Tuesday, June 12, 2018


The following comes from Angela Duckworth's outstanding book "Grit."  It gives a great example of Tom Seaver's decision making process on a daily basis and shows what the absolutely best often use a mindset.  Seaver thinks in terms of whether even the smallest of choices he made each day would make him a better pitcher:

Consider Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. When he retired in 1987 at the age of forty-two, he’d compiled 311 wins; 3,640 strikeouts; 61 shutouts; and a 2.86 earned run average. In 1992, when Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame, he received the highest ever percentage of votes: 98.8 percent. During his twenty-year professional baseball career, Seaver aimed to pitch “the best I possible can day after day, year after year.” Here is how that intention gave meaning and structure to all his lower-order goals:

"Pitching… determines what I eat, when I go to bed, what I do when I’m awake. It determines how I spend my life when I’m not pitching. If it means I have to come to Florida and can’t get tanned because I might get a burn that would keep me from throwing for a few days, then I never go shirtless in the sun… If it means I have to remind myself to pet dogs with my left hand, then I do that, too. If it means in the winter I eat cottage cheese instead of chocolate chip cookies in order to keep my weight down, then I eat cottage cheese."

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


How's this for commitment to practice and improving? Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of any sport with a total of 28 medals.

“Most people lose because they are trying to take shortcuts.  But there are no shortcuts.  Do you know why Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time?  He never took a shortcut.  He once went five straight years, 365 days per year, without missing a workout.”

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Here is an excerpt from a book that shows the mindset of competitor -- someone who is serious about being the best they can be.  It also shows the mindset of a coach that recognized greatest in someone and was determined to get the best out of that athlete.  It's a story of Dean Smith and Michael Jordan.
If anything, some thought, Dean Smith was a little harder on Jordan every day in practice then he was on other young players, as if accepting his greater possibilities and his own limitless ambition and holding him to it, setting higher standards for him than for the others. Roy Williams was also always pushing Jordan to work harder in practice. “I’m working as hard as everyone else,” Jordan answered.
“But Michael, you told me you wanted to be the best,” Williams once reminded him. “And if you want to be the best, then you have to work harder than everyone else.” There was, Williams thought, a long pause, while Jordan pondered that. Finally he said, “Coach, I understand.”

From "Playing For Keeps" by David Halberstam

Thursday, October 19, 2017


Kevin Eastman once asked Kobe Bryant how long did he work on a move.  Kobe's reply? "Until."  Meaning there was no time limit. It is rumored that Mamba might work on the same move for two or more hours straight -- until he had reached the level of execution he desired.  The best stay with it until they have it.  Or as David Foster Wallace said, "If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you can't accomplish."

Hall of Fame Coach Marianne Stanley once shared a story of talking to Coach John Wooden and asking him what made Bill Walton such a great player. His response was "He didn't get bored with the repetition that you need to be great." 

How many players are good but don't work at something long enough and hard enough to excel at it?  The word Marianne used was "mastery."  She said the great ones didn't mind the constant repetition because their goal was to master the parts of their game.

I love this passage from one of my players Seimone Augustus:

“The most common questions I get asked as a professional basketball player is, ‘What drills do you do to get better? How many shots did you take a day? What all did you focus on to be a better player? I hate being asked that.  My answer is the same — I can’t count the number of shots I took, I can’t tell you what drills I did because I used everything from a lawn chair to a bowling ball glove to help with getting better, as well as watched a VHS tape of Pistol Pete until it didn’t work anymore.  An still when you reach what you think is your goal or dream, people will still doubt you and will be uncertain of your success at the next level.  But all you can do is keep working, believe in yourself, stay focused and let the universe take you on an amazing ride!”

Friday, June 30, 2017


Kobe's professional trainer was fast asleep. Could you blame him? It was 3:30 am in the morning. All a sudden his phone starts ringing. It's Kobe. He must be in trouble, or in some kind of emergency. His trainer is freaking out, and nervously picks up the phone.

Kobe says that he's doing some conditioning work and could use his trainer's help. The trainer then proceeds to get ready and head over to the gym. He arrives around 4:30 am. 

What did he see? He saw Kobe by himself practicing. Drenched in sweat, it looked like he just jumped in a pool. It wasn't even 5am in the morning yet.


The following comes from Stack.com in which Kyle Korver talks about the work ethic of Lebron James.  You can see the entire article here which also includes some video of Lebron and the Cavs workout out on VersaClimbers.

Here is what Korver had to say:

"Behind the scenes, just how hard he works. He's a machine. You don't see guys this late in their careers, guys who've had this much success, be the first guy in the gym. He's still there," Korver said. "I was blown away." Korver would know—this is his 14th season in the NBA.

As an example of LeBron's unparalleled work ethic, Korver pointed to the morning after a regular-season game against the Utah Jazz. The night before, the Cavs had defeated the Jazz on the back of a Herculean 33-point, 10-rebound, 6-assist effort from LeBron. The next morning, LeBron was in the gym before anyone else.

"He played [38] minutes, he played hard. And the next morning, he was on the VersaClimber when everybody else got there, in full sweat doing a massive strength and cardio workout," Korver said. "He was like, 'The playoffs are coming! I've got to be ready! I've got to be able to play big minutes and play at a high level!'"

Monday, June 12, 2017


One of the most important elements to your practice, especially when you are working without your coaches, is that it is both deliberate and intentional.  In other words, don't just pick up a basketball and start shooting.  What shot are you working on?  What move are you trying to develop?

Make sure you are concentrating on the elements of execution and going at a pace and speed that will translate to success on the court.  We had Kevin Eastman speak to our team last season and he told some stories on Kobe Bryant and the "intentionality of his workouts."

Eastman had been told that Kobe might go to the gym and spend two or three hours working on one move -- ONE MOVE!  

When Eastman ran into Kobe they talked about that and he asked Kobe, "How long do you work on a particular move?"

To which Kobe replied, "Until."

That's the mentality of a professional and a great player.  They don't get bored with the repetition of developing their skill.

They work "until."

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Another look into a reason that Steph Curry has become a great player.  The following comes from an SI article written by Rob Mahoney.  The article, lengthy and well worth the read starts with Curry on the collegiate level:

Stephen Curry saw the white flag wave. It danced before him in a taunt as he went bullied and beaten, made to second-guess himself as he never had before. The wispy guard was put through the wringer in one-on-one workouts against bigger, stronger, more experienced players lined up one after another by Davidson coach Bob McKillop. This was Curry’s first day and McKillop intended to test the freshman’s mettle.

“I was tired and kind of frustrated and he came out and waved this white towel in my face,” Curry said. “He kept saying, over and over again: 'You wanna surrender, don't you? You wanna surrender? Go ahead, surrender.’”

Curry played on but never triumphed. Instead, he endured just as McKillop hoped he might—standing up, again and again, to be humbled.

“It was pretty embarrassing what they were doing to me out on the floor,” Curry said. “I was pretty confident going into school that I was ready and that all I needed was the ball and to let me play. I went through the workouts and those juniors were killing me. I finished, somehow, and that was a moment of realization.”

Curry surrendered to the process.

Fast forward to where is now -- one of the game's very best and read what he says about his current coach, Steve Kerr:

“I respond best when a coach is able to get on me where he's raising his voice, yelling and whatever, because he expects greatness from me—especially when I'm not performing the way I'm supposed to,” Curry said. “I like to have, obviously, a mutual respect, and a guy who can be as consistent as possible with his message. But if I need to be yelled at and refocused, I'm open to that and I usually respond well.”

Friday, April 21, 2017


There is an incredible lengthy yet well-worth the read article on Steph Curry written by Sally Jenkins.  It’s a great read and you can read it here in it’s entirety.   For players, here are a few take ways.

Success leaves footprints and they are often attached to work ethic.  Jenkins talks about Curry and is shot regiment:

Curry shoots around 2,000 shots a week: He takes a minimum of 250 a day, plus another 100 before every game. It’s a counterintuitive fact that a player with the supplest shot in the NBA, whose overarching quality is feel, has the hands and work habits of a woodchopper. “My hands are actually kind of rough,” he says after practice at courtside. “I got a lot of callouses from the shooting.” He turns his palms up. The wrists and fingers are narrow and tapered, but the palms are gnarly and hardened, with flaking slabs of skin coarse to the touch. There’s a tub of hot manicure wax in the locker room, which some guys dip into for softening. “But it doesn’t do much for me,” Curry says.

Jenkins writes of his perfectionist attitude — for the best, it’s always in the details.

Instead of resting, he embarked on a concerted effort to improve his range and reactions. Practice is the alchemy that transfers effort into effortlessness “in the flow of the game,” he says, and he’s obsessive at it. During his shooting sessions, if he doesn’t make five of seven from each spot on the floor, he penalizes himself with extra shots. A free throw is not complete until he made “an absolutely pure, clean swish,” Warriors shooting coach Bruce Fraser says.

She also writes about his imagination — something that the best players seem to have which allows them to expand their game at a different level and rate.

Curry is not only a habitual worker; he’s an innovative one. He spent the summer exploring methods with his trainer Brandon Payne that included wearing strobe-flashing, vision-impairing glasses, and a drill that required him to tap flashing lights against a wall while dribbling. “His drive is understated because of his personality,” West says. “You don’t necessarily understand how competitive he is unless you’re around him every day and watch him carefully.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017


Few things are more important that having confidence and belief in yourself and your abilities.  Of course what is sometimes overlooked is all the preparation and hard work that must come before -- otherwise you are dealing with false bravado.  

In his book "Go For The Magic," Pat Williams told a great story about hitting great and Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

During Musial's playing days with the St. Louis Cardinals, one of his teammates entered the clubhouse whistling and obviously in a great mood.  As he walked past Musial he said, "I feel like I'm getting two hits today.  Every feel like that Stan?"

In which Musial replied with a smile, "Every day!"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


"Some people want everything to be perfect before they're willing to commit themselves to anything.  But commitment always precedes achievement.  I am told that in the Kentucky Derby, the winning horse effectively runs out of oxygen after the first half mile, and he goes the rest of the way on heart.  That's why all great athletes recognize it's importance.  NBA legend Michael Jordan explains that 'heart is what separates the good from the great.'  If you want to make a difference...look in your heart to see if you're really committed. 

From "The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader" by John Maxwell

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Remember that big shot Ray Allen hit for Miami to force a game 7 and eventually lead them to a championship?  What it you were told he'd practice that shot numerous times?  That great ones prepare for everything.

Spoelstra, of course, had heard stories about Allen. People called him "Everyday Ray" for a reason.

He was obsessive and then some about his basketball routines. He'd come to the gym early and often, repeating the same motions, the same routes over and over.

"Like a wide receiver," Spoelstra says.

But even still, Spoelstra couldn't believe what he saw during that first workout in September 2012, the week before Labor Day.

Spoelstra laughs about it now. Allen was laying on his back under the basket. When a Heat assistant coach blew the whistle, Allen would get up off his back, backpedal to the corner as if being chased, and somehow precisely place his feet in the slot between the 3-point arc and the out-of-bounds line with only inches to spare. All in one motion. All without looking down.
After all that, Allen would catch a pass and rise up for a 3-pointer.

"Pat [Riley] and I invented so many dumb drills over the years, but that," Spoelstra recalls, "that ... was a new one on us."

After watching the then-37-year-old do it dozens of times, Spoelstra stopped him.

"What on earth are you trying to accomplish here?"

Allen replied matter-of-factly.

"Offensive rebound, say I get knocked down after a layup and need to jump out for the corner 3," Allen told him. "Gotta get in the habit. You never know."

Allen performed that drill religiously for the ensuing weeks. And nine months after that September workout, Allen made perhaps the most famous clutch 3-pointer in NBA Finals history to force a Game 7.

Offensive rebound. Backpedal out to the corner 3. In one motion, without looking down. Bang.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Rudy Ruettiger
, upon whose life the movie Rudy was based, observed, "If you really, really believe in your dream, you'll get there.  But you have to have passion and total commitment to make it happen.  When you have passion and commitment, you don't need a complex plan.  Your plan is your life is your dream."

Friday, July 1, 2016


The following comes from "Coaching The Mental Game" by H. A. Dorfman:

"The measure of a man's real character is what 
he would do if he knew he would never be found out."
-Thomas McCauley

What I say it, "You identify yourself by what you do when no one is watching.  The supervised athlete may be the hardest worker, the most selfless and responsible competitor.  But how he practices when no one sees him, how he interacts with teammates when the coach is not within listening distance -- that's when he defines himself.

Theodore Roosevelt extended the definition to self-awareness and independent self-evaluation, saying, "I don't care very much about what I think of what I do.  That is character!"