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Monday, October 8, 2018

Basketball: The Most Important Thing

Legendary manager Howard Marks wrote a wonderful book, The Most Important Thing. He found himself telling different people at different times, "the most important thing is..." 
You can’t do the same things others do and expect to outperform. He explains that he starts each chapter, "The most important thing..."

Every coach says we're going to be in great shape, we're going to be mentally tough, we're going to play smart. I won't insult your intelligence and experience.

We are agents of change. We transform the blank slate of raw material into intermediate goods, assembling into finished and refined products. Carbon becomes charcoal or diamonds. It was said of Bear Bryant, "he can take his and beat your'n or your'n and beat his'n."

I don't know the most important thing. Maybe you do. But I have ideas:

"It's the work." Be granular in the details. Coaches on these sites share their great ideas in the details. 

"Think." Be analytical. What is happening? Why? If we do 'this' what is likely to happen? Why did this fail? 

"Be positive." When working with kids, understand they make mistakes. They have lives. "Never be a child's last coach." If our kids give up, maybe it's on us. 

"Go to and counter." When we need a hoop, what's our best against man, zone, BOB, and SLOB? What's our second best? As a player, what's your talent? How are you going to succeed in the moment? 

"Breathe." Give our players room to breathe. Don't suffocate them or make them robots. The universe works by balancing gravitational forces. Play is children's work. 

"Reinvent ourselves." Access the wealth of knowledge and wisdom available. Pick the brains of coaches you respect. Go back to old resources. I took Basketball Defense Sourcebook off the shelf to profile Phil Woolpert. 

"People change. Human nature doesn't." Fight for your culture. Fight selfishness. Fight complacency. Fight distraction. 

"A man has to know his limitations." Marks says, "I don't know." He says, "Two kinds of people lose a lot of money, people who know nothing and people who think they know everything." 

"Manage yourself." If we can't control our emotions, we can't control the quality of our decisions. 

"Give and get feedback." We can't have a "performance-focused" culture that is not "feedback rich." 

"How does it feel to play for me?" Step outside ourselves and ask how can I be better. Inspire. I coach girls. Give them examples of strong women who made a difference. 

Lagniappe: "Good artists borrow; great artists steal." - Picasso

Copied from Radius Athletics

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