Keys to Winning Basketball Games and Championships

Keys to Winning Basketball Games and Championships

So much goes into winning and losing basketball games. Coaches and teams prepare to the best of their ability, but sometimes the ball bounces in the other team’s favor. Wins remain joyous, while losses hurt for days.

Coaches have a number of elements to consider in this regard, including how to get a team to think like champions.

20 Keys To Winning Basketball Games and Championships

Developing a winning basketball program often comes down to the details. Here’s a list of 20 keys to creating the right culture to start winning championships this season!

1.  Find the Correct People, Program, School or Location

The first step in this process is hiring the right coaches. You’ll want a loyal group that shares your vision for the team. Beyond that, you’ll need to consider the school, including elements like atmosphere, community, and the reality of competition. Beyond that, when assembling your roster, remember, hard working players lead to winning basketball.

2. Have Well-Defined Roles

It’s important to have well-defined roles in your program. Everyone should be connected and understand where they fit. For players, it’s important to understand not everyone can be the star. Role players often hold the key to winning basketball championships. Also, think about how you’ll manage your summer requirements, as well as the players’ participation in other sports.

3. Get Out of Their Way

A key factor in winning basketball is letting the players play. Don’t “over coach” or over complicate the game. Don’t panic. And perhaps most importantly, be willing to change your approach.

4. When Picking Your Team Look For Players Who:
  • Score and Handle The Ball
  • Shoot Free Throws Well
  • Handle Pressure

Players will excel in what you emphasize.

5. Understand That Success Is NOT Immediate

As the cliche goes, Rome was not built in a take. Take time to teach the skills and approaches you want your players to master.

6. Pick A Style You Believe In

When it comes down to developing your basketball philosophy, pick one that fits you and your personality. That will make it easier to sell to your players. Remember, there’s more than one way to develop a winning basketball team. Be ready to adjust the system with different groups each season.

7. Find A Common Goal / Theme

Examine your expectations in preseason and be ready to change as the need arises. Loop in all the voices involved in your program, including assistant coaches, players, families, even school administration. Set clear and attainable goals for the team and individual players.

8. Plan For IT

Creating a winning basketball culture and competition for championships takes buy-in and preparation. Keep realistic expectations but push your players to get better every day. Put your players in situations where they can succeed.

9. Once You Get To The BIG Game Act Like You Belong

Once you and your program has made it to the highest level, stay in your routine. Control what is in your ability to control and block out all the noise. The players will feel ready if you’ve prepared them along the way.

10. Rest

Keep in mind the grind. Fatigue can make a coward of anyone, so limit long practice sessions in season. Shorten and streamline your approaches. Don’t overtrain your players–that’ll lead to burnout.

11. Be Aggressive

That said, be aggressive in your style and approach. Incorporate innovation and instill the idea that no one can give you a win, you must take it.

12. Give Them a Reason To Win

Give your players something to believe in preseason by finding a hook. Consider things like emotion, the underdog story, or program history.

13. Keep Learning

As a coach, always keep learning. Communities like the one at helps find like-minded coaches willing to share approaches and in successes.

14. Outside Evaluation

Find someone outside your program to help you evaluate your approach. A fresh set of eyes might find a new angle that you haven’t considered.

15 . Over Prepare

Coaches should over prepare and out work their opponents. This is done though scouting, pouring over reports and tapes, then relaying that information in the classroom to players.

16. WIN

Teach your players how to win and how to handle adversity. It’ll help pull victories from the jaws of defeat and help grab wins in unlikely scenarios.

17. Expect The Unexpected

If it can happen, it will happen. Try to control outside factors as much as possible, but understand you won’t be able to control everything. One of the hallmarks of a winning basketball team is it’s depth, so develop that as best you can.

18. Find Leaders

Filling out your roster is the most important part of the preparation process, but picking the right captains remains a high priority for winning programs. Talk on and off the court with your leaders to help foster that communication. This will model healthy relationships for your players.

19. Visualize

Visualize the winning your local or state basketball championship. See it, then sell that vision to the players in your locker room.

20. Be Lucky


Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep 1434 Building a Winning Program and all it Entails

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Death of a Basketball Season

Death of a Basketball Season

This is a conversation between PGC founder Dena Evans and a High School Player. What a great conversation about between coach and player. It touches on the death, or end, of a basketball season.

Death of a Basketball Season

Dear Coach Dena,

I’m writing to share with you some feelings I’ve been having since my season came to an end. I am hoping that you will have some insights or thoughts to pass along to me.

First, let me just give you some facts about my season so you get a general overview. We finished 18-6 in the regular season. We won our first game and lost in the semi-finals to the team who won comfortably in the finals. Our game against them was a close game.

What I’m basically feeling is a strong sense of disappointment and sadness.

Last year, I was upset that we had lost (in the first round of the playoffs), but I was able to look back on the season and I was happy about it. But this year it’s a different story. I’ve been left with that feeling of wanting more, thinking about what could have happened, or how it could have been different had we won that game.

Perhaps part of it is knowing that I’ll never get the chance to play competitive basketball with some of my teammates ever again. Perhaps part of it is just missing spending time with the guys in the locker room, or out at team dinner. Either way, it’s been a tough pill to swallow for me. This year it just felt as if the dream and the goal of winning the State Championship had kind of slipped through our hands, and it was really just two games away…and the fact that I think this was our best shot, is maybe irrational, but something that makes it harder.
It’s tough to really get it all out there on the page, but that’s about the best I can do as far as explaining my thoughts for now. Any words would be greatly appreciated.


Death of a Basketball Season: Coach’s Response

Hey Josh,

First off, congrats on a GREAT season. I say “great” not because of your record or how far you got (or didn’t get) in the playoffs. The ‘congrats’ is because (based on your email and on what I know about who you are) you gave this basketball season, your team, your coaches, your school, and yourself the very best you had to give. I realize that may sound hollow to you in this moment, but one day, when your career is over, I promise you that this will be the one thing you will be most proud of, and it’s what will give you the most peace about your career, no matter how many championships you win or don’t win.

But for now, I can totally understand and relate to everything you have said. I’ve been there. More than once…

My senior year of high school, we lost in the game to go to “State” (a big deal in Texas because only 4 teams go). My goal since 6th grade was to win a state championship. I was devastated.

One of the main reasons I went to the University of Virginia was to win a national championship. My sophomore year of college, after being ranked #1 most of the season, we lost to Tennessee in overtime of the national championship game. Devastated again.

My junior year, again after being ranked #1 all season, we lost in DOUBLE OT of the national semi-finals to Stanford. Once again…devastated.

My senior year, after all the best players on our team had graduated and I had become the unquestioned team leader, we played as the underdog all year. We made it all the way to the Elite 8 and lost to Ohio State in the game to go back to the Final Four when my coach called time out just as I was releasing the game-winning 3-pointer. I hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded, but it was waived off because the ref said my coach called the time out with 0.7 seconds on the clock. That was the way my college career ended. Devastated times a thousand.

Unless you’re the team that wins the last game of the season, I have never been able to figure out how to feel anything *but* sadness and disappointment at the end of a season, at least for a while.

I think you just need to allow yourself time to grieve. The word “grieve” may sound crazy because I know it’s not like anybody died or there was any great “tragedy.” But you *have* suffered a profound loss. The death of your basketball season (which you cared deeply about) is difficult. You will never play on this particular team (which you gave so much of yourself to for so many months) again; and you will never be high school teammates with some of those guys again (and those kinds of bonds are rare and special and hard to replicate in the “real world”).

People who have never experienced those kinds of losses can never understand just how much all of that hurts. You gave yourself completely to something, and it didn’t turn out like you wanted. And to make it even worse, now it’s gone. Over. Done. That’s hard and it hurts.

But (and this is the part you probably don’t want to hear, but it’s true so I’ll say it anyway…) that’s how life works. Everything passes. You’ll eventually lose everything-your parents, your friends, your health, your pets, your youth, and, inevitably, your life. It’s all gonna pass away, just like this season, and this team.

Which, to me, is all the more reason to give those things you love and care about everything you’ve got. It all goes by so fast, and the ONLY thing you’re guaranteed is that it WILL, in fact, go by.

This can all be pretty depressing UNLESS you just accept it as reality (because it is), and THEN you can be freed up to focus all your energy and attention on giving every single moment of the rest of your career the very best you’ve got….which brings me back to my very first point in this email.

As the seasons go by, and as you experience the feelings of sadness and disappointment that you’re experiencing now, and as you begin to get a clearer and clearer sense of the finite-ness (not sure if that’s a word) of your career, your sense of urgency will grow exponentially. That’s why seniors often play with such care and passion. It’s why aging superstars are willing to take less money and less playing time to get on a team that has a chance to win a championship. You begin to realize what matters and what doesn’t, and you begin to sense how precious an opportunity it is to get to be an athlete who’s playing for something that matters with people who matter to you.

So my point is…everything you’re feeling right now is appropriate and even good. Don’t resist it. Be sad. Be disappointed…Until you’re not anymore (and it will go away, I promise). And then, you will do what every great athlete and every great hero does…you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off, dream your next dream, and you’ll go at it again…even though you know the risk and how much it will hurt when it’s over. But really, that’s the only way to fly in my opinion. Way more fun, exciting, meaningful, and fulfilling than living a life where you play small and never put your heart on the line for anything that matters to you.

And one last thing…while winning a championship *would* feel really sweet and could be incredibly rewarding, the truth is that even THAT feeling will pass after a few weeks or even days.

And then you would STILL have to feel the sadness and disappointment of not playing with some of your teammates again and of not ever having this particular team together again. So don’t fall into the trap of believing that winning a championship will make you not have to feel the pain of the ending of something you love. Granted, it would make it a lot easier and is the preferable way to end a season. But what’s *more* important is always that you gave your best in every moment, regardless of whether or not you were fortunate enough to be on the team that won the last game of the season.

Those are my quick thoughts. I’m really glad you decided to write me. You’re doing big things, even though you may be feeling like you came up short this season. These are important conversations and important life moments, and it’s an honor to get to share them with you.

Stay in touch,

Related: Post-Season Basketball Team Meetings

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3 Ways to Maximize Your Time (As a Coach and Player)

3 Ways to Maximize Your Time (As a Coach and Player)

To maximize your time means to be as efficient as possible with a given task. For coaches, this often results in hours of prep time practicing planning. That time provides coaches with the opportunity to organize their thoughts and approaches. There are ways to simplify practice planning, but what if you’re a player? Maximizing your time as a player is just as important.

Maximize Your Time: Stretch Yourself

The idea here goes beyond the physical. Of course, athletes need to stretch to prepare and prevent injury. Muscles require this sort of physical manipulation in order to perform at their peak. Stretching also helps athletes gain more from their muscles in terms of ability and reach.

But it’s important to remember the concept of stretching yourself goes beyond the physical. Our brains are muscles, and they need stretching too. During down moments, how do you maximize your time? Coaches and players, really everyone, should look to learn new skills and appreciate new ideas as often as possible.

Being an athlete or a coach shouldn’t mean you’re consuming only sports-related content. Stretch beyond the limits of your sport to other realms. NBA coaches often turn to business gurus for advice on team building. Coaches seek bonding events and different ways to create connections for their players. And many of those ideas often comes after looking to places other than the gym.

Stretch yourself as often as possible, being a lifelong learner.

Maximize Your Time: Drop Comparisons

Comparing yourself to others can often be a rollercoaster ride. As coaches, we can’t help but look at the teams on our schedules and immediately stack our team right beside those. While it’s valuable to assess our team, to do so through the lens of another team can often be harmful. In the same way that people should avoid constantly comparing themselves to those around them, coaches need to focus on developing the team they have, and not necessarily the team they want.

Coaches can’t worry about what other teams are doing during the summer, or how their rivals are preparing for the season. You should evaluate your squad, and seek to develop practice approaches to improve your players. Constantly comparing your team, or yourself, to another can be an exercise in futility.

Drop comparisons with others because you’re not that team, or you’re not that coach. Focus on yourself, your team, and how to make things better. Coaches can look for way to improve focus and fun at practice and might immediately see dividends being paid.

Maximize Your Time: Be Okay with Making Mistakes

Teachers often assign homework to their students in order to gauge the understanding of a given lesson. Coaches practice similar habits following games and fold this information into the next day’s practice plan. None of us are perfect, so we should understand that we’re going to make mistakes from time to time. It’s important to accept that reality so we can see these moments as learning opportunities instead of abject failures.

It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re learning from them. By learning from your mistakes, you can avoid making the same ones in the future. You’re growing as a coach, as a person. For the players, making mistakes is part of the game. There’s literally a column for it on the stat sheet: turnovers. Players should push themselves to hone new skills in individual workouts. Understand that it won’t be perfect, especially not at the start.

Coach Collins says when his team is working on two ball drills, “if the ball isn’t bouncing all over the gym, you’re not pushing yourself.”

Steve Nash famously said: “I am uncomfortable being comfortable.” NBA trainer Tim Groover said something similar:

“Bottom line–if you want success of any kind; you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Understanding and accepting that you’re going to make mistakes, as a player and as a coach, will help maximize your time. This is an important part of the growth process. Coaches can help prepare their teams to learn from their mistakes by teaching situational basketball.


Related: 3 Key Basketball Intangibles for Young Players to Develop


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 461 Three Ways to Maximize your Time as a Player or Coach


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3-2-1 Basketball Shooting Drill

3-2-1 Basketball Shooting Drill

We also know that you can’t just waltz into a gym and tell your players to shoot some shots and call it a day. You can’t just yell “GAME SPEED” and expect them to always push themselves; you need to develop drills and put them in situations where players will compete against each other. Coach has you covered here with his 3-2-1 basketball shooting drill.

For Free Basketball drills, videos, practice plans and much more CLICK HERE

Basketball Shooting Drill

Do you have a kid(s) or a team that just loves to shoot? If you’re reading this either yes is your answer… or the answer is no it is because YOU love to shoot! Everybody in the game now knows how important shooting is; we’re entering a new “space and pace” era of basketball where the trend is to be able to attack the rim and finish or kick to an open shooter. 1-5 players today are expected to be able to hit open 15+ footers.

There always seems to be 5 spots around the perimeter that you can expect to shoot from: corner 3s (the big NBA shot), wings and top of the key. Coach has these covered with this basketball shooting drill.

Three makes (any amount of shots) all the way around for 15 makes. Then, the shooter has to hit two consecutive from those same 5 spots. This will amount to 10 makes. The following time through, the shooter has to make 1 from all the spots. Without missing. That’s 5 straight, 1 from each of the 5 spots.

Reps and Focus

How does this help? Of course, it allows you to get up (probably) a lot of shots in a short amount of time. It forces a shooter to focus, to forget about the last miss, build that mental toughness that is required to win games and compete in life.

This drill is not an easy drill to just start off your players with unless you want them to see how much they need to improve! I wouldn’t, obviously, use this as a team drill but it can be great for individual workouts. Players will get fatigued, salty, and frustrated at times; that’s why a coach should love it!

Modifying the Drill

If you like the concept of this drill but aren’t there yet, you can surely modify it. You can modify the distance to develop range and/or confidence in a shooter.

If you have a big, why not go short corners, elbows, and FT line? Those are shots bigs often get in most offensive systems or against zones.

Shooters aren’t good enough (yet)? No need to change any of the first 3 makes from each spot. I don’t think you should change the two in a row either, but the final 5 makes? If your shooter isn’t at that spot yet, why not give them a “2nd opportunity.” IE: Shooter makes 1st 3 from corner, moves to wing and misses. Give the shooter another opportunity to make the 3; if they make it. Move on. Miss? Start over.

Overall, another great drill with so much individual focus to build range, confidence, perseverance, and that gritty knockdown mentality that shooters need to excel in the game before, now, and as long as it is played.

For Free Basketball drills, videos, practice plans and much more CLICK HERE

Related: Basketball Shooting Drill For Any Level

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3 Key Basketball Intangibles for Young Players to Develop

3 Key Basketball Intangibles for Young Players to Develop

One of the many challenges as I have faced as a coach who has coached at lower levels is keying on the skills younger players need to develop over the summer. The “Dog Days of Summer” bring family vacations, traveling baseball and players expanding their game through AAU teams and individual workouts with personal trainers. In today’s coaching world, it’s important to encourage our players to participate in these activities. But developing the mental skills for our younger players preparing for the varsity level is crucial. This article will focus on 3 basketball intangibles you want to key in on as a coach to help your players prepare for their next season at the lower level, and prepare for the grind of the season.

Basketball Intangibles

1. Being Coachable

This is the most overused phrase in coach’s vocabulary but it is one of the most important traits for my players to have when the season rolls around in November. As coaches, we have all been at the summer league game where two fouls are called all game or the ref leisurely gets across half-court because they have worked several games in a row. The importance of these games goes beyond a few bad calls or getting into the gold bracket.

Don’t get me wrong, success in these games is important, but summer brings a unique opportunity for us as coaches to teach our players what it means to be coachable. The most important key as coaches in a summer league atmosphere is to teach our players through mistakes. In addition, to help them understand how to be responsive to constructive criticism.

It is imperative to talk, respond, and give our players positive feedback to enhance their skills physically. Also, to build rapport and install the understanding that being coachable is a win for our team, themselves, and for their teammates. Rewarding coachability in the summertime builds better relationships, will get you the most out of your players, and build a culture that creates accountability and understanding.

2. Accountability

Building accountability within your players is a necessary skill for the most successful teams. As I alluded to previously, guys have a lot going on in the summer. One of the more frustrating challenges as a coach is having different guys every weekend or having 6 guys for a whole weekend. We understand as adults, that life happens, families travel and kids need to be kids.

As a player and young coach, I have found that players become very frustrated when their teammates are no shows without communication. I tell my guys that your how successful you are in the season is how hard you work when no one is in the gym. This principle applies to showing up and being accountable as a player. I tell my guys I am a reasonable person and my family traveled a lot when I was a kid too. But the idea of not showing up without notice or communication is a slap to the face to your teammates who come to work every day.

Hey, I know if I didn’t show up teach my class without calling in or communication I would be in hot water. So this is a quality to teach your players for success on the court and success off the court later down the road. But, holding players accountable cannot just be on you, it is our job as coaches to teach and develop our players into leaders. Inspire your players to hold each other accountable to show up and work.

3. Communication

Teaching communication comes from multiple angles in the summertime. The most important key of teaching communication is teaching communication on the court. The most successful programs teach communication. Summer league can be frustrating because of the factors discussed above. But it is important as the leader to facilitate and stress the importance of on-court communication despite the unusual circumstances of summer basketball. Good teams communicate, and that is essential to tell your guys. Demand that they talk through on screens on defense, pick each other up on the bench, and communicate with you during the game.

The second angle of communication that is necessary to focus on is player-to coach communication. Educators and coaches know the importance of positive relationships in motivating players to get the job done. Relationships cannot just be a 6-month season but rather a 365-day commitment by us as leaders.

Don’t be the coach that needs to be the “LaVar Ball” of the gym. Be tough on your players, but understand the situation. Summertime is supposed to be a time for players to refine their skills, build rapport and develop confidence.

Focus on Developing Basketball Intangibles in Young Players

Not every player is going to be able to develop an opposite-hand or a floater. They might not add 25 pounds to their frame in the off-season. Something I learned as a coach is to have systems in place for the summer to develop these physical skills. However, we also need to focus on developing young players’ intangibles. The mental development is just as important as the physical skills developed in the off-season. The teams that work on and develop communication skills, accountability, and coachability in the summer find ways to win on the last shot, dive on loose balls, take charges and are willing to go the extra mile to win basketball games when it matters.

Brett Pickarts <> / @Coach_Pickarts


Related: Youth Basketball: Reducing Turnovers with Gold


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401 Inspirational Basketball Quotes To Motivate Your Team

401 Inspirational Basketball Quotes To Motivate Your Team

Are you looking for basketball quotes for you team to motivate them on and off the court?  I have done the work for you. I think that what makes these quote unique is that they are basketball quotes for girls and boys.

John Wooden Basketball Quotes

My philosophy of defense is to keep the pressure on an opponent until you get to his emotions – John Wooden
  • 1. Be on time. 2. Never criticize a teammate. 3. Never use profanity.
  • You’d like to see your team reasonably happy, but that’s not your job. Gain their respect and get them to accept their roles.
  • I do not judge success based on championships; rather, I judge it on how close we came to realizing our potential.
  • When the legs go, the heart soon follows.
  • Young men need more models, not critics.
  • You’d like to see your team reasonably happy, but that’s not your job. Gain their respect and get them to accept their roles.
  • I do not judge success based on championships; rather, I judge it on how close we came to realizing our potential.
  • My philosophy of defense is to keep the pressure on an opponent until you get to his emotions.

Winning Basketball Quotes

Instead of wanting to win, we expected to win. There’s a lifetime between wanting something and expecting something. When you expect something, it means you’ve prepared, done the work, and EXPECT TO WIN!! – Red McCombs, Minnesota Vikings Owner
  • Don’t think about winning. Think about dominating! – Pierre Pryor
  • The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them. – Denis Watley
Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is. – Vince Lombardi
  • The superior man blames himself. An inferior man blames others. – Don Shula, Former Miami Dolphins coach
  • The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will. – Vince Lombardi
  • It is better to be boldly decisive and risk being wrong than to agonize at length be be right too late. – Marilyn Moats Kennedy
  • Men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed. – L. Jones
  • The true champion loses many battles before winning the war. – Unknown
  • The greatest match a man can win is won within. – Unknown


I can take anyone down at anytime; they can’t take me down; no one can ride or turn me; I can control anyone. – Dan Gable
  • When we trust God, He can make the ordinary extraordinary! – John C. Maxwell
  • The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. – William James
  • Change your thoughts and you change your world. – Norman Vincent Peale
  • Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. – Lou Holtz
  • Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first time or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. – Betty Smith
Winning is a habit, but unfortunately so is losing. – Vince Lombardi
  • A great many people seem to end up over the hill without ever having actually climbed it!- Unknown
  • Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. – Ralph W. Emerson
  • Our attitude is the primary force that will determine whether we succeed or fail. – John C. Maxwell
  • “I can’t do it” never yet accomplished anything; “I will try” has performed wonders. – George P. Burnham
  • Ability is important, dependability is critical! – Alexander Lockheart
  • The wise does at once what the fool does at last. – Gracian Baltasar
  • Some people who yearn for endless life don’t even know what to do with a rainy afternoon. – Harvey H. Potthoff
  • To avoid criticism do nothing…say nothing…be nothing! – Elbert Hubbard
  • Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it. – Irving Berlin
  • The roads we take are more important than the goals we announce. Decisions determine destiny. – Frederick Speakman
Yes, it’s true: We can’t control the wind or the rain or the other vagaries of weather. But we can tack our sails such that we can steer the course we desire. – Unknown
  • He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has. – Henry Ward Beecher
  • Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done. – Josh Billings
  • Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the neglected opportunity. – Omar Idn Al-Halif
  • Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. – Mark Twain
  • The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.- Albert Einstein
  • Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty. – John Huston Finley
  • I’ve always felt it was not up to anyone else to make me give my best. – Akeem Olajuwon
  • She didn’t know it couldn’t be done, so she went ahead and did it. – Mary’s Almanac
  • The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. – Arthur C. Clarke
  • You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction. – Alvin Toffler
  • Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that. – Norman Vincent Peale
  • A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing. – George Bernard Shaw
  • Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude. – Timothy Bentley
It’s not your blue blood, your pedigree or your college degree. It’s what you do with your life that counts. – Millard Fuller
  • No one knows what he can do until he tries. – Unknown
  • Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are. – Marianne Williamson
  • To help me stay positively charged I will practice maintaining a positive attitude each day. – Unknown
  • There are two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
  • When you do not know what you are doing and what you are doing is the best – that is inspiration. – Robert Bresson
  • He that will not sail till all dangers are over must never put to sea. – Thomas Fuller
  • Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man; but sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can. – Vince Lombardi


Adversity weakens the weak and strengthens the strong. – Unknown
  • If it weren’t for the dark days, we wouldn’t know what it is to walk in the light. – Earl Campbell, former NFL fullback
  • Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm. – Norman Vincent Peale
  • That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. – Unknown
  • Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. – African Proverb
  • Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. – Unknown
  • It is a rough road that leads to heights of greatness. – Seneca
  • In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. – Anonymous
  • We all face a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. – Unknown
  • Close scrutiny will show that most crisis situations are opportunities to either advance, or stay where you are. – Maxwell Maltz
  • I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. – Mother Teresa
  • Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. – James Rogers
  • The Difficult is that which can be done immediately; the Impossible that which takes a little longer. – George Santayana
  • Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. – Dale Carnegie
  • The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. – Unknown
  • Triumphs without difficulties are empty. Indeed, it is difficulties that make the triumph. It is no feat to travel the smooth road. – Unknown
  • Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you. – Denis Waitley
Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. – Michael Jordan
  • If I’d known how many problems I was going to run into before I finished, I can’t remember a single project I would have started. – Andy Rooney
  • A desire can overcome all objections and obstacles. – Gunderson
  • Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn
  • Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. – Bernice Johnson Reason
  • Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it. – Washington Irving
  • Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. – Theodore N. Vail
  • No matter how difficult the challenge, when we spread our wings of faith and allow the winds of God’s spirit to lift us, no obstacle is too great to overcome. – Roy Lessin
  • Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. – Norman Vincent Peale
  • Every adversity carries with it the seeds of a greater benefit! – Napoleon Hill


Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. – Unknown
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. – John Wooden
  • The real measure of a man’s worth is how much he would be worth if he lost all his money. – Harold J. Smith
  • It may be all right to be content with what you have; never with what you are. – C. Forbes
  • A person’s true character is revealed by what he does when no one is watching.- Unknown
  • Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime. – Unknown
  • Good intentions are not good enough… ultimately we are measured by our actions. – Unknown
  • Language is the expression of thought. Every time you speak your mind is on parade. – Unknown
  • Your words are windows to your heart. – Unknown
The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges. – Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Ignorance is always swift to speak. – Unknown
  • Although the tongue weighs very little, few people are able to hold it. – Unknown
  • Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. – Helen Gahagan Douglas
  • Your temper is like a fire. It gets very destructive when it gets out of control. – Unknown
  • How a man plays the game shows something of his character; how he loses shows all of it. – Frosty Westering
  • Dollars have never been known to produced character, and character will never be produced by money. – W. K.Kellogg
  • Sports do not build character; they reveal it. – Unknown
  • A man of character does not expect to be liked by everyone, nor does he worry about being liked by anyone. – William A. Welker
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. – Henry Ford


What you tolerate you encourage. – Unknown
  • Hire the best people and then delegate. – Carol A. Taber
  • A coach’s job is to see the team not as it is, but as it can become. – Unknown
  • The fullness or emptiness of life will be measured by the extent to which a man feels that he has an impact on the lives of others. – Kingman Brewster
  • It’s not what you tell your players that counts. It’s what they hear. – Red Auerbach
  • Success … has nothing to do with what you gain or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others. – Danny Thomas
  • Mama wanted me to be a preacher. I told her coachin’ and preachin’ were a lot alike. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • The standard of excellence on any job site is defined by the sloppiest piece of work you will accept. -F. Jones
But it’s still a coach’s game. Make no mistake. You start at the top. If you don’t have a good one at the top, you don’t have a cut dog’s chance. If you do, the rest falls into place. You have to have good assistants, and a lot of things, but first you have to have the chairman of the board. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • Always have a plan and believe in it. I tell my coaches not to compromise. Nothing good happens by accident. There must be a plan for everything and the plan will prevent you from overlooking little things. By having that plan, you’ll be secure and self-doubts will never become a factor. – Chuck Knox
  • Effective coaches live in the present, but concentrate on the future. – Unknown
  • I would rather be known for coaching great men then coaching great wrestlers – Howard Fergusson
  • You have the greatest chance of winning when your first commitment is to a total and enthusiastic involvement in the game itself. Enthusiasm is what matters most. – John Brodie
  • There are no little things. – Bruce Barton
  • We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill
  • Some coaches are so busy learning the tricks of the trade that they never learn the trade. – Pete Emelianchik
  • You can accomplish anything in life provided you do not mind who gets the credit. – Harry S. Truman
As teachers and coaches, we must remember that when mere winning is our only goal, we are doomed to disappointment and failure. But when our goal is to try to win, when our focus is on preparation and sacrifice and effort instead of on numbers on a scoreboard then we will never lose. – Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University basketball coach
  • To a group of wrestling coaches: Promote your sport or lose it! – Bobby Douglas, Iowa State University
  • People matter more than winning and courage matters more than skill. – Michael J. Gray
  • One of my goals is to have NO wrestler go undefeated. – Jeff Buxton, Blair Academy
  • The most important statistic for a wrestling coach isn’t how many dual meets the team won nor the number of state champs they produced. It’s the number of wrestlers they had in the room on the last day of practice. – Greg DeMarco
Yelling doesn’t win ball games. It doesn’t put any points on the scoreboard. And I don’t think words win ball games all the time. Players do. Preparation does. – Jerry Tarkanian
  • Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • If you want to coach you have three rules to follow to win. One, surround yourself with people who can’t live without football. I’ve had a lot of them. Two, be able to recognize winners. They come in all forms. And, three, have a plan for everything. A plan for practice, a plan for the game. A plan for being ahead and a plan for being behind 20-0 at half, with your quarterback hurt and the phones dead. With it raining cats and dogs and no rain gear because the equipment man left it at home. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
Don’t overwork your squad. If you’re going to make a mistake, under-work them. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • If there is one thing that has helped me as a coach, it’s my ability to recognize winners, or good people who can become winners by paying the price. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • Children have more need of models than critics. – Carolyn Coats
  • Greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. – Richard Moss, M.D.
  • The happiest people are those who have harvested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy. – John C. Maxwell
Winning is the science of being totally prepared.- George Allen
  • Find your own picture, your own self in anything that goes bad. It’s awfully easy to mouth off at your staff or chew out players, but if it’s bad, and your the head coach, you’re responsible. If we have an intercepted pass, I threw it. I’m the head coach. If we get a punt blocked, I caused it. A bad practice, a bad game, it’s up to the head coach to assume his responsibility. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • The old lessons (work, self-discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, fighting to achieve) aren’t being taught by many people other than football coaches these days. A football coach has a captive audience and can teach these lessons because the communication lines between himself and his players are more wide open than between kids and parents. We better teach these lessons or else the country’s future population will be made up of a majority of crooks, drug addicts, or people on relief. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
If anything goes bad, I did it. Anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you. – Paul “Bear” Bryan
  • You have to learn what makes this or that Sammy run. For one it’s a pat on the back, for another it’s eating him out, for still another it’s a fatherly talk, or something else. You’re a fool if you think as I did as a young coach, that you can treat them all alike. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • I’m no innovator. If anything I’m a stealer, or borrower. I’ve stolen or borrowed from more people than you can shake a stick at. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • If you whoop and holler all the time, the players just get used to it. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • Praise in public, criticize in private. – Unknown
Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. – Henry Ford
  • Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day. -Unknown
  • After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral? When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut. – Will Rogers
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. – Will Rogers
  • It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test. – Elbert Hubbard
  • There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. – Will Rogers
  • What you tolerate you encourage – Unknown
  • Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield. – Unknown


Concentrate on each task, whether trivial or crucial, as if it’s the only thing that matters. – Mark H. McCormack
  • Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things. – Lawrence D. Bell
  • Nothing is more harmful to the service than the neglect of discipline; for discipline, more than numbers, gives one army superiority over another. – George Washington
  • When I’d get tired and want to stop, I’d wonder what my next opponent was doing. I’d wonder if he was still working out. Then I tried to visualize him. When I could see him still working, I’d start pushing myself. When I could see him in the shower, I’d push myself harder. – Dan Gable
  • Bad habits are like a good bed; easy to get into but difficult to get out of. – Unknown
  • If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through. – Rosalyn Carter
  • Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period. – Lou Holtz
  • A closed mouth gathers no foot. – Unknown


Nobody who ever gave their best effort regretted it. – George Halas
  • Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt
  • It’s not important whom you wrestle; your biggest opponent wears your uniform. You must overcome your own short comings. – Mitch Clark
  • When I go out there, I like to mark out that area of the mat and own it. I want to dominate and I want to humiliate. I want to show that guy and everyone in the gym that I am the best. “Abuse” doesn’t sound right, but that’s it. – Peter Yozzo, Lehigh University
  • Anybody can win the matches you can dominate, but it’s the tough matches that are going to make the difference. -Jim Zalesky


Repeated actions are stored as habits. If the repeated actions aren’t fundamentally sound, then what comes out in a game can’t be sound. What comes out will be bad habits. – Chuck Knox
  • If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over? – Jeffrey J. Mayer
  • Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition. – Unknown
  • You can drill and waste your time or you can drill and get better. Either way we will drill! – Unknown
  • It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. – Claude M. Bristol


The biggest thing that I felt basketball could do for me was help me get a good education. – Julius Erving
  • If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing is more important than the ability to communicate effectively. – Gerald R. Ford
  • Even in the dictionary, academics come before athletics. – William A. Welker
  • I will study and prepare myself . . . and someday my chance will come. – Abraham Lincoln
  • Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something. Don’t just stand there, make something happen. – Lee Iacocca
  • Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving. – Unknown


If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. – David Campbell
  • More men fail through lack of purpose than lack of talent. – Billy Sunday
  • Set goals – high goals for you and your organization. When your organization has a goal to shoot for, you create teamwork, people working for a common good. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • The poorest man is not without a cent, but without a dream. – Unknown
  • Remember a goal isn’t a goal until it is in writing, until then it’s a dream and everyone has dreams. – Unknown
  • Setting goals for your game is an art. The trick is in setting them at the right level neither too low nor too high. -Gleg Norman
  • The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it. – Mack R. Douglas
All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney
  • You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the other shore. – Unknown
  • The secret of unleashing your true power is setting goals that are exciting enough to inspire your creativity and ignite your passion. – Anthony Robbins
  • High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation. – Jack Kinder
  • An obstacle is what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. – Unknown

Hard Work

Most men stop when they begin to tire. Good men go until they think they are going to collapse. But the very best know the mind tires before the body, and push themselves further and further, beyond all limits. Only when their limits are shattered can the attainable be reached. – Mark Mysnyk
  • I don’t choose to be a common man. I want to be better tomorrow than today. And through a commitment to work and discipline, but mostly hard work. I’ll be a little more content, and a little different from the average guy. – J. Robinson
  • Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare. – Japanese proverb
  • If you don’t invest much of yourself, then defeat doesn’t hurt very much and winning isn’t very exciting. – Dick Vermeil
  • Hard work is the best remedy for all of life’s trials. – Unknown
  • The harder you work, the harder it is to lose. – Unknown
  • Time will come when winter will ask what you were doing all summer. – Henry Clay, American Statesman
  • Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. – Henri Louis Bergson
Before I’d get in the ring, I’d have already won or lost it on the road. The real part is won or lost somewhere far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. – Muhammad Ali
  • It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • I am a great believer in luck, The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. – Coleman Cox
  • What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. – Alexander Graham Bell
  • There is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and – J. G. Holland
  • Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do. – Goethe
  • Ideas without action are worthless. – Harvey Mackay


Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you. – Eddie Robinson
  • Leaders are like eagles… they don’t flock. You’ll find them one at a time. – Knute Rockne
  • A prime function of a leader is to keep hope alive. – John W. Gardner
  • The leader demonstrates confidence that the challenge can be met, the need resolved, crisis overcome. – John Haggai
  • The capacity to develop and improve their skills distinguishes leaders from their followers. – Warren Bennis
  • It is more than willingness to change that sets the true leaders apart. Seeking out change and wringing every bit of potential out of it that takes you to the next horizon. – Ty Boyd
  • Leadership is the ability to get men to do what they don’t want to do and like doing it. – Harry Truman
  • The most valuable gift you can give another is a good example. – Unknown
  • A big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him. – John C. Maxwell
The higher you want to climb, the more you need leadership. The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be. Whatever you will accomplish is restricted by your ability to lead others. – John C. Maxwell
  • Personnel determines the potential of the team. Vision determines the direction of the team. Work ethic determines the preparation of the team. Leadership determines the success of the team. – John C. Maxwell
  • A man who wants to lead an orchestra must turn his back to the crowd. – Max Lucado
  • There are no office hours for leaders. – Cardinal J. Gibbons
  • It is truly said: It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide what to do. – Chow Ching
  • It is the men behind who make the man ahead. – Merle Crowell
  • Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions. – Harold S. Geneen
  • If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there – Will Rogers


The things which hurt, instruct. – Ben Franklin
  • How a man plays the game shows something of his character; how he loses shows all of it. – Frosty Westering
  • There is always another chance… This thing called ‘failure’ is not falling down, but staying down. – Mary Pickford
  • It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again. – Vince Lombardi
  • If you can’t make a mistake, you can’t make anything. – Marva Collins
  • Failure is a far better teacher than success. – Unknown
  • Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little. – Edmund Burke
If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed it. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded. – Michael Jordan
  • If I could have one hope for our young people as they go out into the world, it would be this: I hope they fail. I hope they fail at something that is important to them, for failure, like nothing else, is able to stimulate the right kind of person to that extra action that always makes all the difference. – Lyman Fertig
When things go wrong, don’t go wrong with them. – Unknown
  • Losing doesn’t make me want to quit. It makes me want to fight that much harder. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • In great attempts it is glorious even to fail. – Vince Lombardi
  • Sometimes you have to lose major championships before you can win them. It’s the price you pay for maturing. The more times you can put yourself in pressure situations, the more times you compete, the better off you are. – Tom Watson
  • Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. – Marliyn vos Savant
  • If you blame others for your failures, do you also credit them for your successes? – Unknown
  • In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail. – Cassius
Failure isn’t fatal, and success isn’t final. – Don Shula
  • Winning is a habit, but unfortunately so is losing. – Vince Lombardi
  • It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again. – Vince Lombardi
  • There are some defeats more triumphant than victories. – Montaigne
  • The man who never makes mistakes loses a great many chances to learn something. – Unknown
  • It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. – Unknown
  • Defeat isn’t bitter if you don’t swallow it. – Unknown
  • Nobody is a failure until he stops trying. – Unknown
Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. – Henry Ford
  • The things which hurt, instruct. – Ben Franklin
  • Success requires no explanations. Failure permits no alibis. – Napoleon Hill
  • A failure is like fertilizer; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future. – Dennis Waitley
  • The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. – Dale Carnegie
  • You have within you right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you. – Brian Tracy
  • The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. – Elbert Hubbard
  • You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try. – Beverly Sills
I have always grown from my problems and challenges. It’s from the things that didn’t work out, that taught me the most. – Carol Burnett
  • The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over and over again, but expecting a different result. – Albert Einstein
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. – Will Rogers
  • Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. – General George Patton


Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them. – Ann Landers
  • Luck sometimes visits a fool, but it never sits down with him. – German Proverb
  • We all face a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. – Unknown
  • Opportunity may knock, but you must open the door. – Unknown
  • All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. – Morarji Desai
  • Desire is the key that opens the door when opportunity knocks. – Unknown
  • The individual who knows the score about life sees difficulties as opportunities. – Norman Vincent Peale
  • Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. – Theodore Roosevelt
  • Great opportunities come to those who make the most of small ones. – Unknown
If not us, who? If not now, when? – John F. Kennedy
  • Challenges should not be seen as obstacles but rather as opportunities for acquiring new experiences in life. – Unknown
  • Destiny is no matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. But it is a thing to be achieved. – William Jennings Bryan
  • In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
  • Never miss a good chance to shut up. – Will Rogers
  • There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. – John F. Kennedy


He who endures conquers. – Italian Proverb
  • Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge
  • Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day. – Unknown
  • Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. – William Feather
  • The secret of our success is found in our daily agenda. – John C. Maxwell
  • I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. – Muhammad Ali
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. – Dale Carnegie
We will either find a way, or make one! – Hannibal
  • Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us in the race when all seems lost. – Roge Dawson
  • Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin
  • An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men. – Dr. Thomas Fuller
  • What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it. – Alexander Gulialll Bell
  • Progress is a tide. If we stand still we will surely be drowned. To stay on the crest, we have to keep moving. – Harold Mayfield
Failure is the path of least persistence. – Michael Larsen
  • If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you. – Unknown
  • Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. – Og Mandino
  • So long as there is breath in me, that long I will persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles on success; if I persist long enough I will win. – Og Mandino

Positive Thinking

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. – John Wooden
  • Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. – Colin Powell
  • It isn’t the load that breaks us down; it’s the way we carry it. – Unknown
  • Your mind can hold only one thought at a time. Make it a positive one. – Unknown
  • A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition. – William A. Ward
  • Never think of the consequences of failing for you will always think of a negative result. Think only positive thoughts and your mind will gravitate towards those thoughts! – Michael Jordan
  • Although elementary, turning negatives into positives is the best foundation to having a happy life. – Unknown
  • If you think you can, or you think you can’t, your right! – Henry Ford
  • Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can You can go as far as you mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve. – Mary Kay Ash
A positive mind has extra solving power. – Alexander Lockhart
  • There are three types of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person you want to be. I have always chosen to be in the first group. – Mary Kay Ash
  • When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade. – Dale Carnegie
  • To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France
  • Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else. – Unknown
  • A positive attitude is like a fire – Unless you continue to add fuel, it goes out. – Alexander Lockhart


When I played with Michael Jordan on the Olympic team, there was a huge gap between his ability and the ability of the other great players on that team. But what impressed me was that he was always the first one on the floor and the last one to leave. – Steve Alford
  • But it’s the wrestler who can put the fatigue out of his mind and break through the “wall,” like a marathon runner after 18 or 20 miles, who will survive. The key to that survival is in hard workouts that develop mental confidence to the point where you won’t submit to fatigue and pain descending upon you. – Lou Banach
  • If I had stood at the free-throw line and thought about 10 million people watching me on the other side of the camera lens, I couldn’t have made anything. So I mentally tried to put myself in a familiar place. I thought about all those times I shot free throws in practice and went through the same motion, the same technique that I had used thousands of times. You forget about the outcome. You know you are doing the right things. So you relax and perform. – Michael Jordan
  • Practice without improvement is meaningless. – Chuck Knox
There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and guts between dreams and success. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
  • It takes less time to do something right the first time, than it does to explain why you did it wrong. – Unknown
  • It isn’t the hours you put in, but what you put in the hours. – Unknown
  • Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh
  • The wise does at once what the fool does at last. – Gracian Baltasar


I’ve found that when you go the extra mile, it’s never crowded. – Unknown
  • Most battles are won before they are fought. – Sun Tzu
  • Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation. – Roger Staubach
  • Before I’d get in the ring, I’d have already won or lost it on the road. The real part is won or lost somewhere far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. – Muhammad All
  • The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. – Chinese proverb
  • Winning is the science of being totally prepared. – George Allen
  • There will come a time when winter will ask what you were doing all summer – Henry Clay
  • The secret of our success is found in our daily agenda. – John C. Maxwell
  • Yelling doesn’t win ball games. It doesn’t put any points on the scoreboard. And I don’t think words win ball games all the time. Players do. Preparation does. – Jerry Tarkanian
Spectacular achievement is always preceded by spectacular preparation. – Robert Schuller
  • The only preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today. – Unknown
  • Confidence comes from being prepared. – John Wooden
  • If you plan to go the distance, you have to do the roadwork. – Chuck Parker
  • If you fail to plan, plan to fail. – Unknown
  • Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action. – Napoleon Hill
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Unknown
  • Chance favors those who are prepared. – Louis Pasteur


Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart. Success is all right if it doesn’t go to the head. – Grantland Rice

  • Everybody is looking for instant success, but it doesn’t work that way. You build a successful life one day at a time. – Lou Holtz
  • The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
  • The secret of successful people lies in their ability to discover their strengths and organize their life so that these strengths can be applied. – John C. Maxwell
  • Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. – Henry David Thoreau
  • The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. – Mark Twain
  • Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Albert Schweitzer
The greatest possession you have is the 24 hours directly in front of you. – Unknown
  • The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Our days are identical suitcases – all the same size – but some people can pack more into them than others. – Unknown
  • Success comes in cans; failure comes in cant’s. – Unknown
  • Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi
  • Luck: a loser’s excuse for a winner’s success. – Unknown
  • You will never plough a field if you only turn it over in your mind. – Irish Proverb
  • The first step to wisdom is silence; the second is listening. – Unknown
To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like. – Mike Galka
  • Your companions are like the buttons on an elevator. They will either take you up or they will take you down. – Unknown
  • My father always told me, “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” – Jim Fox
  • There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. – Gen. Colin L. Powell
  • To demand more of yourself than you do of others is the first step on any ladder of success. – Unknown
  • A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done. – Vince Lombardi
Success seems to be connected to action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. – Conrad Hilton
  • Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. – General George Patton
  • The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. – Tommy Lasorda
  • Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible. – Doug Laison
  • You can’t fly a kite unless you go against the wind and have a weight to keep it from turning a somersault. The same with man. No man will succeed unless he is ready to face and overcome difficulties and is prepared to assume responsibilities. – William J.H. Boetcker
  • Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get. – H. Jackson Brown

Teams ( Basketball Team Quotes)

Great teamwork is the only way to reach our ultimate moments, and create breakthroughs that define our careers and fulfill our lives. – Pat Riley
  • An effective organization holds a purpose that is shared by all its members and to which they will willingly commit their efforts. People working together can do almost anything. – James L. Hayes
  • People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • Coming together is the beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. – Henry Ford
  • Commitment to the team – there is no such thing as in-between; you are either in or out. – Pat Riley
  • We must all hang together; else we shall all hang separately. – Ben Franklin
  • All men like to think that they can do it alone, but a real man knows that there no substitute for support, encouragement or a pit crew. – Tim Allen
The will to win, desire to succeed, urge to reach your full potential – these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. – Eddie Robinson
  • There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. – Napoleon Hill
  • I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end. – Larry Bird
  • If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect some blisters. – Unknown


  • My religious beliefs teach me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. – Stonewall Jackson
  • It is not work that kills, but “worry.” – Dinah Mulock
  • How much pain has cost us the evils which have never happened. – Thomas Jefferson
  • The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work. – Robert Frost
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God – (Philippians 4:6)

Related: Basketball: Remember the Dream

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Writing Your Basketball Coaching Philosophy

Writing Your Basketball Coaching Philosophy

Where is your WRITTEN Basketball Coaching Philosophy? Don’t miss the FREE OFFER Below, to help Fellow-Coaches!

I know, you don’t need one, because others will figure you out if they just watch how you coach. Oh, and you are too busy to write anything down. I know, I said these things for five years also. As a result, I had no real clear answer to any of these questions about coaching: WHY Do This? WHAT am I about, Really? WHO do I want to produce thru my coaching efforts?

Then it dawned on me, while reading something General Eisenhower said during WWII, when he planned the biggest military maneuver in the history of the world (D-Day). He said that while a Plan may be useless in that it can and will change, the PROCESS of MAKING the Plan, and thinking it through, over and over, is THE MOST useful thing a leader CAN do. I feel the same about making a written coaching philosophy.

Basketball Coaching Philosophy

Your written coaching philosophy is your business card about you. It makes you better by making your mind clearer. It defines “you” when you dont have time to explain what you are thinking. And it helps you make better decisions. For if something doesn’t fit within your vision (no matter how great it sounds, or who else may be doing it), the answer is: “Sorry, it doesn’t fit with what I am doing.”)

A written philosophy simplifies–and who today does not need to simplify every aspect of our lives and coaching? Writing down your coaching philosophy makes clear to parents, other coaches, future players, and officials, what you believe, why you coach, and what they should expect from you. It defines-up your best. Isnt this what coaching is all about? “Without vision,” the scripture says, “a people perish.” Your written philosophy is your vision.

There are two errors in writing a philosophy. First, trying to please others by saying everything. If you work for a corporation (or the government), you know what I am talking about. No one even reads their vision or mission statements, because they are full of words written by lawyers & public relations experts. The second error to avoid is cutting & pasting someone else’s as your own. This is especially true if you are quoting from some famous coach. You cannot Google your way to authenticity. Or copy your way to originality. Instead, you must scratch & dig it out for yourself.

My Basketball Philosophy

Here is my basketball coaching philosophy. I made this; it is original to me. My Basketball Philosophy is:

  • Teach life through the great game of basketball;
  • Train each player how to succeed at this, and the next, level of her basketball career, and;
  • Show all players how to play, and win, within the context of team.

My elements are life, the game, training to succeed individually, and showing how to win collectively.

I offer these tips to help you. Use no more than 3 bullet points; this will force the cream to the top of your thinking. Otherwise you will start to list things, and in the process go too far.

Start with the really big picture, almost at God-level, then break it down from there. Include values at the individual and team levels. For basketball begins with a person, but is played as a team. Do not worry, you will not get it right the first time, even the first fifteen times!

Keep working it over in your mind. Say it aloud, even type it (my method). As you do so, it will emerge from the fog like a big ship. But hear me: your philosophy must both be descriptive (defining how you see yourself now). And it must be prescriptive (meaning it must pull you to get even better–in your practice planning, in your selection of offensive & defensive schemes, in your hiring of assistants, and in your tryout of players.

With a good coaching philosophy, you, too, will be ready for the D-Day of this year’s basketball season.

Free Offer!

MY FREE OFFER (I am serious) is to help you craft your coaching philosophy. If you want to share your philosophy ideas with me, send me an email. I will give you my honest feedback, for free. I love learning from, and sharing ideas with, fellow-coaches.

Email me at and I will have Terry Take a look at it.

Related: Excel by Keeping Things Simple 


Coaching Philosophy Handouts

High School Hoops Podcast:

Ep: 126 Building a Basketball Program and Philosophy

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4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

Block out the Block-out (#3 thing I no longer teach on Defense). Tom Izzo gets the credit, but I thought of it first! (Just kidding). I did realize this point on my own as a coach, however, and only later learned Izzo agrees with me 🙂 All this before I get to my 4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound.

Izzo deserves credit for his courage, for he challenged the Big 10 Creed that when rebounding a player must first Find his (or, a) player, Spin around, Put his butt into gut, Spread his arms & legs out (wide), Lean back into his man, Hold him there for, say, 2 seconds, and THEN go get the ball.

How many years have we seen coaches teach this same thing to players? Answer: Too long. Truthfully, it doesnt work, at least not for anyone outside the paint.

The only thing that matters in rebounding is getting the ball. Anything more is just a dance. What does matter is what I outline below, which is what I now teach regarding How to Rebound. First, though, some background.

Recently I happened to be watching another coach practice with his team. Dutifully, they did the 3-Man Box-out Rebounding Drill. But this time I saw what was actually happening each time the coach shot the ball. When his shot went off, his players looked AWAY from the ball, to find a person to go try to box out. They ran AWAY from the basketball to go get that person.

Then when they got to where that player was, they tried to turn around to locate them with their butts. But by then that offense player (who was facing the basket, and watching the ball the whole time), easily got around the spinning rebounder. In 80% of time the boxer-outer rebounder never even made contact with the moving, reacting offense player. No contact! Instead, just wasted effort, and an unsuccessful solo dance.

I have since noticed this same phenomenon at other practices (disclaimer, including at my own!)

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

This is what I now teach on the 4 Steps to Get a Rebound:

First, ASSUME every shot is going to miss (this may sound obviously, but most of our players assume every shot is going to be made–which is why 90% stand there watching the shot floating in the air toward the basket, and dont move). They assume the ball will go in; a good rebounder knows it will not.

Second, ANTICIPATE where the missed ball is going to bounce after it hits off the rim or backboard. And while anticipating, take your first step in that direction. Go when no one knows where, not after it is obvious. Let me ask you as a coach, isnt rebounding more about positioning than player size? Will not the smallest, slowest player on the floor get the rebound if he is in the right place, than a taller guy who is out of place and gazing flat-footed?

The truth is, most players stand where they are and hope the ball bounces to them. Almost none move. The next time you are at a practice note how many stand where they are when the shot is taken, and dont move more than 4 inches in any direction. Instead, they freeze & gaze.

Third, POSITION yourself between the ricocheting ball and ANY other player who may be standing in that same area on the court (even if it is your own teammate). As coach, I am okay with one of my players getting in front of another of our players, to grab the rebound. The point is to get the rebound; it doesnt matter to me who on our team gets it.

Fourth, JUMP to meet the ball at the highest point in the air. Again, this sounds obvious. Yet it is surprising how many players only partially jump, if at all; and, instead, they assume the ball will come to them, so they wait for it.

One of my original observations about basketball is this: The first-mover wins the play. And, rebounding is all about who moves first, to the right place, and there jumps first & highest.

Watch your players–are they dancing, or actually getting the ball?

Related: Shell Drill, Rebounding and Transition


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5 Keys to Becoming a Basketball Coach and the Interview Process

5 Keys to Becoming a Basketball Coach and the Interview Process

I want to become a head coach? Here are the 5 Keys to Becoming a Basketball Coach and the Interview Process.

Becoming a Basketball Coach

Over the next month or so I’m going to do discuss getting a basketball job and the interview process, kind of things like that. Things that I’ve collected over the years for that. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a head coach of a junior high team, head coach of a high school team or NBA head coach. I think there’s some key components that you as a coach need to be able to do before you do that.

So I’m just gonna go through these. First thing I think you have to ask yourself is especially if you’re an assistant coach and want to leave, which is great. I only hire assistant coaches that want to be a head coaches.

If you want your first basketball coaching job, you have to ask yourself, where do I want to go, why do I want to go there? What can I bring to the table in that community, in that school, in that a specific basketball program? I think he had to start making a list.

My Personal Journey

I’ll tell you a personal story of mine. Before I got my first head job, I made a list. I knew about the geographic area I wanted to be in. Then I looked at every possible boys head basketball program and probably decided on 10 or 15 schools that I thought had a chance to be successful in basketball. I actually ended up on one of the schools on that list and we have won 3 state championships.

If you want to be a head basketball coach you have to take a chance. You can always change your location and look for better job. You can always look for a more supportive community or more supportive administration, whatever it is, especially if you’re in the, in the high school ranks. There’s always people looking for good coaches. If you want to be a head coach make sure to make a list and ask yourself why, where, how, when…. Why are they looking for new coach? Was the coach fired? What is the salary?

Related: 4 Interview Questions to Ask a Basketball Assistant


Coach Unplugged Podcast

EP: 127: 5 Keys to Getting A Basketball Coaching Job and Interview

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Summer Basketball (Avoid the Drought)

Summer Basketball (Avoid the Drought)

With the sweltering heat of the summer months on the horizon. The fear of drought can overtake even the best of teams. And only the vital summer rain can keep the fields fresh and the crops growing. Young basketball players are no different, especially freshmen. But the rain that they require to grow is in the form of experience and guidance, provided by veteran players and coaches. A drought can strike a young player or team at anytime and in many forms. Even a brief lack of focus and dedication can be huge dangers to a young crop, especially during summer basketball.

Summer Basketball

Bad habits can also be a form of drought, which can quickly spread throughout the team if not addressed early. It can be something as simple as a poor diet, or something as complex as not properly grasping an advanced scheme. These bad habits can be compared to stubborn weeds that consistently appear in a yard or garden. Pulling them up is only a temporary solution, and the only way to be rid of them completely is to destroy the source beneath the surface.

It’s also extremely important to make a list of these bad habits as soon as they pop up. Even after they’re addressed and eliminated. Writing each one down makes them far less likely to forget about. Including when, where, why, and how they occurred. Just like the famous George Santayana quote: “Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” In contrast, be sure to list all the good habits as well, which can just the same be easily forgotten.

Lastly, it’s also a helpful suggestion to have all players write down their individual “Max-Out” Shooting numbers (from “Spring” Blog) as they progress throughout the summer. As the preseason gets closer, it’s best to have those numbers as accurate as possible. At this point, all routines and regiments should be carved in stone. Most players are creatures of habit, and the product of every summer break should be a strict “Game Day” and “Off Day” schedule to be followed in detail for the rest of the year. And with these details established, it’s time to tip off another preseason.

Related: Summer Team Basketball Work



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Winning Basketball Teams: Attitude

Winning Basketball Teams: Attitude

I am currently reading one of the best basketball books on the market, Attitude by Jay Wright. I would highly recommend this book to any coach. In a chapter I just read, Wright talks about how real progress comes when nobody is watching. That idea is fundamental to developing a program and winning basketball attitude.

Winning Basketball Teams: Attitude

There is just not enough practice time in a given season at any level for skill development. A player truly grows through being what I call a gym rat. A gym rat is someone who lives in the gym or on the courts working on their game.

Gym Rats are continuing to decrease every year in my opinion. I feel that players have come accustomed to coaches organizing their skill time opportunities for them. As if coaches don’t set times and opportunities for players then the growth often doesn’t happen. We have now become a generation of convenience and having things done for us. I am sure if players could just purchase an App to get better they would.

At the college level, we recruit kids with high character and value hard work. Our job is often easier then coaches who coach high school or younger when it comes to skill development. For example, there were times this past summer the doors closed at midnight in our gym. I am telling you this not to brag, but to provide the results of the hard work that happened. We won our first state title in school history with having 4 all-conference players this past season.

Summer development benefits the whole team. You cannot simply win with one or two players that put up a lot points. For example, when I coached HS I had player scored 530 points in his senior season. We completed the season with only 5 wins. Why? Not enough scoring from others and easy to defend of our tactics.

Take a look at the winning teams in the last few years: Villanova, Golden State, North Carolina, Gonzaga, and even our team this season. If you view these team’s statistics, you would notice a trend of 4 to 5 players scoring in double figures every game. I believe role players still exist in some capacity and often are glue kids for a team, but coaching basketball is easy when you have multiple players that can score. It’s hard to defend and scout. Also, I think as a coach you can keep your offensive system very simple with many players that can score. You allow them to create and score on reads and reaction. We were able to complex our defense this season, which made it very difficult for other teams to compete with us.

The more commitment you get from players in the summer, especially dedication in skill development that team becomes harder to defend. Better players and deeper bench equals better practices as well. Practices become more competitive with players challenging each other for minutes. Summer development for all equals better results during season play.

Related: Winning and Losing Basketball Games


Attitude By Jay Wright

TEACHHOOPS.COM ( For basketball Coaches who want to get better)

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Basketball Leadership: Show, Don’t Tell

Basketball Leadership: Show, Don’t Tell

The Legendary Clint Eastwood once said: “You can say more with your mouth closed than you can with your mouth open.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, most young people learn only how to talk about taking action, but very few learn how to actually do it. To demonstrate basketball leadership effectively, you need to show it, not just say it.

Basketball Leadership: Show, Don’t Tell

The best leaders in life, are the one’s who lead by example. And although communication is the cornerstone of every great team, the most important thing any player can do is let their actions speak while leading their teammates into battle. It’s the same thing when a player makes a mistake, and tries to atone by using phrases like: “my bad” or “my fault”.

These hollow apologies can become contagious, and eventually create a culture of excuses. The only response that should ever be accepted for making a mistake, is learning from it and correcting it as soon as possible. Especially in game situations, when uncorrected mistakes and excuses can deflate a team faster than anything else.

Players should be quick to address the cause of their mistakes, and even quicker to move on from them. A short memory and a closed mouth can restore order amidst in-game chaos faster than any excuse can. And moving on to the next positive play keeps bad possessions from turning into bad stretches, or even bad quarters.

This makes it possible for the team to maintain closer connection to their opponent more often, which increases comeback opportunities by limiting deficits. This action-based mindset is a valuable asset to any player and team, but it’s an ongoing process that begins as soon as every new player arrives to the program. The earlier it’s instilled in each player, the more it can be cultivated in every practice and eventually every game.

From Talk To Action

The steps to shifting your team from talk to action are simple.

First, implement a strict punishment policy in practice whenever a player either makes an excuse for a mistake or begins to talk too much about execution, without actually delivering. Extra running or push-ups for the whole team following each infraction is a punishment that works very well.

Second, is adding a brief stretch to each practice known as “Silent 5”, in which the entire team must be completely silent for a full 5 minute scrimmage. Any talking of any kind will result in punishment for the whole team following each infraction. This will encourage the team to rely on their actions and instincts, rather than their words.

Lastly, comes the final measuring stick for a successful shift in mindset. And that’s incorporating the concept in actual games. Punishment at that point will be decreased playing time instead of extra running or push-ups. Follow all 3 steps carefully, and repeat them each practice or game, and you’ll begin to see a solid shift in mindset. For Coaches who want to get better

Related: 100’s of Leadership Work


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Summer Team Basketball Work

Summer Team Basketball Work

As we continue to address the topic of summer, I find it’s time to start talking how the improvement happens for a player in the summer. First, you have to understand that many other steps have to be in place before summer begins for the biggest improvement to happen. There is still a lot of effort that needs to be made on the coach’s part to make growth happen. Here is my pre-summer checklist, note these actions can happen right now if needed.

Summer Team Basketball Work

1. Player Evaluation with an End of Year Meeting

I believe development is at its strongest when supported and guided by coaches. Take the time to meet with your players after the season. Talk about what skills they need to work on, but also enhance the strengths that possess.

2. Schedule available times throughout the summer for players to work on their game.

Society and the game has changed so much. You hardly see players working on their games in their driveways or the local parks. Players tend to do things when organized for them. Create a calendar that players can see in the advance so they can plan with their parents on to make time for getting better.

3. Workout Resources

You need to provide workout for your players. I have developed my own and used others in the past. Please email me if you need workout resources

4. Summer Camp

When I was Varsity coach, I ran a camp early in June. During that time, I took the time to teach the players the workouts during the camp. The rest of summer, I provided gym times to do the workouts on weekly basis three times a week.

5. Less emphasis on games more dedication on getting better.

Some players will play more than 40 games in the summer if they play the AAU circuit. Players need to understand that games will only help your game in small amounts, but direct workouts of basketball skills is where development happens. You can’t be a great shooter by just playing games. It takes repetition just like any other skill in basketball.

6. Develop a culture of hard work and improvement

At my end of the season, I tried to highlight the players who improved the most from the previous season. Usually, it’s those players who committed to the summer are the ones making the gains.

For example, I had player who told me at the end of his junior season, he was going to score 1,000 points in his career. I said, “You will have score more than 500 points in one season.” We worked together to make this goal happen. He learned to create his own shot with learning how to be a rim attacker. His growth is one of many stories I share with players and parents about the importance of getting better.

Your team is only as strong as its weakest player.

Check out For Coaches who want to get better

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Basketball: Remember the Dream

Basketball: Remember the Dream

Basketball: Remember the Dream

We’ve all heard expecting parents talk proudly about the dreams they have for their child or children on the way. They’ll say things like: “My son’s gonna play for the Yankees” or “My daughter’s gonna play for UConn”. Even before a child is born, the foundation of lofty dreams and expectations are already being laid. However, there is no box labeled “Dreams” on any birth certificate. Perhaps if there was such a box, it would feature 3 choices: “Dream Big”, “Dream Small”, or “No Dream”.

Of course, life doesn’t work that way. But it would be an interesting experiment to find out how parents would answer that question. What about coaches? Would any parent or coach have a mind to select “Dream Small”, or even worse, “No Dream”? When confronted with such blunt options, it’s unlikely, but not inconceivable. In reality, it’s not so obvious. But in many ways, parents and coaches convey these negative outlooks everyday. In most cases, without even realizing.

By not creating a culture of dreaming big and chasing those dreams, we’re consequently creating an opposite culture of mediocrity, and either dreaming small or not dreaming at all.

Ironically, we’re all completely equipped at birth to dream and achieve anything. But parents rarely encourage their children to dream passed a certain age. Yes, genetics does determine our physical makeup overall, but the heart and mind are virtually an empty canvas just waiting to be painted. Unfortunately, many parents often fear the thought of handing their children that proverbial paint brush, and daring them to dream big. In looking to spare their children the pain of failure and rejection.

In actuality, can send them on a path that’s far more likely to lead to mediocrity, and often more failure and rejection than if they’d encouraged them to dream big in the first place. Disappointingly, many of these children at some point enter into athletics with this uninspired mindset. It’s the job of every coach who believes in the power of dreams, to reverse this process as soon as possible, and inspire them to dream before it’s too late.

To the player, this new concept of inspiration and the instilling of dreams, goes far beyond the game of basketball. In fact, it can often be a pivotal turning point in their lives. Many happy and successful adults can look back to one specific coach or teacher that had a huge impact on their lives. We must never forget to inspire our players to dream big from the very beginning. And remind them to remember the dream throughout their lives, both on and off the court. It’s a great responsibility, but one that provides joy and inspiration for everyone involved.

Check Out for more!

Make sure to check out for coaches who want to get better

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Basketball Practice Breakers

Basketball Practice Breakers

Basketball Practice Breakers are fun and challenging 10-minute activities that help break up the tedious practice schedule. The monotony of a set practice schedule might lull your players to sleep in some cases. These activities help breakup that monotony and serve almost like ice breakers at the start of any season.

Basketball Practice Breakers

Basketball Practice Breakers stem from a long-held classroom management technique from elementary and middle school. Every player will have their name listed on “The Practice Breakers Board.” They each get 1 Point for every “Practice Breaker” activity they win, including tiebreakers if necessary. At the end of the year, whichever player has the most points gets a symbolic reward or prize from the coaching staff.

What usually works best is an item or symbol that best represents the spirit of “Practice Breakers”, which is all about working hard as a team everyday, but having fun and staying loose as well. Something personalized that the players can wear in class on gameday is always a big hit.

For example, an old style sport coat embroidered with the phrase “P.B. Champ,” the more goofy looking, the better. Something inexpensive that will make your players laugh whenever they wear it or see it, but will also mean something special to them as a season-long accomplishment they have to earn. I encourage coaches at all levels to be creative in implementing new ideas for “Practice Breaker” activities and rewards/prizes. Here’s 3 fun suggestions that work really well:

Basketball Practice Breakers: Opposites

1) “Opposites”: A 10-minute scrimmage where every player can only use their opposite hand to dribble, pass, and shoot. Their strong hand can only be used to catch passes, and as a guide for shooting and dribbling transfers. Coaches ref the scrimmage to make sure everybody’s sticking to the rules. Every player on the winning team gets 1 point for “The Practice Breakers Board”.

This activity is hilariously fun, but also strongly encourages each player to work intensely on developing their opposite hand. It gets them in the habit of forcing the issue, and experiencing the intial ups and downs along with the rest of the team. “Opposites” is a tremendous team confidence builder, and is truely a blast. Have fun!

Basketball Practice Breakers: Half-Court Heroes

2) “Half-court Heroes”: 3 players spread across the halfcourt stripe. They will all back up several feet, and with a running start at the coach’s whistle, will each take a halfcourt shot at the same time. The challenge is for them to choose the proper height, distance, and speed that will allow their shot to arrive at a different time then their 2 teammates. Thus giving their shot a better opportunity to go in.

The only true rule is that all 3 players must shoot at the same time. Coaches ref this activity as well, and often join in with the team, which makes it even more fun. The player with the most makes at the end of 10 minutes, gets a point on “The Practice Breakers Board”. Your team will love it!

Basketball Practice Breakers: Stick and Pick

3) “Stick and Pick”: The coaches select a specific shot for every player to shoot. Whoever makes(sticks) it first, gets to pick the next shot for everybody to take until the next make, which can be any shot they want, regardless of the difficulty. The more difficult each shot becomes, the safer it becomes for the current leader to protect their point for “The Practice Breakers Board”.

There are only 2 simple rules. First, the shot must be attempted from no more than a few feet beyond the 3 point line, and must be shot from in bounds. Second, the line must rotate in order every practice, so each player gets the chance to be the first shooter. It’s very similar to “H.O.R.S.E.”, but is so much more challenging and engaging.

The last player to make a shot at the end of 10 minutes, will of course, get a point on “The Practice Breakers Board”. This is also another great opportunity for coaches to participate whenever they see fit. Enjoy!

Related: Developing Basketball Culture and Practice Planning

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Picking a Basketball Camp

Picking a Basketball Camp

When I was younger, I had the privilege to attend many basketball camps. Each camp had its strengths and weaknesses within the time I spent there. Now from coaching point of view, a camp is only effective if you take what you learned and put into practice. I spent a lot of my parent’s money and my own getting similar instruction all over the state of Wisconsin. What I have learned through my experience of attending, viewing, working camps, and running my own camps is that effectiveness resides with specific focus and training. Provided is my keys of picking a basketball camp for a player or players in your program.

Picking a Basketball Camp

Many camps cover a mile long of material, but it only scratches the surface. Some camps try to cram in drills for too many skills without ever allowing a player to grow in a specific area. One of the key questions to ask when picking a basketball camp is if the coaches concentrate on any specific skills. That will give you a guide to what they can offer your youth player.

Players come to youth basketball camps at a variety of different skill levels, so its important to consider how good the player actually is. You don’t want a beginner landing in a camp for AAU tested talent.

The camp’s environment should be one that provides learning opportunities for each youth player. The best camps challenge players to grow physically and mentally. Players should be constantly learning when involved in drills, practices and scrimmages. A camp that builds on basketball IQ is a major plus!

Parents often forget to ask other coaches and players for feedback on potential camps. Sometimes a coach can recommend a reliable colleague. Or a teammate can suggest a previous camp they’ve attended.

The daily camp schedule stands as another important deciding factor for many parents. How much time is dedicated to skill development? How much time is dedicated to playing games? Are there competitive practice games? If there’s too much scrimmage time, there might not be enough skill development available for your youth player.

CHECK OUT TEACHHOOPS.COM For coaches who want to get better

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Winning and Losing Basketball Games

Winning and Losing Basketball Games

So much goes into winning and losing basketball games. Coaches and teams prepare to the best of their ability, but sometimes the ball bounces in the other team’s favor. Wins remain joyous, while losses hurt for days. Coaches have a number of elements to consider in this regard.

Winning and Losing Basketball Games: The Winning Side

First 3 Quarters

Nothing should change strategically through the first three quarters, regardless of the lead size. The only change worth contemplating would be a slight shift in gears emotionally. Specifically, addressing any play or conduct that is only taking place because of the lopsided score. These play or conduct could either create bad habits in competitive games to come, or provide obvious motivation for future matchups against the same opponent.

Composure and Discipline

Avoid disrespecting or embarrassing your opponent at all costs. These mistakes in professionalism might inspire a comeback in the current game, regardless of how improbable. They might fuel future inspiration for many years to come, and possibly a lifetime rivalry.

Tim Hardaway once said that talking trash when the game is “nip/tuck” or when the outcome has yet to be decided, is completely respectable. However, talking trash when the outcome of the game has long since been decided, is 100 percent disrespectful. That’s because the main objective of winning has already been achieved.

Winning and Losing Basketball Games: The Losing Side

I can vividly picture the well-known TV Commercial Character “Captain Obvious” saying that being blown out in any sport is not fun. Thanks Captain Obvious. Although that is the truth, there’s actually a number of positive things that can come from being on the losing side of a blowout.

What To Take With You

A big one is being reminded of how hard winning really is. More importantly, how much consistent hard works it takes to win or even be competitive against today’s level of size and talent. How we apply these reminders to our team going forward makes the biggest difference. Physical, mental, emotional, and attitude adjustments must all be made at some point in the process to apply what we learn in the most humbling of defeats.

Many positives can actually occur while the blowout is still taking place. A great example is the freedom a blowout provides to give unproven players a chance to get some well needed playing time. They also provide time to experiment with new lineup combinations. The most important piece of a blowout for a team to take with them, is the memory of the blowout itself.

Embrace the carry-over, and every emotion that comes with it, good or bad. Mark it on the calendar, write it on the wall, save the tape, and don’t ever forget the feeling. Let every single second of that embarrassment be a driving force for future success. One of the greatest motivations for the joy of winning, is never wanting to feel the pain of losing ever again. Of course, that pain is just one part of the overall improvement process, but it’s a great place to start.

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Two Sides to Every Basketball Blowout

Two Sides to Every Basketball Blowout

One of the best feelings in sports is being on the right side of a blowout. The team is on cruise control, smiles abound from ear to ear, and all seems to be right with the world. But one of the worst feelings is being on the wrong side of a basketball blowout.

Basketball Blowout

Perhaps what makes being on the right side of a basketball blowout feel so powerful is the remembrance of how equally powerful the opposite feelings can be on the other bench. Hence, one of the worst feelings in sports is being on the wrong side of a blowout. The mind tries to assess the damage, and quickly produce a potential comeback strategy.

Meanwhile, with every passing second, the body takes a little longer to engage in the action because win probability has decreased so drastically. Motivation becomes increasingly harder to muster, and as the clock ticks away, the thoughts of most every player and coach turn from salvaging the present, to future revenge.

There’s far more to be played for in a blowout than just the final outcome. Seeds planted for future strategy and motivation. It teaches valuable lessons in professionalism that can often be the difference between winning and losing long-term.

The best teams are not only the teams that know how to win, but know how to win best.

Composure and Discipline

It’s very important for every successful team to be memorable. The key remains being memorable for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. Your opponent should only remember you for general things, like tough defense, team speed, or overall intensity. This will always be in their thoughts and preparation, but not likely to be an emotional focal point.

However, when your opponent remembers specific disrespectful moments, they will be much more likely to keep those memories fresh in their minds, and make them an emotional focal point for all future matchups against you.

This means that by consistently being unprofessional and disrespectful, especially in blowouts, your team could very well be freely providing enough motivation to inferior teams you’ve already beaten to one day turn the tables and finally beat you. Every season, teams with terrible records some how pull off a major upset against elite teams. Many of these scenarios occur because the inferior team had circled that particular game “Super Bowl” so to speak, based on a sour taste in their mouth from a past matchup.

4th Quarter and Finishing Respectfully

The best way for good teams and great teams to avoid this type of revenge situation each year is to finish every game respectfully, especially blowouts! Whenever the outcome of a game has long been decided. Take a page from football and run the ball until the clock runs out. All but abandoning the air attack, in order to finish a blowout respectfully. Of course, the basketball equivalent would be to walk the ball instead of run it, and eventually take the air out of the 3-point attack. Late 3-pointers can often be a source of great contentment amongst teams that are being blown out. It’s always best to simply finish the game quietly and respectfully, shake hands, and be on your way.

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Life is a series of moments. Each uniquely unfolding every second for all who walk this earth. Good or bad, each and every moment is a miracle, as well as an opportunity to be our best or worst. The number of these moments we’ll receive in a lifetime remains forever unknown to us in the land of the living. Only after we’re gone will this exact number be revealed. A painful epiphany, often occurring just seconds after another pivotal moment of truth in our lives has come and gone. Moments that most of us so often take for granted. In these pivotal and powerful moments, life presents us with 3 simple questions: Will you take the risk?, will you play it safe?, or will you freeze?

Our decision is often based on a choice between listening to our mind or listening to our heart. Ironically, the assurance that comes with deciding to play it safe, does not always assure a safe outcome. In fact, taking the risk in any given moment is often safer than not taking it. Risk provides the potential increased reward to further separate us from harm or danger. This separation is one of the great differentiators between every person, place, thing and idea on this earth. Any one person being healthier, wealthier, or happier than the next, is often a direct result of the risks they’re willing or not willing to take.

Basketball Game of Risks Example

A perfect sports example would be playing conservative for an entire game against a superior team, in hopes of keeping the score as close as possible. This approach often leads to a more competitive defeat, but a defeat nonetheless. In actuality, a more aggressive or risky approach would be far more likely to produce a victory, with the only drawback being a potentially larger margin of defeat. If playing it safe leads mostly to losing anyway, regardless of how close the score is. Then why not take the risk of being more aggressive.

William Wallace, the legendary Scotsman, better known as “Braveheart”, faced many pivotal moments of truth throughout his life. He and his fellow freedom warriors were especially confronted on a particular battlefield, which would become the site of a miraculous shift in spirit and fearlessness going forward for Wallace and his warriors. That great shift was given life by these powerful words from Wallace himself:

Fight, and you may die. Run, and you’ll live. At least awhile. And dying in your beds, many years from now. Would you be willing, to trade all the days from this day to that? For one chance, just one chance!, to come back here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take our freedom!

The most powerful moments of any risk taken or not taken, are not the moments unfolding in the present. The most powerful moments are the ones that follow immediately after, and on into the future, for the rest of your life. Ask yourself. Ask your players. Did you take the risk?, did you play it safe?, or did you freeze? And since no one is promised tomorrow. What about today?

Previous: GAME OF RISKS ( PART 1)

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Jim Kramer, the famous stock analyst, advises his viewers to take risks based largely on their age. He feels that the younger an investor is, the higher their risk/reward profile should be. The logic being that younger investors have far more time to recover from high risk losses, which allows them to be more aggressive in pursuing their financial goals. Compared to older investors, who have far less time to recover from high risk losses, and therefore often take a much more conservative approach. This concept proves true with young athletes as well, who should always be more aggressive in chasing their athletic goals.

Basketball Game of Risks

Increased competition level is a great place to start. Most young ballplayers tend to play equal or lesser competition, in comparison to their skill level. Often due to fear of failure or physical punishment, many young ballplayers are not willing to take the risk of playing bigger and better competition. When in fact, this is exactly the time in their lives when they should be taking that risk. Players of all ages should always play up in competition whenever possible, never equal or down. That’s the best way to test their physical and mental limitations both on and off the court. Specifically, when young players become accustomed to playing up in competition. They often not only increase their skill level and toughness, but increase their confidence as well, leading to loftier goals and expectations.

Another great opportunity for high risk/reward potential is increased level of personal play. Young players often have a tendency to limit themselves in the way they approach and play the game. These limitations can reveal themselves in many ways. Usually in the form of timid execution, such as passing up open shots on the offensive end, or failing to aggressively engage on the defensive end. Unless addressed and corrected, this timid approach will only get worse in time. Eventually, it can even become part of their lives off the court, such as in the classroom and in social situations.

The best remedy is repetition. Confidently encourage your players to step out of their comfort zones on a regular basis, regardless of the results. The more they become comfortable with an aggressive mindset, the more likely they are to become comfortable executing aggressively as well. These are just a few suggestions, but the bottom line is that young players need to take more athletic risks while they’re still young. If they continuously make the mistake of waiting until they’re physically or mentally ready. It will almost always be too late. Encourage your players today to embrace being young and being bold.


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Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 3)

Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 3)

The objective should always be to win in regulation. Too many outside factors can determine the outcome of the game in overtime. Factors such as foul trouble become increasingly crucial. This means the refs will have a much larger impact on the outcome of the game. Fatigue also becomes a major factor, specifically when it comes to game schedule. Game location, too, which even in basketball can have a substantial impact on the game.

Some of these factors include elevation and temperature, which can affect both the team and playing conditions, such as breathing issues and dangerous floor condensation. Overtime also allows for the further risk of injury, both in the current game and in the games to follow.

More Basketball Triple Overtime Factors

Another factor to consider when contemplating settling for overtime, is carry-over. The same explosive factor discussed in the “2 Sides 2 Every Blowout” blog. Game 1 of this year’s NBA Finals is perfect example of that. The positive and negative carry-over of an overtime game is so much more powerful and future altering than a regulation game, especially in the playoffs.

In game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the biggest underdogs in Finals history, and yet they dominated regulation. They put themselves within 1 possession of pulling off the huge road upset, but casually squandered the final seconds with a gigantic miss from both the free throw line and the floor. This was followed by an inexcusable mental blunder, to finish regulation, and doom them to overtime.

As most of us know, overtime was a disaster for the Cavaliers, and I believe produced a negative carry-over so powerful, that regaining their confidence going forward was virtually impossible. That would end up being the case, and further solidify the point that almost any risk is worth taking in regulation, in order to avoid overtime. With the lone exception being a comeback situation where the only mathematical path to victory is forcing overtime. The Warriors proved that in the exact same 2018 NBA Finals Game 1 example, after trailing for most of the game, but finding a way to sneak in to overtime. The rest is history.

In conclusion, it should be abundantly clear that overtime is in no way a desirable destination for any team involved in the final minute of a tie game, or in possession of the ball in a tie game at the end of regulation. In fact, it’s where most regulation dominated performances go to die. As entertaining as overtime is to fans because of the fireworks it so often provides. Why not provide some winning fireworks at the end of regulation instead, and send everybody home happy. Everybody, that is, except your opponent.

Related: Basketball End of Game Situations

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Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 2)

Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 2)

As the last of the final minute plays out, the beginning of the final possession is the perfect opportunity to catch your opponent off guard. You want to get out on the break as quickly as possible. Make sure there’s at least 10 seconds left on the game clock. Anything less would most likely not allow enough time to rebound a miss, or recover from an unsuccessful fastbreak, which usually takes an average of 3 to 4 seconds to unfold.

The shot clock must either be in sync with the game clock or turned off. Your opponent will often assume that you’re going to call an immediate timeout if one’s available. Regardless of how the possession is obtained, this assumption provides a great chance to quickly advance the ball while your opponent may simply be waiting for the whistle to blow.

Triple Overtime Strategy

This strategy not only opens the door for a potential game-winning fastbreak opportunity, but also for some possible trickery in the process. Having your players casually approach the bench for what looks to be a timeout being called. If your opponent appears to accept that a timeout has actually been called, it can often provide a virtually uncontested path for a deep leak-out, full court pass and layup. It seems quite risky, but is surprisingly safe. That is, as long each player knows not to initiate the play if the defense doesn’t take the bait. The contingency plan would be to simply call an actual timeout, and not allow the defense any clues to what was in the works. This will preserve the play for the future.

When all strategies for the final minute and the final possession have been either analyzed or applied. If the game is still tied, you still have the ball, and there’s still time left on the clock. The final shot is all that matters now. However, taking the final shot at the buzzer will not give you the best chance to win the game. It will only give you the best chance to go to overtime.

The best chance to win the game comes when you shoot the final shot several seconds before the buzzer. Preferably something in the paint, or at least inside the 3 point line. Far too many regulation tie games go to overtime because the team with the ball let the clock run down too far. They had to settle for a 3 point attempt at the buzzer. Instead of purposely letting the clock run down, use every single second of the clock to get as deep in the paint as possible.

Take the final attempt with several seconds to spare, which allows for the possibility of a quick put-back, or more. Sometimes it’s not the best drawn up play that works, but the one right after. So every time a team holds for the final shot, they automatically eliminate the chance of the one right after.


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Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 1)

Basketball Triple Overtime (Part 1)

It’s late in the 4th quarter, the shot clock is turned off, the game is tied, and your team has the ball. We’ve all been there before, as either a coach, player, or both. Standard operating procedure is usually to call an immediate time out if available. This can happen after a rebound or a turnover. This is usually the moment when many coaches exhale with the comfort that overtime is the worst possible outcome, barring any disastrous miscues. Unfortunately, this standard operating procedure that so many coaches lean on. This quite often leads to the same standard operating results that so many coaches regretfully look back on.

Triple Overtime

This misplaced trust in the safety of overtime can usually be traced back to three crucial parts of the end of regulation. The final minute, the final possession, and the final play. The team that consistently makes the most of these 3 parts will always have the best opportunity to win in regulation and avoid overtime (and especially triple overtime). First, it’s important to ignore the general notion that a tie game in the final minute is a time to be conservative. In actuality, it’s the perfect time to be aggressive. Because it comes with the guarantee that any failed offensive possession. At worst, it can only result in a 3 point maximum deficit on the other end. That’s excluding the rare exception of giving up a 4 point play.

With this in mind, the smartest way to apply aggression in the final minute, is to attack the basket. This eliminates the pressure of having to connect from outside in such a hostile shooting environment. It also potentially places your opponent in serious foul trouble and provide the opportunity for making the possible game winning free-throws. Bottom line, the final minute of any tie game is a time to be aggressive an. Avoid overtime at all costs. In fact, the final minute of regulation should always be approached as if overtime is not an option.


If a win or a tie were the only two possible outcomes, then most teams would be much more aggressive in the final minute of regulation. Especially at the end of the regular season, when many teams are fighting for every possible victory to make the playoffs. Ironically, most of those teams would not be in that position if they played that aggressive in the final minute of every game. It’s all about having the proper perspective for the current moment. Because many coaches and players instead have the “next” mentality. They’ll say things like this. “We’ll get it next play,” “next quarter”, or “next game.” Although attempting to be positive, this way of thinking doesn’t put enough emphasis on the current moment. In basketball and in life, that’s the only moment that should ever matter.


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