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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Basketball: Chris Oliver Conversation with Randy Brown

Find online mentors and pick their brains. "We all learn from other people." Chris Oliver interviews Randy Brown; I share some highlights. 

Anchors (core contributions to winning): "what comes out (of a funnel) is what we stand for." 

Sources: For Brown HoF Iowa HS coaches, Lute Olson, and others 

1. The Game (90% without the ball)...uses driver as analogy from golf...Steve Nash says, "empower the weak side." Applies equally to defense...where is your value to the team? Think about the game of TAG. You fake to avoid being tagged.

2. Communication. Most coaches realize our communication isn't good enough. Do we spend time on it? Teaching versus telling. Early...WHAT...where...action (under, switch, etc.) Be loud.

3. Puzzle. What matters is what players get. Do the practice pieces fit together? E.g. how does defensive transition transform into shell drill? Ask ourselves how can practice pieces fit together better

4. Words. What do players understand? Oliver, "words are your culture." RB, "most abused word is toughness." What does this mean to us? Be specific. 

5. Roles. "Here's what we need you to do." RB works in concert stage erection as a hobby...coordination of many groups...structure, sound, lighting, pyrotechnics, video. 

6. "Top 3." Teach 3 things better than anyone...your absolutes. Inventory your top 3, e.g. rebounded, took care of the ball, shot more free throws. Usually, strong teams have an obvious top 3. "Everybody is different."

Reminds me of Pete Carril's defensive themes are containing the ball, controlling screens, challenging shots. Or David Mamet (MasterClass) saying "if you could master the five things they teach in the first month of martial arts, nobody could defeat you." 

7. School bus rule. What mattered when you got off the bus?

8. "Rule of sticky." Does it stick? 

9. Low, medium, or high accountability. "We get what we tolerate." Glue stick (talk), Elmer's glue (emphasis), SuperGlue (non-negotiable). 

10. Free shooting idea. If you miss. You MUST move in. We all tell players not to start out from distance. And they mostly don't listen. 

11. "Coach yourself." As a player, help yourself by coaching yourself. Execution wins...
For me, that's KNOW THAT versus KNOW HOW. Everything applies to everyone. Disengaged players repeat other players' mistakes. When you hear a name, IT APPLIES TO YOU. No exceptions. Kerr U of A. He was always coming closer so he could hear what was going on. Oliver, another coach noticed his players coaching each other. 

12. Enjoy. Players should be enjoying the experience. Where are the smiles? How many kids who are disabled would love to be playing? Friendships and experience stay with you. 

Lagniappe: Randy Brown YouTube channel

Lagniappe 2: Randy Brown website dot coach is a new extension. His book is about adversity. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Basketball: TEN Easy Actions Against 2-3 Zone Defenses


Where's the value? Show me something I can use! Getting ready to renew FastModel and I'm going through my 2-3 zone offense files. Here are a few. Find a couple you like. 

Zone defense works in youth basketball because young players have limited range, lack experience against zone, get intimidated, and don't practice it a lot. 

We can talk forever about spacing, cutting, screening, and passing...but you have to make shots. Nothing matters without shotmaking

Belabor DR FlaPS: Dribble into gaps (Draw 2), reverse the ball, FLASH to open spaces, Post up

Distort the Zone: Pass fakes distort east-west, shot fakes move zones north-south 

Two second rule. Move the ball within two seconds of a touch. 

Ten actions, not by priority. 

1. ACROSS. 1-3-1 set. Key components ball reversal into weakside low screen. 

2. X (MSU). Low bigs screen the high defenders and ball is reversed into a wing attack. 

3. Middle attack. 1-3-1 set. 2 cutters left (beginning of CLOCK rotation) or high post entry and cut (right). 

4. Wham. Relocate an elbow to screen the middle hard. In the NFL it's a tight end WHAM BLOCK. 

5. BOOMERANG SLOT. 1-3-1 into SLOT ball screen. 

6. BOEHEIM vs BOEHEIM. What would Syracuse's Jim Boeheim do against himself? 

7. BUCKS: Corner Pindown PnR. 

8. 5 WHEEL. "The ball is a camera." When 1 finds 5 at the NAIL, she has both wings and the block or a shot. 

9. CROSSBOW. 131 with 4 and 5 screening low bodies ("headhunt" means screen a body not an area) with 3 into the lane. 

10. Gonzaga "BALLSCREEN CORNER" - BC - back cut. 

Lagniappe: via Gordon Chiesa

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Basketball: A Holistic Approach

We coaches teach basketball and life. Model a holistic approach. Make people care. 

1. Invest our time, don't spend it. Nick Saban promotes this within his Process

2. Have a morning routine. Include elements vital to you. According to Tim Ferriss in Tools of Titans, eighty percent of the most successful people in America have a consistent, well-defined program.

3. Read. Filmmaker Werner Herzog says, "just read."

Steve Forbes reads fifty pages a day, Kevin Eastman two hours. Steal great ideas. "The difference between who we are today and the people we become in five years is the people we meet and the books we read." What book are you reading today? 

4. Take a breath. "That's for sissies." Really? "Be like Mike." One mindful breath a day beats none. A mindful routine propelled Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to elite careers. Access free meditations here. 

5. Study the game. Listen to a podcast. Find a great blog like Use Twitter feeds like RadiusAthletics, BBallImmersion, BBallBreakdown, Gordon Chiesa, Coach Liam Flynn. Don't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to access vast amounts of information online.  

6. Keep notebooks including playbooks, drill books, and lists of educational videos. Google Drive is a wonderful resource for all of the above. FastModelSports has wonderful play designing and storage software that stores your plays. 

7. Use multidimensional resources. I use MasterClass to access other thinking platforms. Usher urges us to "study your mentor's mentors." My mentor's mentors included John Wooden, Dean Smith, and John Killilea. Coach Killilea had the loudest voice ever. 

8. Consider forming a "Personal Board of Directors" (PBOD). Your PBOD becomes another source of support, ideas, and advice...both personal and professional. 

9. Find ONE GOOD IDEA each day. It could be a concept, play, drill, quote, story. A young person will accumulate over a thousand good ideas in three years. 

10.Write. Writing forces us to think, organize, and edit. Bob Woodward preaches including a minimum of SIX key pieces of information in every column. Writing helps imprint those concepts into our basketball lexicon. 

11.Practice gratitude. Gratitude (thankfulness) is part of the Don Meyer and Shaka Smart gospel. Harvard researcher Shawn Achor has a 21-day gratitude challenge

Lagniappe: Here's a design for early Flex-like action against a 2-3 zone. Adjust to your personnel. 

You could elect to cut the 1 through as the initial screener, but I prefer the seal by 5. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Basketball: Critical Thinking, Basketball and Measles

"In God we trust; all others need data." - Anonymous

"Burn the witches." Somebody has to pay for society's flaws. 

Critical thinking begins by rejecting blind acceptance of ideas, leadership, government, or propaganda.

Our default state presumes we are right. We seldom ask "am I wrong" or "what is the evidence?" No industry is immune. Bloodletting is among the oldest medical treatments. "In the 1830s, France imported forty million leeches a year for medical purposes." Of course, we still use phlebotomy for diagnosis, for treatment of iron excess (hemochromatosis), erythrocytosis (high red cell count) and very rarely volume overload. 

Socratic argument probes understanding. It recognizes that the quality of answers relates to the insight of questions.

What idiot concocted that strategy? "Resulting" presupposes that a bad outcome meant poor planning. Who picked that guy? The Tyreek Hill revelations define limits of character examination. What are his qualifications?

Six Socratic questions inform critical thinking from three point shooting to measles immunization. 


Clarification - what do you mean by that? 

Half of the Rockets' shots in the 2019 playoffs are three-pointers. 

Assumptions - what has to be true for that to apply? "It's a make or miss league." 

Immunization less than 100 percent effective works because "in a population in which a large number of individuals are immune, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted, which stops or slows the spread of disease." We call this HERD IMMUNITY. 

Perspective - what school of thought holds

Analytics show that effective three-point shooting produces a higher number of points per possession. The Warriors (2018) had dramatic "net gain" (3NG) from shooting threes. "According to 3NG, the 2018 Warriors gained 2.03 points per game beyond the league average with Steph Curry shooting 3’s. They also gained an extra 1.84 points from Klay Thompson, and 1.16 points from Kevin Durant. Everyone in the top ten shot over forty percent."

Vaccination works. Measles was declared eradicated in the US in 2000. There is now a record  spike in number of measles cases in the US (above). 

Evidence - how good is the evidence

The impact of perimeter shooting in the NBA is unmistakable with the Warriors winning three of the last four championships. 

Much of anti-vaccine sentiment derived from studies of FORMER Dr. Andrew Wakefield of England. His studies misrepresented the data between immunization and autism and was judged to be SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT. England stripped Wakefield's license to practice medicine. Studies clearly demonstrate no association between immunization with MMR and autism. 

Implications - Should we change based on the information? 

The impact of three-point shooting has revolutionized the college and professional game. Go to many YOUTH games and you'll see an abomination of basketball, with airball after airball, Doc Rivers' "shot turnovers." 

As a result of measles epidemics from declining immunization, multiple communities and universities have outbreaks and quarantines. Measles can cause severe disability and death in children (above). 

Purpose - Why does it matter? Is this relevant? 

If you have no interest in basketball, the three-point shot matters as much as bicycles do to fish. If you want to stop the Warriors and the Bucks this postseason, defending the three-point shot partly defines success and failure. 

The rise of measles, especially in children, is a major domestic and global public health threat. "Measles vaccine has prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths from 2000-2013."

Lagniappe: Our choices define us...down by the river. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Basketball: Notes from Chris Oliver Podcast with TJ Saint

Steal great ideas. "Things that make you think." Chris Oliver's interviews make us think. 

Chris Oliver and TJ Saint talk basketball. Saint has worked with excellent basketball minds like Stan Van Gundy, Brad Stevens, Drew Hanlen and more. Saint is Director of Basketball Strategy and Video with the University of Georgia.

Saint began as a video coordinator. 

He discusses how he watches film...starting with transition, into early offense, pick-and-roll game, BOBs, SLOBs, and ATOs. Use the technology to organize your analysis of the opponent. He focuses off the ball (tip from Brad Stevens). 

As an offensive player, you know where the ball see your defender's reaction.

"A high percentage of (NBA) rebounds go toward the nail." This is particularly true for three-point shots...nail versus rim doubled. The point guard going to the nail gets 2 1/2 to 3 more rebounds a game AND avoids needing an outlet. That's a real edge. 

Oliver discusses the importance of covering the nail in defensive transition. 

How do top NBA teams get open corner threes? Sink situations 25% and Transition Two-side 14% were the two highest. Drive and skip also important especially from guys driving down the slot. 

"Traditional transition defenses is about loading down the middle." That opens the wings. Reorganization of that may change where the openings are. 

Driving down one slot there is an opposite dunker and opposite corner. When the dunker defender rotates and the helper helps off the corner, that exposes the open corner three. 

"Hit the roller and skip." We see this a lot in Boston with Al Horford. Oliver calls this "Tim Duncan." At about 2:59 in the above video, Thomas and Horford run PnR into a pass for a corner 3. 

On the pick-and-pop with the big, if you have a big who can drive, there's a there there (because it creates a closeout). Oliver notes that (for his team) the pick-and-pop from the top three point percentage is lower than the wing catch-and-shoot three. 

"Any shot outside the lane, I would never jump at." Why? The number of blocked shots is low and the number of fouls is high. The whole "never foul a jump shooter" concept has an edge. "There is no talent for not going for a shot fake." 

Enormous sample size of data to mine in the NBA leads to more credible conclusions. 


"Veer" (a coverage) or an emergency switch. On the high ball screen, the guard can't recover to his man and gets under the big. "Absorb and contain." This may need to a secondary switch (e.g. getting the 4 onto the roller and the guard switches out). Saint uses the term "scram" for this. Oliver says, "it's not that hard IF you communicate." 

NITE communication: NAME first alerts the action...NAME INFORMATION TONE EYE contact. 

Oliver, "coaches give too much general feedback." 

Trust components: 1) Authenticity 2) Logic (explain the why) 3) Empathy (put yourself in their shoes)

Connection restores the joy for the player. NBA players want to play well and not playing well gnaws at their identity...understand that performance affects identity

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Basketball: What Are Your Favorite Individual Defensive Drills?

"Do the next best thing." - Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival 

To practice defense, defend. One drill can't address everything. My favorite team defensive drill is shell drill and variations (REVIEW HERE). 

1. Adding defense to excellent drills makes them elite. Defenders add another dimension to the Tates Locke box drills

2. "Dog Drill." Find your dogs. Kevin Eastman says that this finds them (above). 

3. This "dribble separation" fullcourt drill modifies a drill from the late Bert Hammel. Force, hard overplay weak hand into a stop, cross, and give-and-go into one-on-one (above).  

4. "In your face." Defense up and offense disadvantaged ball over head. 2 dribble limit. Tests containment and challenge drive or shot without fouling. 

5. "Ten seconds to glory." Strictly this is not solely individual, but it challenges players to get open and score within ten seconds and defense to get stops. 

Lagniappe 1: Make defenses cover both sides. Pete Carril reminds that defenses have three primary tasks: contain the ball, control screens, challenge shots. 
Lagniappe 2: Upgrade communication. Discover better words and emotional depth. "If you’re unable to influence one person in a face to face meeting, all the tech in the world isn’t going to help you change a million people." - Seth Godin

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Basketball: Higher, Design Risks in Teaching and Execution

"Some games you design for the players and some games you design for yourself." - Sid Meier

Have a schema (representation of the world). We serve a basketball experience every day.  Entering a restaurant, we 'expect' a sequence (greeting, seating, waitstaff, ordering, beverages, etc.). Exceptional relates to service and food execution.  How does our basketball schema differ from our players'? How can we model a "quality" schema that they can bring forward? 

Does our team play and execute a defined style or is it random? If I were a player, would I want to play that way? As a fan, do I want to watch that? 

Imprint your core:
"This is what we do."
"This is how we do it."
"This is who we are."  (That is who we are not.)

Learn from watching practice and games. Constantly revisit assumptions (where am I right; where am I wrong?). Defenders have to be like a sheepdog. They can't just watch one sheep; own the herd

Separate signal from noise. Where are the bugs?

Match what we do with what we can do. That implies player selection, development, integration, and refinement. We could take nothing but three point shots and fail miserably. 

"Every book ever written is about someone searching for something." - Matt Haig

What do we see through coaches eyes


- How good is the spacing? 
- How long are players holding the ball before making decisions?
- Do players immediately put the ball on the floor?
- Does the ball get paint touches and ball reversal
- What is the average quality of shots? Develop a scoring system for shot quality. 
- Do we not score because of shot quality, ability, or both? (The quality of shots relates to the quality of passing.) 
- Where are we scoring? 
- How are we scoring (cutting, pick-and-roll, catch-and-shoot, putbacks, isolation?)


- Is there ball pressure? 
- Do defenders arrive in proximity to the catch (color to color)
- Are post defenders active or totems? 
- What is the level of communication? 
- How much penetration is allowed? 
- Do we challenge shots without fouling? 
- How energized is the transition defense? 
- Where are the opponents scoring? 

Keep editing our process, making a better experience for players, families, fans, and assistants. 

Lagniappe: a stunning poem from Billy Collins (The Lanyard

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the 'L' section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that's what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
'Here are thousands of meals' she said,
'and here is clothing and a good education.'
'And here is your lanyard,' I replied,
'which I made with a little help from a counselor.'
'Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world.' she whispered.
'And here,' I said, 'is the lanyard I made at camp.'
'And here,' I wish to say to her now,
'is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even.' 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Basketball: Players! Connect with Coaches

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." 

1. Connect. Relationships come first. 

2. Be on time.

3. Be clean and neat. 

4. "Flip flops are not shoes."

5. Have a firm handshake. 

6. Make and hold eye contact. 

7. Sit up straight. 

8. Be interested and be interesting. 

9. Share.

10.Be kind. 

Basketball: The Contract, The Crucible, The Clock...Plot and Stakes for Success

Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons) says that a thriller includes the CONTRACT, the CRUCIBLE, and the TICKING CLOCK

Brown says, "I know something you don't know and I promise that if you turn the page, I'm going to tell you." 

Define this for basketball to create a meaningful experience:

The Contract: "This is what we do." Clarify and ingrain our philosophy.
The Crucible: "This is how we do it." Here is our culture, our way. 
The Clock: "This is who we are." Find your identity and shape your response to game and time pressure. 

Without a philosophy, teams wander in a sea of information. Without strong culture, individual needs overtake team goals. Without identity, teams lack consistency. 

Next season starts by redesigning today. Design on the opening offseason practice continues. 

Find a habit to strengthen today. Study. Read. Write. Exercise. Meditate. Share. 

Raise the stakes. High stakes belong to history, love stories, horror, adventure, and sports. Investigative journalist Bob Woodward tells writers to probe for truth. "Get close to the bone."  

History: Control of the west flows through Empire of the Summer Moon, the technological rise (the horse) and fall (Colt 45) of the Comanches. 
Love story: Pygmalion (the play) adapts a Greek myth about transformation and later becomes the movie, My Fair Lady. 
Horror: The Exorcist reveals the struggle for the soul between good and evil. 
Adventure: Amundsen's planning and execution defeats Scott's in a race to the South Pole
Sports: Colleges wage war for One-and-Done players. The Final Four in 2019 lacked a single One-and-Done player. Stakes or mistakes? 

Promise solutions. I want readers who turn the page day after day to find inspiration and solutions to our coaching challenges. 

Lagniappe 1: via @BBallImmersion... stagger backdraft
Lagniappe 2: Here are my favorite three books for exceptional content and prose.

The Boys in the Boat, Daniel Brown
Deep Survival, Laurence Gonzales
In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle, Madeleine Blais 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Basketball: Leveraging Humility in the Offseason

Two decades ago, my twelve year-old daughter headed out to softball. I said, "you're going out to play?" She answered, "No, Daddy. I'm going out to win." Balance confidence and humility to be our better versions.

Humility erects scaffolding. It sees constant opportunity for growth. In Legacy, James Kerr explains how one of the New Zealand All Blacks' mottoes is "sweep the sheds." "When you lose, say nothing. When you win, say less." 

Coach Wooden lived humility:

Franklin Adler, a student manager for the UCLA basketball team from 1964 to 1968, recalls an incident when he was cleaning up after a game that reflects Coach’s humility:

I was scurrying around between banks of lockers when I heard the sound of footsteps and the thud of objects landing in a receptacle. Thankful for any help, I assumed that a Washington State janitorial employee was making his rounds after the game. Imagine my surprise when I came around a corner and saw that my ally in cleaning up the room was Coach Wooden!
Ryan Holiday's Ego is the Enemy informs how ego sabotages success. He advises us to listen more and to find canvases that others can paint. 

He cautions us to beware entitlement, control, and paranoia

Everyone knows how overconfidence played out in Aesop's fable of The Tortoise and the Hare

During the Civil War, Ambrose Burnside was an ascendant general. He hatched a bold plan to attack General Lee at Fredericksburg. Burnside took the assignment in part because of a rivalry with General Joseph Hooker. Delay in equipment needed to cross the Rappahannock River sabotaged the plan. Burnside delayed but attacked anyway but Union forces were decimated in a Confederate counterattack. The battle was the low point for Union forces during the war. 

William Tecumseh Sherman sought to undermine the Confederacy's access to resources in his march to the sea. But rather than direct confrontation, Sherman avoided high visibility battles fraught with high casualties. He schemed to drain the Confederacy of supplies and their will to fight. His lack of ego limited publicity but earned victory. 

Humble coaches show players their importance and value. Humble players know every role fosters team success. Humble players encourage teammates. Humble players celebrate credit awarded to others. 

Lagniappe 1: "Elbows behind ears..."
Lagniappe 2: What barriers arise in program development? 

- What is the biggest design risk? E.g. individual versus team development in an era of expanding zone defense. 
- How do I generalize solutions? Ensure decision training and competition. 

Lagniappe 3: Design versus engineering. What's important versus the input (time, expense, effort) needed to get there? How much time do we assign to defending the pick-and-roll versus shooting better? 

In allocating practice, weight design and difficulty. For example, with youths, how important will three point shots be for you versus difficulty in achieving. When there is an imbalance, how do you choose? 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Basketball: Big Easter Basket - Answer the Questions

“Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more.” 
― Tim S. Grover, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable

Coaches question your game every day. Supply winning answers. Do you realize that "it's showtime  every day?" Santa knows who's been naughty and who's been nice. 

What common answers do coaches seek? Validate your size, strength, athleticism, skill, basketball IQ, and resilience. 

Learning to drive, you control the vehicle. And you detect around you, intersections, a child by the curb. Don't say, "that child won't run into the street." Anticipate that they will. Similarly, feel your defender, see the help and the helper. Without the ball, relocate to clear the help, move your defender (clear out), screen, cut to the basket or open spots. Constantly build your schema, your representation of what basketball is. You're always in the game mentally

Basketball 101. What do you bring offensively and defensively one-on-one? Two-on-two? Three-on-three? 

What tools do you bring to the shop? Have you achieved competence at elements of the Pierce Wing Series (above), box drills, or Jay Wright swing training

What sums your vision, decisions, and execution of common scenarios?

1 reads - does x1 go over, under, or through the screen? Does x5 cheat too far allowing 5 to  slip or a cutback dribble? Does x5 trap or hedge (fake trap)? If 1 gets a driving lane, does x3 rotate, stunt, or leave? Multiple actions raise many questions and coaches judge your decisions and accuracy. 

Coaches judge your vision, skill, and will. Do you do whatever it takes or something less? 

What's your attitude? Do you show up on time, fired up, and ready to go? Bring energy to the court and energize your teammates. Do you bring your best to each repetition or do you cheat the drill

Athleticism manifests in footwork, balance, and maneuvering...the ability to create or deny separation. Coaches see everything. 

Coaches seek premium effort. Do you bring your best to each repetition or do you cheat the drill? Are your mistakes from lack of focus or exceeding your comfort zone? What's your compete level? 

Coaches assess your talent in ball skills (dribbling, shooting, passing, pivoting) and without (cutting, rebounding, defending). What is the quality of your decisions?

Respond rep by rep, drill by drill, possession to possession, in practice and games. You show intangibles interacting with coaches and teammates, through toughness, and whether you make those around you better. In Anson Dorrance's competitive cauldron commit to continual ascension. Hall of Famer John Stockton (2009) is famous for winning every sprint during practice. 

Near the top of Coach Wooden's "Pyramid of Success", justify the FAITH and PATIENCE of your family and coaches. Your actions today determine your career tomorrow. 


Your answers have stakes - making the team, finding a role, expanding the role, earning trust of teammates and coaches...finishing games.  

Lagniappe: "Throw and go."
"Outrun your pass" to get advantage on your defender.  

Lagniappe 2. 

When a player invests time, effort, and money to develop her game, reward her with opportunity. "Burying" her bespeaks our unfairness. Our behaviors define us more than those we disenfranchise. When the player expands her palette, provide her more canvas. A seniority system, randomness, or favoritism destroys player agency. 

Happy Easter! 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Basketball: Put the Team Before Yourself

My assistant coach generously shared Pat Summitt's Reach for the Summitt, which expands her Definite Dozen concept. Chapter VIII advises Put the Team Before Yourself. Summitt counsels, "Teamwork is what makes common people capable of uncommon results."

She discusses how she picked the 1984 US Women's Olympic team. She gave the top eighteen players ballots and they decided which twelve would go to Los Angeles. That gave them ownership in the process and outcome

Teamwork isn't novelity, just challenging. As children we have an egocentric view of the world. We can't see others' perspective. Some adults have a similar problem, on the border between egocentric and narcissistic behavior.

Image result for two is one one is none

Great teams collaborate to win. In the Navy, the Special Forces are called 'the Teams'. The SEALs live their philosophy, "two is one and one is none." One author described a  training scenario where a hardworking teammate narrowly missed qualifying in a swimming time trial. Teammates swim linked by a rope. Everyone liked and respected him. Instructors gave him another chance to pass, accompanied by a strong swimmer who literally helped pull him to a qualifying time. 

John Wooden preached, "Happiness begins where selfishness ends." Balanced scoring often reflected that philosophy. 

Roy Williams watched a recruit play. When he fouled out, he sprinted to the water cooler to get drinks for teammates. He didn't sulk; he stayed engaged. He played for UNC and in the NBA.  

Dean Smith said that he didn't recruit players with great stats on mediocre teams. Bill Russell remarked, "my ego depends on the success of my team." 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens described Ronald Nored as a great 'sharer' and Nored continues that profile as a coach.I was put on this earth to help people get better,” says Nored at one point, adding later, “What players want is someone who works hard, but mostly who cares about them. If you have those things, players will respect you and want to play for you.”

Young players sometimes play Night at the Opera ball, "me, me, me." Remind them of Jay Bilas' admonition, "it's not your shot, it's our shot."

Being part of an exceptional team is forever. Nobody can take those memories from you. 

Lagniappe: Celtics "Diamond Zone" against SLOBs