Monday, November 30, 2009


He was a good student working with a good trainer. The most obvious thing about Michael Jordan, Grover (Jordan's individual trainer) thought, was that he was willing to pay the price of his ambitions. He was not only a great practice player but unusually faithful to his workouts. He didn’t cheat. At first, they scheduled the workouts after practice, but Jordan drove himself so hard in practice that he was too tired to do them properly afterward, so they switches their sessions to the mornings. Eventually, it became known as the Breakfast Club. By the late nineties Ron Harper and Scottie Pippen worked out with Jordan at the gym in his home every morning when the team was in Chicago, and then they had a breakfast prepared by a chef according to Grover’s specifications.

"Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The following is an excerpt from an article by Pat Forde from on Tim Tebow that the quality of his character:

We can vigorously debate Tebow's place in college football history as a player. What's not up for debate is his unparalleled ability to provoke the deepest of feelings in fans of the sport.

He said afterward that he wants the fans to remember him for "how much I cared." The fact is, fans have never cared so much about a player before.

"I've never seen anything like it," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "… He's made unselfish kind of a cool thing."

None of us has seen anything like it. What makes Tebow unique in the 140-year history of this game is not just his unquenchable spirit. It's his generosity of spirit.

The numbers and awards are all impressive and voluminous, but they're not what have made the quarterback a historic figure in Florida and beyond. That's due to the winning attributes, the leadership qualities, the endless acts of charity performed off the field, the ability to graciously lead a heavily scrutinized life.

You just don't find all those things in a single college-aged package.

Tebow long ago entered another dimension of stardom, as his impact went viral. He is the most polarizing college athlete ever, by a wide margin, engendering the deepest of feelings across the culture.

Read the entire article:

Thursday, November 26, 2009


The following comes from Chris Widener and speaks to an area that is often under taught by coaches and not fully understood by student-athletes. The ability to concentrate...the ability to focus...for extended periods of time has always been what separates good players and good teams from the rest of the field. Here is what Chris has to say about it:

One of the common elements you see in almost all successful people is focus. They saw what they wanted to achieve, and they focused in on it like a laser. Then, when they become famous, and we, the common folk, know their name, we are amazed at the focus they have.

Focus will set two people apart who have equal skills.

What I am about to say may appear to be blasphemous to some: Tiger Woods is not that much more highly skilled than the other top PGA players! No, I haven’t lost my marbles. Take any of the big names, stick them on any course and on any given day, and they can shoot a 65 for 18 holes. You see, it isn’t whether they can—they all can—it is whether or not they do. And that is determined mostly by F-O-C-U-S.

Watch Tiger sometime in a close race to the finish. Watch when he hits a bad shot. Does he fall apart and grumble to anyone who will listen? No! In fact, it is almost eerie to watch him lock back in, even more focused than ever. That is what makes him a champion. I truly believe it is Tiger’s focus that has distinguished him from the rest of the field to become the best golfer ever.

The same is true with others who achieve great things, even in crucial and highly tense situations. Think John Elway in those final minutes of those games he brought the Broncos back in. Think of all of those last-second shots that Michael Jordan took (that everyone in the entire arena knew he was going to take—including the other team). These are classic examples of focus.
So what can the average person do to increase their focus? There are some things you can do to train yourself. You may never be Tiger Woods on the golf course or in the office, but you can increase your focus to where it needs to be to give you the success you desire.

In the remaining part of this article, I want to show you how to stay away from a common mistake and turn toward a discipline of focus that will be the first step in greatly enhancing your ability to focus. I will show you a practice technique that will greatly enhance your focus and your performance.

The myth is that, to focus, we must push other things out of our mind. For example, people will say to an athlete, “Don’t listen to the fans.” Or someone will say to another, “Don’t think about…” This doesn’t work! For example, right now, do not picture your car. You thought of it, right? Exactly. This myth actually gets you to focus on exactly what you don’t want to focus on!

Instead, the secret to intense focus is to set your mind intently on what it is you want to focus in on. For example, let’s say you are standing over a 10-foot putt. (I’m hoping we have some golfers here—and if not, make the changes you need to, but you should get the point.)
What do you want to focus on? Making that putt! So what are the elements you should be aware of? Focus on them. But go beyond mere observation. Most people just look at the line of the putt, take a guess on how hard to hit and then fire away.

Here are some other things to do: (Remember the process here is to get you highly aware of your surroundings and to focus with intensity.)

Look at the hole. Is the plastic cup even with the top of the grass or is it sunken in? How much? Bet you never noticed that before. Does the grass tip in at the edge or is it even? How long is the grass between you and the hole? Does it waver in length from foot to foot?

Is there sand along the way in your path? How much? What color? What size? Is it even or just for a section?

Are there any bugs sitting on the ground between you and the hole? Does the hill go up or down at all? Not significantly—you would have already noticed that—but even slightly?

Is there a slight wind? Can you feel it blowing on your face?

Lastly, imagine that ball rolling along that path, curving slightly if it has to, and falling in the hole. I mean, really create that movie in your head and watch it!

You may ask, “Chris, is this the secret to making your putts?” No, but it’s an example of how to focus. Be observant. Notice. Focus. Lock into your focal point(s).

The myth of most focus advice is to try to not focus on bad things.

The secret to intense focus is to focus to a higher degree than you normally do on the “good things”—the things you are trying to accomplish!

Give it a try for a week. Focus intensely on what you want to accomplish. Bring yourself to a much higher degree of awareness of the surroundings, etc., and see for yourself the power behind this methodology!

Then, when you have taught yourself to do this for practice, it will become a part of you and you will start to do it naturally, and that will be an incredible day!


Kobe Bryant on the 2008 USA Olympic Basketball Team:

“No matter where you play - if you’re playing here, if you’re playing on Mars-if you can shut somebody down and rebound the basketball, you’re going to win no matter who you’re playing against. And I think that’s a standard we have to set.”

Monday, November 23, 2009


“The sixth man has to be so stable a player that he can instantly pick up the tempo or reverse it. He has to be able to go in and have an immediate impact. The sixth man has to have the unique ability to be in a ball game while he is sitting on the bench.”

-Tom Heinson

Sunday, November 22, 2009


While take a basketball coaching class at Marshall University, the instructor and head coach for the Thundering Herd Stu Aberdeen, spoke to us about our associations in life. He talked about people that either made deposits or withdrawals in our growth. The great thing about it, he told us, is we had complete control over who we associated with. He told us if we wanted to be coaches to associate with good coaches. If we want to be in business, associate with the best business leaders. I remember that particular class because I tried to follow that advice and I've been fortunate enough to have proven Coach Aberdeen's theory correct. Along those same thoughts, here is a recent writing I read from Jim Rohn:

If you were to evaluate the major influences in your life that have shaped the kind of person you are, this has to be high on the list: the people and thoughts you choose to allow into your life. My mentor Mr. Shoaff gave me a very important warning in those early days that I would like to share with you. He said, “Never underestimate the power of influence.” Indeed, the influence of those around us is so powerful! Many times we don’t even realize we’re being strongly affected because influences generally develop over an extended period of time.

Peer pressure is an especially powerful force because it is so subtle. If you’re around people who spend all they make, chances are excellent that you’ll spend all you make. If you are around people who go to more ball games than concerts, chances are excellent that you’ll do the same thing. If you are around people who don’t read, chances are excellent that you won’t read. People can keep nudging us off course a little at a time, until finally, we find ourselves asking, “How did I get here?” Those subtle influences need to be studied carefully if we really want our lives to turn out the way we’ve planned.

With regard to this important point, let me give you three key questions to ask yourself. They may help you to make better analysis of your current associations.

Here is the first question: “Who am I around?” Make a mental note of the people with whom you most often associate. You’ve got to evaluate everybody who is able to influence you in any way.
The second question is: “What are these associations doing to me?” That’s a major question to ask. What have they got me doing? What have they got me listening to? What have they got me reading? Where have they got me going? What do they have me thinking? How have they got me talking? How have they got me feeling? What have they got me saying? You’ve got to make a serious study of how others are influencing you, both negatively and positively.

Here’s a final question: “Is that okay?” Maybe everyone you associate with has been a positive, energizing influence. Then again, maybe there are some bad apples in the bunch. All I’m suggesting here is that you take a close and objective look. Everything is worth a second look, especially the power of influence. Both will take you somewhere, but only one will take you in the direction you need to go.

It’s easy to just dismiss the things that influence our lives. One man says, “I live here, but I don’t think it matters. I’m around these people, but I don’t think it hurts.” I would take another look at that. Remember, everything matters! Sure, some things matter more than others, but everything amounts to something. You’ve got to keep checking to find out whether your associations are tipping the scales toward the positive or toward the negative. Ignorance is never the best policy. Finding out is the best policy.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the little bird. He had his wing over his eye and he was crying. The owl said to the bird, “You are crying.” “Yes,” said the little bird, and he pulled his wing away from his eye. “Oh, I see,” said the owl. “You’re crying because the big bird pecked out your eye.” And the little bird said, “No, I’m not crying because the big bird pecked out my eye. I’m crying because I let him.”

It’s easy to let influence shape our lives, to let associations determine our direction, to let pressures overwhelm us, and to let tides take us. The big question is: Are we letting ourselves become what we wish to become?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning:

“To me there is no better feeling than when you really bust your butt all week long, studying tape, working extra time in the weight room or on the practice field and then winning the game on Sunday. It truly is a great feeling.”


"What carries people to the top? What makes them take risks, go the extra mile, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals? It isn't talent. It's passion. Passion is more important than a plan. Passion creates fire. It provides fuel. I have yet to meet a passionate person who lacked energy. As long as the passion is there, it doesn't matter if they fail. It doesn't matter how many times they fall down. It doesn't matter if others are against them or if people say they cannot succeed. They keep going and make the most of whatever talent they possess. They are talent-plus people and do not stop until they succeed."

From "Talent Is Never Enough" by John Maxwell

Monday, November 16, 2009


"I learn something new about the game almost every time I step on the course."

-Ben Hogan

Sunday, November 15, 2009


"We compete, not so much against an opponent, but against ourselves. The real test is this -- Did I make my best effort on very play?"
-Bud Wilkinson

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Going for the Gold: Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gymnast, shares her perfect ten tips for success in Get Motivated magazine:

At age 15, I found myself standing on the Olympic platform being handed a gold medal while millions watched. I’m not sure anyone at any age is really prepared for the fame that comes with winning a gold medal. Thankfully, I had wise people around me who kept my feet on the ground. Here are some lessons I learned:

Choose to Be Hopeful: Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle. When you start seeing the bridges rather than the obstacles, everyone around you will start to see the bridges too.

Draw Close to Your Family for Support: Not only was my family my own personal cheering squad, they were also my source of counsel and rest during a very turbulent time. As you embark on a new endeavor, keep your family near you so they can support you and be a voice of reason along the way.

Follow What God Wants You to Do: Faith in God is not just a very important part of my life—it is my life. Here’s how this impacts me on a practical level. When I’m anxious, nothing calms me more than prayer. It’s through prayer (and for me, also reading the Bible) that I feel like God shows me what I should do—personally and professionally. During that time of reflection, I ask myself, “Am I doing what God wants me to do or am I just blazing my own path?”

Be Disciplined: From the time I was 7 years old, I practices almost every day, often for many hours a day. There was a trade-off in that. I missed out on some childhood activities. For me, it was worth it. I realized that the end result would outweigh any sacrifices—and it did.

Nurture Your Friendships: Good friends help us stay sane by letting us vent and helping us laugh. Block out time in your schedule to spend time with your friends. And if you have any damages relationships, take a moment to reach out to the other person and start letting the wound heal.

Take Calculated Risks: There’s no arguing that it’s easier to keep on with the status quo. But how often does “easy: really result in “boring”? It’s only by breaking out of your personal comfort zone to take wise risks that you’ll move forward in life versus treading water.

Encourage Others Along the Way: It’s one thing to want to be the very best at any cost. It’s another thing to do your best and help other along the way. When I practices with other girls, we pushed each other to reach our full potential and all ended up better off.

Persevere through Adversity: Shortly before the 1984 Olympics, I was injured. No one thought I could compete, but I was determined to prove the naysayers wrong. The rest is in the record books. Adversity is only a means of testing our resolve.

Learn from Every Situation: We all hope that life will be smooth sailing, but mistakes and rejection are inevitable. Instead of dwelling on the pain, think through what you’ve learned. If you look for the lesson, even failure can become a stepping stone toward victory.

Be a “Big Picture” Person: Put every situation into perspective. I like to ask myself, “What difference does this really make in the big picture?” If it’s not a big deal, I try not to make it one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Attitude is not something that comes by instinct. It has to be practiced over and over or relearned over and over. The more our players study and practice this fundamental, the more they believe they can decide how they feel. They realize they have power over their attitude. Their coach doesn’t have that power. Neither does the referee or their professor. How they approach their attitude is their choice. We have to choose to have a good attitude. And we have to keep reminding ourselves, in the midst of newspaper publicity or things other people are saying, that we are going to be in charge of how we think. That’s a powerful principle in the life of a football player, a trash collector, a pastor, a dad, a stay-at-home mom, or someone who works in an office."

-Coach Jim Tressel

The Winners Manual

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


New York Mets pitcher Al Leiter:

“What I think is so special about our game is it is based on failure. The greatest hitters in our game fail seven out of 10 times. Because of this insecurity, because of the fact that its based on failure that lies around the corner, it also is what makes this so exciting as a player. Because of the anxiety and the euphoric feeling you feel when you set out to do something and you accomplish it.”

Monday, November 9, 2009


Michael Jordan scored sixty-three points, a playoff record. Jordan himself was not very pleased. After the game, he told reporters, “I’d give all the points back if we could have won the game. I wanted to win so badly.” Years later, when people brought the game up, expecting him to go on about it with some degree of nostalgia, he quickly changed the subject. “It’s not one of my favorite games,” he would say, and then quickly add, “Because we lost. That fact never changes.”

From "Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam

Sunday, November 8, 2009


“I’ve never seen a player that didn’t want to win when the ball was tossed up...but I’ll tell you when better want to win — you’d better want to win the day before and two days before and three days before because the will to win the game is not nearly as important as will the will to PREPARE to win the game.”

-Bob Knight

Friday, November 6, 2009


Each season our team reads a book during the season and this year we have chosen John Maxwell's "Talent Is Never Enough." It's extremely well written and organized and has a tremendous message for those with talent and how to overcome various hurdles to achieve their potential. Here is a sample form the chapter "Teachability Expands Your Talent."

If you are a highly talented person, you may have a tough time with teachability. Why? Because talented people often think they know it all. And that makes it difficult for them to continually expand their talent. Teachability is not so much about competence and mental capacity as it about attitude. It is the desire to listen, learn and apply. It is the hunger to discover and grow. It is the willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn. I love the Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden states it: "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

One of the paradoxes of life is that the things that initially make you successful are rarely the things that keep you successful. You have to remain open to new ideas and be willing to learn new skills. J. Konrad Hole advises:

If you cannot be teachable, having talent won't help you.

If you cannot be flexible, having a goal won't help you.

If you cannot be grateful, having abundance won't help you.

If you cannot be mentorable, having a future won't help you.

If you cannot be durable, having a plan won't help you.

If you cannot be reachable, having success won't help you.

This may sound strange, but don't let your talent get in the way of your success. Remain teachable.


“There’s a lot of reasons to love football (and team sports). The ones that come to mind right off bat are the unbelievable sense of camaraderie. Bill Walsh used to tell us, “What greater thing in the world than people from all different backgrounds, all different races, all different religions coming together. And you go out there on Sunday, and everyone’s on the same team.’ I think it’s the purest game in the world. Every game is a challenge physically and mentally. It calls on you coming together as a unit and trusting your teammates.”

-John Lynch, former NFL safety

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Special thanks to Coach Eric Musselman for the following:

Words of wisdom for point guards presented by Steve Nash at the Nike Point Guard Academy:

"You should always want your coach to be critical.It gives you an opportunity to learn and to over-come adversity."

"You maximize your potential by being humble,develop a work ethic, strive to be a good person,and to be the best teammate you can be."

"Use your scoring ability to be a better passer,and your passing skills to become a better scorer."

"You can't be a point guard who gets into the lane and always passes. Capitalize on the real estate you have gained."

"Point Guard must be able to pass with both hands equally off the dribble."

'"I am always thinking how can I get myself better."

"On the fast break, after 2 or 3 hard dribbles you should see the whole floor and know where all your teammates are."

Sunday, November 1, 2009


He was the first player at every practice and the last to leave, the hardest-working NBA practice player any of them had ever seen. The only problem was the degree to which he dominated everyone else. Early on, Rod Thorn called over to the Bulls’ practice facility, Angel Guardian, to talk to Loughery, only to find that everyone had already gone home. Why was practice over so early?, he asked the next day. “I had to let them off early,” Loughery said, “Michael was wearing them all out.”

In those days in practice, they played five-on-fives until one team reached ten baskets, and the losing team had to run laps, ten of them to be exact. Jordan did not like to run laps, so he was very tough in those games. Once, with his team up 8-0, Loughery switched him to the weaker team, Michael was furious about it. Jordan played in a fury, of course, which was what Loughery wanted, and his new team came back to win, 10-8.

From "Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam


In terms of growing as a player and more importantly as a student and a person, those that you associate with can have an amazing impact on you. That impact can be positive or negative. Those who are who want to be great associate with those same types. They want to learn from the best. If you want to be a better player, associate with players that work hard. If you want to be a good student, create a circle of influence of people with good study habits. Don't jeopardize your playing career by hanging around a crowd that makes bad decisions. Here is a great article by Jim Rohn on influences and associations:

1. There are two parts to influence: First, influence is powerful; and second, influence is subtle. You wouldn’t let someone push you off course, but you might let someone nudge you off course and not even realize it.

2. We need a variety of input and influence and voices. You cannot get all the answers to life and business from one person or from one source.

3. Attitude is greatly shaped by influence and association.

4. Don’t spend most of your time on the voices that don’t count. Tune out the shallow voices so that you will have more time to tune in the valuable ones.

5. “No” puts distance between you and the wrong influence.

6. You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming?

Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay?

7. Don’t join an easy crowd; you won’t grow. Go where the expectations and the demands to perform are high.

8. Some people you can afford to spend a few minutes with, but not a few hours.

9. Get around people who have something of value to share with you. Their impact will continue to have a significant effect on your life long after they have departed.


As good a short piece on leadership for those players looking to make an impact on their team beyond passing, shooting and defending. It's from Brian Tracy and sums up leadership in it's most simplistic form. I especially like the Action Exercise at the bottom and it is one that we've used with our team in the past. Here is Brian Tracy's Habits of Character and Leadership:

The ultimate aim of human life and activity is development of character, according to Aristotle. The most important goal you could hope to accomplish in the course of your life is to become an excellent person, in every respect. Your purpose should be to develop the kind of personality and character that earns you the respect, esteem, and affection of the important people in your world.

Develop Your Own Character
Aristotle, probably the greatest philosopher and thinker of all time, said a simple method can help, if you wish to learn a virtue later in life. Simply practice the virtue in every situation where that virtue is required. In other words, if you wish to develop the quality of courage, act courageously even when you feel afraid.

Aspire to Leadership
It is not easy to rise to a position of leadership in any organization or in any society. The competition for leadership is fierce. Only the people who are the very best equipped to acquire leadership positions and then to hold on to those positions rise to the top in any area.

Whatever It Takes
In a way, leadership is "situational." What is necessary for success in a leadership position is determined by many factors, including the people to be led; the objectives to be accomplished; the competition for resources; the social, cultural, political, and economic environment; and the situation that the leader finds at the moment. Changing any of these factors will change the qualities of leadership necessary for success.

The True Test of a Leader
Peter Drucker says the only event that is inevitable in the like of the leader is the "unexpected crisis." Only when you encounter a setback, an obstacle, a difficulty, or the inevitable crisis, do you demonstrate the kind of person you really are. It is not what you say, wish, hope, or intend that reveals your character. It is only your actions, especially your actions in the face of adversity and possible setbacks or losses.

You Are Responsible
Once you have developed a clear vision for your ideal future and resolve to develop unshakable courage by doing the things you fear, you must develop the habit of accepting complete responsibility for yourself and for every aspect of your life.

Tell the Truth
Perhaps the most important quality of leadership is the habit of integrity. You develop integrity and become a completely honest person by practicing telling the truth to yourself and others in every situation. Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true," meaning that you are what you believe in. You must continually clarify what you stand for and what you will not stand for. Once you have decided that you are going to build your life around certain values, you refuse to compromise those values for anything.

Action Exercise
Imagine that you could write your own eulogy. How would you like to be remembered and described by others when you are gone?

Brian's web page:


Knowing that his physical skills were limited, knowing he could never let his body slip even a little, every summer Bird went back home to Indiana and worked out diligently, trying, not only to stay in the best of shape with a strict regimen, but to improve his game by adding shots. One year it was an up-and-under shot summing off a fake. Another year it was a shot designed to add a degree of separation for a player who was not getting any younger; a faked drive forward followed by a quick backward step as he released the ball. One year it was improvement in his left hand; he had come into the league with a good left-handed shot, but as his career progressed, he sensed the need for that additional option and refined it. On the first days of Celtics’ preseason camps, the other players liked to see what Bird had added to his game over the summer. Bird expected his teammates to care as much as he did and to show the same loyalty he showed.

From, "Playing for Keeps" by David Halberstam