The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches….And People, Too

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Coaches….And People, Too

When Dr. Stephen Covey published The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989, it had a tremendous impact on people across the world, including coaches looking to increase their effectiveness and impact.  I personally was so moved by the material that I spent 3 years working for Dr. Covey’s company as they were providing 7 Habits content to school systems across the country.

It has been years since I read the book, as well as Dr. Covey’s books after publishing 7 Habits. So I decided to go back recently and review the principles from 7 Habits and how they apply to coaching. 

So what are the 7 Habits and why should I be interested in them?

Well, I would say that if there is any area of your life that you are looking to perform better at, the 7 Habits can help you.

Let’s start with Habits 1, 2, and 3.  The first three habits are designed to help people move from a state of dependence to independence.  Dr. Covey stated this by saying “Private victory precedes public victory” so there are steps to take first.

 Habit 1. Be Proactive.

Rather than explain what it means to be proactive, let me ask you a question.  Do you make choices based upon /values/principles or upon your mood, feelings, or circumstances?  Are you teaching your players the importance of making good choices?

 Dr. Covey explained being proactive with his famous quote, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.” One of the best visual illustrations of this was in a workshop I attended where the presenter used a bottle of Coke (reactive person) and a bottle of water (proactive person) to represent how we respond. 

If we want to make this easier, we can put it this way.  Think before you act vs. act before you think.

Habit 2.  Begin With The End in Mind

Again, let me ask a question.  Do your actions for your team and your own individual life flow from a meaningful mission statement?  We know that businesses and organizations use vision statements to clarify what is important to them and why they exists (besides making a profit or winning).  What about you and your team?

Here is a basic understanding of Habit 2, directly from the Franklin Covey website:  “Habit 2 is based on imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint. If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.”

As you consider putting together a mission or values statement, keep in mind that your statement should inspire you, tell what you are about, what you value, and what you stand for.

Habit 3.  Put First Things First

This habit simply comes down to this question. “Are you able to say no to the unimportant, no matter how urgent, and yes to the important?” 

We know that planning is important as a coach when we sit down and prepare for the season or a game.  With all the demands on our time and energy, we have to make good choices where we focus, especially with social media and other activities that can us off track.

Dr. Covey developed this framework to help individuals  identify where they allocate their time.

Habit 3 is basically about focusing on relationships, not schedules or tasks.  It’s easy to get caught in Q3/Q4 activities on a daily basis and takes you off track from what you have identified as important.  You will have temporary imbalances, so don’t be too hard on yourself when those occur.

For me, I have broken my planning process down to two things.

 What roles do I have?

What is the most important thing I can do this week/today in my role as ________?

Habit 4.  Think Win-Win. 

 It may be the most misunderstood habit and has become somewhat of a cliche.  Habit 4 focuses on how we can create mutually beneficial decisions and having the courage to walk away from situations where a win-win deal is not possible.  Habit 4 also centers around having an Abundance Mentality vs. a Scarcity Mentality.  

Writer Dean Yeong puts it this way:  Win/WIn is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win/Win sees life as a cooperative, not a competitive arena

Since coaching and athletics is world of competitiveness, can you still create win-win agreements with others?

Habit 5.  Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.  

This habit is focused on two things: The ability to listen with empathy and the ability to make your expectations clear.  Look at the order here. Before we can express our expectations, we must listen first.  

Dr. Covey introduces the concept of the Emotional Bank Account in this habit.  Very simply, its about making deposits into others rather than withdrawals that leave others feeling empty and unappreciated.

This is a challenge for everyone, including myself, especially during the season.  

Habit 6. Synergize.  

Synergize is basically the idea of creative cooperation and the ability to build better outcomes with others called the Third Alternative.  It focuses on valuing others perceptions of reality.  

Again, another habit that is easy to talk about but difficult to implement.  What areas in your program have you had a challenge with Habit 6?

Habit 7.  Sharpen the Saw.  

This is the habit of constant renewal in 4 key dimensions: Spiritual, Physical, Mental, and Social/Emotional.  The concept of continuous learning and improvement fit nicely into Habit 7. 

How are you staying sharp and renewing yourself in these areas?  Are you out of balance?

Three Skills Every Guard Needs

Three Skills Every Guard Needs

When I say “guard” that includes the point guard, shooting guard and with the way

today’s game is going the small forward as well. Look at some of your favorite

players at the small forward position such as Kevin Durant, Paul George and Lebron

James. Each of these guys are at least 6’8 but have the same skill set as the guys who

are 6’2. The game has changed. Coaches want nearly every player on the court to be

equipped with these three skills, therefore if you play positions 1-3, this article is for


The three skills that are the most valuable to any perimeter player are ball handling,

shooting and defense. Many will argue maybe its passing or slashing or some other

popular skill that most perimeter guards have. What they fail to realize is these are

the skills that will get you on the court and if you can specialize in them it may even

earn you a paycheck one day.

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Drills to Improve Rebounding

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Drills to Improve Rebounding

Learn to be a better rebounder with these proven exercises and methods for basketball players

Tips for Running and Handling the Ball in Transition

Tips for Running and Handling the Ball in Transition

A large part of the game of basketball is understanding the surrounding circumstances. With this comes a time and place where pushing it in transition makes sense. However, there will be other times where it makes more sense to slow it down and set up an offense. Some teams favor getting up-and-down to score in transition, while others take a more methodical approach. This article will take a look at the both methods that strive to effectively and efficiently score the ball in transition.


Before I get deeper into specific drills to improve your own abilities in handling and moving the ball up-court in transition, I thought it would be best to provide you with details on why and when it works. First off, it can easily produce some quick points. If the defense doesn’t get back right away, lay-up opportunities will be available. This leads me to the next advantage, which is the fact that it pressures the opposition to get back quickly. As a result, you may see more rushed shot attempts or less aggression in attacking the offensive glass: both positives for the team choosing to get out fast in transition. Lastly, it allows for more players to see court time. Due to the up-tempo nature it creates, coaches are forced to sub players in-and-out more frequently. This creates a more unifying culture and prevents any egos from forming in the locker room.

Get It to the Guards!

The most important tip for running the ball in transition is to get the ball in the hands of a guard immediately. Upon getting the defensive rebound, all forwards and centers should look to a guard as the primary ball handler. In order to so, a guard needs to hang back to provide a receiving option for the forward to pass to. It’s also important to point out that you can still run a transition offense even off a made basket. In order to implement this, coaches should designate one player to be the full-time in-bounds passer. This will speed up the overall process and ensure there are no situations where no one is there to throw in.

Ultimately, all young players must understand that if they’re a forward or center, the first order of business should be to get the ball in the hands of a guard.

Guards train to develop their ball skills to handle the rock in tight situations. For young guards, I recommend continuously working on these abilities. This video from CoachTube provides a number of incredibly helpful tutorials to learning new moves.

Practice these and make them seem second-nature!

Stay Under Control!

When younger players hear the coach talk about implementing an up-tempo, transition offensive strategy, it can be exciting. After all, you’ll get the opportunity to push it every time and likely get a few easy lay-up chances every game. However, the key is to stay under control and know when to push it. You won’t be able to play the transition game after every missed shot.

Additionally, the opposition might focus more on getting back if they get burned by the transition a couple times. With this said, if you’re the guard, you need to pick and choose times to speed it up. At the same time, when you are handling the ball in transition, keep your head up. It’s vital to constantly be gauging the surrounding circumstances and looking for passing lanes.

Also, never force it into the paint if the defense is already set up. Sometimes this will result in a pair of free throws, but more often than not it will be a charge or a careless turnover.

Know Your Lanes

I’ve already started to delve into some of the basics of playing in transition, which has included getting the ball in the hands of the guard and staying under control. The next element is for the other players to know their roles. Typically, coaches preach for the point guard to receive the outlet pass from the rebounder in the middle of the court. At this time, the other guard and small forward should be racing up the sidelines. The power forward will follow slightly behind the point guard to present yet another opportunity. Lastly, the rebounder (the center in this case, but could also very well be the power forward) will serve as the trail man. The center’s roll is to present a backup option, possibly as a pull-up three, or the emergency defense in case the transition chance goes awry. Each of the particular lanes may change based on where the players are at the time of the rebound, but the key is to fill each of those lanes. This gives the point guard the most room and options to work with.

2-on-1 and 3-on-2

A couple of the more common fast break/transition opportunities that there will be are the 2-on-1 and 3-on-2. Many coaches practice each of these a decent amount in practice, as there easy to train with and are perfect game-type situations. In this section, I’ll provide a few helpful hints that I’ve taken away from my playing and scouting experience.


On the 2-on-1 break, I believe it is most effective for the ball handler to take a shoot first mentality. As he or she is racing up the court, they should utilize their peripheral vision to see where and who their teammate is and where the opposition is. The reason why I say “who” is because certain players like bigs may be more adept at catching a lob rather than a pass where they have to put a dribble down. With this shoot first mentality, attack until the defender makes a decision and picks one of the two offensive players.


With the 3-on-2, you have to remember to keep the ball in the middle of the court. Otherwise, it becomes much easier for the defense to prevent all passing lanes. Most of the time, with these situations, I like the point guard to stop around the free throw line and make the open pass. One of the defenders will likely pick up the ball handler, while the other will choose one of the two wings. In the times where the defenders pick up both wings, go straight to the hole and either finish with a layup or a floater. At all costs, avoid overpassing, which can easily end in a turnover and missed opportunity.

Game Experience

In the end, the best way to become a more effective player in running and handling the rock in transition is to do it in actual games. Doing so will increase your confidence that you can consistently make the right reads and get the easy bucket. You’ll become more comfortable reading defenses and knowing when to push it and when to slow it down to run the offense. Transition offense can be very exciting, but while any play can look like a potential transition opportunity, not every chance is going to work out!

The Art of the Outlet Pass

The Art of the Outlet Pass

The Art of The Outlet Pass

You’ve seen the best players in the NBA make some of their most exciting plays on

the fast break. Whether it’s Kevin Love to Lebron, Durant to Westbrook, or Steph

Curry pulling up from three with a few defenders back, they’re always set up to

make the best play possible in transition.

Sometimes, what sets these star players up for easy baskets is a crafty, perfectly

timed pass from a teammate who’s aware of his other teammates’ position. I’m

talking about the outlet pass; whether it’s that heave up-court or the series of passes

that leads to the basket, the best way to advance the ball off a miss has always been

the outlet pass.

If you want to be the player responsible for a flashy play and want to know how to

find your teammate for the outlet, make sure you work these little details into your

game with your teammates:

How To Play Off-The-Ball At A Young Age

How To Play Off-The-Ball At A Young Age

Everyone wants to be the guy with the ball in the closing seconds.

However, after watching many great teams, I’ve realized that too many

of these “players” can have a significant negative impact for the team

overall. With this understanding, it’s not difficult to conclude that young

players need to develop the ability to play basketball without the ball in

their hands. There are so many situations throughout each game where

this comes into play.

Always Ready

MMA athlete and current UFC star Conor McGregor once said, “I stay

ready so I don’t have to get ready.” Although MMA is much different

than basketball, this concept of always being ready doesn’t change. Both

sports require you to make decisions quickly. This idea relates perfectly

to being a better off the ball player. Even when you don’t have the ball in

your hands, you need to constantly be moving and working. When

players start standing around, the offense quickly becomes stagnant.

Unfortunately, this happens far too often at the youth level. Young

players don’t see a need to move around if they don’t possess the

basketball. Whether you’re an outside shooter, a rebounder or a mid-

range player, keep working and stay ready!

Wings/Guards: Roll Off Screens

When I make the claim that players need to play better off-the-ball, this

statement has different implications for various types of players. I’ll

start off with wings and guards. One of the best actions they can do is

run off screens. In doing so, make sure you run off the screen so there is

no space between yourself and the screener. This will ensure you create

enough space from the defender. Then immediately after running off the

screen, get your head up and create an open passing option for the ball

handler. As I mentioned earlier, stay ready!

A second piece of advice is to cut at different speeds. You don’t want to

create an environment where your defender knows where and how

you’ll cut. This is easy to defend against! Always try faking them out by

taking a step one way before sprinting off a screen. In the end, from each

of these recommendations, the central interlocking element is this idea

that you must be constantly be moving.

Keep in mind that after you receive the pass, you’ll need to be thinking

about getting a shot off if you manage to get open. This video from

former NBA assistant coach, Hal Wissel teaches the basics on shooting

off the catch.

Bigs: Set Screens

Due to the nature of the position, bigs are often asked to set screens for

the wings and guards. Often times, it will result in opportunities for the

cutters and not the screener. All of this goes back to the concept of doing

actions for the greater good of the team. In the terms of the actual

screening process, make sure you stand firm and avoid falling victim to

a moving screen turnover. This will quickly draw the ire of your coach!

Sometimes, the screening process will result in chances for the actual

screener. In these, you may set a screen and then roll. Think of a pick-

and-roll offense here. In order to be effective with this, bigs need to

work on catching the ball, putting a dribble or two down and shooting

the ball. Conversely, it can be useful to take a step back to the three-

point line before executing a catch-and-shoot situation. Again, as was

the case with the wings, you need to always be on the move and ready

to make a play.

Frequent Cuts

As I alluded to earlier, one of the biggest downfall for teams can be too

much stagnation. Players are just standing around and the ball handler

doesn’t have any open passing lanes to find a teammate. Frequent cuts

can eliminate this detriment. When cutting, keep in mind that the ball

handler might not always see you when you get open. Don’t let this get

in your head and affect your game, just keep working and fighting out

there. This is particularly important at the youth level. Young players

might start to get frustrated when the point guard fails to see them

when they’re wide open. Rather than letting this frustration boil, go and

tell your point guard where to look, in what might be a soft spot in the


Better Chemistry Amongst Teammates

Teams filled with players willing to play off-the-ball often possess great

chemistry in the locker room. Even at the youth level, every team will

probably have one or two players that are slightly more talented than

the rest. However, not everyone will possess the skills to handle the ball

a lot and distribute it amongst their teammates. This is why I sort-of

consider great off-the-ball players to be terrific role players. They

understand their role and are always willing to do whatever it takes to

come out of a game with a win. Although, some great off-the-ball players

are truly stars (think of Rip Hamilton, who will be discussed later), you

need everyone on the court to be willing to be a great off-the-ball player.

When players are playing for the greater good of the team, they start to

enjoy playing with each other since there is a greater sense of equality

amongst their teammates.

Rip Hamilton Example

In all my years watching nearly every level of basketball, one player I’ve

always loved evaluating is Richard “Rip” Hamilton. The former Detroit

Piston NBA Champion was a dynamite scorer, amassing a 17.1 scoring

average over his 14-year NBA career. A lot of these points came from

the topics I’ve discussed above. When playing with the Pistons, he had a

point guard in Chauncey Billups who had great vision of the court.

Hamilton was always rolling off screens and creating passing

opportunities for Billups. Upon receiving the pass, Hamilton wouldn’t

hesitate to pull up mid-range for the jumper. You’ll likely never find a

better mid-range shooter than Rip.

Keep Moving!

Playing off the ball ultimately boils down to always being on the move.

Defenses are going to look to get in a rhythm to where they are always

in the right place. Conversely, offenses want to disrupt this and keep

them thinking. Whether you’re a forward, center or guard, there is

always something to be doing. For young players, acquiring this skill

and knowledge can pay serious dividends as you progress in your

basketball career.

Other recommended offensive courses:

Fundamentals & Finishing by Dave Severns

Great Pick & Roll Plays with Lason Perkins

Guard/Wing Workout featuring Coach Rob Moxley

4 Tricky Basketball Moves That

4 Tricky Basketball Moves That'll Keep You On Your Toes

If you’re a basketball player in this day and age, you know how crafty and flashy the game has become, and the value put on players who can outsmart their opponents in a tricky manner.

There are tons of ways to get the ball into the basket. There are just as many ways to stop it from going in as well. Then there’s just ways to simply just aggravate and embarrass your opponent. 

You’re going to go against players that will challenge you in that sense. Mentally, they will try to stifle you with an arsenal of moves that you may not be expecting. Here are some tricky moves to look out for (and maybe even add to your own game).

Communication Between Coaches and Players

Communication Between Coaches and Players

The coach and player dynamic is something that is always going to be a part of sports. Both parties have designated responsibilities that they must do to have success. The coach has a couple of responsibilities. One is to continue to learn and grow, and the second is to use that knowledge to prepare their players and to give them the best possibility of winning. The player's job is to execute the game plan and compete as hard as they can. Obviously, this is the ideal situation between player and coach, but how do you get to this? 

A big part of the process is communication. If the coach does not communicate with the players the game plan or isn’t consistently being involved with players on a daily basis, there is no way that the players are going to be at their best. Here are three ways that coaches and players should open up lines of communication between each other.

Team Group Communication

There are only so many minutes, and if the coach has to explain or go over a team strategy multiple times, it just wastes time. Make sure that when you are talking all eyes and ears are on you. Whether it takes running or some other form of consequence, you need to establish the importance of listening when you or another coach is talking. Also, explain to the players that if they are not listening and paying attention in practice, then you will not be able to trust them to pay attention and do what you say at the end of a close game. If they know that listening directly correlates with their playing time, they will listen. 

Coach to Player Communication

Not everything can be addressed in a group setting, and it would be wise to develop an individual line of communication with each of your players. Whether it is having each player stop by your office once every couple of days, or just talking to them for a few minutes before or after practice, the one on one time is important. It shows that you value them individually, and also it allows you to be able to reiterate in more detail what that player individually needs to do for the team to have success. This will really help to prevent the “well I thought you wanted me to do this...” line later on down the road, and could save you in a close game. 

Player to Coach Communication 

You need to be a coach that is willing to listen to their player's questions. Don’t be a coach that the players are too scared to ask questions too. If you don’t have the time, then direct the players to an assistant coach that they can ask the question to, but being able to ask questions clears up a lot of miscommunication between the coach and player. It isn’t always that the player wasn’t listening or paying attention, it may just be that they misunderstood what they were supposed to do. Asking questions will help get and keep everyone on the same page. 


Communication is vitally necessary if you want to do something special with your team, and the only way to build real relationships with your players is to get to know them, which requires communicating. Take the time to develop those strong lines of communication between you and your players and it will pay off for you on the court and lead to a much more fulfilling coaching career.



Basketball season just ended, but for those of us who love the game, there is always more to learn, more to discuss, and more to talk about no matter what time of year it is. A great place for discussion and education is Twitter.

So here (in no particular order) are 56 of the best basketball coaches and trainers to follow on Twitter:

1. Brian Williams – @BrianWWilliams

Brian Williams is an author and basketball coaching blogger at who is constantly sharing all kinds of coaching resources on his Twitter account.

Drills To Improve Speed And Endurance With And Without The Basketball

Drills To Improve Speed And Endurance With And Without The Basketball

As a growing basketball player, you will notice as you transition to higher levels that players become faster and are able to play for much longer amounts of time. Some players are gifted with the natural ability to grow and develop their athleticism as they age, but for others, rigorous conditioning is required to adjust.

There are many ways to increase your speed, and the most elementary way is to simply run. Conditioning for basketball requires game-like situation running, which includes full court sprints, suicides and line-touches, and sliding and back-pedaling.

Here are some drills to help you develop your speed and conditioning, both with and without a basketball, to ensure you have the best tools to out-run and out-perform your opponent.

Full Court Layup Drill

The full court layup drill is a great way to practice speed and endurance with the basketball, whether you have a passer with you or you’re dribbling the ball up and down the court grabbing your own rebound. Focus on pushing the ball ahead of you so that you’re running to catch up with the ball instead of dribbling the ball to match your normal running speed. Keep your eyes up-court, going as fast as you possibly can to get up the court with as few dribbles as possible. Maintain control and explode to the basket for your layup, and repeat to build endurance.

30-second Line Touch Drill

The thirty-second line touch drill helps maintain speed and endurance without the basketball and develops agility in changing direction. The goal of the drill is to touch each baseline three times (a total of six touches) in thirty seconds or less.

What makes this drill unique is the pressure of finishing under the thirty-second time limit while covering the length of the basketball court to simulate the intense running of an actual game. Focus on going as fast as you can for the thirty seconds of the drill, touching each line, and work on consistently finishing in thirty seconds, allowing yourself thirty seconds of rest between each run for proper interval training.

60-second Line Touch Drill

Like the thirty-second drill, this drill continually improves speed and physical condition by challenging you to complete 10 line touches in one minute or less. After successfully completing a thirty second drill, the best way to challenge yourself is with the one-minute drill.

The focus is the same; keep your speed and change of direction at a high level and make sure to finish the drill at your quickest pace on the court, but it will certainly help you become a quicker, more agile player.

Suicides involve running from the baseline to the foul line, retreating to the baseline, running to the half-court line, retreating to baseline, running to the far foul line and retreating again before running a full court sprint down and back on the court.

The goal is to finish as fast as possible—if you’re a beginner, shoot for 35 seconds or under—and work on quickness and change of direction. The amount of agility it requires makes it different from thirty and sixty second drills, and will help you become faster on the court.

Practicing these drills will make you a better basketball player and will give you and edge on your opponent as you become accustomed to the change of pace at higher levels of basketball. Challenge yourself to beat new times and practice new forms of interval training to not only develop your physical potential but see just how far your mind can take you.

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Methods to Improve Rebounding

5 Strength Training & Plyometric Methods to Improve Rebounding

You may think rebounding is based off of athleticism or height, but this belief is false. Rebounding is a developed skill that anyone can acquire through proper training – specifically, strength and plyometric training. Since rebounding has many components to it, there are many drills you can do in order to improve your rebounding ability. This article will highlight what I believe to be the best training methods for turning any athlete into a strong rebounder.

#1: Squats

This is essential for athletes to work out their entire lower body. Squats are great for increasing muscle endurance and strength. The endurance will allow basketball players to jump higher, run faster and run longer. Leg strength contributes to staying low and boxing out your opponent. When you are able to hold your man and push them back, you will give yourself a better chance of grabbing the rebound. Almost everyone is familiar with the squat technique; start with your feet hips width apart and back straight. Push hips back with weight on heels until your knees are parallel to the floor. Use your leg muscles to push back up. In order to keep your body guessing, it is good to perform different squat techniques. Here are some variations of the squat.

-       Body weight squat - Squat at high repetitions with your body weight. This method will increase muscle endurance while weighted squats will increase muscle strength.

-       Back squat – Squat with the barbell rested behind your head on your shoulders and neck.

-       Front squat –Squat with the barbell in front of your body with elbows parallel to the ground.

-       Goblet squat – Squat with a dumbbell or weight plate held between your legs. Lower until the weight touches the ground and come back up.

-       Overhead squat – Hold the barbell with a grip that is much wider then shoulder width. With arms fully extended overhead, perform squat. Note: this is one of the hardest squats because it requires good balance from the core and shoulders.

#2: Pull-ups

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises basketball players can do. They are especially useful for rebound improvement since the pulling motion is similar to the motion of pulling down a rebound. Pull-ups strengthen the back and arm muscles used when ripping down a rebound so you are more powerful during a basketball game. You can find a pull up bar at any gym, buy one for your home, or improvise with anything that will allow you to safely pull yourself up. Grab the bar with hands facing away from your face (or you can do chin ups when the hands face towards you). Using your back muscles, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar; lower yourself until arms are straight. Aim for at least three sets for 8-12 reps. If you are experienced with pull-ups, try wearing a weighted vest or attached a weight plate between your legs. If you cannot complete pull-ups on your own, get a partner to help support you or use the assisted pull-up machine at your gym.

#3: Plyometrics

Vital for increasing timing and muscle reaction, plyometrics train your muscles to contact quicker and more explosively when jumping for a rebound. This explosiveness will also help you beat your opponents to the ball. Furthermore, plyometrics can increase your vertical jump, which is a huge component for becoming a better rebounder. Here are a few simple plyometric drills you can do pretty much anywhere.

-       Squat jumps – Wearing a weighted vest, lower into a squat position and explode off the ground. Imagine yourself jumping higher each time in order to grab a rebound. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Box jumps – Stand about 1-2 feet away from a sturdy box at an appropriate height for your abilities. Standing still, lower into a position similar to squat and jump up and forward onto the box. When landing, make sure you land gently on the balls of your feet so that less pressure is put on your knees. Again, wear a weighted vest to make this more challenging. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Broad jumps – Start with feet hip distance apart and lower down to get more power. Jump as far forward as you can. Land softly and repeat this action as quick as you can. Limiting time on the ground trains your muscles to contract quicker. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

#4: Weighted jumps

Weighted jumps are a sub category of plyometics because they train your muscle fibers to react more quickly. These exercises are ideal for basketball players specifically to increase vertical jump.

-       Weight plate jumps- Hold a 5-10 pound plate over your head and try to touch the backboard. Complete this for 12-15 reps and go to the other side of the basket. Once you have completed two sets with weight, take a ball and repeat the drill. You will find it much easier to touch the backboard since the ball is significantly lighter than the weight.

-       Weighted vest jumps - Stand at the foul line and throw or bounce the ball at the backboard. Wearing a weighted vest, jump as high as you can and reach the ball at its peak. Finish the lay-up or throw an outlet pass; complete 5 sets of 5 reps.

-       Weight put backs- Stand in the center of the key about two feet in front of the basket. With arms extended holding a 5-10 pound plate overhead, jump straight up. Next, pivot towards the basketball and jump again as to finish the put back lay-up. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

#5: Core

Your core is where all of your strength and power come from. The stronger your core, the stronger and more efficient your other muscles will become. If your core is weak, your other muscles will not be able to perform as efficiently. Therefore, a strong core is necessary to complement the exercises mentioned above.  A strong core is also crucial for boxing out and moving your opponent. Most people think core is purely abdominals. However, training your core involves strengthening your back and shoulders as well. Do this routine 3-4 times a week and you will have a stronger core in no time.

·      25 push-ups

·      1 minute plank

·      1 minute wall sit

Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. Also, you can add in any abdominal drills you like to supplement these exercises.

For more rebounding drills and exercises, check out this course by Michigan State’s Tom Izzo on CoachTube.

Text from Parent to Coach

Text from Parent to Coach

If you had to guess, who do you think gets on the coaches’ nerves the most? The referee? Nope. The opposing fans? Not even close. The answer is his own team’s parents. Shocking I know, but not if you pull back the curtains and see what a coach has to deal with before and after games just to make them happy. You would think the parents wanted to play more than the kids!

A quick google search will give you a ton of stories on how youth parents were able to get a coach fired for simply being unhappy with them. I’m not saying there aren’t some bad coaches that don’t deserve to ever coach another game in their lifetime. Of course, there are. But for every one of those, there are 10 other good coaches that simply want the best for their team.

Modern society rewards every kid for participating instead of winning. That’s not why we play sports. We don’t play to participate; we play to win. Let me say that again for the parents who didn’t hear me. WE PLAY TO WIN!

That means if the game is close, sometimes your child might not play. The best players on the team will need to bring it home. However, it does not mean your child should let their head hang low and feel bad for themselves. Instead, they should use it as motivation to work harder, and be better next year so they will be called upon during those crunch time situations.

Isn’t that what we are preparing our kids for by playing sports? To never quit, be resilient, have toughness, improve every year and eventually succeed. These are the characteristics we are supposed to be instilling in our children through youth sports. So do me a favor, before reaching out to your child’s coach and asking them why your kid isn’t playing, ask yourself these three questions:

- Is my child better than the kid playing front of them?

- Is my child working as hard as the kids playing in front of them?

- Can my child learn from this adversity and prove them wrong next practice, game and/or season?

If they aren’t better or they don’t work as hard then obviously you aren’t thinking logically. But, if they are better and do work hard, then maybe this is a learning lesson for them. Tell your child what the great Steve Martin told the rest of us, “Be so great they can’t ignore you.”

That’s it!

Work so hard, be so determined and so good they HAVE to play you. Trust me, parents, the good coaches will see it and the bad ones won’t last long enough to make a difference.



  • By Alex
  • 2016-01-21

One of the best parts about professional sports is that the camera is almost always on the players. That means that when something funny happens, it’s easy for it to become immortalized into a legendary animated GIF. We spent time scouring the Internet and found these great 13 funny basketball GIFs.

1. Raptor

This hilarious GIF is somewhat representative of this franchises history…

Game Day Guide: How to Prepare for a Basketball Game

Game Day Guide: How to Prepare for a Basketball Game

“The key is not the ‘will to win’—everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” This quote comes from legendary college basketball coach Bob Knight. Over the course of a career largely with Indiana and Texas Tech, Knight amassed 902 victories and proved to be a unique breed in coaching circles. However, I believe it is this quote from Knight that shows preparation is just as vital as the actual game. This is a factor that separates the good from the great.

Practice like a Game

Everyone goes to practice. Even on bad teams, the players are still going to show up for practices. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even be on the squad. With this said, the difference between success and failure is how you practice, not if you practice. It’s easy to show up and just go through the motions. After all, what does it really matter if you out hustle others in practice, but still struggle in games. The only answer I have to these skeptics: what does it hurt to practice at game speed. This is the only way to enhance your game and translate this playing style directly to a game. In addition to this, it’s a way to impress the coaches. If you’re at the junior high or high school level, you may be wanting to gain some more minutes. What better way to do this than at practice where the coaches are carefully watching you? Likewise, if you’re at the youth level and are tired of being stuck at forward when you want to play guard, then make the coaches change their thinking. Prove to them that you can!

Pre-Game Meal

When I ran cross country, my coach would always stress eating healthy. If you want to compete to the fullest of your abilities, then you must avoid falling victim to a poor pre-game meal. Even though cross country is a much different sport than basketball, the same logic holds true. As you lead up to the game (and really every day during the week), I recommend making sure you drink plenty of water and eat a meal that contains a significant amount of carbohydrates. For an example of this, I recommend spaghetti. I always have and continue to use this as a go-to meal leading up to any races I run.

Rest, Rest, Rest!

Just as eating right is important before your basketball game, it is also vital to get plenty of rest. I understand you might be nervous the night before, particularly if it is a big game or even your first game, but try to get at least eight hours of sleep. This is needed to compete at peak condition.

Mental Preparation

The last two items I discussed largely had physical connections. Now, I will discuss the mental side of hoops. With any sport, I urge young players to understand the importance of this and to not ignore it. Hall of Famer Bill Russell once said, “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.” When it comes to basketball, anything that comes from the great Bill Russell should be taken to heart. With mental preparation, there are a few things I think are vital:

Envision Success

If you’re constantly thinking you’re going to fail, then chances are you’ll fail. However, if you picture yourself in your mind succeeding on the court, then your odds of success rise. In basketball, it is important to see the ball going through the net. Even if you’ve had a few rough games, start believing you can succeed. This idea of mental picturing can be useful in any sport, not just basketball.

Don’t Overthink It!

On the night before your game, don’t spend tons of time stewing over the game. It is fine to do a little mental picturing, as discussed above, but don’t overdo it. Try to find something to keep your mind off basketball. Whether it be watching a movie or reading a book, you don’t want to get to the point where you’re thinking on the court the next day, rather than just playing.

Have a Short Memory

As I started to elude to in the prior sections, you’re going to have some failures in basketball. No one is expecting you to make 100% of your shots. In fact, making just half of them is a pretty solid percentage. With this being the case, don’t let one bad game hinder future games. Chances are you’ll have plenty where you can’t find your shot. That doesn’t mean you should let it affect everything else you do on the court. Build a short memory and have confidence in your game!

Stretching and Shoot Around

The final item I will discuss focuses solely on the events right before the game. All of the stuff above broke down what to do in the days leading up. Once you arrive at the court, I recommend getting a solid stretching session in. This not only prepares you to compete at a high level, but it also ensures injuries won’t be an issue. Some coaches like to have their teams stretch together. The main thing is that you don’t ignore this part and get your muscles loosened up for game action.

Next, you’ll need to go through shoot around. Most of the time, this will open up with lay-up lines before breaking individuals up to work on shots around the court. The key here is to take advantage of this time. Utilize it to work on shots you’ll shoot in game or ones that you’ve been struggling with. If free throws have been an issue, then take some reps there to build up your confidence. Similarly, if you’re shot from the corner has been off, then shoot some jump shots from there. The key is to see the ball go throw the net and build confidence leading up to game.

In this course from CoachTube, Bill Thom provides some useful drills that can be completed during shoot around to work on various skills, including rebounding and rhythm shooting. Check it out if you’re struggling to come up with ideas!


Odds are that you won’t find the perfect pre-game preparation routine after one time. It may take some tinkering before you fully understand how your body reacts to different things. With this said, as long as you’re working on doing everything right, there is little room for argument. It is when players begin to think they can do whatever the night before the game and still succeed on the court that troubles start to arise. Don’t fall victim to this illogical thinking.

Coaching Generation Z

Coaching Generation Z

They are a tricky bunch. Creative in countless ways, especially on the basketball court. Consumed with social media, quick fixes and impatience. Generation Z aka The Millennials, is a group that needs to be understood in order to lead. A task many coaches fail to do because they do not take the time. The time to hear them out, step into their shoes and identify with their struggle.

The coaches I played for at a high level were at least 45 or older.

Let me put into perspective what a 25 year age difference looks like. In the past 25 years, we have invented the Digital Camera, Web Browser, Tivo and Iphone. We have had the Gulf War, 9/11, War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. We have had 4 presidents, 3 stock market crashes, 2 major floods in New Orleans alone and 1 Donald Trump. Our coaches have no idea what it was like growing up in our era and vice versa.

Our childhood was synonymous with video games, computers and the digital age. My coaches were raised in the 60’s, 70’s 80’s; I’m not going to even try to explain what that time period was like.

I do know when it comes to basketball, you guys had quite a list of players to watch. You had the 11-time NBA Champion, The Logo, Dr. J, Pistol Pete, Magic and Bird. We grew up on the 2nd half of MJ, The Diesel, King James, AI and the Black Mamba. Terrific in their own right, but different. A new brand of basketball where everyone is a guard, and the game turned into an offensive showcase rather than the physical war it once was.

Not saying any era was better than the other, but each comes with a it’s own set of values and principles. Generation Z is being written off for theirs, but let us analyze them before jumping to a conclusion.

The Knock on The Millennials

Lack a strong work ethic. Impatient. Don’t listen to authority. Disregard tradition. Want to know why before taking action. Selfish. Terrible listeners. Stubborn. The list goes on and on, but these are some of the negative characteristics of Generation Z.

Tell me if this dialogue sounds familiar:

Coach: I need you to fade to the corner as the guard drives. Player: I shoot better from the wing. Coach: I don’t care where you shoot better from, go to the corner. Player: Why would I go to the corner if I am more of a threat from here? Coach: Dammit! Because I said so!

I get it, they are frustrating.

Especially when coaches grew up much more obedient than the players they are instructing now. Youth basketball players question nearly everything, and quite frankly I don’t blame the coaches for losing their temper every now and then. Maybe there is an alternative.

As a Point Guard, it was my job to understand my teammates psychologically so I knew how to reach them in the game. I needed to know what made them play harder, what would make them withdrawal, how to speak to them after a mistake and how to keep them engaged. I learned all of this by observing in practice, the dorms, eating and celebrating together. I knew my teammates like they were my family... because they were.

*Coaches do not go to parties with your players. I repeat, do not go to parties with your players. It is a recipe for disaster, ask Larry Eustachy from Iowa State if you don’t believe me.*

That shouldn’t stop you from knowing them. Each of your players has a unique personality, a different shame coping mechanism and a contrasting response to your coaching philosophy. The more time you invest into building a relationship away from the court, the less “why” responses you will hear.

This generation doesn’t just trust the coach because you are the authoritative figure. They trust the person who shows they care about them. Be the coach, mentor and leader that cares about them as much you want them to care about you.

Product of Environment

I will never forget having a conversation with a teammate of mine after leaving practice. He said to me, “Coach has no idea about where I come from. There were times where I went to bed hungry. Days without hot water to take a shower. He doesn’t care about any of that, as long as I stay quiet and say yes sir or no sir.”

My coach and that player (along with a few others) never had a relationship. Constantly bumping heads, and you know what the saddest part was? He was the most talented player on the team and one of the smartest I had ever played with. He didn’t reach his potential as a player and we didn’t reach our potential as a team because of a lack of communication.

That is unacceptable.

Listen coach, many players need guidance and in the game of basketball that need is magnified. Many of us come from dysfunctional homes, single-parent households or without any leadership at all. We have been put on a pedestal because of our talent in a sport, but nobody took the time to develop our character. This generation is full of creative and innovative minds that can transform industries. Can you imagine what it could do on a basketball court?

Both the players and the coaches need to find a common ground, but the coach has to make that initial step. Environment plays a huge role in the development of people and these players character. Only one out of my three Division 1 coaches cared about the lives of his players outside of basketball. George Nessman at San Jose State University. One of those coaches who you can have a lifelong relationship with, that made you a better man not just a better basketball player.

A Common Thread

Every Hall of Famer steps up to the podium and thanks his coach. With tears in his eyes he says something along the lines of, “Thank you coach for being a father figure”, or “Thank you coach for saving my life.” They don’t talk about how much they appreciate their coach for for showing them how to properly run a zone offense. The impact coaches have on their players occurs far away from the gym.

It starts with the conversations you have about life. Wanting to know about their families, hobbies, passions, school work and aspirations outside of basketball. The knowledge you spew onto them that have nothing to do with the defense you plan to run that season. The stories you share with them to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes you did. The discipline you give them for off the court issues that shapes their character. The guidance you give when they run into a tough situations.

We have watched players embrace coaches like John Thompson, Tom Izzo and Bob Huggins. That hug is not because he corrected his players shooting form. It is because he took that player under his wing, demanded the world from him and changed his life not his game.

Closing Thoughts

A recent article on Buzzfeed listed the 28 things millennials have killed, including Golf, Football, Soap, Relationships, Napkins and everything inbetween. Sounds like a pessimistic view to me. Glass half full mindsets might describe them as innovators, trailblazers or trendsetters. The same can go for the game of basketball.

Generation Z is not easy to coach. As a youth basketball coach now, I have the perspective of both sides. Players want to be cared about, understood and lead. Coaches want to be respected and trusted. Both desires are met away from the game, nowhere near the court.

Top 4 Pre-Season Basketball Drills

Top 4 Pre-Season Basketball Drills

The season is approaching and we hope our players have spent all summer getting better… but what have we done as coaches? If you had an undefeated season last year then congratulations, if not, we have some work to do. After surveying the top college coaches in the country, here are their top 4 pre-season basketball drills that will help you win more games this season.

Drill #1: Beat the Belt (Demonstrated HERE by Tom Izzo of Michigan State University)

This basketball drill is designed to help your players perfect their Help-Defense technique by defending the passing lane.

Setup: 3 players are on offense: One on the right wing with a ball, the other in the right corner also with a ball. The third offensive player is a little outside of the left block. Defender is in the middle of the key.

Execution: The offensive player on the left block must step into the key and sprint to the free-throw line to try and receive a pass from the right wing. The defender must deny him from receiving the pass and deflect it with his outside hand. As soon as the ball is deflected, the offensive player backdoors his defender to try and receive a pass at the rim from the corner passer. The defender has to deflect both the free-throw line pass and the corner pass at the basket to leave the drill.

Drill #2: Power Moves (Demonstrated HERE by former Incarnate Word University assistant coach Christian Mueller)

This basketball drill is designed to improve your post-player finishing technique, especially with contact.

Setup: Lineup post players on the baseline next to the short corner, each of them must have a ball. Have a coach in the middle of the key.

Execution: The player tosses the ball directly in front of them into the short corner and catches it landing on both feet. Have the post player make a strong pivot towards the basket and take one dribble into a lay-up. The coach should act as a help defender and make contact with the player as they attempt the lay-up. If the offensive player does not make the lay-up they must do 10 push-ups (Modify if Necessary).

Drill #3: Pick and Roll (In-Depth demonstration HERE by Hubie Brown 2-time NBA Coach of the Year)

This basketball drill will help your team understand the fundamentals of the Pick and Roll and be able to execute it flawlessly in the game.

Setup: 1 perimeter-player on each wing and 1 post-player on each block. You will need two coaches or players above the top of the 3-point line, each with 2 balls.

Execution: Coach will pass the ball to the perimeter player on his side. The post player on the strong block will come up and set a screen for the perimeter player to drive to the middle. The perimeter player must take two dribbles to the elbow and elevate for a shot. Once the perimeter player drives past the post-player, he must open up and relocate to the short corner for a pass from the coach for a Jumpshot.

Drill #4: Halfcourt Hussle (Demonstrated HERE by former Martin Methodist University head coach Jamy Bechler)

This basketball drill helps your team hustle and prepares your players to track down long distance rebounds.

Setup: Have a coach or player on a wing with a ball as a designated shooter. The rest of the team is lined up behind half court.

Execution: The coach shoots a 3-pointer and as the ball goes up, a player from half-court must chase down the rebound. Once the player retrieves the rebound they must make two layups as quickly as possible. The objective is to not let the ball hit the ground.

Start using these drills in practice today to put your team in the best position to win!

My Failure as a Coach

My Failure as a Coach

Have you ever had one of the moments where you witness the actions of a coach, and you say to yourself, “I will never do that!”?

That was me.

I coached with Mark Gottfried (former head coach Murray State, Alabama, and North Carolina State), and would to refer to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament as the “greatest show on earth.” I couldn’t agree more.

One of my most vivid up-close moments came while watching this “greatest show on earth” up close. But unfortunately, it did not.

I had not yet started my coaching career. I knew I wanted to be around the game. Knew I loved the game and wanted to make an impact on young men. What should have been a defining moment in how I would approach my job and the players I worked each day, but it did not.

I knew I wanted to be different as a coach. One the day of this event I knew if I coached I would be a better example. Better at encouraging. Better in the heat of the moment of not losing my cool. Better at seeing the big picture. Better at not letting losing a game affect me.

Why could I not apply what I saw and what I knew to make me a better coach? It was a lack of focus.

In the coaching profession, we can lose focus because of a variety of things. Our ambition, our desire to succeed, our desire to well thought of by others.

Hopefully, my faults can help another coach from making the same mistake. Once we lose focus, our flaws become even more exposed. That is what happened with me.

I failed to do the one thing I promised myself I would not do.

I failed at loving my players unconditionally.

What is unconditional love? To love unconditionally is not to put conditions on the relationship.

I saw up close on college basketball’s biggest stages what I didn’t want to be like but still fell into the trap.

Before I was able to coach at Murray State, The University of Alabama, and LSU and be a part of the “greatest show on earth” I would get in my car to watch the games. If an NCAA tournament was within driving distance, I was going to be there.

I was just out of college and had not started my coaching career when I took off to watch the tournament. The tournament is set up is there are two games in the afternoon and two games in the evening. What a way to spend the day! For a basketball fan or coach, this is like the perfect day.

Each day and each game has many storylines. Of all the great games and players I have seen one moment stands out above all the rest. It was during the evening session and game featured one highly ranked team against a lower seeded team. The lower seed kept the game, entertaining by staying close. Late in the game they took the lead. It looked like they may pull the upset.

As the clock wound down, it felt like the favored team would win. The star player from the higher seeded team and future first-round draft got the ball in fantastic position near the basket. His team down by one point.

No one could guard him or match up with him. As he took the shot, it looked like it was going to go straight through the net. It just missed by bouncing off the rim and falling off to the side.

The buzzer sound and the game was over. A big upset.  Everyone’s attention was on the winning team and their celebration.

For some reason, I kept my eyes on the star player. He was bending over right there in the middle of the floor.  When you realize your season is over it hurts. When you realize your career is over it hurts more. To miss the shot that ended your career has to be unimaginable.

He knew his college career was over.

He would never wear those colors or uniform again. He was out there on the floor all alone. With his head in his jersey, you could almost feel his pain.

I was intently watching his coach walk across the floor. I wanted to see how he would react. The coach looked back and saw his player; he glanced at him and with a look showing no sympathy kept walking.

I still can see that look.

I understand how upset the coach was to lose the game. His team should have won easily.

They say a picture paints a thousand of words. The image portrayed a thousand words,  Both from the perspective of the player and the coach.

In those few seconds, you could tell a story. The coaches look said so much. It was part disgust, part indifference to the kid, part shock at the loss. For the player, he could have been injured on the last play he could have been trying to get sympathy, or he could have been embarrassed his team lost to an inferior team. A lot happened in those few seconds. A lot happened in one image.

Life is like the game. A lot can happen in a few seconds. My wife will tell you the true colors will come out in situations like the one I just described. As a coach, if I was in the same position I am not sure how I would have reacted. It may be easy to say you would have come over and hugged the player. I watch a lot of coaches and cringe when I hear what they say to kids or how they react.

The losing coach would now have to face the media, then the alumni. No one was going to be happy about the outcome. The coach is the one getting the blame in losses like this. Coaches understand what comes with the job description.

I understand the emotions from both the player and the coach. Most likely the relationship had been through a lot of highs and lows.  The coache=player relationship was had been going on for at least five years and maybe longer.

The recruiting process started long ago while the young man was in high school. The player was an incredible player and had an outstanding career.

Now, in an instant, it is over.

Unfortunately, the coach might be like a lot of us in how he reacted in that one moment. Maybe we treat our players the same way. You do well for us, and we will like you. You don’t deliver, and we will be disappointed.

The impression continues to stay with me. I see the young man and bending over on the court.

Maybe he never knew his coach left him out there on the floor. To him, since his head was down he may have never known his coach looked directly at him saw the emotional pain and walked away.

Maybe it wasn’t a big deal to him, but to most unconditional love is a big deal. At that moment the player-coach relationship came down to the missed shot and the lost game.

It was “what can you do for me?” Not trying to place blame on the coach, but it was a sad picture. It showed the relationship based on conditions.

How can you change? Here are three steps.

1. Show it those who are closest to you and know you best.

My children need to know  I will love them no matter what, not just because they clean their room, not because they make good grades, and not because they do their jobs on time. They have to know deep down I will love them no matter what they do. They will mess up, and we will have our struggles. They know whatever happens, even if I am mad or my wife is upset at their actions, we still love them.

2. Show it to your team and how you coach

My players need to understand  I love them and want them all to do well. They need to know there will be rules, but if they mess up, I will still love them. I do not love them more for winning than losing. I do not love them more for having a good practice than having a bad practice. There is not more love if they make the winning shot or miss the last second shot.

3. Stop attaching conditions in your relationships

There are no strings attached in unconditional love. The love is pure. When you begin to accept people for who they are and not what they can do for you, it makes your relationships stronger.

If you have unconditional love and begin to have patience with others, you will see your stress decrease dramatically. We only add to the problems in our own life by having high expectations of others. Then not accepting them if they don’t meet those high expectations.

After practice, this coach pointed at one of my players and said, ”I could never coach that young man.” I knew what he meant.

He didn’t need to say more.

The young man may have been a little rough around the edges. May have had a disposition that could turn others off. Looked like he had bad attitude. He thought of himself first before the team.

All those assumptions were probably correct.

Just a few years earlier I would have “never wanted to coach that young man” myself. Yes, he may not have been the most coachable at times.

But here is what I knew. I knew the young man's heart. I knew what he had been through in his life because I got to know his story.

Sure, in the past I knew the stories of most of my players but didn’t dig any further than that.

This young man changed how I coached. Why it took almost 25 years into my career, I don’t know.

As I heard the comment, “I could never coach that young man” I thought to myself, I have no choice. If I don’t coach him who will?

I was motivated to start accepting kids for who they were and not what I wanted them to be. So somehow a young man I would have kicked off the team the first week of practice in most situations we made it four years together.

Of all the positive things that have happened in my career, this one was maybe the one that made me the proudest. I have a photo of the two of us after his graduation. No doubt it is one of my favorite photos.

I have found nothing is as freeing for young athletes than being accepted they way they are. Our job as coaches is to meet them where they are and not where we think they should be. As difficult it may be as a coach treating them with unconditional love will make a tremendous impact on those you coach.

I think of the image I saw before I started coaching and why did it take so long to sink in.

That is the coach I no longer want to be.

I think about the players who will disappoint us in the future and how we can love them anyway.

That is the coach I hope to be.

I think of the coaches who can see past the imperfections and look at the bigger picture and the impact they have on their players.

That is the coach I want to be.

How can I improve as a coach?

How can I improve as a coach?

The coaching profession has always been intriguing to me. Coaching is different than other occupations because there is not an exact playbook. Nothing on what to study in college, how much education is needed, what to look for in a first job, what level or if there is a need to specialize in a particular area.

During my career, I have been able to have different roles and different levels. From the NBA to the NCAA, women’s professional basketball, the NAIA and high school and middle school. From across the world to across the country.

What I have learned is there is no set path and no set step 1, 2, 3 for coaches to follow. What I also learned early in my career was to seek out and get advice from other coaches. I became a head coach in college at the age of 26. There was no internet, no social media, no online training.

I was on a quest to find out How can I improve as a coach?

I had to figure it out. I asked questions. A lot of questions. I started to pick as many brains as possible to get as much information as possible. From academics to marketing, to running a camp, to communication skills, to how to beat a press, how to attack a trapping zone, to what to do late in the game. I asked coaches and others involved in the game of what does it take for a coach to advance in the profession.

Now, later in my career I still ask a lot of questions. But my goal is different now. I want to find out not only for myself, but for other coaches as well.  

How can I help a younger coach, a frustrated coach, someone looking to making a career change into coaching or a veteran coach like me who just wants to learn?

Recently I asked individuals I knew who were either in the profession or had been in the business for input. Here is what I asked them

“If you were to give advice what would you tell a young coach about how to advance in the coaching profession?”

This advice could be how to prepare for the next job or how to improve in their craft to be the very best where they are right now.

Take the advice from coaches who have been there. They say experience is the best teacher. Not always true. You can use someone else's experience to help make your path more smooth. If you can avoid pitfalls and wrong steps why not take the advice of someone who has already walked the path?

Enjoy the input from those from all levels and all roles across the country.

“Communicate, be confident, prepared and precise. Players will see a lack of confidence and preparation as uncertainty. Therefore they will not trust you. Tell them your plan and the time in which you will work. Players work harder when they know the beginning time and most importantly the ending time.  

I keep a quote in the back of my mind from Bear Bryant: "I cannot treat all players the same, but I can treat them all fairly."  No one is above the team. Every player will have responsibilities, some more than others. Those that have more are required to do more. It is important that this is communicated. It is very important to listen to your players, be willing to learn from them and implement their thoughts.

If a coach is a former player, it is important not to compare players to himself or his playing days. Players resent comparisons and the coach will become frustrated.”

Keith Askins

Miami Heat

Director of College and Pro Scouting/Assistant General Manager

“I’m a pretty good story when it comes to this topic…   I didn’t play college basketball and was a self-starter in the business.

1.      Network, Network, Network…  with the right guys.  Drop notes in the mail, best way.  Texts are so impersonal.

2.      Work hard. People will see your hard work and appreciate it

3.      Be humble. You may have to sweep the floor, I still do that’s ok.

4.      Get coaching experience no matter the level.  I was an assistant HS coach when in college

5.      Get your Master’s degree so that you can apply for all jobs, no limitations on your degree.

6.      Work the camp circuit.  Camps are a great way to meet coaches in a comfortable environment.

7.      Don’t worry about the money … only a very few make the millions.

8.      Attend Clinics and learn as much as you can.

9.      Be willing to relocate…”

Joe Esposito

University of Memphis

Assistant Basketball Coach

“Best advice I was ever given -

"Make yourself invaluable to the person you work for."

"Be able to do or handle things in every part of a program, so you always have a job regardless of the level."

"Don't wait or ask for a coach to tell you why to do. Bring ideas to them and seek them out."

Steve Prohm

Iowa State

Head Coach

“Young coaches should expose themselves in as many basketball activities as possible and develop a network of friends and associates that will promote you to others.  One of the best ways to position yourself to college coaches is working their summer camp.  Great camp workers impress coaches and are hired more frequently because of it.  Go visit with coaches in the summer and talk X's and O's.  Start your own coaching clinic.  It doesn't matter how small, it shows initiative and giving back to the game.  Run your own summer basketball camps, which displays leadership and organization.  Make the rounds at HS State tournaments, SEC tournament, Final Four, AAU tournaments, etc.  If you want opportunities to present, themselves get out there and meet people and show them what a Stud you are.”

Joe Dean

Birmingham Southern

Athletic Director

“Imagine a house. First is your foundation… and that starts with your passion. Your passion NEEDS to be for helping young men/women grow as a person. It all stems from that. If that is not the reason you are coaching, then your run in this business will be short. It may be good (or even great) for a few years, but it will never be prolonged. If your passion stems from helping young people grow and to become the best version of themselves, you have a fighting chance to be in this for the long-run. If that is the foundation, everything else is built from there.

The walls of the house are the answers to the following questions: 1) Do you have a passion and love for the game of basketball? 2) Are you able to be great teachers (and listener) to individuals, not just a collective whole? 3) Are you willing to sacrifice? 4) Are you a moral and ethical person? Those four questions will determine how sturdy the walls of your house are. If you have a passion for the game of basketball, you will immerse yourself in studying the in’s and out’s of the game from coaches at all levels and you will embrace studying tape of games, opponents, workouts, etc. That will drive your knowledge of the game, which will make you a better teacher of the game. Being able to dissect tiny bits of information on the fly to help teach the game to an individual and not just what is “suppose” to be said. Each player will hear your message differently based on their IQ, your tone, your temper, your distance, their fatigue, their mood, etc. Can you accurately communicate (verbally and nonverbally) and teach them so that they can learn?

Moreover, you need to sacrifice. You can’t just rise to the top of the coaching ranks without having to sacrifice quite a bit. Sometimes it’s time, money, relationships, distance, different opportunities, etc. What are you willing to sacrifice? Sometimes you will have to draw a line for family and your career, but when will that happen? Figure out what you are willing to give up to maybe make it in this coaching business?

Finally, none of it will matter if you don’t have morals or ethics. Your walls will crash to the ground faster than you can get out from under it and you will be crushed, along with the people surrounding you. It’s not just knowing right from wrong, but acting on right vs. wrong. Doing what’s right and that’s often hard to not do when the glamour or fame tempts you otherwise.

Last, but not least, every house needs a roof over their head. Your roof is your mentors. Who is willing to take you under their wing and advise you and keep you safe & warm until you are ready to leave the house? Who is willing to protect you from some bad storms and do their best to make sure you have what you need (IQ, advice, experience, etc.) to be the best version of yourself (like you do for others)?”

Andrew Farrell

Southeast Missouri State University

Assistant Coach

Rising Coaches Elite Founder

“First piece of advice comes from our friend and mentor Coach Meyer, and that advice is too "suck scum." In other words, be willing to do anything and everything in your current job to make yourself invaluable and seemingly irreplaceable.  Too many young coaches (and even seasoned coaches) spend so much time working on their next job that they don't do their current job well. "Own" your current job and your reputation will open other doors.

Second, it is important to network. The more people you network with, the more opportunities that will come your way. Regarding networking, be open-minded and willing to meet, get to know, and stay in touch with all.  I was once told a story that Rick Callahan, who was at the time a manager at NAIA Salem College worked Jim Boeheim's camp at Syracuse where he met and become friends with North Carolina's third assistant Eddie Fogler. Later, when Fogler took the head coaching job at Wichita State, he hired Callahan as an assistant coach -- from NAIA manager to Division I assistant. Callahan followed Fogler to Vanderbilt and South Carolina becoming Fogler's Associate Head Coach.

Regarding networking, I'm also a big believer in note writing -- something I learned from the late Stu Aberdeen. While email is effective, a handwritten note still goes a long way.

Third, have a social media plan. Social media is a way of creating your brand. Those serious in rising in the profession should invest time and even some money to meet with specialists and map out plan. Social media is not something to take lightly and a poor tweet or Facebook post and cost you a job down the road. Everything from your content to who you follow speaks volumes about who you are and what you stand for and more and more athletic departments will research this in the vetting process.

Fourth, avoid being a specialist coach -- aka. "Recruiting Coordinator," "Post Coach," etc.  be well versed in all phases of the game. Being a specialist will limit your opportunities.

For those at the high school, don't get all caught up on being a DI coach. There are great jobs and head coaches on the NAIA, DII and DIII level. These are great places to learn and develop your craft.

Finally, you must be a continual learner. Always look to grow your knowledge. Attending clinics is a great to expand your knowledge and make contacts at the same time. Visit with other coaches, attend their practices.”

Bob Starkey

Texas A&M

Assistant Coach

“Be the first coach to the office and last coach to leave.  Never let the head coach beat you in or you leave before he does!

Your job is to take care of everything for your boss and take it off his plate - do things before he asks you to get them done so when he asks you can say already taken care of!  Be a self-starter

Loyalty to the head coach you work for is the most important thing - he hired you!  You want the same respect when you become a head coach!

Spend all your time making the program you work for better - not working to get the next job - it always catches up with those guys!

Don't negative recruit - coaches that have to talk bad about other programs obviously have nothing to brag about on their own!

Get to know people on campus outside athletics - custodians, housing, cafeteria, admissions, campus police, business office, student life - they will help make your life easier and can get things done quickly for you if you treat them right!

You can't have a MILLION DOLLAR dream on a MINIMUM WAGE work ethic.”

Jeff Moore

Northwestern State University

Assistant Coach

“Go to as many coach related things as possible. Take your wife when you can, because she needs to be a solution, not another problem. Take notes, ask questions and enjoy the fellowship of the people you meet. It doesn't last long.”

Larry Bagley

Retired High School and College Coach

Current Louisiana State Representative

“Be around good people and be the best you can where you are. You are most likely to get your first job from someone you have worked with so you are really interviewing every day. Every job I've gotten is due to a tie from my time at Clemson at my very first job.”

Will Wade


Head Coach

“Pick a successful coach and program from a different sport (and different school) and study them..effective leadership and ability to manage a program is critical”

Brian Ayers

Belmont University

Assistant Coach

“First, make yourself irreplaceable in the current role.  Be someone who can get things done.  Second, have a passion for recruiting.  Third, network up, sideways, and down.  Up to where you want to be, sideways with people in the same situation, and down to others.  Lastly, be a great person who has a positive attitude and would never hurt the program with off the court issues."

Erik Konkol

Louisiana Tech

Head Coach

“I think the number one piece of advice I would give them is to develop a skill set or a specific skill that can allow them to add value to staff immediately.  Whether that's being good with video, operations, player development, scouting, being knowledgeable about recruiting and knowing players, photo shop, social media/marketing, etc.  Some are going to have more experience/knowledge in these areas than others but if they want to

A) gain entry into the profession

B) last and advance in the profession... Then focus on acquiring and developing skills that can help you be a difference maker for a program.

To truly do, so you must have an insatiable work ethic, a keen attention to detail and a desire for continual improvement/learning.

And the last thing I would say is...  Be loyal to your head coach.  Serve and support his vision. "

Bryan Tibaldi


Assistant Coach

You see there is no blueprint in the coaching profession. But there are a lot of ways to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

Maybe you want another role in the profession, or to coach at another level, or you just want to maximize your ability. Hopefully, the advice here can help you in those areas.

If you would like to see other questions asked to coaches who have been there before or any other topic, please email me at

3 Reasons Steph Curry Has Separated Himself in the NBA

3 Reasons Steph Curry Has Separated Himself in the NBA

The player who stands before us today holding two consecutive NBA MVP trophies and leading his team to this years NBA Finals was not always this popular. Unlike his multi-sport father drafted twice by the MLB only to turn them down and have a 16-year NBA career, his son had to fight for his title. He was an average high school player; he went to a mid-major university and was counted out as soon as he got to the league. At each phase of his basketball career Stephen Curry was doubted, but still found a way to outlast his peers.

Here are the 3 reasons that have separated Stephen Curry from the rest of the NBA.

Plethora of Shots

Shooting is the most valuable skill any individual player can have.

If you can put the ball in the basket at a high percentage, there is always a team for you; however the problem most of these shooters have is they specialize in only one aspect of shooting.

Whether that is a spot on the floor, off the pass or off the dribble they usually do one maybe two at a high level and the rest suffer.

Stephen Curry is not like most shooters. He can come off screens, isolate a defender, step back, one leg, two legs, off balance, on balance, wide open and (even with a man in his face) shoot at a high level. This is unconventional in many ways and coaches would rarely give a player the freedom to shoot the ball from a multitude of angles but once again Stephen isn’t just any player.

He worked to develop a shooting ability that is unparalleled. Many fans would agree Stephen has never come across a shot that he didn’t like, but it’s very hard to argue with a man that makes nearly 45% of everything he shoots.

Ball Handling Ability

Every team has to plan for the best shooter on the opposing team. That can include crowding him with the best defender, running a box and one or even double-teaming him wherever he goes.

Stephen Curry has faced every defense known to man when it comes to defending a shooter and has found a way to still succeed.

But being just a pure shooter at 6-3 has its limitations when considering a career in the NBA. He had to develop another skill to make up for the lack of size and it had to be one that could get him where he wanted on the floor without the need of a screen or dribble penetration by a teammate.

Spending his entire life on the court crowded by defenders, the skill that would be most valuable to him was ball handling (Check out our free ballhandling course from Koran Godwin). If a player can shoot from every spot on the court as well as break down the defense when he puts it on floor, how do you stop them? The answer is you don’t.

Stephen Curry has some of the best ball handling skills in the league giving him the ability to create the slight space he needs to get a shot off whenever he needs to.

Underdog Complex

With all of the skills that Stephen Curry has developed there has been one external factor that has remained constant. He has always been considered an underdog.

In high school he was a three star recruit with boyish looks and a small frame. Having to accept a scholarship to a mid-major school in his home state of North Carolina he used that motivation to excel at Davidson University. Stephen averaged nearly 22ppg as a freshman and didn’t stop till he averaged 28.5ppg as a junior before entering his name into the draft.

Even after showing all of the high-major schools what they missed out on and dominating the competition, the NBA still had the audacity to doubt his talents once again.

Selecting three other college guards ahead of him, Curry once again had more motivation to prove himself on the biggest stage. Improving every off-season to silence the critics, he outlasted the guards in his draft class and began to dominate the competition. Setting records and appearing in all-star games, he turned all of his doubters into fans after winning the 2015 NBA Championship. His legendary workouts have been captured on film. Check him out here and the story of him hitting 77 three pointers in a row in practice.

The ultimate award for someone who had been analyzed and critiqued his whole life has now been recognized as the most valuable player in the world twice. The mind frame to go from a mediocre high-school player to an undersized college star and then become the best in the NBA is unheard of. It can only be categorized as the Underdog Complex, an intrinsic motivation created by external factors leading to extraordinary results.

It goes without saying Stephen Curry is a one of a kind athlete that doesn’t come along very often. However, just like all great players, there have been factors contributing to his success others can adopt for themselves.

He wasn’t a high school draft pick or born so tall he had to duck through doorways. Stephen Curry had the work ethic and determination to surpass whoever was put in front of him, and that is something we can all learn from.



Let’s start this off with a question.

What is the most iconic photo in sports history?

You’ll probably get a different answer from every person you ask, but that’s why we have the internet – so we can ask everyone at once.

Here’s your response. These are your pics for the most iconic photos in sports history.

Michael Clinches 6