Monday, December 28, 2009


WORKERS get the most out of themselves; when a body has limited talent, it has to muster all its resources of character to overcome this shortcoming.

If you think you are working hard, you can work harder. If you think you are doing enough, there is more that you can do. No one really ever exhausts his full potential.
Winning takes character and intelligence. It is the most important thing you can do because it’s a reaffirmation of your character.

-Pete Carril-

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Thanks to Coach Steve Finamore, here is an excerpt of an article on Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets and his approach to improving. The article was written by Greg Bishop of The New York Times. Great article that shows the combination of the mental and the physical in the improvement and maturation of an athlete.

"When I look at my game, I see that the people who surround me have basically built me into a machine,” he said. “Like I’m made up of all these parts.”

Part 1: memory. In his rookie season, Revis watched film with safety Kerry Rhodes. He did not understand the difference between watching and studying. Now in his third year, Revis studies film daily, during meetings and from 60 to 90 minutes on his own.

This season, Revis stopped viewing run plays, because he reacts to those instinctively. Instead, he watches every play from the current season, dozens of times, of the next receiver he will face.
First, he looks for body language. Does the receiver tilt his shoulders forward on a pass play? Has he run go routes with his left foot forward at the line? Does he pop and flex his fingers before running across the middle?

Revis does not play poker, but he said every player has tells, including him. The key is finding what separates a Moss from a Colston, then exploiting that.

“It’s all about memorization,” he said. “I’m in the walk-through calling out routes and formations. To the public eye, in the game, it looks easy. And it is, if you’ve seen it dozens of times and you know what’s coming.”

Part 2: muscle. Revis does additional off-season training at Fischer Sports. He lifts monster truck tires, pulls sleds and runs up mountains in the brutal Arizona heat.

Each week, they hold Festivus Fridays, where fellow professionals like Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and Revis run through 8 to 10 drills without a break, stop for “halftime,” then perform every drill again.

This year, Revis and his trainer, Will Sullivan, studied each receiver he would face this season and trained accordingly. Revis drew additional motivation from Adrian Wilson, the Arizona safety who followed a Super Bowl appearance by training the same way.

The result: Revis said that he rarely tired during games.

“He just attacks his job,” Coach Rex Ryan said. “If there is one guy I want to cover somebody, with my paycheck on it, I want it to be Darrelle Revis.”

Part 3: mind-set. When Dennis Thurman joined the Jets’ coaching staff last off-season, Revis, already a Pro Bowler, started an early conversation with two words — coach me. Thurman found Revis more advanced than cornerbacks with similar experience, ahead in technique, fundamentals, and knowledge, but still, Revis wanted most to learn.

In Revis, Thurman found the most competitive of cornerbacks, the kind of guy who wishes he could cover the Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. In the off-season, Revis studies the greats at his position, even shoots text messages to Sanders for advice.

Read the entire article:


Thanks to Coach Eric Musselman for passing along an article by Tom Verducci on the Yankees Derek Jeter -- he is an excerpt:

If you were to draw up a list of Jeter's dislikes, most all of them would be what he regards as obstacles to winning:

1. Individuals who don't care about winning.

2. Self-promoters.
"I never liked people who talked about themselves all the time, gloat," he says. "If you're accomplished and have done things, people will talk about it for you. I don't think you have to point it out. I'm not judging anybody. That's just the way I am."

3. Measuring success by individual statistics.
"In this day and age, not just in baseball but in sports in general, all people care about is stats, stats, stats," he says. "You've got fantasy this, fantasy that, where you pay attention to stats. But there are ways to win games that you don't get a stat for."

4. Injury talk.
"You either play or you don't play. If you're playing, nobody wants to know what's bothering you. Sometimes it's a built-in excuse for failing."

5. Negativity.
Jeter wants nothing to do with negative questions from reporters or negative talk from teammates. He once went 0 for 32 and refused to admit he was in a slump. "We weren't allowed to use the word can't—'I can't do this, can't do that,'" Jeter says of his childhood. "My mom would say, 'What? No.' She's always positive. I don't like people always talking about the negative, negative, negative, because once you get caught in that mind-set, it's hard to get out of it."

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Thanks to Coach Eric Musselman's archive for this look at point guard Rajon Rondo on what he learned as a high school QB:

"When things go bad you take a lot of pressure. You’re responsible for everyone on the field, knowing where they have to be. You call the plays and you’re also an extension of the coach on the field."

The same goes for basketball:

"I think [QB and PG are] the same exact position, really. You’re the leader, regardless of whether you want to be or not. Even though I’m a third-year point guard I’m still the leader of the team. Offensively I’ve got to get the guys in their sets and knowing what plays to call. I’m playing with three All-Stars. It is what it is. I don’t look at individual goals."


After a disappointing 1983 season Larry Bird retreated to his newly constructed home in West Baden, Indiana, complete with its full-length outdoor court. He added a step-back jumper to his arsenal, refining it by shooting 800 of them a day. Quinn Buckner came to visit Bird that summer and agreed to participate in his morning workout. They awoke at 7 AM, put on their track shoes, and ran five miles -- uphill. Buckner was amazed by the steep incline of Bird's regular route and was walking by the halfway mark. Bird was not a fast runner, but he had long strides and the determined look of an athlete scorned. he and Buckner did not discuss the Bucks, sweep, but Bird's dissatisfaction was implied in the intensity of his workout.

After his uphill run, Bird hopped on his bicycle and pedaled 20 miles around the country. Then, with the burning sun at its peak, he spent an additional hour and a half shooting 500 jumpers and 500 free throws.

"I was getting ready for a whole lot of years of us and the Lakers," Bird said. "We were young and they were young. They had Kareem. They had Magic. They were making moves. I wanted to make sure we kept up."

From "When the Game was Ours" by Jackie MacMullen

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The following comes from "When the Game was Ours," by Jackie MacMullen. The book details that lives of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, their relationship with each other and their impact on the game. Below gives a peek and one of the reasons why Magic was a great player. It is about a college coach recruiting him while he was a senior in high school.

One cold winter morning, Detroit coach Dick Vitale showed up in Lansing just after 6 AM. He knocked on the door of Magic's house and told politely by Christine Johnson that her son had already left. He was up the street, shooting jump shots in the snow before school.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


If anything, some thought, Dean Smith was a little harder on Michael 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

Saturday, December 12, 2009


“There’s a lot of reasons to love football. 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.”

-Former NFL safety John Lynch

Thursday, December 10, 2009


"In my opinion, thinking about losing is one of the best motivators there is. I mean, don’t just toss out the idea, but really think about it. Turn it over and over in your mind. How will it feel to walk off the court having lost? What glee will the other team’s fans be showing off in the stands? What taunting will we have to swallow? What embarrassment? How will it feel going to class tomorrow, walking around campus, passing friends and strangers, all of whom saw the game and the failure? How will it feel knowing you let your family down, and your friends, and your coach and teammates? And yourself? That kind of negative thinking can be incredibly energizing."

From "Think Like a Champion: A Guide to Championship Performance for Student-Athletes"
By Dick Devenzio

Sunday, December 6, 2009


“It’s nice to be known as a good player.
But I want to be known as a good person, too.”
-Kentucky star John Wall-

During the summer, he achieved a 4.0 grade-point average – mainly, he says, because he made it a point to sit in the front row of each class. “Some of the best advice I ever got,” Wall says. “If you sit in the back, you can laugh and get away with anything. But if you’re in the front, you have to pay attention.” When he’s out in public, Wall says he never lets his pants sag below his waist, and he has no plans to regrow the braids his AAU coach made him shave when he was 14. Wall doesn’t have any tattoos. “I’m not trying to put down the people that have them,” Wall says. “But for me right now, it’s all about image. You can’t walk around looking like a thug. There are kids out there looking up to me. I’ve got to set a good example.” Yahoo! Sports (via Coach Eric Musselman)


A special thanks to Creighton Burns for passing this Andy Louder essay on to us.

So you've spent countless hours in the gym perfecting your shot. You've had a few breakout games but you are still struggling to find a way to consistently score more points. Sound familiar? If it does, you certainly aren't alone. There are lots of good players that go through this phase. The key is to understand that it's not a permanent phase and that you can move past it with the right training and understanding.

Here's one of the main things you need to remember... if you become a good shooter you can't keep it a secret for very long. The focus of a good defensive team is to try and force the other team to shoot the ball as far away from the basket as possible. To encourage this they usually sag off. They try and take away any opportunities you might have to drive towards the basket to get a closer shot. In other words, they encourage the other team to shoot jump shots. This is why when you first become a good shooter it's a lot of fun! You get a lot of open looks from the outside and have the opportunity to score a lot of points. However the honeymoon doesn't last long. Once a team figures out that you can hit the open shot from outside they completely change their strategy. Instead of sagging off they get up in your face and never leave you alone. This is where a lot of players fall apart. They get really frustrated by the pressure defense and can never get a shot off. To try and score points and contribute they end up forcing shots. Things get worse and worse because they miss most of their shots and start losing their confidence. They go from having a few games where they score a lot of points to barely putting up 4-6 points a game.

Write this down. If you are a one-dimensional player, you are very easy to guard. Unless you are over 7 feet tall you are going to have a very difficult time scoring points by just being a good shooter. You've got to be able to get by your defender and create your own shot. If you can do this, a world of opportunity opens up for you.

Think about this... You get the ball and the guy guarding you knows you are a good shooter but also remembers the last time you had the ball you crossed him up and got a lay-up. How is he going to guard you? He knows that if he leaves you enough room you'll just shoot a jump shot over him but if he guards you tight you'll get around him for an open shot. Now you're in the driver's seat. This is a much better situation to be in than just hoping somebody sets a good pick for you or that the defense will play a soft zone so you can get an open three-pointer.

Here are some great NBA players to watch who all do a phenomenal job of creating their own shot: Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Dwayne Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Paul and Allen Iverson. Watch them on television and pay attention to how they break down their defenders when they pressure them. They don't just score their points when someone passes to them while they are wide open. They have the ability to make things happen.

How to Get Started
Start simple when begin trying to create your own shot. The worst thing you can do is get so excited about it that you play out of control and force the issue. If you do this you'll end up committing turnovers and taking bad shots and that is never good. The key is to start small by practicing just one move. Once you master one specific move that allows you to get open, then you can start leaning others. Maybe your one move starting out is just a quick jab-step or a cross-over dribble. It doesn't need to be fancy at all, it just needs to be something that puts your defender off-balance so you can make a move to get open. You'll be amazed how much a difference just knowing one move can make.

It's also important to note that you should never attempt anything fancy until you have it mastered in practice. So once you decide on the first move you are going to learn, don't do it in a game until you've done it in practice several times and had success doing it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Detroit Lion's Matthew Stafford showing leadership in Lions comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


As a player are you a "catalyst?" Webster's defines catalyst as: "something that causes an important event to happen." In sports, a catalyst is someone who effects the game in a positive manner. They can be a starter or a substitute. We've had players at LSU that were a catalyst in practice -- they effected the outcome of a game without playing in the game.

Characteristics of a Catalyst:

1. Intuitive: A catalyst senses an opportunity.
2. Communicative.
3. Passionate

4. Talented: Talent knows what it takes to win. You can’t take the team to the next level when you haven’t mastered the skills it takes to succeed on a personal level.
5. Creative: Catalysts think things that others do not think. “Creativity involves taking what you have, where you are, and getting the most out of it.” -Carl Mays
6. Initiating: While all creative people have more than enough ideas, not all of them are good at implementing those creative thoughts.
7. Responsible: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” -Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A
8. Generous: Catalysts give things that others don’t give. A true mark of people’s taking responsibility is their willingness to give of themselves to carry something through. They are prepared to use their resources to better the team, whether that means giving time, spending money, or sacrificing personal gain.
9. Influential.
From "The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork" by John C. Maxwell