Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We cannot begin to say enough about the importance of moving without the basketball — but only if it is correct movement. As John Wooden once said, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” What “effective movement” without the basketball does is eliminate the move needed to create the shot once you receive the basketball. Don Nelson says that “Less is more,” in the paint. Also, if you move constantly and correctly, you force the defense to play behind you.

Most people think of moving without the basketball as something done by perimeter players but it is equally as important for post players. Movement without the basketball in the low post includes the following:

We want our post players to be down the floor and to post up in less than four seconds. Beat the opposition down the floor for a basket or out hustle her and gain control of the box.

We teach the use of the v-cut with a one-step set up to get from one side of the lane to the other. If the defender is high, we set up high and cut low; if the defender is low, we set up low and cut high.

On dribble penetration, we want our post player to step away from the drive. If it is a baseline drive, we want to buttonhook (slide post up the lane and open to the ball for a possible pass); on a direct drive down the lane, extend to the short corner.

This is used when the low post is opposite the basketball. On ball reversal such as a swing pass or skip pass, we want to turn and face our defender and drive her into the paint for a seal-in.


Kevin Eastman is one of the best teachers in the game. Currently an assistant with the Boston Celtics, here some samples of his thoughts for players:

Paul Pierce says 2 players: coaches can teach you but you have 2 take it to the gym; even the pros understand this & work after being taught.

The best shooters in the game have to be the best shot fake players as well; the shot fake has to become a valued weapon for the shooter.

In order to reach our dreams we have to first deal in reality; reality is the foundation of fulfilling our dreams.

Footwork and balance should come before speed; get comfortable with your feet; basketball is a game of footwork; feet give you the advantage.

The faster u go; the faster u play the game; the more likely u are 2 miss too many things; play at a speed that will allow u 2 see the game.

Working with Vince Carter he believes the best shooters always have two hands ready to catch ball; believes you are quicker into your shot.

Great teaching term; on difficult square up shots; player needs 2 stick his landing; no off balance/kick legs, etc; stick landing w/ balance.

With Vince Carter this week; he had a great statement: "the faster you go the more you miss"; great quote for players to think about!

The higher level you go as a player the more you have to limit wasted motion on your moves; defenders are stronger, faster, better.

We have to eliminate as much "social shooting" as we can with today's players; if you are working on your shot then really work on your shot!

Get around people who will stretch you and not those who simply agree with you or do not have the capacity to stretch you.

The NBA has a marketing item that says "where amazing happens"; but I can tell you amazing doesn't JUST HAPPEN! Lots of preparation needed!

Monday, June 29, 2009


The following comes from former Duke player and current ESPN journalist Jay Bilas. It actually ran sometime last February I believe and it has been circulated around quite a bit. But just in case you haven't seen it here it is...and if you have, it is certainly worth reading. If you are player, read these and pick some of them that you feel you need to improve upon put them in your game this summe:

I have heard the word "toughness" thrown around a lot lately. Reporters on television, radio and in print have opined about a team or player's "toughness" or quoted a coach talking about his team having to be "tougher" to win.

Then, in almost coordinated fashion, I would watch games and see player upon player thumping his chest after a routine play, angrily taunting an opponent after a blocked shot, getting into a shouting match with an opposing player, or squaring up nose-to-nose as if a fight might ensue. I see players jawing at each other, trying to "intimidate" other players. What a waste of time. That is nothing more than fake toughness, and it has no real value.

I often wonder: Do people really understand what coaches and experienced players mean when they emphasize "toughness" in basketball? Or is it just some buzzword that is thrown around haphazardly without clear definition or understanding? I thought it was the latter, and wrote a short blog item about it a couple of weeks ago.

The response I received was overwhelming. Dozens of college basketball coaches called to tell me that they had put the article up in the locker room, put it in each player's locker, or had gone over it in detail with their teams.

Memphis coach John Calipari called to say that he had his players post the definition of toughness over their beds because he believed that true "toughness" was the one thing that his team needed to develop to reach its potential. I received messages from high school coaches who wanted to relay the definition of toughness to their players and wanted to talk about it further.

Well, I got the message that I should expound upon what I consider toughness to be. It may not be what you think.

Toughness is something I had to learn the hard way, and something I had no real idea of until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how much I could take. I thought I was tough.

I found out pretty quickly that I wasn't, but I toughened up over time, and I got a pretty good understanding of toughness through playing in the ACC, for USA Basketball, in NBA training camps, and as a professional basketball player in Europe. I left my playing career a heck of a lot tougher than I started it, and my only regret is that I didn't truly "get it" much earlier in my playing career.

When I faced a tough opponent, I wasn't worried that I would get hit -- I was concerned that I would get sealed on ball reversal by a tough post man, or that I would get boxed out on every play, or that my assignment would sprint the floor on every possession and get something easy on me. The toughest guys I had to guard were the ones who made it tough on me.

Toughness has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. Some players may be born tough, but I believe that toughness is a skill, and it is a skill that can be developed and improved. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always says, "Players play, but tough players win." He is right. Here are some of the ways true toughness is exhibited in basketball:

Set a good screen: The toughest players to guard are the players who set good screens. When you set a good screen, you are improving the chances for a teammate to get open, and you are greatly improving your chances of getting open. A good screen can force the defense to make a mistake. A lazy or bad screen is a waste of everyone's time and energy. To be a tough player, you need to be a "screener/scorer," a player who screens hard and immediately looks for an opportunity on offense. On the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, Bob Knight made Michael Jordan set a screen before he could get a shot. If it is good enough for Jordan, arguably the toughest player ever, it is good enough for you.

Set up your cut: The toughest players make hard cuts, and set up their cuts. Basketball is about deception. Take your defender one way, and then plant the foot opposite of the direction you want to go and cut hard. A hard cut may get you a basket, but it may also get a teammate a basket. If you do not make a hard cut, you will not get anyone open. Setting up your cut, making the proper read of the defense, and making a hard cut require alertness, good conditioning and good concentration. Davidson's Stephen Curry is hardly a physical muscle-man, but he is a tough player because he is in constant motion, he changes speeds, he sets up his cuts, and he cuts hard. Curry is hard to guard, and he is a tough player.

Talk on defense: The toughest players talk on defense, and communicate with their teammates. It is almost impossible to talk on defense and not be in a stance, down and ready, with a vision of man and ball. If you talk, you let your teammates know you are there, and make them and yourself better defenders. It also lets your opponent know that you are fully engaged.

Jump to the ball: When on defense, the tough defenders move as the ball moves. The toughest players move on the flight of the ball, not when it gets to its destination. And the toughest players jump to the ball and take away the ball side of the cut. Tough players don't let cutters cut across their face -- they make the cutter change his path.

Don't get screened: No coach can give a player the proper footwork to get through every screen. Tough players have a sense of urgency not to get screened and to get through screens so that the cutter cannot catch the ball where he wants to. A tough player makes the catch difficult.

Get your hands up: A pass discouraged is just as good as a pass denied. Tough players play with their hands up to take away vision, get deflections and to discourage a pass in order to allow a teammate to cover up. Cutters and post players will get open, if only for a count. If your hands are up, you can keep the passer from seeing a momentary opening.

Play the ball, see your man: Most defenders see the ball and hug their man, because they are afraid to get beat. A tough defender plays the ball and sees his man. There is a difference.

Get on the floor: In my first road game as a freshman, there was a loose ball that I thought I could pick up and take the other way for an easy one. While I was bending over at the waist, one of my opponents dived on the floor and got possession of the ball. My coach was livid. We lost possession of the ball because I wasn't tough enough to get on the floor for it. I tried like hell never to get out-toughed like that again.

Close out under control: It is too easy to fly at a shooter and think you are a tough defender. A tough defender closes out under control, takes away a straight line drive and takes away the shot. A tough player has a sense of urgency but has the discipline to do it the right way.

Post your man, not a spot: Most post players just blindly run to the low block and get into a shoving match for a spot on the floor. The toughest post players are posting their defensive man. A tough post player is always open, and working to get the ball to the proper angle to get a post feed. Tough post players seal on ball reversal and call for the ball, and they continue to post strong even if their teammates miss them.

Run the floor: Tough players sprint the floor, which drags the defense and opens up things for others. Tough players run hard and get "easy" baskets, even though there is nothing easy about them. Easy baskets are hard to get. Tough players don't take tough shots -- they work hard to make them easy.

Play so hard, your coach has to take you out: I was a really hard worker in high school and college. But I worked and trained exceptionally hard to make playing easier. I was wrong. I once read that Bob Knight had criticized a player of his by saying, "You just want to be comfortable out there!" Well, that was me, and when I read that, it clicked with me. I needed to work to increase my capacity for work, not to make it easier to play. I needed to work in order to be more productive in my time on the floor. Tough players play so hard that their coaches have to take them out to get rest so they can put them back in. The toughest players don't pace themselves.

Get to your teammate first: When your teammate lays his body on the line to dive on the floor or take a charge, the tough players get to him first to help him back up. If your teammate misses a free throw, tough players get to him right away. Tough players are also great teammates.

Take responsibility for your teammates: Tough players expect a lot from their teammates, but they also put them first. When the bus leaves at 9 a.m., tough players not only get themselves there, but they also make sure their teammates are up and get there, too. Tough players take responsibility for others in addition to themselves. They make sure their teammates eat first, and they give credit to their teammates before taking it themselves.

Take a charge: Tough players are in a stance, playing the ball, and alert in coming over from the weak side and taking a charge. Tough players understand the difference between being in the right spot and being in the right spot with the intention of stopping somebody. Some players will look puzzled and say, "But I was in the right spot." Tough players know that they have to get to the right spot with the sense of urgency to stop someone.

Get in a stance: Tough players don't play straight up and down and put themselves in the position of having to get ready to get ready. Tough players are down in a stance on both ends of the floor, with feet staggered and ready to move. Tough players are the aggressor, and the aggressor is in a stance.

Finish plays: Tough players don't just get fouled, they get fouled and complete the play. They don't give up on a play or assume that a teammate will do it. A tough player plays through to the end of the play and works to finish every play.

Work on your pass: A tough player doesn't have his passes deflected. A tough player gets down, pivots, pass-fakes, and works to get the proper angle to pass away from the defense and deliver the ball.

Throw yourself into your team's defense: A tough player fills his tank on the defensive end, not on offense. A tough player is not deterred by a missed shot. A tough player values his performance first by how well he defended.

Take and give criticism the right way: Tough players can take criticism without feeling the need to answer back or give excuses. They are open to getting better and expect to be challenged and hear tough things. You will never again in your life have the opportunity you have now at the college level: a coaching staff that is totally and completely dedicated to making you and your team better. Tough players listen and are not afraid to say what other teammates may not want to hear, but need to hear.

Show strength in your body language: Tough players project confidence and security with their body language. They do not hang their heads, do not react negatively to a mistake of a teammate, and do not whine and complain to officials. Tough players project strength, and do not cause their teammates to worry about them. Tough players do their jobs, and their body language communicates that to their teammates -- and to their opponents.

Catch and face: Teams that press and trap are banking on the receiver's falling apart and making a mistake. When pressed, tough players set up their cuts, cut hard to an open area and present themselves as a receiver to the passer. Tough players catch, face the defense, and make the right read and play, and they do it with poise. Tough players do not just catch and dribble; they catch and face.

Don't get split: If you trap, a tough player gets shoulder-to-shoulder with his teammate and does not allow the handler to split the trap and gain an advantage on the back side of the trap.

Be alert: Tough players are not "cool." Tough players are alert and active, and tough players communicate with teammates so that they are alert, too. Tough players echo commands until everyone is on the same page. They understand the best teams play five as one. Tough players are alert in transition and get back to protect the basket and the 3-point line. Tough players don't just run back to find their man, they run back to stop the ball and protect the basket.

Concentrate, and encourage your teammates to concentrate: Concentration is a skill, and tough players work hard to concentrate on every play. Tough players go as hard as they can for as long as they can.

It's not your shot; it's our shot: Tough players don't take bad shots, and they certainly don't worry about getting "my" shots. Tough players work for good shots and understand that it is not "my" shot, it is "our" shot. Tough players celebrate when "we" score.

Box out and go to the glass every time: Tough players are disciplined enough to lay a body on someone. They make first contact and go after the ball. And tough players do it on every possession, not just when they feel like it. They understand defense is not complete until they secure the ball.

Take responsibility for your actions: Tough players make no excuses. They take responsibility for their actions. Take James Johnson for example. With 17 seconds to go in Wake's game against Duke on Wednesday,Jon Scheyer missed a 3-pointer that bounced right to Johnson. But instead of aggressively pursuing the ball with a sense of urgency, Johnson stood there and waited for the ball to come to him. It never did. Scheyer grabbed it, called a timeout and the Blue Devils hit a game-tying shot on a possession they never should've had. Going after the loose ball is toughness -- and Johnson didn't show it on that play. But what happened next? He re-focused, slipped a screen for the winning basket, and after the game -- when he could've been basking only in the glow of victory -- manned up to the mistake that could've cost his team the win. "That was my responsibility -- I should have had that," Johnson said of the goof. No excuses. Shouldering the responsibility. That's toughness.

Look your coaches and teammates in the eye: Tough players never drop their heads. They always look coaches and teammates in the eye, because if they are talking, it is important to them and to you.

Move on to the next play: Tough players don't waste time celebrating a good play or lamenting a bad one. They understand that basketball is too fast a game to waste time and opportunities with celebratory gestures or angry reactions. Tough players move on to the next play. They know that the most important play in any game is the next one.

Be hard to play against, and easy to play with: Tough players make their teammates' jobs easier, and their opponents' jobs tougher.

Make every game important: Tough players don't categorize opponents and games. They know that if they are playing, it is important. Tough players understand that if they want to play in championship games, they must treat every game as a championship game.

Make getting better every day your goal: Tough players come to work every day to get better, and keep their horizons short. They meet victory and defeat the same way: They get up the next day and go to work to be better than they were the day before. Tough players hate losing but are not shaken or deterred by a loss. Tough players enjoy winning but are never satisfied. For tough players, a championship or a trophy is not a goal; it is a destination. The goal is to get better every day.

When I was playing, the players I respected most were not the best or most talented players. The players I respected most were the toughest players. I don't remember anything about the players who talked a good game or blocked a shot and acted like a fool. I remember the players who were tough to play against.

Anybody can talk. Not anybody can be tough.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The following comes from CoachMeyer.com in which Northern State University basketball coach Don Meyer has put together a great website not just for coaches but players and parents as well. If you are a player out there working to maximize your game, then click on http://coachmeyer.com. You will see a wide range of options including "Players Corner," where you can find a lot of information like the perimeter workout below.

Four main objectives for guards on drives:
1. Create space between themselves and their defender.
2. Go north and south on drives don't belly out (straight to hoop).
3. Put your body on the defenders body on the start step.
4. Take your dribble moves right at the defender get them on their heels. If you get beside them or get them on their heels, they are yours.

Stationary dribbling - Eyes up, be ball quick.
Control - both low below knees (rhythm/non - rhythm)
Speed - both balls high (rhythm/non - rhythm)
High-Low - one ball control dribble, one ball speed dribble
Add down the floor dribbling (same as above) with a change of hands.

Hold high one second follow through.


Start with a low body balance base of support (LBBBOS).
Have a compact economy of motion.
You make each move one from the right side then one from the left side.
Start by spinning yourself a pass and catch down low.
From here you circle tight and make a good direct or crossover move.
Start from just outside the edge of the half court circle.
After your finish at the basket you spin a pass and open to the big part of the floor while you catch facing.
Then using the same move you break a press up the middle to half court.
Then make the same move on other side.
Then go back to the right side and make the next move.
Do this until you have made all 7 moves on both sides.

Seven dribble moves:
a. Speed dribble - throw the ball out, get their, straight line drive as quick as possible.

b. Hesitation dribble - fast, slow (higher dribble stand up a little), fast, straight line drive.

c. In and out - head and shoulder, fake a crossover move, take ball over and back, keep ball in same hand.

d. Stutter step - at 3 pt. line, squeak feet with a wide stance if defender is off you shoot a 3 pointer, if not go to basket.

e. Stutter crossover - right to left hand, crossover low, look at basket on stutter, explode after crossover.

f. Between legs - from right side you drive middle the defense turns you so you go between the legs left to right hand, the angle you go through the legs is important, the ball needs to go from back to front toward the basket slightly.

g. Pull back crossover - using a ball screen by the 3 point line, go in hard to wing then use 2 pull back dribbles 1 crossover dribble, right to left hand, then explode to basket, rub shoulders with screen.

Key coaching points on dribble moves:
1. When you get to the 3 pt. line use 1 dribble to get to the basket unless you hesitate to take the help out.

2. Do the moves at full speed game like conditions.

3. Step with same foot on all drives, 60% of weight on permanent pivot foot.

4. Chin ball when shooting lay-ups.

5. Circle tight with the ball on direct and crossover drives. Tighten up your game. Don't be lose with the ball. Be compact and have an economy of motion.

6. Start and finish all moves from a low body balance base of support LBBBOS.

7. Use all moves, but develop a go to and counter move.

8. After move go straight to the basket don't belly out.

9. Make moves right at an imaginary defender. Get the defender on their heels.

10. Go -when you first catch a pass, your the most open.

11. Use your weak hand in a 3 to 1 ratio.

If you lose do 4 trips (4 dribbles down and 4 back, 3 to 1 weak to strong hand), or a down and back weak hand.

On all shots off the dribble landing on balance and low is a must before you shoot the ball.

4 trips if lose or 1 down and back with weak hand.

Five spots on the floor: baseline, wing, on top, opposite wing, and opposite baseline.
You make 3 moves from each spot.
The first is a 3 point shot (worth 3 points), the second is a shot fake one dribble drive to middle shoot jumper (worth 2 points) , and the third move is a shot fake one dribble drive to middle lay up (worth 1 point).
So each spot is worth 6 points.
At the end you shoot 2 free throws (worth 1 point each) for a total of 32 points.
You compete against yourself.
Make the moves at game speeds be tight with your game.
The drives to the middle you will be using direct and crossover moves so step with the same foot each time.
The moves from the top you can go either way, but be able to go both ways.

4 trips if lose or 1 down and back with weak hand.

...OR Hornacek shooting (spin pass catch facing low and in triple threat on balance, shoot and rebound own shot, shoot 20 shots from game spots at game speeds).

4 trips if lose or 1 down and back with weak hand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The difference between playing to win and playing not to lose is often the difference between success and mediocrity.

Team members believe in themselves, their teammates, and their dream. And they don’t allow negative thinking to derail them.

The highest reward for their efforts isn’t what they get from it, but who they become because of it. Team members know intuitively that if they’re through improving, they’re through.

Winners are empowers. As Charlie Brower says, “Few people are successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.”

From “Teamwork Makes The Dream Work”
By John C. Maxwell


“The guys who saved the NBA, Bird and Magic, they did it with the pass, they didn't do it with the shot. Everybody thinks the game is about the shot now. The guys who kept the league alive and really put college basketball in there, they did it with the pass."
–Paul Hewitt

Monday, June 22, 2009


John Wooden has won more national championships than any other college basketball coach and he did it not by dreaming of championships but simply by staying focused (and keeping his team focused) on being the very best that they can be on a day-by-day basis.

"I have often been asked when I first started dreaming about winning a national championship. Was it at Indiana State Teachers College or after I arrive at UCLA? Perhaps while I was a college player?

I never dreamed about winning a national championship.

What I was dreaming about each year, if you want to call it that, was trying to produce the best basketball team we could be. My thoughts were directed toward preparation, our journey, not the results of the effort (such as winning national championships). That would simply have shifted my attention to the wrong area, hoping for something out of my control. Hoping doesn't make it happen.

Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring must more than you could ever hope for.

We talked more about practice. What you do in practice is going to determine your level of success. I used to tell my players, 'You have to give 100 percent every day. Whatever you don't give, you can't make up for tomorrow. If you give only 75 percent today, you can't give 125 percent tomorrow to make up for it."

-John Wooden
From "Today Matters" by John Maxwell

Saturday, June 20, 2009


"There is a difference between
interest and commitment.
When you're interested in doing something,
you do it only when it's convenient.
Went you're committed to something,
you accept no excuses, only results."

-Ken Blanchard-

Friday, June 19, 2009


From Michael Northrop of Sports Illustrated for Kids:

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals is the best young hitter in baseball. Heck, the 24-year-old first baseman may be the best young hitter in the history of the game (see "Stacking Up," page 28). At the start of the 2004 season, he had a career .334 average, 114 home runs, and 381 RBIs.

But there is something behind every one of those numbers that is not recorded on stat sheets, replayed on highlight shows, or seen by the fans. "What you don't see is how hard I work, how hard I prepare," he says.

Pujols has just finished one of his daily 2 1/2-hour off-season workouts. He lifts enough weights to sink a ship, watches videos of pitchers he'll face during the season, and spends serious time in the batting cage.

Despite his star status, he was one of the first position players on the Cardinals to arrive at spring training this season. He spent much of that time polishing his play at first base.

During the season, Pujols arrives early for games, takes cuts in the batting cages to make sure his swing is smooth, and watches more video on the opposing pitcher.

"Albert is so professional in his approach, whether it's the winter, the spring, or the summer," says Cardinal manager Tony La Russa.

All that study and preparation helps explain why Pujols is a fast starter (.385 average last April) and why, unlike other hot starters, he keeps punishing pitchers as the season progresses. In 2003, Pujols hit a hefty .346 after the All-Star break and ended the regular season with the majors' best average: .359.

"God gave me this natural ability," says Pujols. "But it's even better when you work hard and you put those two things together. [Then], it's unbelievable."

Read the entire article at:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


A neat little article I found on ehow.com.

Step 1: Know what you can and cannot do.
Too many players try to make plays that are beyond their ability. John Stockton always knew what he could and could not do. He made the safe passes. He threw crisp chest passes, bounce passes and wrap around passes. He was not concerned about making high light reels; all he wanted to do was get his teammates in position to make an easy open shot. If you want to play like John Stockton, be unselfish and make safe passes.

Step 2: Play for your teammates.
John Stockton could have averaged well over twenty points a game whenever he wanted. He was one of only a handful of point guards who consistently shot over fifty percent from the floor. However, he never averaged more than 17.2 points per game. He was dedicated to getting his teammates good shots. Everyone wanted to play with him as their point guard and if you can play like John Stockton, everyone will want to play with you.

Step 3: Be tenacious.
One of the toughest players to get around when he set a pick was John Stockton. He was always setting screens on bigger players and drawing fouls because they would become agitated and finally just push him down. He was also tenacious on defense and worked very hard to get the ball back.

Step 4: Master the pick and roll.
The play that John Stockton was known for was running the pick and roll with Karl Malone. Every pick and roll that is run correctly puts the defense at a disadvantage. Once you know how to capitalize on that disadvantage you can play like John Stockton. You can dominate a defense and get your teammates easy shots.

Step 5: Shoot accurately.
Stockton was a tremendous shooter. It was a great weapon that prevented defenses from sagging off of him. If you gave him even a little room, he could hit any shot from the three point line and in. In order to play like Stockton you need to have a better than average jump shot.


This came across my email today from the guys at Coaching Toolbox. Hopefully you have signed up with them and received this as well but if not I didn't want to wait to steal it and post it because it's outstanding. It comes from Jeff Janssen who has developed a world-wide reputation for leadership and team building. We at LSU have used several of his ideas and will share some of them as we go through the season. This list of 12 Simple Yet Significant Daily To Do's For Leaders is something that we will pass out to our captains tomorrow at practice.

1. Be the hardest worker at practice today.
Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.

2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm today.
Let your passion for the sport shine through today. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.

3. Model mental toughness today.
Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness today. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.

4. Connect with a teammate today.
Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road.

5. Compliment a teammate today.
Be on the lookout for teammates who are contributing to your team. Call out a teammate for making a hustle play, pushing through a weight workout, recovering quickly from a mistake, getting an A on an exam, etc. Praise the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated. As Mother Teresa once said, "Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless."

6. Challenge a teammate today.
Challenge at least one of your teammates today. Positively push them and yourself to make the most of your workout. Make a friendly wager to see if they can be successful at least 4 out of 5 times in a drill. See if you both can improve your times in conditioning. Offer to stay after to help if there is anything they want to work on. Good leaders consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.

7. Support a teammate today.
Odds are, at least one of your teammates is struggling with something today - it could be a performance slump, a rocky romantic relationship, a disagreement with a coach, an unglamorous role, struggling with a class, or a sick family member. Good leaders are consistently on the lookout for teammates who might be struggling and are ready to offer an ear to listen, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to cry on.

8. Constructively confront negativity, pessimism, and laziness today.
As a leader, have the courage to constructively confront the negativity, pessimism, and laziness that will crop up on your team from time to time. Instead of fueling the fire by joining in or silently standing by, be sure to refocus your teammates on solutions rather than dwelling on and complaining about the problems. Left unchecked, these problems can quickly grow to distract, divide, and destroy your team.

9. Build and bond your team today.
Team chemistry naturally ebbs and flows throughout the course of the season. Take the time to monitor and maintain your team's chemistry. Let your reserves and support staff know how much you appreciate them. Stay connected and current with each of the natural sub-groups on your team. Douse any brush fires that might be occurring and continually remind team members about your common goal and common bond.

10. Check in with your coach today.
Invest the time to check in with your coach today. Ask what you can do to best help the team this week. Find out what your coach wants to accomplish with today's practice. Also discuss if there is anything your coach is concerned about regarding your team. Discuss your collective insights on your team's chemistry, focus, and mindset. Work together to effectively co-lead your team.

11. Remind your team how today's work leads to tomorrow's dreams.
It's easy to get bogged down during your season with monotonous drills, tiring conditioning, and demanding workouts. Remind your teammates how all the quality work you do today gives you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Help them see and even get excited about how today's hard work is a long-term investment in your team's goals, rather than just a short-term hardship or sacrifice.

12. Represent yourself and team with class and pride today.
Leaders have the awesome privilege and responsibility of representing their teams. Take advantage of this opportunity by representing your team with class and pride today. Hold a door open for someone, sit in the front rows of class and actively engage in the discussion, say please and thank you, dress in respectful attire, etc. These tiny pushes represent you and your team with class and distinction. And they ultimately set you up for a lifetime of respect and success.


Coach Musselman found an article with Nick Saban talking on the importance of leadership in the off-season -- when coaches aren't around.

It is a valuable lesson that I learned from coaching Temeka Johnson, now with the Phoenix Mercury. Make no mistake, Meek was a great leader for us during practice and games and an extension of the coaching staff -- but it was the leadership she gave us the other 21 hours during the day -- or during the off-season when we couldn't be around.

Her senior year, she took the team's four freshman out to dinner the night before our first official practice and told them what to expect from practice. She told them about each coach, her teammates, the structure of our practices and what they needed to do to succeed. She made sure that maximum effort was given in the weight room and during pick up games in the summer. She constantly spoke to the younger players of "the Lady Tiger Way," of handling everything from basketball, to academics, to conducting themselves in the proper way.

She was a guiding force for all of our players during her career -- on and off the court and what she did in terms of leading our team when the coaches weren't around was a major ignition in a run that lead to five consecutive Final Fours.

Today, Temeka continues to "lead" by having her own foundation, the HOPE Foundation in which she gives back to the community. You can learn more at: http://www.meekshope.org/. You can also follow Meek via Twitter at: http://twitter.com/Quickdeuce.

"We had a good spring, but I don't think the true team chemistry really surfaces until the summertime. The coaches are always with the guys in spring practice. In the summer, the coaches aren't there as much. That's when the true leadership starts to emerge. You start to see the core buy-in that everybody has in terms of how they go about what they do. They have to work with the strength and conditioning coaches. For the first time, the responsibility becomes theirs instead of somebody making them do it. That's where the true chemistry (develops); you see what the team might be."

-Nick Saban-


We wish we could take the credit for the following list but they are a direct result of us attending the Don Meyer Coaching Academy for over a decade. Coach Meyer has turned out some of the best post players in collegiate basketball.

Each day we try to work in some capacity with our post players to master the four following phases of offensive post play:

It does no good to get open in an area where you are not effective. Know your range and your most effective shots and get open in an area where you can score.

Effective sealing means that you are open in the post from some vantage point on the court. It also means that you are controlling your defender instead of her controlling you. Sealing also means that you always know where your defender is (through contact), and that is extremely important.

This sounds very simple, but there are a lot of post players on all levels of play that have everything necessary to be an effective post player but they simply can’t catch the ball. There are a lot of drills to work on hands. Don’t accept bad hands. All players can improve their hands and their ability to catch the basketball.

Too many players take an easy shot and turn it into a difficult shot. Some players don’t understand the concept of getting a simple shot and don’t work accordingly. The best move is to not to have to use a move...to work so effectively that all you have to do is catch and score.


Pet peeve for UNC Head Coach Roy Williams? One-handed catches. Coach Williams wants all passes caught with both hands. To get his point across, he doesn't allow players to shoot a bobbled catch -- improving their concentration to have a clean catch, with two hands.


It's hard for me to believe there is a greater coaching resource than Hooptactics with Ernie Woods and Bob Kloppenburg. The topics are varied and extremely detailed. A great example is Inbounding the Ball Against Pressure. Some great pointers are given including an off-shoot called: Raising Your Level of Passing. Below are some of the keys to becoming a better passer.

To read the entire article on inbounding vs. pressure, click:

Make sure you click on the link of Raising Your Level of Passing for the entire article on that phase along with some video of drills used to improve passing.

What level of passer are you?

Level One. Throws the ball to an area just to get rid of it. Common among beginning players.
Level Two. Just throws the ball toward a teammate no matter if they are ready to receive it or not. This is why players get hit by the ball during practice when just standing around.
Level Three. Surgeon. Passes to a specific target (hand or finger). Leads receivers into good shots. Rarely throws the ball away.

The ability to move the basketball and hit the open man is a characteristic found in all great players and teams. In order to perfect this ability to its utmost, players must utilize and master the following fundamental principles of passing:

Anticipate. Read the defense and know where to pass before receiving the ball. Outstanding basketball players have the ability to anticipate where to pass the basketball. This is why professional players need very little team pattern to create good scoring opportunities for their teammates.

Maintain a proper spacing. Most passes should be made within a 12' to 15' distance. This spacing spreads the defense and allows for quick, accurate passing. Passes beyond 15' carry a high risk of interception. Never throw directly at a receiver moving away from you. Always lead the receiver to the basket on lob and baseball passes.

When the defender is playing off, close the distance with a dribble to less than 3'. The closer the defender plays, the less time they have to read and react to the passer's movements. Dribble penetration will also force the defender to defend against the drive and eliminates their playing of the passing lane.


Our John Maxwell fix today comes form his book, "Teamwork Makes The Dream Work." In the book, Maxwell shares a story on teamwork in the most difficult of environments — during competition with each other:

“A few years ago in Seattle, Washington, nine finalists were poised at the starting line of a 400 meter race, each planning to do his best and hoping to win the medal for first place. As the gun went off, the racers sprinted toward the finish line. But one of the runners fell down. He quickly got up and gave his all to catch up with the others. But once again, he fell. His frustration totally overcame him, and he burst into tears and began to sob loudly. Then a strange thing happened. The rest of the field heard his cries, and they turned to see that he was lying on the track. The runners began to slow down, and then one by one, they stopped, turned around, and went back to him. They picked him up, consoled him, and then together, all nine of them finished the race. In a race made for individual glory, the racers had made themselves into a team. Where in the world could something like this happen? At the Special Olympics. Perhaps that is why they are called ‘special!’”

Maxwell, who spends all of his time working with teams, groups, companies and organizations on all levels, offered the following insights:

Look at hundreds of winning teams, and you will find that their players have four things in common:

#1 They play to win: The difference between playing to win and playing not to lose is often the difference between success and mediocrity.

#2 They have a winning attitude: Team members believe in themselves, their teammates, and their dream. And they don’t allow negative thinking to derail them.

#3 They keep improving: The highest reward for their efforts isn’t what they get from it, but who they become because of it. Team members know intuitively that if they’re through improving, they’re through.

#4 They make their teammates more successful: Winners are empowers. As Charlie Brower says, ‘Few people are successful unless a lot of other people want them to be.”


From Michael Northrop of Sports Illustrated for Kids:

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals is the best young hitter in baseball. Heck, the 24-year-old first baseman may be the best young hitter in the history of the game (see "Stacking Up," page 28). At the start of the 2004 season, he had a career .334 average, 114 home runs, and 381 RBIs.

But there is something behind every one of those numbers that is not recorded on stat sheets, replayed on highlight shows, or seen by the fans. "What you don't see is how hard I work, how hard I prepare," he says.

Pujols has just finished one of his daily 2 1/2-hour off-season workouts. He lifts enough weights to sink a ship, watches videos of pitchers he'll face during the season, and spends serious time in the batting cage.

Despite his star status, he was one of the first position players on the Cardinals to arrive at spring training this season. He spent much of that time polishing his play at first base.

During the season, Pujols arrives early for games, takes cuts in the batting cages to make sure his swing is smooth, and watches more video on the opposing pitcher.

"Albert is so professional in his approach, whether it's the winter, the spring, or the summer," says Cardinal manager Tony La Russa.

All that study and preparation helps explain why Pujols is a fast starter (.385 average last April) and why, unlike other hot starters, he keeps punishing pitchers as the season progresses. In 2003, Pujols hit a hefty .346 after the All-Star break and ended the regular season with the majors' best average: .359.

"God gave me this natural ability," says Pujols. "But it's even better when you work hard and you put those two things together. [Then], it's unbelievable."

Read the entire article at:


Coach Eric Musselman is always working to find articles for us that help us as coaches and like Kobe -- he has great range -- find this article in a Korean newspaper. It is a great article to share with your players because it talks about how Ron Harper became a championship player by understanding, learning, and accepting his role.

Here is part of that article:

Through the first eight seasons of his career, Harper was a good player on two bad teams with the Cavs and later the Los Angeles Clippers. Ron Harper eventually decided he wanted to play for a winner, even if it meant a reduced role. Harper joined the Bulls just as Michael Jordan returned to the court after a brief retirement. When he arrived, Chicago coach Phil Jackson asked Harper to focus on defense.

"I lost a lot,'' said Harper, who saw his points-per-game drop from 20 to 6.9 when he left the Clippers for the Bulls in 1994. "But I wasn't disappointed about changing my role ― never, ever.''

Harper explained that he had matured as a player, and his goals had changed.

"When you first start playing basketball, you play for yourself at first. But as the years go on, you want to win a championship. As a kid you watch every team that wins a championship… and ultimately it's not about what you do, it's what the team does.''

"I knew that I was a good basketball player but I did not win a lot of games,'' Harper said of his time with the Cavs and Clippers. "To win the championship was my dream when I was growing up. But the only way to win a championship was to get to a good basketball team. You can score all the points you want on a team that's not going anywhere, but I wanted to go somewhere.''

As a player on teams with prolific scorers like Shaquille O'Neal and Michael Jordan, Harper didn't get the chance to take a lot of shots.

"I could score but it wasn't my role. My role was to pass the ball to the good players. You learn that it's all about playing team basketball. I didn't score points, but I helped the team win.''

"I played with the best player of all time. He's going to shoot more than me. I know I have to get the ball to him.'

'Harper remembered his first meeting with Jackson.Phil asked me, "how am I going to help this team" and I said "my job is to be a defensive player." and he said "you're going to play a lot then," Harper said."I knew what he wanted me to do, and I did it."


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people thing or say or do. It is more important than appearance or skill. It will make or break a team, a company or a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day about the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. The only thing we can do is play on the one string that we have and that is our attitude."

-Chuck Swindoll-
Pastor for Insight Living