Category Archives: Discussion

If I Had One More Year

One More YearBy now the athletes in the Class of 2014 have graduated and are preparing for the next stage of their lives.

Some took advantage of every second they had in high school and can look back on their academic and athletic careers with absolutely no regrets.

However, there are also those who would probably like a “do over.”

They say things like “If I had one more year I would ________________.” (Fill in the blank)

  • Study harder
  • Take the SAT/ACT more seriously
  • Do all my homework
  • Actually study for my finals
  • Be a student-athlete not a class clown
  • Listen to my parents, teachers, and coaches
  • Work harder every day in practice Spend extra time in the gym
  • Never take a play off

To the Class of 2015 and beyond – don’t let this happen to you!

 

10 Things I Learned from the Spurs and the Thunder

  1. spursthunderEvery position matters – point guards, posts, shooters, shot blockers, etc. They all matter.
  2. Every phase of the game matters – offense, defense, rebounding, timeouts, special situations
  3. Stick to your overall game plan but adjust when necessary
  4. Boring and efficient can beat wild and exciting
  5. Coaching and culture do make a difference
  6. To be a champion you can’t let the outcome of your last game effect the outcome of your next game
  7. To be fully prepared you need to sweat every detail
  8. Believe you can do it
  9. Don’t listen to the haters
  10. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when no one cares who gets the credit.

 

 

NFHS Rule Changes Send Mixed Message

NFHS Rule ChangesThe National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Basketball Rules Committee approved two rule changes last month that in my opinion send out a severely mixed message.

The first rule change now allows players lined up along the lane for a free throw to move on the release of the ball instead of waiting for it to hit the rim, What this does is give the offensive rebounders in the second spot on the lane a much better chance of securing the rebound by simply being quicker to the ball.

As a result, defensive rebounders will now need to be much more physical when boxing out on free throws.

The second major change now says that when defending a dribbler the following acts are an automatic foul: 1) placing two hands on the player, 2) placing an extended arm bar on the player, 3) placing and keeping a hand on the player and 4) contacting the player more than once with the same hand or alternating hands.

As a result, defenders will now be forced to be much less physical when guarding a ball handler. (This same rule was instituted at the college level at the beginning of last season.)

To keep things consistent the NFHS rules committee should have kept the free throw rule the same and thereby eliminating the extra contact that it is surely going to be generated. Of course it won’t really matter if the high school officials take on the same philosophy as their college counterparts did last season – call every single defensive touch a foul early in the season and then completely ignore the rule as the season progresses.

If and when that happens the two new high school rule changes will actually be completely consistent with each and the game will be more physical than ever,

Every Day is Game Day

Every Day Game DayThe following excerpt comes from the book “Every Day is Game Day” by Mark Verstegen. The book is part motivation and philosophy and part cutting edge training program.

Regardless of whether you agree with Verstegen or not, his take on performance is definitely thought provoking and worth reading.

YOUR BEST ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH.

That sounds harsh, and indeed it is. But having worked with the best of the best over the last two decades, I’ve learned what it takes to be the best.

Anyone can hit excellence for a day, even a week or a month. That’s easy. But a high performer is one who does it consistently for years over the course of a career.

You can be talented, work hard, and do all the right things, and it might not be enough. Not anymore. These days, performance is about results. It’s not just showing up every day, working hard, and doing the right things. That’s great. That’s expected. Performance is about showing up every day and hitting the bull’s-eye regardless of the situation.

That’s performance.

Performance is about efficiency. If you’ve picked up this book, you’re either a high performer looking to take things up a notch or someone aspiring to be a high performer. Regardless of who you are, you need to become more efficient in every aspect of your life in order to sustain that high performance and raise the bar every day.

That’s why your best isn’t good enough. I don’t care who you are. My best is not good enough. It’s not good enough for my family, my colleagues, or my country. It might have been sufficient yesterday or last year. But it won’t be good enough for tomorrow or next year. Instead, what will make us high performers is how relentlessly we hone our lives every day to become smarter and more efficient.

Did the Heat Really Get The Top Spot by Finishing Second?

Top SpotEvery season there is always talk about at least one of the NBA’s worst teams “tanking” the end of the season in order to hopefully improve their position in the upcoming draft.

But it’s not often that one of the TOP teams can be accused of tanking games!

Is it possible that is exactly what the Miami Heat did this season?

With last night’s Miami loss to the Wizards, the Indiana Pacers clinched the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and guaranteed that they will have home court advantage if and when they meet the Heat in the Conference Finals.

However, the Heat, now in the #2 spot, will have a much easier road to the conference finals than will the #1 Pacers. And usually easier means a quicker series which means more rest going into the last series with Indiana.

Add that to the fact that the Heat only have to win one game in Indiana to regain the home court advantage and its easy to see why LeBron and company are not too disappointed in how they finished.

It seems that every night for the last month ESPN has analyzed the Heat and Pacers battle for the #1 seed when in reality they may have been battling for the coveted second spot!

Being a Great Teammate on a Summer Club Team

Good TeammatesBeing a “great” teammate is sometimes hard to define although most of us can recognize one when we see one.

Many times it’s easier to be a great teammate when you are around friends that you’ve known and played with for years.

However, as club season is right around the corner, many players will find themselves playing with arch rivals and competitors and yet still need to find ways to be a great teammate.

The following list is not comprehensive but is a good place to start.

  1. Show up for practice on time, with a good attitude, and ready to work hard.
  2. Decide at the outset that you love (not just tolerate, but love) every member of your team (athletes, coaches, trainers, and assistants).
  3. Never shortcut or minimize warm-ups, calisthenics, wind sprints, distant runs, and cooldown.  These are more than just conditioning. They are part of building cohesiveness and endurance.
  4. Never whine or complain about the work.  It’s sports; it’s supposed to be difficult.
  5. Don’t get fixated on winning.  Focus on doing the fundamentals of your position well in harmony with your fellow team members around you.
  6. Listen to your body.  Respond properly when it’s warning you about injury (make ice, braces, tape, and Ace bandages your friends). Communicate clearly with your trainer.
  7. Don’t limit your involvement with team members to practice and competition.  Think as a team at all times.  Include fellow teammates in your social life, family life, and academics.
  8. Encourage the kids who aren’t as athletic or who have extenuating circumstances that might be distracting them (problems at home, academic problems, injuries).
  9. Never speak poorly of a fellow teammate or criticize the coaches.  If you have a problem with a teammate or coach, deal with that person individually.
  10. When you win, win humbly.  When you lose, hold your head up and never take it out on the coach or teammate.

(This list was originally posted at familymatters.net)

Academic Final Four Has Some Surprises

Basketball ScholarshipJust found this post on the Yahoo Sports page and thought it was interesting enough to pass along.

I think there are two important points here:

1) You can be a good basketball player and play on a good team and still be a good student. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

2) Reputation is not extremely important when it comes to education. If you apply yourself academically you can get a great education nearly everywhere but if you don’t apply yourself you will get a less than stellar education even at a very prestigious university.

Here’s the post:

We’re about to find out just how well the 68 teams in the 2014 NCAA tournament perform on the court. Let’s just say it’s likely to be very different from how they’ve performed in the classroom.

Once again, Inside Higher Ed has offered up its own version of the NCAA tournament, playing out the matchups with a set of criteria designed to measure academic rather than athletic performance. The tournament uses the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate to determine a winner, meaning that this is an academic battle between teams, not universities as a whole. A tiebreaker is the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate, measuring how many players graduated within six years. The secondary tie-breaker, if necessary, is the Federal Graduation Rate.

So who’s your winner? None other than … Kansas!

Yep, the Kansas Jayhawks win this tournament, which featured a Final Four that also included Memphis, BYU and Texas. Expected academic powerhouse Harvard got knocked out early, as did other notables such as Duke and UVA. Strange, huh?

Happy to be There

I’ve watched a lot of high school playoff games the last couple weeks and have noticed that almost every team has brought up at least a couple players from their JV team to sit on the bench and take part of the experience.

Without fail those kids on the very end of the bench are the most energetic, enthusiastic “cheerleaders” in the building.

Why is that? Because they understand their role and appreciate the chance just to be there.

Excited Bench

Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all other levels of basketball, especially in today’s NBA. Here’s what NBA legend Julius Erving (Dr. J) had to say on the subject:

“I think one of the major differences is every player to a man is regarded as, at least maybe in his own mind, a basketball star.  During our era, there was a clear delineation between a guy who was a star, a guy who was  a role player, and a guy who was just happy to be there.  I don’t think you have too many guys today that are just happy to be there.  The economics just set it up that way where there’s a star mentality 1 through 12.  It’s exceptional when you find somebody who is humble and happy to be there and capable of deferring to the guys that are  the actually stars.”

bench

What worries me is that many of the trends in basketball, both on and off the court, seem to start in the NBA and work their way down to all other levels. If that’s the case how long will it be before those JV kids on the end of the varsity bench start acting like it’s their natural born right to be there instead of appreciating the opportunity?

What if You Don’t Like Your Coach?

Think Like a ChampionDick DeVenzio was the founder of the Point Guard College and fully believed there was much more to being a successful player than just being able to shoot or dribble the ball.

Here are some of Coach DeVenzio’s thoughts on Coachability taken from his book Think Like  a Champion:

Every coach is concerned with how coachable an athlete is. . . . . . . but what if you don’t like your coach?

What if you don’t particularly agree with the things that he says?

What if you think he doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

My answer to all those questions is the same: So what?

There is no need for your likes and dislikes, your personality preferences, and your philosophical tastes to get in the way of your performance in a sport.

And be sure of this – if you are in constant conflict with your coach, and showing it, your performance will suffer.

You won’t get things done as well when your focus is on conflict and the coach won’t instruct you and spend the time to make sure your abilities are fully used.

 

Now is the Time to Fill Out the FAFSA

FAFSAIf you are a Senior in high school and are interested in receiving financial aid for college NOW is the time to start filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for next year.

Many colleges and universities award their financial aid packages on a first come first served basis and use January 1st as the baseline to establish a pecking order.

In other words, the closer you file your FAFSA to January 1st the sooner you may be awarded.

Once the FAFSA is filled out you can have the information sent to as many schools as you are interested in possibly attending.

If you qualify you may be able to receive over $5,000 to help with your college expenses and so the important thing is to get the whole process started as soon as possible.

To get more information and to start filling out the FAFSA go to FAFSA.GOV