most effectively is diminshed when you cannot demonstrate these physical skills. At the same time, if you know that you cannot physically demonstrate certain movements or skills, it is wise to have someone on staff that can. Stay fit, sweat with your players, and reach new heights of coaching effectiveness.

4. Expect More - Please coaches remember that no matter how much you demand from your players that they are always capable of more. The Navy SEALS teach that the average person can do 10 times more than they think possible. They demonstrate this through a week long trial by fire where the longest they are even allowed to sleep is 4 hours - most are awake in 72 hour shifts.

Translate this to the basketball court and push your players physcially to their limits. Most high school kids do not even know their limits because they have never been pushed to that level. For these players, their first introduction to this is in college. Please do not let your player go to college without any idea about the price they must pay physically. Remember, fatigue makes cowards of us all and physical toughness is a prerequisite for mental toughness.

You cannot be mentally tough without forging your body the way through the fire of your will.

5. Disciplined Emotions - If you look at the most successful coaches in basketball like Tom Izzo, Coach K, Brad Stevens, Roy Williams, and others, you will notice that they have total control over their emotions on the sidelines. Even though they may rant and rave during the game at officials and players, these are calculated manouvers designed with a purpose. They are translating emotions to give these tactics power and command, but like the great actors, deep inside they are calm and collected. This is much like the military where the leaders have been forged through the fires of combat and pressure situations. They must have control over their emotions to make decisions where life and death hang in the balance.

While everyone is still human, I believe the great leaders - in the military and on the basketball court - have command of their emotions and are able to act upon them when needed for the most effect.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Coach K: The Best Never Rest

Nearly three months after cutting down the nets in Indianapolis, the 63-year-old Krzyzewski insisted he's feeling plenty refreshed as he prepares for the U.S. national team's training camp next month in Las Vegas.

"I'm on to the next thing, and the next thing is getting better as a basketball coach," Krzyzewski said Monday during his annual midsummer news conference. "You've got to get better each year, so the opportunity to coach the United States gives me an opportunity to get better. I'll coach this summer more than anybody in the United States.

"As long as I take my breaks and stay fresh, I think that's a good thing," he added. "You would want the guy defending you (in a courtroom) to get better in law. You would want the guy or woman treating you in health to keep up to date, and I think as long as you're in any profession, you should get better, because it's constantly changing."

"I'm a basketball coach all the time. That's what I do. I don't play golf. I chase my dog, or he chases me, and I whack down some trees and bushes and play with my grandkids and drink a little bit of wine," a smiling Krzyzewski said.

"I like to socialize, but I'm a basketball coach every day of my life."

Coach K is one of the best coaches of all time and one of the best active coaches in the game today. What has made him so special has been his ability to adapt and adopt as the game has changed. He has experimented with the Dribble Drive Motion as well as European Ball Screen concepts that he picked up from D'Antoni. The point is that he is constantly evolving as a basketball coach....and he just won his 4th NCAA championship. If he is working this hard to improve, what are the rest of us doing?

Monday, May 3, 2010

April Newsletter - Free Download & Kobe Bryant

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Many people may wonder what makes Kobe Bryant the best closer in the game. As with most superstars he has an unreal work ethic and desire to win. Need proof? Check out Kobe's pre-game ritual:

There are few things more important to Kobe Bryant before a game than his portable DVD player. It goes wherever he goes before tipoff. On the padded table in the trainer's room. On the floor for a pregame stretching routine. Perched in front of his locker. The Lakers' 10-time All-Star stares at his 10-inch screen, watching basketball clips of the players he'll be guarding. It is part of his longtime commitment to studying video, one of the foundations of a career still going strong.

The Lakers have had dozens of great players over the years, but according to the team's director of video services Chris Bodaken, "Hands down, he's the biggest video fiend we've ever had. I didn't know if it was possible to be more competitive than Magic was, but I think he might be. It carries over into his preparation, and this is part of that."

The Lakers' video staff goes "through an opponent's last few games and find key plays from the players Bryant will guard, presenting him with eight to 12 minutes of edited footage."
The goal is for Bryant to pick up tendencies of rival players. Have they added any new moves? Have they been aggressively driving to the basket or have they been satisfied to drift from the hoop and settle for outside jump shots?

Kobe's objective is "to find ways to take away comfort zones from opponents."

"It's a blueprint," said Bryant, a perrenial member of the NBA all-defensive team.
"So if something goes down, it's not something you haven't seen before. Everybody's got tendencies. If he scores 40 on Monday, he's going to try to do it on Tuesday. You've got to take him out of his spots. That's the key."

Says Patrick O'Keefe, another member of the Lakers' video staff:
"It's like a straight-A student who still goes to all the extra study sessions."

Don Meyer Clinic Notes - Download Now

Double Pump Clinic Notes - 31 Pages - Download Now

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hubie Brown and The X's and O's You Forgot to Ask

These are notes from a recent clinic featuring Hubie Brown.

-At clinics, take only what you can teach; be sure to stay within your personality and personnel. You MUST believe in what you teach
-Great coaches aren’t afraid to be innovators
-PLAYERS make the system, not the coach. You NEED players—During the Chicago Bulls’ run during the ‘90’s, eight newly-hired coaches installed the triangle offense in their new job, none, zero, lasted more than 2 years. What happens when you don’t have the players?
-How do you ram home your emphasis?
-You don’t lose your job just because of your win-loss record. Often times it is players complaining about style of play
-What kills a player’s potential? 1. Low pain threshold 2. Low IQ (basketball) for what we’re running 3. Selfishness 4. Can the person do the intangibles (charges, loose balls, pass aheads, rotations 5. Drugs and Alcohol

-Accountability is greatly missing in today’s game
-Shooting makes up for a multitude of sins. I have a shooter on each unit no matter how bad of a defender he is. We can hide a bad defender, we just need him to make the necessary rotations.
-Key halftime stats: offensive rebounds (& points off), fast break % (& points off) and deflections (Why do I love deflections so much? Because it shows that we’re working and it tells me we’re bothering them from making the pass to the spot they want)
-Reward your guys: tell them how much you appreciate them
-Give your players a chance to talk
-Never end a drill without a basket. It does 3 things: 1. improves their confidence 2. conditioning, forces them to chase the ball down 3. enforces good habits, conditions them into making scoring a reflexive action
-A coach must pay extreme attention to the last 6 minues of a game. Ask yourself:
1. Did we get high percentage shots for our shooters?
2. Did we get to the free throw line?
3. Turnovers
-The day after a loss, a coach must break those key plays in the last 6 minutes to explain to his players why we won/ why we lost
-Zone attack: 1. What kinds of shots are you getting? 2. Can you score in the paint? 3. Can you get to the line? 4. Can we get to the glass for offensive rebounding?
-Anytime a team is running a sideline break, we’re going to take it away. On a make/miss, defender jams the rebounder. Drill: 2 players on each block, closest to baseline will be on offense. Coach scores the basket, offensive forward grabs the ball out of the net and steps out of bounds to inbounds the ball to guard streaking to near sideline (volleyball line). Defensive forward angles himself to cut off pass to sideline, defensive guard must force the guard to come back towards the inbounder for the outlet. On the catch, defensive player must turn ball-handler twice before halfcourt (forward sprints to half out of drill).
-I need more shots—how do I get them? Offensive rebounds, force TOs, and block shots.
-Hubie’s 3 toughest offensive actions to guard: 1. Staggered screen for a shooter 2. Dribble handoff 3. Backscreen
-Do you shoot enough in practice? How many shots do your kids get up in a practice?
-To beat pressure: 1. If a player cuts out of an area, a player must be sprinting in to replace 2. Have the ability to reverse the ball 3. Do I have a backdoor/change of direction in our continuity?
-Make a zone press pay: attack, layups. If you don’t, they will stay trapping
-Against physical defensive play, don’t be afraid as an offensive player to use your hands when coming off a screen (against the screener, your teammate). Why? Because it slows the offensive player down and allows him to see how the defender is playing him.
-When your door is opened, will you be ready? Will you thank the person who helped to open that door?

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Secret Weapon of Drew Brees

Drew Brees has a secret weapon. During his career in the NFL he has relied on one company to be his competitive training advantage.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Basketball on a Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching and Playing

About the Book and DVD: Coaching Youth Basketball -- Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching and Playing

The book came first. (See: The Book That Made The DVD ) The DVD (See: DVD) was created to complement the book, giving readers the best of both worlds -- the text (with hundreds of diagrams and photos) and the visual companion showing Coach Ronn Wyckoff teaching everything he writes about during a live, 3-day coaching workshop.

While searching for a publisher for his book, he began marketing the DVD through his website, . From the success of DVD sales, 27 other products have been created from chapters in the book to help coaches and players around the world learn how to teach and perform the basic fundamentals necessary for successful play.
Here's the Press Release That Went Out In Advance of Releasing the Book Worldwide Via the Internet. Coaching Youth Basketball -- Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching and Playing

The author doesn't just fill pages with theory and drills. He has provided over 300 pages chock full of usable content that break down every aspect of the individual game and demonstrate with text, diagrams and photos how to teach or practice the basic fundamentals of the game.
24/7 Press Release/ - Dec. 8th, 2007 - Coach Ronn Wyckoff has just published the most innovative basketball book for youth coaches and players on the market. If the DVD sales from this book are any indicator, "Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level Of Coaching and Playing", is going to be a major player in the "how to coach basketball" and "how to play basketball" niches.

He begins by chronicling his own rise from beginning coach to how he became a teaching coach to players and other coaches around the world. Along the way, he discusses changing teaching paradigms to include Zen/Spiritual approaches to many of the problems facing youth sports today. He discusses how to be a supportive parent, making 'right' choices, and what it takes to become a teaching-coach, rather than one who just moves players around like chess pieces.
In the "how to..." section of his book, Coach Ronn walks a coach, player or parent through the beginning game, from explaining the floor markings, to how the game is played, to how to stand and move. The veteran author always keeps it simple, using the plateau method of teaching. He goes from the most basic introduction of skills, overlaying new usages of skills previously taught, until he has reached the more sophisticated position specific offensive and defensive skills necessary to playing the game well.

Teaching-coaches, and players at any level, will find here the appropriate words and directives, along with specific drills, to teach and enhance whatever skill is being covered.
Before the book was released, Coach Ronn produced and released a 4-hour teaching DVD version of all the aspects he teaches in the "how to..." section of his book. The DVD has had tremendous worldwide sales, making this combination of teaching tools unique among youth basketball coaching authors.

With his more than fifty-five years in basketball, first as a player, then as a coach, and later as an international consultant and national team coach in four countries, Coach Ronn brings a rich and varied expertise to his writing. He weaves anecdotes about his own life and coaching experiences in with suggestions on how to take one's game to a higher level-skill wise and spiritually. Everything the author brings forth in his book is straightforward and simple, all the time relating to how to find a higher purpose for our lives and bring it into working with youth.

Coach Ronn has spent more than fifty years in basketball, coaching youth basketball up through national teams, and as a player, lecturer, author, court-side commentator, and even refereeing. As an international consultant, his programs have reached hundreds of players and coaches around the world. He coached four national teams and has conducted national player camps. He averaged over 22 ppg, (before the advent of the 3-point line) in his fifteen year playing career. He played for three years in Sweden at the end of his playing career.

In his forty-plus years of coaching, Coach Ronn coached boys, girls, men and women, from the playgrounds to national teams, and his teams won over 70% of their games. The international club teams he coached won over 80%.

"Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching & Playing"Coaching Mentoring Teaching DVD & Book e-Books

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Bobby Knight and Coach K Interview

Listen to a new interview where the old friends talk about how the game has changed and some memorable stories between the two coaching legends.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Virus of Personal Expectations

Loved this excerpt from the late David Halberstam in his book "The Education of a Coach," about Bill Belichick.

In 2004, after the Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three seasons, NE coach Bill Belichick "went to Florida to visit with Jimmy Johnson, who he thought was the one coach out there who knew the most about what would happen once a team had shown itself able to play at so lofty a level, Johnson's Cowboys having won the Super Bowl after the 1992 and 1993 seasons.

The two men were friends in the delicate sense of friendship that football coaches are allowed -- in the we-may-be-on-opposite-sides-of-the-field-but-we-have-similar-problems-and-similar-enemies-and-we-may-need-each-other-yet-you-coaching-for-me-or-you-coaching-for-you kind of friendship. [Over the years], they had stayed in touch. They had talked about getting together, and after the [Super Bowl], Belichick took Johnson up on his invitation to come down to Miami and talk, and they spent a day and a half going over the problems that accrue to the victorious.

Johnson was the perfect person to visit with, Belichick thought -- he was very smart, as smart as anyone in the game, and more than anyone else he had been through what Belichick was now just beginning to go through, the ordeal that came with success.

Some of the issues were technical. The Patriots had a lot of draft choices in the coming draft, ten picks, and yet he already had a good team. Belichick wanted to know what to do -- use them all, trade some away for futures, or what.Johnson told him to make a list of players he genuinely wanted, and draft them, but not to spend the picks just to use them, that it would be easy to trade picks now for higher picks next year."Stay with your list," Johnson said, "and don't be tempted to pick up players outside of it just because you can." But if there were a player that Belichick thought could help them right then, go for him.

Belichick ended up using eight of the picks. The most difficult thing, Johnson said, would be the pressure that would come with winning. When you win, everyone wants more, he said. Everything would be different. Every player and every player's agent would perceive the player as being better. The pressure to renegotiate would be immense, even for players with three years left on their contracts.

Wait until the final year of the contract if at all possible, Johnson advised.

A few days after their meeting, one of the players began talking publicly about his need for a bigger contract, and the fact this his contract reflected an essential disrespect for him as a player, and it brought home Johnson's lesson. The virus of higher personal expectations, Belichick called it.The final thing Johson mentioned was the danger of going back and trying to do the same things in the same way as before with your players. They would, Johnson warned, tune out. Football practice was built on repetition, and there was a strength and a danger in that.

You've got to keep doing what you're doing, but you've go to find different ways of doing it, and you've got to find ways of making it fun.

That, Belichick decided, would be easier said than done.

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