How to get more playing time

How to get more playing time
Why becoming a specialist can set you apart
Your goal as a player should be to develop an all-around solid game.
That's what generally sets good players apart from great ones: the good
ones might be strong in one or two areas, while the great ones tend
to excel in most areas of the game.
But there will be certain areas of your game that are better than others.
That's natural and normal. As you get older and progress through different
levels of the game (high school, college, etc.), you're game will naturally
Your coaches should be able to point out to you the parts of your game that
need the most work. And as a motivated player, you should also have the
self-awareness to recognize what you need to work on most. By working on
your strengths, and putting extra work into the weak areas of your game,
you'll naturally start to round out your game as you get to the next level.
But over the years, it's become clear to me that one way for players in high
school and college to set themselves apart from the competition is to
develop a specialty area of skill. This specialty area is one that you probably
have a natural ability in, and that you can continue to develop as you get
older, more experience, and move onto the next levels.
By really focusing on a specialty area or area of strength, you can start to
stand out from your teammates and the competition. Ideally, we'd all be
great at all areas of the game, but that's just not the case for most of us.
During high school, most players are just starting to come into our own and
learning to play an all-around game. But as you start to become a mroe
polished player, having one area of your game where you really stand out
can get your more playing time and help you get noticed.
Let's put it this way: if two players are pretty good all-around players and
just about equal in their overall playing ability, but one is an exceptional
rebounder, the player who shines as a rebounder will likely get more notice
from coaches and most likely get more playing time.
For example, if you're a post player, you'll probably work on and have 6 or 8
decent post moves. But don't settle for having 6 or 8 OK or decent moves
Find the move or shot that you already do well, and make it your signature
move that is almost unstoppable. Then you'll have 6 or 8 shots in your
arsenal, but have 1 or 2 that are just dominant, unstoppable moves.
In short, work on developing a great all-around game, and focus some extra
attention on what you already do well. Find your strengths, and make them
parts of your game that allow you to dominate the competition.
-- Basketball Success
Improve Your Offensive Game
The 2-Dribble Rule
Limit Your Dribbling in the Lane
If there's one general rule about playing inside the paint, it's this: limit your dribbling. Or
even better, get in the habit of hardly dribbling at all in the lane.
There are a few reasons you should limit the amount of dribbling you do as a post
player. The main reason is that the lane is usually a pretty crowded spot on the floor,
and so there are lots of hands just waiting for you to put the ball on the floor so they can
knock the ball away for a steal.
Also, inside players tend to be tall, so to put it simply, there's a lot of distance for the ball
to travel from a player's hand to the floor, which gives defenders more of a chance to
knock the ball away.
So as an inside player, you really need to get into the habit of dribbling very little. If you
make a post move from the block, you may take one power dribble to back the defender
down, or to complete a drop step. This is OK, as long as you stay low to the ground
and make a hard dribble (so the ball travels a very short distance from your hands to the
ground and back). This kind of dribble is referred to as a "crab dribble".
There may also be times when you make 2 hard dribbles while making a move. But this
should be your limit. If you dribble more than twice, you're just asking for the ball to be
Also keep in mind that if you grab an offensive rebound, you never want to put the ball
on the floor. If you grab an offensive rebound, you should go back up to the basket with
power, or possibly make a head and shoulder fake to get the defender in the air and
then go back up strong with the ball. But you never want to grab an offensive board,
then put the ball on the floor. Again, this is just asking for the defense to steal the ball.
There may be a time when you grab an offensive rebound and can't go back up with the
shot, so you'll look to pass the ball back out to a teammate. Sometimes you may need
to take a couple dribbles out of the lane with a "clearing dribble" (meaning that you're
clearing yourself and the ball out of the lane so you can kick the ball back out to a
teammate). This won't happen very often, and should be used on a limited basis.
So as a post player, remember one of the golden rules about playing in the paint: keep
your dribbling to an absolute minimum...2 dribbles or less. Any more than that and
you're probably going to get the ball stolen from you. And if you do put the ball on the
floor, do so with a power (crab) dribble.
-- Basketball Success
Mark Twain
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that
you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."
How to "Tough it Out" When The Game is on the Line
By Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D.
Ask any champion athlete or respected coach how much of their success is mental,
what would they say? Most top athletes and coaches know that success in sports is
highly dependent on your mental attitude or mental game.
Why do some athletes dig deep (and perform better) when the game is on the line?
How can some athletes play well in crunch time with only 2 minutes left in the game and
they have to produce? Being able to "dig deep" has a lot to do with your mental
toughness or your ability to never give up faith in your game.
Many athletes I work with daily struggle with their mental game just at the time they
need it the most. For many reasons, they lose confidence when the team depends on
them to take the last shot or swing the momentum during the game. Some athletes
tighten up. Some athletes try too hard. Other athletes are afraid to embarrass
themselves and fear attempting the winning shot of the game.
So how do you tough it out when the going gets difficult and you have to sink the
winning putt, make the last shot of the game, or score the winning goal with seconds left
in the game?
First, tough it out means staying composed and not letting your opponent or the
conditions rattle you into negativity and frustration.
Second, tough it out means never giving up your confidence because you are
behind or find yourself in a tough match.
Third, digging deep means you stay calm and in control when things aren't going
your way. Golfers need to dig deep after a poor performance on the front nine. A
basketball player might have to dig deep when he's exhausted physically and
making uncharacteristic mistakes.
The sports world recently witnessed a monumental grind-it-out-and-outlast-thecompetition battle. Even the pros have to dig deep and rely on their mental fortitude to
help get them through a close competition. If you are a tennis fan, you recently
witnessed Roger Federer and Andy Roddick both dig deep at the 2009 Wimbledon
Federer finally overcame Roddick in a marathon performance to win his 15th Grand
Slam title at Wimbledon. Federer captured the title in five sets over Andy Roddick,
winning 16-14 in the final set. Federer broke Roddick's serve in the final game, his first
time to do so the entire match!
"You know, you didn't even get a sense that he was even really frustrated by it. He kind
of stayed the course and just toughed it out. He gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but
not a lot of the time is how many matches he kind of digs deep and toughs out. He
doesn't get a lot of credit for that because it looks easy to him a lot of the times. But he
definitely stuck in there today," said Andy Roddick about Federer's mental toughness.
When you're tired at the end of a long game or match, mental toughness is put to the
test. Pau Gasol of the Lakers said you have to dig deep when fatigue sets in at the end
of the game. The final moments of the game are more about your mental stamina to
tough it out:
"But we think about how hard we have been working all year long to get this far and to
have the opportunity to win the championship. And I think that's what I know went
through my mind a couple times when I thought I was a little too tired or a little fatigued
here or there, I'm like, look, you've got to toughen up, gotta dig deep and get whatever
you have out there, because that's what my team needs and that's what our team
needs," said Pau Gasol of the Lakers during the NBA finals.
Here are five mental toughness tips to help you tough it out in a close
1. You can't afford to get frustrated with mistakes or changes in momentum
during the competition. Your frustration can be a game changer and allow your
opponents to run away with the game. Mental toughness is very much about composure
and not letting adversity change your focus.
2. Never "throw in the towel" until the end of the game. I'm talking about your
confidence and belief that you can get the job done in the closing moments.
Fragile confidence is your worst enemy in sports!
3. Forget about the consequences of winning or losing and stick to focusing your
mind on the play, shot, or routine in front of you. Our minds are wired to think ahead
about the consequences of the competition and what it means to you, which only
causes tension and worry.
4. Have faith in your teammates to help the team come through and win. Don't give
up on your teammate that just missed an important basket to shot on net. Part of
confidence is knowing your team is there to back you up when you need them the most.
5. Stay the course and stick to what's working. How many times have you seen an
athlete change her game plan or strategy out of frustration that nothing is working?
Keep using what got you into position to close the deal in the first place. Stay patient
with what's working instead of "abandoning the ship."
Do any of you use a "mistake ritual" with your players? You probably
do and just don't know it. But if not... why not? When a player looks at
the bench after a mistake What are they looking for? And what does
he or she see? Does it help them -1) recognize it was a mistake,
2) reassure them that it's OK,
3) re-instruct them , and
4) help them get Ready for the next play?
Anything else is defeating the purpose.
A "mistake ritual" can help players put that mistake behind them and
play without the fear of making another. Some good examples of
rituals and those who uses them are here in this blog. But it's really
about starting a National Conversation on best practices.
From Ray Lokar
Strive for excellence, not perfection Don't get it perfect, just get it going. We waste a lot of time trying
to make something perfect and then end up not finishing it. Excellence is much more cost efficient
than perfection. Spending that extra time and money to make something absolutely perfect is rarely
worth it from a pay back standpoint. It is easy to get caught up in a project trying to make it perfect,
however we soon find our budget for time and funds is running out. Whereas if we aim to make our
product or service "excellent", it still gives us a big advantage over most of the competition, and we
can use that time and money we would have spent to make it perfect, to go on to another project that
will move us ahead even faster. So if you want to increase your overall efficiency, strive for excellence,
and not for perfection.
Edward W. Smith\
Plyometric Training
Jump Higher for Basketball Season
by Juan Carlos Santana, MEd, CSCS
In the Plyometric I article we discussed the basic premise of plyometric training. We
outlined the basic physiology of plyometrics and also drew a distinction between general
power training and true plyometric training. This article will describe a basic plyometric
program with an emphasis on basketball lower body power in order to jump higher.
Remember this program is a general example of a simple progression. Plyometric
training is very individual and must be tailored to the specific athlete it is intended for.
Every athlete has different concerns and needs. Additionally, injury can result from the
incorrect use of plyometrics. Therefore, make sure you seek the advice of a
professional who is trained and experienced in this method of training before you
embark on a serious plyometric routine.
First, let’s describe some program considerations.
As discussed in previous articles, the principle of specificity must govern the training
regimen. Thus, the exercises selected for this program simulate basketball movements
in speed, biomechanics and resistance.
Safety and proper progression must be at the forefront of the program. It is better to
under-prescribe then to over-prescribe. Advanced exercises must be reserved for only
advanced athletes. Beginners always want to progress faster than they are capable
of. It is the coach’s job to explain, and insist on, proper progression.
Although beginning plyometric programs may be performed by most people, to
participate safely in an aggressive plyometric program many authors suggest that the
athlete should be able to squat 1.5 times body weight. Therefore, a considerable
strength base becomes imperative when embarking on a challenging plyometric
program like the one we will discuss. For most athletes, 8-12 weeks of periodized,
resistance training should be sufficient to bring strength levels to adequate levels.
A proper warm up and cool down can not be emphasized enough. The warm-up must
proceed from general (e.g. jogging or skipping rope) to specific preparatory exercises
(e.g. dynamic stretches similar to exercises being performed). The cool down should
focus on flexibility via static stretches and allow the gradual return to a pre-exercises
The correct dose of stimuli must be provided. High intensity must dominate the
plyometric training session. Quality, not quantity, is the cornerstone of plyometric
training – all exercises are to be performed at 95-100% effort. However, there must be
a balanced relationship between stress and recovery. Insufficient recovery is the most
common cause of injury in plyometrics. Generally 1-3 minutes between sets and 3-5
minutes between exercises is sufficient recovery within a single training session.
Recovery between sessions becomes more complex due to the many variables to
consider (e.g. practice schedules, strength training volume, level of athletic
development, etc.). It is here where the experience of a trained professional becomes
Finally, Individual program design must be part of the final process. Although a general
program can be designed for a team. The coach must “tweak” each program to deal
with the specifics of the individual athlete. Adjustments to fit the athlete’s characteristics
are always made. Because of individual variations, cookie-cutter plyometric programs
are a sure way to hurt athletes. Medical history, training age, muscle imbalances, sport
and position played are some of the variables that will dictate the specific design of the
To organize the voluminous plyometric training information, several authors have
described various categories of plyometric exercises. However, for the sake for
simplicity we will restrict our discussion to the three major categories of lower body
plyometric exercises. The three basic categories of lower body plyometric exercises are
jumps, hops and bounds.
Jumps are exercises where you land with both feet (e.g. long jump). The take off can
be performed with one foot or two feet. Jumps can be done in place (e.g. jumping
jacks) or for distance (e.g. multiple long jumps). Hops are exercises where you take off
one foot and land on the same foot (e.g. single leg hopping). Hops can also be done in
place (e.g. stationary single leg ankle hops) or for distance (e.g. multiple single leg
hops). Since hops are a single leg exercise, they require much more strength than
jumps. Bounding exercises are exercises where one takes off on one foot and lands on
the other foot (e.g. alternate leg bounding). Bounds are usually done for distance.
Bounds can be the most challenging of the plyometric exercises. However, there is
over lap between the categories. For example, a very advance jump exercise can be
more demanding than a beginning bound exercise.
Now let’s get to the program. I have used the structure of the 12-week plyometric
routine illustrated here very successfully with high school and college level athletes.
Keep in mind that to assure the appropriate strength base; 8-12 weeks of resistance
training would precede this program. The weekly chart includes the number of sets
and reps (depicted as foot contacts). I have also included some figures to help with the
identification of the exercises.
This routine can be performed during the pre-season, 2 times per week in conjunction
with a 2-3-day/week resistance-training program emphasizing functional strength and
power conversion. Once season begins, cutting down to once per week may be
indicated. This would depend on athlete’s physiological development, resistance
training and competition schedule.
The progression allows a two-week block to adapt to each exercise. As the complexity
and intensity of the drills increase, there is a corresponding decrease in volume. This
allows, and encourages, higher efforts to be put forth in each repetition. As mentioned
before, this increase in intensity is essential for optimal power development.
Remember that this program is for illustrative purposes only. It is not meant to be a
prescription for you, or any other person.
If you are interested in safely participating in
a plyometric program, take the time to consult a professional. The knees and ankles
you save could be your own!
Illustrative 12 Week Plyometric Program for Basketball
Week 1 & 2
Sets -- Foot contacts
Ankle jumps (Stiff leg, fast ankle action, on balls of feet)
Vertical jumps (Go for repeated, fast rebounds under rim)
Front obstacle jumps (jump multiple cones or hurdles)
Lateral obstacle jumps (jumps sideways over multiple cones or hurdles)
Week 3-4
Ankle jumps (Increase air time)
Vertical jumps (Increase airtime and speed between jumps)
Front obstacle jumps (Increase distance between obstacles)
Lateral obstacle jumps (Increase distance between obstacles)
Week 5-6
Power skipping (Exaggerated skipping with powerful leg thrusts - distance)
Repeated tuck jumps (Jump and tuck knees high and feet under butt- height)
Multiple long jumps (For distance and height)
Lateral obstacle jumps (Increase distance between obstacles)
-Week 7-8
Power skipping (Increase distance covered per skip)
Repeated tuck jumps (Increase height – lots of air time)
Multiple long jumps (Increase distance and height)
Diagonal obstacle jumps (Zigzag jumps over low bench/row of cones)
Week 9-10
Alternate Leg bounding (Exaggerated running –go for distance between steps)
Single leg hops (Repeated hops on one leg for distance)
Squat jumps (Increase height of jump)
Front obstacle jumps and sprints (add a 15-20 yd. sprint after jumps)
Diagonal obstacle jumps and sprints (add a 15-20 yd. sprint after jumps)
Week 10-12
Alternate Leg bounding (Increase distance between steps)
Single leg hops (Increase total distance)
Squat jumps (Increase height of jump)
Lateral obstacle jumps and sprints (add a 15-20 yd. sprint after jumps)
Front obstacle jumps and sprints (Increase intensity of jumps and sprints)
Diagonal obstacle jumps and sprints (Increase intensity of jumps and sprints)
Plyometric Training
Explosive Training for Upper Body Power
By Juan Carlos Santana
Although we have discussed its specificity towards basketball, any athlete involved in a
sport that required lower body explosive power would have benefited from that
program. A program such as the one we will sample below will enhance the
explosiveness of the upper body. Upper body power is obviously valuable for athletes
who participate in football, baseball, basketball, tennis and a variety of other sports.
Before we continue let us quickly review the fundamentals of plyometrics.
Plyometrics revolves around the stretch reflex component. That is, in order for an
exercise to be a true plyometric exercise, it must first “pre-load” (i.e. quickly pre-stretch)
the musculature involved in the exercise. This pre-load creates a neuromuscular reflex
that allows a more forceful contraction to occur, very similar to the knee jerk that results
when a doctor taps the patellar tendon. This stretch reflex is what separates
plyometrics from other methods of power training.
Another element that is paramount in power development is the ability to “release”.
When resistance training with traditional weighted implements, or machines, 25-50% of
the energy, involved in the exercise is dedicated to decelerating (i.e. slowing down) the
weight. This deceleration is actually detrimental to optimal power development. This is
the reason why all of the plyometric exercises for the lower body involve jumping; when
one jumps up there is no deceleration. Therefore, all of the upper body exercises,
illustrated below will involve the element of release.
As we have mentioned it is imperative that an adequate strength base is developed
before attempting plyometric training. One must remember that an essential component
to plyometric training is high intensity efforts. This higher intensity is accentuated during
compressive exercise like explosive push-ups. These percussive exercises put an
enormous amount of stress on all of the associated structures (i.e. muscles, tendons,
ligaments, bones, etc.). If these anatomical structures are not properly developed, an
injury is guaranteed if these types of plyometric exercises are undertaken. This is
particularly true of the upper body. Unlike the lower body, we do not have “a lifetime” of
“base training” for the upper body. We were not born to walk, run, jump, skip and play
on our upper body. Accordingly, one cannot view the upper body as one does the lower
body when designing a plyometric program. Exercise intensities must be considered
very carefully to establish appropriate volumes for the upper body.
The last item, which we need to emphasize, is the most important. Individualization is
the key to a successful plyometric program. This is why we must emphasize that the
program we will illustrate in this article is not a prescription for anyone. It is only an
example of what an upper-body plyometric program looks like. It is here where good
knowledgeable coaching is invaluable. Although general plyometric programs are
provided for many teams and position, I do not approve of everyone following one
program. Body structures, strengths and weaknesses are highly individual and should
be addressed in that manner. A cookie-cutter plyometric program, without ongoing
evaluation, is a sure way to hurt an athlete. I have seen this many times, a coach
making a copy of a plyometric program he/she saw in a journal and using it on their
team. Parents should be aware of this and ask questions. This approach to coaching,
or training, is lazy, uneducated and unprofessional.
Now let us get to the program. The general components targeted for improvements are:
1) overhead throwing power, 2) rotational explosiveness, 3) pushing power, 4) pulling
power and 5) throwing deceleration power. Although this program focuses on upper
body power, it is necessary to understand that the energy for each exercise comes from
the ground. Therefore, in many of the exercises the lower body and core get
considerable residual training. The chain of structures that transfers energy from the
ground to the implement used is called the kinetic chain. Enhancing the kinetic chain is
a main advantage of this type of upper-body power training.
The program illustrated here is 12 weeks in duration. I have used various permutations
of this program very successfully with many of my athletes. The weekly chart includes
the number of sets and reps. I have included some figures to help with the identification
of the exercises.
This program may be implemented during the pre-season, 2 times per week in
conjunction with a 2-3-day/week resistance-training program emphasizing functional
strength and power conversion. I often mixed this program with the lower-body
plyometric program. This can be accomplished by performing lower-body program one
day and the upper-body on the next plyometric training session, or by taking half of
each of the programs and performing a mixed program twice per week. Once season
begins, cutting down to once per week may be indicated. This would depend on
athlete’s physiological development, resistance training and competition schedule. The
progression allows the complexity and intensity of the drills to increase with a
corresponding decrease in volume. The lower volume allows higher efforts to be
exerted during each repetition. As mentioned before, this increase in intensity is
essential for optimal power development. As usual, make sure you warm up
thoroughly before performing these exercises.
Many of the exercises in this program use medicine balls. The new types of medicine
balls are made of durable rubber, offering a comfortable bounce. This offers several
advantages. They allow bouncing against walls, which serves to “pre-load” the body
structures targeted. The bounce capability of the balls also allow and individual to train
by themselves. Some of the exercises I have developed over the years are illustrated in
this program. Do not attempt them, they require professional supervision and can be
dangerous if not done properly. I have included them only to demonstrate what is
possible, not what to do!
Mental Preparation
by Kevin Wood
Physical practice is no doubt extremely important. Of course, skills and strong athletic
ability will help a lot, but in order for those things to even be effective - it has to start in
your mind. Players that are mentally prepared will ALWAYS perform better than players
that don't. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. Players that mentally prepare often come through in the
clutch and overcome pressure situations when needed. The player who is mentally
tough will always stand out from his or her peers. The beautiful thing about mental
preparation is that you can mentally prepare yourself anywhere at any time. All it takes
is the patience and desire to make it happen.
Here are some things that you must go through if you want to do your absolute best on
the court.
Before a game, whether you're at home or on your way to play, you should take some
time to visualize what the game is going to be like. Close your eyes, take some deep
breaths, inhale slowly and exhale even slower. Once you feel relaxed, focus on what
the game is going to be like. Visualize the court you're going to be playing on.
Concentrate on the sounds of the crowd, the smell of sweat, the squeaking shoes and
the emotions you will feel. Simply visualize yourself being calm and cool while making
the right plays and decisions without being nervous. Imagine yourself making shots you
will typically take and imagine yourself carrying yourself with confidence in everything
you do. It's also a good idea to tell yourself that you might make a mistake or two during
the game but that it won't shake your confidence. You realize that even guys in the NBA
aren't perfect and that you will still perform with absolute confidence whether you make
a mistake or not. Even if it's only 5 minutes that you set aside to run your mind through
these thoughts it will make a world of difference. The worst thing you can do is just
show up at the court before you play without thinking at all about how you will perform.
During off-season, you should spend a lot of time working on your weaknesses in an
effort to turn them into strengths. It may seem frustrating at first, but the key is to take it
slow and keep working at a steady pace. Rushing it will only lead to frustration. Take it
slow and work on one thing at a time. Once you start seeing improvement, you can use
that to prepare mentally for situations that may involve using those moves you've
worked on. Take confidence in your thoughts that you polished up your skills and that
the practice will pay off during games.
If one night you have a terrible game and make a lot more mistakes than you think you
should have - GET OVER IT! No matter how bad you played you have to remember that
you can't go back in time to correct that and the only thing that you can do is learn from
it. Nobody else is going to think about it for more than 5 minutes after the game so why
should you?
Remind yourself that the greatest players in the NBA have a bad game every once in a
while and you can't expect yourself to be perfect. The key is to try and analyze what
caused you to make mistakes and to then use that information to make you better. DO
NOT DWELL on them though! If you have to, get back on the court to scrimmage or do
some shooting drills to remind yourself how good you really are and how much you've
improved. It's not where you've been, it's all about what direction you are going in as a
player. If you are improving from month to month you are on track.
From Hoop Skills
It is idle to dread what you cannot avoid.
-Publius Syrus
Great Coaching –
Great Coaches: How to Be the Best of the Best.
By Wayne Goldsmith |
While all great coaches are unique and very special individuals, there are some
common factors – some common championship coaching characteristics that they all
1. A commitment to continuous improvement.
2. A belief that anything is possible.
3. An understanding of where your sport has been (history of the sport), where it is
now and most importantly a vision for where it is going.
4. The confidence to be yourself – to be unique.
5. The energy to work hard consistently.
6. The strength and courage to not compromise.
7. Outstanding communication abilities.
8. An understanding of who you are, what you value and what motivates you.
9. A passion for winning – a desire to be the best.
10. The capacity to persevere and persist and continue to fight hard no matter what
obstacles you face.
 A commitment to continuous improvement.
Success is a moving target: winning this year is no guarantee of success next year.
Great coaches continue to pursue excellence and relentlessly chase personal and
professional improvement. They understand that the time to make the most significant
and effective changes to their coaching is when they are successful – i.e. they reject the
notion that winning means they have all the answers. They may be number one but they
think, act and strive to win like they are number two. They are allergic to complacency
and they reject routine, habit and sameness. They know that they must accelerate their
learning and their rate of change to win and to stay ahead of their competition. They
are not afraid to ask hard questions of themselves or to invite honest, hard, direct and
uncompromising criticism from colleagues and competitors. They know that if they are
not honest with themselves and if they fail to strive to identify and overcome their
weaknesses, their competitors will find them and exploit them at the next competition.
 A belief that anything is possible.
Belief has to come before excellence is possible. Great coaches believe in
themselves and back themselves. They understand that belief is the foundation of
success. They possess a belief which is able to withstand negatives and setbacks and
obstacles and failures.
The belief that drives a great coach is like the flow of a great river – it is unstoppable
and it sweeps aside all resistance in its path. Real progress is only possible when
fuelled by real belief. Great coaches have a sense of self belief that says to their
competition “I am here to win – and to beat me you will need to be at your best”. Their
belief gives them confidence. Their belief provides them with composure. Their belief
keeps them calm in the face of any competitive storm. Their belief gives them clarity.
And the only thing greater than their self belief is the belief they have in their athletes.
 An understanding of where your sport has been (history of the sport),
where it is now and most importantly a vision for where it is going.
Great coaches are students of their sport. They have insight and understanding
about the physical, mental, technical, tactical, strategic and cultural aspects of their
sport that is second to none. But more importantly they have a clear vision for where the
sport is going and strive every day to get there first. They do not follow. They lead the
direction of the sport through their creativity, their innovations and their intuition.
They lead – and force their opposition to follow – to have to chase them. They set the
standard and challenge everyone else to try and match it. They change the direction of
their sport – they determine the future of their profession and they become the
benchmark for future generations.
 The confidence to be yourself – to be unique.
The essence of greatness is uniqueness. It is uniqueness and daring to be different
that sets the great coaches apart from the rest. It is their courage in being innovative,
their courage in being creative and the capacity to be futurist in their thinking that helps
them achieve special things – and importantly to achieve them before their competitors.
Being the same – copying / replicating / duplicating: these things do not create
greatness. Think of all the great people you know or know of. What makes them great?
Difference, individuality, uniqueness. Great coaches do it their way. They learn from
the great coaches of the past and the present only to improve on them in the future.
They know that being the best means doing it differently. It means having the faith and
courage in yourself to keep being different when everyone around you is telling you that
difference is wrong.
 The energy to work hard consistently.
Greatness is not free. Excellence is not easy. World class coaches have an energy
and an enthusiasm which is infectious. They are often the first ones to arrive at the
training environment and the last to leave. Their attention to detail and level of
understanding about the sport, the team, each individual player and staff member
comes from spending more time working on being the best of the best. They leave
nothing to chance – they do not assume or presume – they just get on and do it
day after day after day. They inspire not with words, but with actions and the
consistency and passion and professionalism they demonstrate in all that they do. They
do not ask for respect: they earn it as a consequence of living the highest possible
standards – consistently, when fatigued and under pressure, every day of their lives.
They expect and insist on quality, detail and intensity in preparation and understand that
success comes from ensuring training is consistently more challenging and demanding
than any competition environment ever could be.
 The strength and courage to not compromise on the important things.
Compromise kills performance. It is a disease which rots the performance potential of
athletes, teams and organizations from the inside. Great coaches know this – and know
that the team who compromises the least over the season wins the premiership. All
teams begin the season talking about attitude, professionalism, team work and
standards. And most teams accept small compromises in their attitudes,
professionalism, team work and standards before the ink is dry on their Season
Trademark / Season Mission Statement documents. Great coaches create systems,
structures, processes and people who do not compromise on the things that
matter. They know that when it comes to winning and small things, that there are no
small things. They are uncompromising when it comes to honesty and seek out
athletes, coaches and staff who similarly embrace honesty as a core value.
 Outstanding communication abilities.
Coaching is communicating. And not just yelling and shouting or screaming
instructions from the sidelines. Coaching is understanding – communication and all its
subtleties. It’s being able to sit quietly with a player, talk with them about what’s
important and change his / her life. It’s about understanding how to communicate with
individuals through understanding who they are, what they value and what motivates
them. It’s about understanding how to communicate with Generation X,
Generation Y, Generation I and every Generation because you take an interest in
everything about every person you coach. It’s about listening. It’s about teaching
when you need to and learning more from the people you coach than they learn from
you. Great coaches understand that the best communication is delivering the right
message at the right time in the right way – and to do this means knowing when each
person is ready to listen.
 An understanding of who you are, what you value and what motivates you.
To coach someone to achieve their best requires you to know as much as you
can about them: who they are, what they value and what motivates them. And you
can’t coach anyone else unless you understand yourself, what you really value and
what motivates you. Great coaching comes with great personal understanding. It comes
from being able to be more honest with yourself than anyone ever has or ever could be.
Great coaches have a great sense of self – they know who they are and why they
are coaching. They know their strengths and they understand their weaknesses
and strategies for managing both. They do not need to be loved or popular or win
friends or be invited to parties. They do not need the approval of other people to make
them happy – their happiness comes from creating a winning environment and from the
satisfaction of knowing their coaching was the difference between winning and losing.
 A passion for winning – a desire to be the best.
A lot is written about balance. The great coaches have none. Balance is only for
those who do not live excellence or who find the challenge of competition stressful and
difficult. To the great coaches there is winning or there is nothing. Great coaches thrive
in competition. They seek opportunities to test themselves against the best. They
pursue opportunities to challenge themselves in the toughest and most demanding
situations. To them, the harder the competition, the greater the challenge and the
more difficult the environment, the more they love the contest. Nothing excites
them more than the competitive environment: the grand final, the Olympic Games, the
world titles….they live for the contest.
They do not experience competition anxiety – only impatience for the opportunity to test
themselves again. They only play golf or jog or go to the gym or go to the movies to give
themselves more time to think about coaching. They do not switch off – they are only
coaching or sleeping and even then most of them will dream about coaching.
 The capacity to persevere and persist and continue to fight hard no matter
what obstacles you face.
Great coaches are fighters. Their commitment, their desire, their passion and their self
belief fuels their capacity to fight for what they believe in. They know that no one will
make their life easy or their path to greatness simple. They revel in politics. They thrive
in conflict. They enjoy passionate argument. They invite intelligent objection knowing
that in professional coaching nothing provides the opportunity for growth like conflict.
They know that nothing worth having comes easy and that real friendships and enduring
relationships grow from adversity. They can say “no” – and in doing so provide
opportunity for learning. They can say “no” and stand by their decisions in the face of
overwhelming obstacles and political pressures.
Many coaches believe that being world class means another accreditation. Or another
award. Or one more degree.
Some believe being the best of the best means having the best sports science, the most
equipment, the best facilities and the most talented staff.
Others believe it is simply a matter of good luck, good timing and being able to buy the
best athletes.
For the great ones, coaching is who they are – not what they do. It is their personality,
their character, their ambition, their drive, their passion, their values and their soul. It is
the air they breathe and it is every beat of their heart.
World class coaching: Do you have what it takes?
 Continuous improvement
 Self belief
 Vision
 Uniqueness
 Energy and consistency
 No compromises
 Communication
 Self knowledge / self understanding
 Passion / desire
 Perseverance and Persistence
-- Wayne Goldsmith
You are a salesperson, whether you know it or not. You are always
selling your ideas to others, even if they are not "customers" in the
classic sense. So if you want to improve your rate of "sales" or be
more convincing to others, change you attitude to viewing yourself as
helping others, instead of selling others. You have great ideas,
products, etc, so you are in fact helping other people if they use
them. If you had the latest invention in the fight to cure a disease,
you wouldn't be bashful about asking people to use it would you?
Think of yourself the same way with whatever idea or product you are
trying to get across and you will become "Salesperson" of the year, I
guarantee it.
-- Edward W. Smith
1 looks for 4.
When 2 is about to receive the ball, 3 moves in
closer toward the basket to set up his man for the
second down screen. 4 back screens for 1 on the
pass to 2.
1 runs the baseline using 5, 4 flare screens for 2
on the pass to 3, 3 cuts weak side on a pass to 1
or 5.
Or 3 passes to 4, who can pass to 1, who can pass
to 5 or play pick and roll with him.
If the ball goes to 2 or 3 on the other side, 4 cuts to
the low post, 5 moves up to the high post.
Play 1
Option - 3 uses 5's screen rather than 2's.
Play 3
(a) pass to a forward
(b) pass to the other guard
(c) pass to the high post
Dribble hand-off with 4 or pass to 2 and ball