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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fast Five: Brad Stevens Off the Cuff (Podcast)

You may need to get the podcast app (Stitcher) to listen to the Brad Stevens and Daryl Morey interviews. 

Here are some highlights of their recent Brad Stevens interview:

Coach Stevens quotes from Bill Parcells,"you manage the season." What you 'want' to do in the moment balances against the long-term welfare of the team. 

He keeps a sheet of preferred lineups and substitution patterns but realizes multiple factors intercede...injuries, fouls, and game-specific performances. He also keeps an Excel spreadsheet with 8-10 possible ATO plays as preparation for that game. 

Matchups are analyzed by analytics and by direct observation. Enormous data exists about almost every conceivable situation. Stevens discusses the key role of Drew Cannon who accompanied him from Butler to Boston. Cannon began as a freelance writer sharing observations about basketball. 

There's limited turnaround time between games and he gets information from the analytics department about opponent's tendencies and trends that he shares during a 30 minute meeting. You cannot overwhelm the players. Give them useful information

The culture of winning (banners) is a motivator. "Every number on the banners associates with winning a championship." He stresses the emphasis on culture of collaboration and teaching with input from players. But he also prioritizes players excelling in their roles. 

Stevens has a strong affiliation with the Patriots organization concerning tempo and practice structure. Although the sports differ, they share similarities as far as creating open lanes. Unlike in football, there is continuous adjustment with no time between actions. He spends time with both Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Stevens says that it's impossible not to feel "inadequate' after spending time within the Patriots organization. 

He doesn't address player development which I'd love to hear. Keep looking for solutions. 

BTW, the third interview with the Warriors' assistant GM Kirk Lacob informs the emphasis on the three-dimensional structure of the game integrating players, skills, and spacing. He notes that  IQ and competitiveness are impossible to measure completely but quantifiable and critical in their player evaluations. 


Simple Celtics actions. Simple can create good looks. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ultimate Advice from Coaches for Coaches

Pat Williams collated coaching wisdom and observations in The Ultimate Coaches' Career Manual. Here are a few of the thousands of coaching pearls:

Danny Murtaugh (Pirates): "Talk to the players even when they have a bad day. Don't ignore them. Go out of your way to lift them up when they're struggling." 

Woody Hayes (Ohio State): "The thing you have do is go back each year and review what actually wins for you. You'll find it's the discipline on your squad, your morale, how you handle your players, and how well you bring them along." 

Urban Meyer (Florida): "You can have all the success in the world, but without a balanced life you're not a good coach as far as I'm concerned." 

Buddy Teevens (Dartmouth): "Believe in yourself." "Maintain a sense of humor." 

Stephanie Gaitley (Monmouth University): "Be a listener not a dictator." 

Armond Hill (Columbia): "Be the first one to work every day."

Barry Hinson (Missouri State): "It's not about you. Everything is about the team."
Thad Matta (Ohio State): "Create a family atmosphere with care and trust." 

Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame): "You know what you want, so make sure your message is clear to everyone." 

Lorenzo Romar (University of Washington): "Once in awhile, admit when you are wrong. This makes a huge impact on players." 

Jerry Steele (High Point): "Make a short list of those people who love you. If things go badly, don't take it out on them."

Bear Bryant (Alabama): "You can learn from anybody." 


Defending the pick-and-roll is tough, but why make it harder without communication? It's harder still when the screener is moving...
From @NBA_rundown  

Double bonus: Iverson BOB

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fast Five: Becoming a Leader as a Player

Goal: Share ideas on developing player leadership
Reference: some ideas from HBR's 10 Must Reads on Leadership (summary)

Great organizations have distributed leadership as leadership occurs at every level. We should encourage all our players to become better leaders. Everyone can show more leadership although not all will become primary leaders. 

How do we grow leaders? Leaders embody established principles to serve teammates and their communities, earn respect by showing it, and find their voices. 

What is your bottom line? Everyone benefits from distributed leadership. OSU football coach Urban Meyer discusses his 10-80-10 principle. Ten percent of players are at the top, eighty percent in the middle, and another ten (unfortunately) near the bottom. He wants the top ten percent to 'drag' people from the middle into the top tier. How? For example, he demands that 'ten percenters' (team leaders) bring someone from the middle to workouts. 

Individual growth parallels organizational transformation. Novartis CEO Daniel Vasella was a sickly child with asthma and later tuberculosis. Part of his treatment involved painful 'spinal taps' where a doctor inserts a needle to remove fluid from the spinal canal. Initially, health workers restrained him during the procedures. But he encountered a physician who simply asked a nurse to hold Daniel's hand during the procedures, which then went smoothly and without pain. This inspired Daniel into medical training and later a career in the pharmaceutical industry where Novartis became a leader. Kindness became life-changing. 

Leaders are coachable, the extension of coaches. They buy in to the process, model excellence, and know their responsibilities AND others'

Leadership inspires. Leaders encourage teammates, bring and radiate energy, and raise the collective effort. Achievement starts with attitude, extends to choices, and grows through consistent work. 

Phil Jackson says, "basketball is sharing." Nobody should be a victim. Use your experience, tools, and values to enhance your influence and invest in your culture.


Academics: effort and achievement
Collaboration: organize workouts with teammate(s)
Unselfishness: willing passer, go to the floor (dirty work), quality shots
Communication: verbal and nonverbal
Rotating leadership assignments: e.g. lead drills
Teaching opportunities: assigned brief topics 
Media: "Speaking Greatness" (praise teammates over self) 


Game winner: Rip Middle, pass or shot options

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Can One Set Flow into Diversified Offense?

Can one set of "lines on the page" flow into most offense? I've seen a lack of "early offense" through the years as players congest the middle. 

(Top frames) Spread, Horns
(Bottom frames) 1-3-1, 1-4 Low

Right, two 'guard' front (next best passer out)

4 out, 1 in 

We can run pick-and-roll or dribble handoff out of most of these sets. 

Spread formations are ideal for dribble drive, give-and-go, and back cuts. 

Horns offers a myriad of possibilities;

Horns offers a great set into Flex. 

Carla Berube's Tufts Jumbos ran terrific back cut action out of a minor modification. 

It's easy to run DHO options out of 4 out, 1 in sets. 

It even flows nicely into zone attack. 

Or into a handback screen attack. 

Two critical elements are teaching players "how to play" and their ability to finish. Starting with spacing goes a substantial way to finishing better. Better spacing, teaching more players to drive and dish, and extending shooting ranges are three important dimensions toward higher scoring this season. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Seek ‘sustainable competitive advantage.’ As teams and individuals find models. For example, examine Villanova’s Jalen Brunson, demonstrating skill, versatility, and toughness.

To maximize the limited resources among size, athleticism, and skill, what is needed? We need people, purpose, process, and persistence.

People are our who. Jim Collins in Good to Great says that it’s about getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off, and then knowing where to drive. Larry Bossidy captures the triad of people, strategy, and operations in Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done.

Purpose is our ‘why.’ Purpose is greater than passion. Purpose serves our community and the character of our players. Purpose teaches sharing, accountability, unity, gratitude, and humility. 

Process is our ‘how.’ Kaizen...continuous quality improvement. Create continual ascension and competitive fury. Top coaches don’t just rely on talent, but encourage development among fundamentals, collaboration, and psychology. The brilliance of the Jay Wrights and Geno Auriemmas materializes during the biggest moments of the biggest games.

Each of us establishes our philosophy and forges a culture and identity that we believe in. Model excellence in everything we do. As coach of the 49ers, Bill Walsh wanted the same excellence from a receptionist answering phones or groundskeepers as he expected from his coaches and players.

Jay Wright Clinic Notes from

Early Geno Auriemma Clinic Notes

Persistence is our ‘when.’ “We are what we repeatedly do,” began Aristotle. “Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.” For Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, crossing the red line around the field means readiness to work. Persistence informs how we communicate, how we practice, how we care for ourselves and others, how we study, and how we play.

Sustainable competitive advantage is the sum of who we are and what we do.

Monday, March 26, 2018

2 Minute Lesson: How Movement Kills Defense - Kelly Oubre

Goal: briefly emphasize the value of movement offensively.
Time commitment: maximum 2 minutes 

We preach to our young players, "movement kills defenses." Ball movement and player movement challenge even assiduous defenders. 

@NBA_Rundown shares illustrative clips.
"The ball is a camera." Relocate to allow the camera to see you. 

In the beginning of the clip, Oubre SINKS to the CORNER on the baseline drive. This affords him the shorter 3 point shot 'below the break'. Although he has increased his 3-point shooting to 36.5%, he misses. Washington gets the rebound, and he spaces to the perimeter. On the following ball reversal and second baseline drive, he stays active, drifting into the lane for a slam. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Teach Basketball; We Are Artists

Why does a Leonardo masterpiece headline a basketball missive? We are artists. 

Here’s a Leonardo (da Vinci) studio work, Madonna of the Yarnwinder. Like his mentor, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo did commercial work, mass productions of the era. Ostensibly there are dozens (over forty) of this painting around the world. Controversy exists as to which are 'original' or authentic, by Leonardo's hand. But I digress. 

As coaches we seek inspired individual genius amidst collaborative excellence. UCONN's Geno Auriemma adds, "great players always come back to the team" just as individual instruments in a jazz band return to the whole. Leonardo's gift fueled his entire team. 

Observers see our 'fingerprints' on the finished products, just as we see Villanova vitality around the rim and Syracuse's suffocating 2-3 zone. 

Each of us informs the style and substance of our craft. When we adopt the Newellian "get more and better shots than our opponent," we train players to create easy shots and symmetrically force hard ones. 

When people see our work, can they recognize it? 

Well-coached and well-played basketball resembles art. The classic "Laker Break" of Showtime, the precision passing of the 1986 Celtics, or recent Spurs inspire us. 

We have an obligation to teach our players the craft and help them reproduce that which is worthy. We are artists.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

At the Movies: Watching Basketball Tape to Learn the Game

Many of us have watched basketball and highlights for more than fifty years. But young players have neither that experience nor advantage. 

This article references 'Non-Conscious Behavior Mimicry'. You could rephrase that as "seeing is becoming." 

We can study individual or team play and focus on detailed individual or big picture actions. When we focus on the individual, examine the details...spacing, footwork, ability to separate with or without the dribble. And of course, study finishing. Evaluate decision-making, shot selection, passing timing and targeting, ability to change speeds and impact game tempo. 

Assess defensive positioning, effort, and play within the scheme (switching, communication). 

For example, at 0:16, Russell Westbrook separates with elite speed, crosses over to protect the ball, and finishes with an unorthodox right foot, right-handed layup. Studying Russell Westbrook won't make players run faster or jump higher, but it could inspire them to train harder or work their craft of finishing with either hand off either foot or both feet. 

"Great defense requires multiple efforts." The Celtics have the NBA's highest efficiency defense; ask why?

At 0:06, the OKC Thunder set up a high wing ball screen. Jayson Tatum is defending, and the Celtics use "Ice", with the goal of forcing the driver left, with Al Horford (42) helping low. Markus Morris (13), lower right, sags to the lane, but is in position to closeout on the corner 3. Terry Rozier (12), defends below the level of the ball and Aron Baynes is in proximity to Steven Adams. Horford switches the screen and alters the shot. 

At 0:26, Rozier forces the dribbler weak and Horford sees Adams ready to overpower Tatum in the lane. Horford reacts and creates a deflection leading to a turnover. 

At 0:44, Tatum sees the Adams screen and Baynes is directing traffic. The communication is evident. He stays low and ushers Tatum "through" choosing not to 'jam' the screen. Adams rolls high to set the ball screen for 'Melo and the Celtics switch it to take away the open 3. Baynes has enough quickness and stays vertical to contest the drive. 

At 1:09, Paul George has a major mismatch on Shane Larkin. Ojeleye comes from the 'nail' to stunt at George (Greg Monroe helps low), who gives up the ball. OKC swings the ball, but Tatum's length creates the block. 

At 1:20 Tatum has enough quickness and size to force George low where he turns the ball over. 

At 1:35 Westbrook comes off the screen and Ojeleye reacts quickly to Ice the ball screen. Westbrook's entry pass is deflected and the Celtics are off to the races. 

At 2:40 OKC gets into horns late and Larkin pressures the ball enough to prevent ball screens from either side. Eventually, Ojeleye defends well enough to force a runner late in the shot clock. 

Studying what works and what doesn't helps players 'see the game' to react and execute quicker and execute. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fast Five: Jumping Rope and Basketball

Goal: Discuss how jumping rope helps the basketball athlete and suggest a basic routine.

A lifetime ago (early 1970s), we used to jump rope for five minutes as the warmup at basketball practice. Coach Lane was ahead of his time. 

1. Outstanding players have combinations of elite athleticism, elite size, and elite skill. Players can improve their athleticism and conditioning by jumping rope. 

"Jumping rope showed objective improvement in motor ability in preadolescent soccer players versus control subjects. Children allocated in the EG, received a jump rope training program at the beginning of the soccer training session for a period of 15 min, two days a week. The entire intervention program involved 8 weeks’ in-season from the beginning of October until the end of November (see Table 1). Prior to training, participants were instructed to warm up with general running exercises and dynamic stretching for ten minutes. During the jumping rope training, all the repetitions were guided by metronome rates of 120 rotations per min to ensure equal exercise intensity among children. The Jumping rope intervention consisted of 5 exercises performed with the following order: basic bounce step, double basic bounce step, alternate foot step, scissors step, and double under."

2. Jumping rope improves balance, conditioning, coordination, power, and strength. It's not the best training for vertical jump, but it helps. 

3. Jumping rope burns 10-16 calories per minute. A ten-minute workout daily could potentially reduce about 15 pounds in a year. 

4. Jumping rope offers variety. Pick out a few techniques that appeal to you. 

5. There are inconsistent data on jumping rope and speed. On balance, the data trend toward improvement. I'm a believer. Rope jumping can increase vertical leap.  Researchers have shown gains in maximal oxygen consumption, the purest measurement of cardiovascular fitness, in pre-adolescent males who trained with jump ropes. 

How long should you jump? It depends on your purpose. For modest gains, modest amounts 5-10 minutes per day as part of a workout can suffice. If you want bigger gains, then 20-30 minutes per day are needed. 

Bottom line: Jumping rope is fun, improves balance, coordination, and conditioning, and can be a part of plyometric, strength, and stamina training. Find a regimen that works for you (e.g. 10 minutes of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, or something more if we can build up to it). 

Something different, staggered screen into wing ballscreen.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Backdoor Plays: Define, Diagram, Drill, and Demonstrate on Video

Goal: explain, demonstrate, and train backdoor plays for offensive development.

Ask players to define a "backdoor cut." They should say "a cut to the basketball, then away from the ball." 

Brett Brown explains the drill. In this action, spacing, timing, and acting create the separation. 

From FastModel sports...from Albany

0:45 Backcuts work well against "head turners," against pressure defense, and when defenders simply get out of position. Gordon Hayward is cleared out on the perimeter and being denied two passes away. Ruh roh. 
1:06 LeBron's defender inexplicably leaves and LeBron makes him pay. "Great players play in space.
1:18 Steph Curry looks like he's worried about the Adams down screen. But his assignment cuts across and Curry loses position. OKC reverses the Ball, Durant's assignment clears (Durant loses sight of the ball), and they execute beautiful backdoor action .

"Multiple actions make great offense." 
0:18 The staggered screen sets the trap and the flash to the elbow springs it. 

Phase 1. Staggered screen for shot or two-man game? 

Phase 2. Flash and back cut. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Podcast Excerpts: CoachingULive Brendan Suhr and Amanda Butler

Goal: Mine information from every available source to improve ourselves and our teams. 

Podcast Coaching U Live (Notes from Brendan Suhr and Amanda Butler)

Focus on helping others, because you will go through hard times in coaching. 

"How did you get past mad?" 
1.Coach Amanda Butler first thought about others (e.g. asst coaches, players) affected.
2.Gratitude was a big part of their (Florida) practices. 
3.Wanted energy to be positive. 

"What did you learn about yourself?"
1.Need to do a good job sharing (coaching information) with others
2."Big idea." Maximize learning during time off (from excellent coaches) spending weeks with mentors (Jay Hernandez, Frank Vogel...Orlando Magic, Billy Donovan...OKC, Mark Daigneault...G League, Brad Stevens...Celtics) 

What durable lessons dlid you learn?
Character development for young players (G League)
What is means to be a professional (G League)
Exposure to different ideas and concepts (Coach Butler's journey)
Learn to be precise with teaching (Celtics' coaching efficiency)
NBA practice...communication not yelling; it's a partnership. 
Specificity of fundamentals...e.g. hard cuts (Celtics)
High level of respect for players' experience and craft...
"Let's have a conversation about what's going on." 
"What do you see?" 
"When they stop listening, it's over for you." - Chuck Daly
"His level of sincerity is through the roof." - re: Brad Stevens
"Television is another great way for coaches to gain visibility." - Suhr

- quote from Jon Gordon

Coach Butler's article and major takeaways...

1. Fundamentals are fundamentals. 
2. Team issues and adversity exist everywhere. There are continuing efforts at all levels to build skills to promote better life choices, communication, chemistry, and consistency. 
3. After twelve years as a head coach,it was so beneficial to attend practices and meetings just to observe, just to listen, take notes and ask impactful questions. 
4. There is no other form of influence more powerful than authentic leadership.

5. Choose a group of people that you openly trust as collaborators and workers. I loved the spirit of partnership in the NBA.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Basketball Effective Field Goal Percentage: A Method to the Madness

Of the first forty games in the NCAA Men's tournament, thirty-three (82.5%) were won by the team winning the effective field goal percentage (EFG%) battle. The NBA is not the only MAKE OR MISS league

Effective field goal percentage corrects for three-point shot attempts. If you make a high percentage of threes, you have a higher EFG%. 

This extends Dean Oliver's concept (Basketball on Paper) about the value of winning the field goal percentage battle. It's the corollary of Papa John's, Better Ingredients, Better Basketball

EFG% captures most of the best teams in the NBA. 

EFG% also informs many of the NCAA Men's basketball bluebloods. By comparison, the UCONN women have an EFG% of 59.6% , the Baylor Bears are 54.5%, Notre Dame is 54.3, and Mississippi State is 52.8%. 

Statistics further breakdown by type of play. For example, Portland has scored the most points via pick-and-roll offense (above). Teams analyze how they are scoring most efficiently and where they struggle offensively and defensively.  

For example, Denver leads the league defensively in allowing fewest points on points per possession against the cut. 

The Celtics don't appear among the team EFG% leaders, but they are the leader in opponents' EFG% (above). The Eastern Conference leading Raptors appear high on both lists as do the NBA title defending Warriors. 

The Celtics also lead the league in lowest 3-point percentage allowed. 

NBA analytics staff breaks down scoring (and defensive efficiency) in numerous ways, varying from 3-point percentage, EFG%, transition points, points in the paint, scoring versus pick-and-roll, via cutting, etc. 

On an individual basis it identifies big men who shoot high percentages near the basket and other players who score efficiently inside or out. The less familiar names within the group probably deserve more attention. 

For our (younger) players, EFG% still matters, but they derive higher EFG% by improving shot quality, shooting ability, and passing to create easier shots

Defensively, our goal is lowering the opposition EFG%. At higher levels of basketball, reducing three-point shooting percentage is key while at lower levels, challenging shots, "rim protection", and reducing putbacks and transition baskets are critical. 

Educate players SPECIFICALLY about EFG% and the means to increase it offensively and decrease it defensively. It's the first driver of success. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Building Your Basketball Offense: Time, Space, Movement

Our offseason program prioritizes fundamental skill development, education of core offensive and defensive concepts, and combining the two. Better players understand offense; experience translates to better defensive recognition. 

What actions belong in our offense and how can we best teach and implement them? We want players mentally and physically prepared for high school basketball. They shouldn't encounter anything they haven't seen before. 

How do you expect to score? The UCONN women plan to score a third in transition, a third on sets, and a third on threes. 

Execution means commitment to understanding space, time, and movement. Every team must decide how much to emphasize transition. For middle schoolers, we teach execution of major concepts. That includes reading individual and team defense. 

1. Pick-and-roll/ball screens with major variations. 
Ballhandlers drive or shoot; screeners roll, pop, and slip.  

2. Reading and executing off-ball screens.
Curl, back cut, bump and using back/cross/diagonal/flare/scissors/elevator screens.

3. Screen-the-screener. 
E.g. special situations, Flex, and Spain pick-and-roll. 

4. Spread offense core actions.
Dribble attack, give-and-go, dribble at back cut, pass and screen away.

5. Advanced cuts.
UCLA, Zipper, Shuffle, Flex, Iverson. 

6. Dribble handoff and combinations. 

7. Staggered, sequential, and double screens. 

8. Isolation. Do you have the one-on-one players to isolate? 

9. Motion. Do you want to develop a continuity motion, teach freelance motion, or inform players via small sided group play? 

Sets offer flexibility to create multiple options...

This US Women's National Team starts with high post entry and possible back cut (3).
3 then gets a staggered screen which can create a three-point shot. 
It continues into pick-and-roll. "Great offense is multiple actions." 

The Spurs combine an Iverson cut with a diagonal screen from the clearing wing. 

As players learn offensive concepts, they increase the chance to create separation and finish.  

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Site Specific Basketball Shooting Workout

"What does my team need now?" It's the offseason and mature players ask, "how can I improve?; how can I contribute more to the team?" 

Elite players have at least two of three dimensions - elite size, elite athleticism, and elite skill. And the perishable skill that's highly trainable is shooting. "My team shoots well enough," said no coach ever. You can't progress while not touching a ball between March and October. 

Create an offseason menu of shooting drills for our players. It's on them to do the work (once the snow melts here). I advocate for taking three free throws at a time in-between other shooting. 

Larry Bird shot 500 free throws daily before school. Kobe Bryant shot 1000 shots a day for 100 days in the offseason. That's why they're Hall of Famers. "Repetitions make reputations." I've never met a player who loved to play and didn't want to shoot. 

Work inside to outside. Practice is always better with a rebounder/partner. Plus you build lifelong relationships with your teammate. Are you in the Urban Meyer top 10%? Then drag someone along from the middle 80% into the top 10%. 

At the rim. Warmup underneath Mikan and Reverse Mikan Drills (make 5-10 in a row each side)
Flips (form shooting)

Blocks. “Bradleys” ( hop hop shoot...balance and high release; both blocks off the glass)

Blocks. (McHale Move - up and under, 10 each side)
Free throws (3)

Both short corners (Sikma Move 5 each side...pivot and shoot or pivot into drive...above)
Free throws (3)

Two dribble maximum each side, layups from 3 point line (10 must include hesitation, crossover, or combination)
Free throws (3)

Wings. Two footed finishes after one dribble attack (10)
Free throws (3)

Elbows. Box drills layups (one dribble reverse layups finish each hand both sides 5 each hand = 20 total)
Free throws (3) after each 10

Elbows (one dribble scoring...drop step, upfake, rip through)
Free throws (3) after each set

Elbows. Elbow to elbow catch and shoot. (alternating spots - 5 each side). Serious players have to want and expect to make 8/10. 

Free throws (3)

Short wing backboard shooting (alternating 5 each side)
Free throws (3)

Multiple spots. Star drill above (off the catch, off one dribble right and left)
Free throws (3)

Multiple spots. Beat the Pro (Game to 11...60 second time limit per round). You have to make 11 and miss no more than 3 to "beat the pro" (as a kid, we called this Bill Bradley)
Free throws (3)

Multiple spots. Celtics 32 (5 radians, two free throws) or Menzies 3-2-1 (below)

If you're a small guard, spend less time on post moves and more time on perimeter separate-and-finish moves. Maybe you work in some floaters. 

"Do more to become more; become more to do more." 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fast Five: Geno Auriemma Messaging, Practice, and The Show

Coaching shows are platforms; coaches share ideas and send messages. Coach Auriemma shoots straight at current and future Huskies. 

Coach Auriemma remarked, "if you see me at a game (recruiting) and the average person doesn't know who's going to Connecticut in thirty seconds, that's a problem." 

Great players dominate at lower levels. It's not magic; it's obvious. It's literally child's play. 

To Coach Auriemma, "What has been the biggest takeaway (of coaches) watching your practice?" Coaches discuss the pace, intensity, and sustained accountability. These lessons transfer. When watching the women practice, I noted the tempo of practice, no wasted time. Second, it was the consistency of execution, regardless of the drill or scrimmage against the men. Third, UCONN tracked everything- consecutive scoring in drills, free throw percentage (92% that day), points scored per time allocated to a drill. 

After completing stretching before practice, the players completed two laps around the court. Nobody cut a single corner of the court. Champions don't cut corners

Auriemma likens basketball to a jazz band, where individual excellence blends into collaborative excellence, yet "always coming back to the team." 

Like Bill Belichick, he doesn't think he owes you anything. You're at UCONN to compete; he doesn't dance for you. You're dancing in March for yourselves. If you don't want to compete 24/7/365, don't bother going to Storrs. It won't work out. 

The Show never stops. 

Leveraging The Compound Effect, Basketball, and Lagniappe

Darren Hardy wrote The Compound Effect. James Clear summarizes

Overarching themes include the power of incremental gains, the value of persistence, and the need to track progress to achieve your goals. How do we spend our time? How do we spend our money? How much investment do we make in ourselves? 

Quotes and basketball relevance

"Success is doing a half dozen things really well, repeated five thousand times." Do well what you do a lot. Identify what you want to do exceptionally well and focus on excellence in those areas. 

"Knowledge uninvested is wasted." Apply what you know. The RULE OF 2's means that it takes two minutes to study a new skill, two weeks of steady practice to incorporate it, and two months of work before you apply it successfully. 

Link to "Box Drills". Courtesy Herb on Hoops Facebook group. 

"Gratitude is acknowledging there are people in your life who have done things for you that you couldn't do for yourself." Our job as coaches is to help take you where you cannot go by yourselves. Our satisfaction comes from seeing your improvement as a team and individually. 

"All winners are trackers. You cannot improve something until you measure it." SMART actions matter. Specific-measurable-attainable-realistic-timely. Track your time reading, training, free throws made and taken (percentage), your consecutive shots made, your scores in drills like Pitino 168 and "251". 

"The key to success is this: are you learning each day?" Warren Buffett asks, "Do you go to bed smarter than when you woke up?" We cannot accomplish this solely by speaking, but by listening, observing, doing, and reading. 

Bill Parcells remarked, "Confidence comes from proven success." No sixteen seed had ever beaten a top seed in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. That record now stands at 1-135 after the UMBC Retrievers hammered Virginia last night. 


Lunges from Alan Stein. Options include varying the pivot foot, using weighted balls, or weights.