30 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Monday, December 14, 2009

Why Do I Coach?

There has been a lot of talk lately about how long will I coach varsity basketball, as a head coach. I can honestly say that I don't know. I hope that Henryville will allow me to coach as long as I would want to, but I understand how this business works. After every season, I think and evaluate about what we/I went through and if it is worth it for one more year. When I say "we" I don't mean the team or the season, well, actually I do mean a "team" home team of Kristi, Brandon and Maddie. What did "we" go through, what did I miss and is it worth it...?

I figured that one day I would miss out on some things that my kids did as they grew up and developed, but never knew it would happen at such a young age...Maddie is 5. She is quite the gymnast and almost has a back handspring down...I haven't seen it because of basketball practice. For that, I feel guilty and I feel that I am missing something. Also, she had a Thanksgiving Feast at pre-school and because of practice, I chose not to go. She was the only child there who didn't have a parent attend even though it was optional. Because of that I made sure to take off for her Christmas party, but I was still able to make it back for practice.

I have always said that I wouldn't allow my selfish want to coach keep me from being with my family, and I will not. So, when the season is over, I measure what I have missed by what I am accomplishing as head coach. Am I helping others? Am I hurting my own family being gone? Am I making a difference? Do my kids enjoy it? Am I doing something now that I will regret some day because I missed out on that back handspring?

Will I coach next year? I do not know. I did not know after the first year and every year since. I love my family, and I don't want my job...any job to get in the way of having a healthy, happy family.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Networking and Henryville Basketball

I like to stay aware of some of the current trends with technology, and out of curiosity I composed a page on facebook. That curiosity flowed to twitter, and now Henryville Basketball is known internationally.
Starting with, HHS had become more known statewide because of my membership there. I have developed friends who have become fans from all over the great state of Indiana.

When I started with twitter, I felt that it would be a good way to communicate with my players quicker. However, I started "following" basketball coaches and currently follow around 600 of them. They in turn, follow me. So Henryville Basketball started slowly to become nationally known. There are followers of us in Oregon, California, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida and others.

Then one day a man who would become a friend, Tane Spasev from Macedonia started to follow me on twitter. We became friends having basketball as a common bond. He and I became friends on facebook and I have now become friends on facebook with many international coaches. On last check, Henryville Basketball on facebook had 546 "fans" and they were from 9 different countries in the world. Macedonia, Serbia, Lithuania, Vietnam, Norway, Iceland, Spain, Cyprus, and China are just a few of the countries following us.

So, Henryville Basketball has gone international! Look for Henryville Basketball t-shirts to start popping up not only around Henryville, but the state of Indiana, around the country and around the world!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fundraising...Necessary Evil

Some of the comments I have heard over the last week deserve some explanation. It might not be an explanation that some want to hear, but it is the reasons why we, the varsity basketball program, fundraise. I think sometimes that people see us in our uniforms, travels suits, team shoes, team shirts, hoodies and everything else and assume that the Athletic Department pays for everything for us...that is not true.

I want to take this time to thank our Athletic Director, Bill Niece, for what he does do for us. He takes care of us when it comes to game books for the program, new basketballs each season (which are not cheap), new uniforms every few years (which are not cheap), and paying for our transportation to away games (which is really not cheap). With that being said there are few sports who are self-sufficient in buying their uniforms and other equipment (baseball and softball, I believe are the only ones). The basketball programs, boys and girls, will bring in about 95% of the athletic budget during the course of a school year, but they do not get 95% of the revenue spent on them. Those two programs, 7-12, pay for many non-revenue sports and their transportations.

So, why do we fundraise? Because of the things I posted earlier, if we want to look nice and run a first class program, there are certain things I believe we must have. There are extras that Mr. Niece will not or cannot pay for, and we use the money for those items. We try to keep the prices down for our high school basketball players with some of the money. The money is spent on the student-athletes. Rarely, do we have very much money in our account. The money comes in, it is spent and we move on.

What costs do we keep down? To run a first class program, it probably would cost our basketball players $300-500 per year. We have kept that price down under $200 more often than not. The price they would pay is for travels suits, shoes, team t-shirts, and summer travel tournaments just to name a few things.

How do we fundraise? We run two camps that not only helps with the high school, but also helps to teach our younger players the game of basketball. They, too will someday be in high school. We have a FT-a-thon to help pay for shoes, we sell t-shirts making a very low profit from them. We are going to have Hornet Hysteria in a few days to help with some costs.

Where does the fundraising money go? We have used it to buy many things for the high school program, we have used it to donate to charities in the name of Henryville Basketball, we have donated money to other programs including the Band. That money that is raised by us is being used in positive manners.

As for the elementary program, the varsity boys' program runs it. We have some input to who coaches, we schedule the games, we work the games (book, gate worker, clock keeper, officials, supervision), and then we use that money to help with the elementary boys' program. Each game, roughly, we save $200 by working the games, and scheduling the games ourselves. Items we have bought for the elementary program (K-6) include smaller basketballs, new basketballs, nets, game books, score cards and when asked and if needed, we will buy their uniforms.

No one is getting rich off our fundraising projects, and we still don't do everything that I would like to do for the entire program due to lack of funds. It would be nice to have an alumnae donate large amounts of money each year, but it just doesn't happen. Instead of me going out and begging for money, we work for it. I think it is important, too to reward those who come up with the ideas, work to put the ideas to work, and then do the work.
Finally, let me close by saying "thank you" to everyone who has helped with the basketball program from the bottom to the top. Many do it for no pay which is in essence a donation. Thank you to all of the community members, teachers, players, former players and parents who do buy the shirts, come to the games, and donate money to help us run a first class program. We could not do it without you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What do You Believe In?

I was thinking the other day and came up with a quote. I am pretty sure it has been around as I am not smart enough to think of this on my own. I came up with it after having a lengthy conversation with someone over the weekend.

Do your beliefs justify your behavior or does your behavior represent your beliefs?

What I mean by this is do you do some things that would be frowned upon by society or your mother, yet you tell some people that is okay because you believe it is okay to do those things. You represent yourself and if you aren't hurting anyone but yourself, then so be it. Unfortunately, when living for ourselves, we aren't hurting just ourselves. We may not see the ripples of our choices immediately, but they are there.

Or do your behaviors represent your beliefs? Probably constraining one's self, limiting what you do, and actually having some self-discipline is a hard thing to do. If you believe in "right" and you try to do what is "right", you will be attacked. Now I am not naieve to think that not everyone has done something in the past whether it be 20 years ago or one week ago of which they are not proud, and it doesn't represent their beliefs. Does that make them a hypocrite? I don't believe so, I think it makes them human.

However, if you continually use behavior contradictory of your beliefs then self-reflection and genuine honesty must occur. Trust me, I fall short often behaving congruent to what my beliefs are, but I continually strive to be better. Am I a failure? Am I a hypocrite? I think not, life is a continuous journey to be better.....but I may just be justifying my behavior with my beliefs.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

6 Rules to Live By Because it is Respectful

(Pictured is Coach Herman Furnish, the winningest coach of all-time at HHS and who Furnish Gymnasium is named after)
1. If you use it, put it back where you found it or where it belongs. There may sometimes be nothing more frustrating then when you go to use something and it isn't there and you have to search for it.

2. If you break it, fix it or help pay to have it fixed...if not paying all of it. It is the right thing to do

3. If it is not yours, do not take it...that's called stealing. I know that sometimes that is hard for people to believe, but it is.

4. If you make a mess, clean it up...don't wait for someone else to do it. Because usually it is someone who either has too much to do already or it will be cleaned up by someone whose job it isn't to do so.

5. Look for things to be done to help out, don't always wait to be told. Be proactive in helping out. First, watch and see how things are accomplished, second, do it before it can be done by who usually does it. If they don't like it, they will tell you.

6. If you say it, mean it and follow through with it. Your word must be your bond. Don't say something just to be nice, say the truth or don't say anything at all. That doesn't mean to be rude, but be truthful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who Am I Responsible To?

In today's society, we are often taught to believe that we are responsible to no one, but ourselves. Therefore, if we do anything that just might let someone down, it would be their problem and not ours because I am responsible for myself. I think that I just may totally disagree with that assessment. As a coach and as players at Henryville H.S., I believe we are responsible to many, many different groups of people and sometimes they may overlap in these different groups.

1. I believe that when you decide to play or coach basketball you become responsible to the team. Your actions can decide how the chemistry of the team will emerge. It can decide playing time and can upset the delicate balance that is chemistry within a team. It never amazes me that someone may risk their memories of basketball for a short term "feel good" moment. When in reality, they won't be responsible to anyone in the near future and can participate in anything they want. They won't let anyone down on any team at that point.

2. You are responsbile to the coach and the coaches to you. Both sides are working hard towards a common goal and if either upsets that respect for each other, it can lead to a bad season or bad chemistry.

3. You are responsbile to your school. Your school is giving you the opportunity to play and be recognized in special ways that doesn't occur for other students and won't occur in the near future.

4. You are responsible to your community. There are people who come ever single game and have for generations to see us play and hopefully to win. You owe them your best effort both on and off the court.

5. You are responsible to your family. They have run you from here to there, gotten you to practice on time, gotten you to games on time, been there for your events when you win and lose.

6. You are responsible to your friends. Especially those who don't have the same ability as you and would do anything to be in your position.

7. And finally, to yourself, yes yourself. You have gotten to this point, don't ruin what could be a lifetime of memories over one stupid decision.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What is Leadership?

In my book, there are two types of leadership. The vocal, boisterous, often in-your-face type of leadership. And then there is the quiet, work hard and hope that everyone notices and follows suit type of leadership.
The vocal leader is often the true leader of a team. They are the one who is both quick to get on their teammates by helping "coach" them, but is also the one who is quick to pat them on the back. Often his teammates will take the negative because he also gives the positive, but also because they see that he is going above and beyond the expected. That guy is busting his behind every possession all the time, diving for loose balls, working so hard they stagger when brought out of practice or a game. If someone like that is giving their all, it is almost ridiculous that you would get aggravated when they expected more from you.

The quiet leader is the guy who shoots hundreds of shots even when no one is looking. He is the guy who is working on ball handling even when no one is looking. He is the guy who does the same things as the vocal leader, but does not give the negative or positive reinforcement. He is the guy who does what he does and feels that others should see and do the same.

What kind of leader am I? You would probably have to ask the players and my assistants, but I think depending on who you ask, you would get different answers. I hope that my assistants and players work hard because they see me do it. My players, I will be the vocal leader in that area, but with my assistants, I hope they see and do the same. With a team, I have to be more vocal, but sometimes saying nothing gets the same point across.
With my assistants who are grown men, they should be smart enough and open minded enough to learn. One of the things I did early in my career was sometimes think I was smarter than the head coach. How wrong I was....sometimes I may have done things differently, but I was not smarter, just thought differently. Which, believe me, there is more than one way to play the great game of basketball.

As I enter my 18th year of coaching basketball at different levels, I have learned so much. I will learn even more this year. When you stop learning, you might as well hang it up. So am I a vocal or quiet leader? I would say both, but as I said on some days when you come into Furnish Gymnasium, you might not find too many of the guys who think I am being soft spoken.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 really is just a game...

When I was younger, like little kid young, I competed so hard and wanted to win. Winning was the only thing as far as I was concerned. That and personal success. I was trying to draw the attention of others and it helped to boost my self-esteem when I did well or we won.
Then when I started coaching, I coached every game like it was the State Championship, still do. If we won, I felt that is what you are supposed to do, and if we felt like someone kicked me in the gut.

Then four years ago, we had our daughter, and...well, it really is just a game. I still coach and work to the best of my abilities because it is the right thing to do and that is how I am programmed, but if we win, it's a good night. And if we lose? Well, it still isn't good, but when I look at my two kids, losing is much more bearable.

We lost a close game in the State Tournament this past March, and I was disappointed. More so for the guys. We lost by 1 point to a team who we had beaten twice during the season in very close games. I felt that I had let them down, but isn't death. Then my daughter came to see me (son too young yet to know what is going on) and she was distraught. I mean as bad as I cried in my last game as a high school basketball player. Suddenly, tears welled up in my eyes for her and not for really is just a game.

Now some of our closest friends are dealing with an illness to a loved one. And to be honest, it doesn't look good. This person is a Henryville icon, a person that when you mention the town, you mention McKee Munk, Tom Murphy, Steve Price, and others. McKee has had a rich life from being a son, nephew, basketball player, husband, school bus driver, auto dealer, insurance salesman, father, grandfather, great grandfather, gentleman, and really is just a game.

No matter what happens between now and November, it doesn't look like he will be physically able to attend games this winter, and to be honest, I don't know when it was the last time he missed a game, needless to say a season. My family hopes and prays for him and his family. May God do his will and keep him pain really is just a game.

Sometimes when people die they leave behind little or no legacy, but it will not be the case in this situation. What he leaves behind is something that will last generations in his family, and his influence will last for generations with those that were close to really is just a game.

The world will be a lesser place without him, and he will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Preparing to Prepare

Every season brings its little details that must be done for things to move as smoothly as possible.
1. Check over the volleyball schedule and other events that may coincide with elementary intramurals. (1 hr.)

2. Schedule elementary intramurals. (1 hr.)

3. Schedule open gym and conditioning. (1 hr.)

4. Schedule practice, games, and times to arrive at the gym or when the bus leaves. (1 hr.)

5. Order new practice gear. (1 hr.)

6. Maintain gym floor. (multiple hrs.)

7. Get new camcorder. (1 hr.)

8. Have game shorts restrung. (2 hrs.)

9. Check for fall coaching clinics. (1 hr.)

10. Keep in communication with the players. (multiple hrs.)

11. Inform players on possible showcases for potential future playing basketball in college.

12. Inform players of all star games they may participate in.

13. Clean/disinfect everything in basketball program. (multiple hrs.)

14. Clean up office. (1 hr.)

15. Look over standards and change if necessary. (1 hr.)

16. Settle on coaching staff 7-12. (multiple hrs.)

17. Work on scouting schedule for this winter. (multiple hrs.)

18. Order travel suits. (1 hr.)

19. Order game day t-shirts and intramural t-shirts. (1 hr.)

20. Meet with coaches on expectations for season.

21. Make up schedule for Henryville Inv. Tournament.

22. Double check list...and keep double checking thru the season......

Friday, August 14, 2009

Together Everyone Achieves More

Putting a team together is not an easy thing. When you think about all of the peripheral issues that are dealt with during a basketball season, it is sometimes amazing that teenage boys will come together like we did last winter and win some games.

Players: The coach tries to get the players to buy into the "team" concept. That sometimes is hard because we are inherently selfish, and it is something we try to preach all the time, that the individual actually gets more attention by giving up some of their skills, or more importantly, their wants.

They are listening to their coaches, their parents, their relatives, their girlfriends, their friends at school. They worry about their name in the paper, if a teammates name is in the paper, if somebody on the team doesn't like them for someone reason (i.e. girls). Players have to buy into what the team needs all the while hearing things constantly that may go against that.

Coaches: The coach has to deal with different personalities. Some selfish, some not, some indifferent...and that is just the parents. The players can be emotional before they ever step on a court and with competition those emotions get ratcheted up a notch or two.

When you have supportive parents, which I feel that we have, and the players buy into the team concept it makes the coaching job so much easier.

What is amazing is that in some situations what is going on elsewhere through conversations is not making your job easier as a coach and yet players still listen to the coach and desire for the team to be successful.

Rarely, are you going to see 5 individuals be successful. It's too bad that not everyone on the perphery can appreciate the lack of bad shots, the ability to pass the ball, the ability to lead in other ways than scoring. 5 individuals cannot win, but acting together they are tough to beat.

I wish that ESPN would play highlights of defense, of great and good passes, and players diving on the ball...but I guess it is the nature of the beast. These influences, however, are yet one last thing that affects basketball players and their ability to perform as a "team".

If you can wade through the peripheral, the team buys in, the team performs, and the team wins/loses together; then individuals will get a lot of attention.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Microwave Society

(1950-51 McKee Munk 3rd from left, front row)
U of L men's coach coined this term, microwave society, recently. He was trying to explain that in today's world, what you do right now will be old news by.....tonight! We live in such an instant gratification society that few people get the respect or recognition they have earned over a long period of time. Many people forget history.

How many times have we heard at HHS that this is the "first time in school history"? I know I have been guilty of it, but there are a couple things wrong with this, most people don't know the full history of HHS because they are unaware, or it hasn't been written down somewhere for us to access. Some things are easy like first basketball sectional title (94 girls), first boys' and baseball title (99), first boys' basketball sectional title (04), those are easy. But what about some of the teams and players that came before us? I will use basketball as an example because I know about as much about it as anything, but I don't know everything.

Henryville is one of the few schools with undefeated regular seasons. In 1945 and 1946, the Hornets won 38 consecutive regular season games being defeated both years in the first game of the sectional. I need to research the '47 season to see how many they may have won in a row during that stretch.

How many can name more than 4 coaches from HHS? Most get me, Jack Brooks, John Bradley and Herman Furnish because they are the most recent and who the gym is named after, but after than unless you played for them, you can't name a few others. Kermit Spurgeon was not a coach, but a player. I am sure someone can tell me the significance of why the gym was named after him.

Herman Furnish won 160 games at Henryville. But did you know that in 1941, he coached the first half of the season at Borden before moving to Henryville to finish out the year? Coach Jim Huter had an impressive run at HHS with his best record occurring in 1963 at 19-3 and one of the few conference championships ever at HHS with the Dixie Athletic Conference. But Coach Huter left HHS with 103 wins and went on to win 2 state Kentucky state championships in basketball at Male High School in Louisville.

Wes Porter coached here then moved on to Borden where in 1980 he had a really good team that almost beat Floyd Central in the one class sectional. Phil Schroer coached at HHS then moved on to Providence H.S. and then to Arizona where he has been inducted into the Arizona athletic hall of fame.

Denny Doutaz and Dennis Holt did good jobs at HHS then went on to build programs who after they left became really good; Doutaz at Forest Park and Holt at Paoli. Terry Rademacher led the Borden girls' program to multiple sectional championships. John Laskowski's brother Tom was one of the first recruits for Bob Knight at IU. John Bradley has successfully guided the rocky path to coach long tenures at rivals HHS and Silver Creek, and Jack Brooks was the first (if I am correct here) HHS alumnae/basketball player to come back and coach his alma mater leading the Hornets to their first sectional victory in 2004.

Player wise, Ralph Guthrie is considered to be one of the best players ever at HHS. He went to IU and played on the freshman team and was told he would have a spot on the varsity by Branch McCracken but came home to Henryville. Shane Meadows is the all-time leading scorer, before him was Greg Robertson. Before him for many years was McKee Munk.

McKee Munk has driven the bus for many years and hasn't missed too many games since his playing days. McKee is the grandfather of recent players Cody and Cory Munk and the father of the 70's great Jay Munk. McKee's father played at HHS also making Cory and Cody a rarity at any school. They were 4th generation basketball players for the same school of the same gender.

My favorite players growing up were Roger and Robin Embry. Roger because of the triple-doubles and Robin because of the swagger. They played during a resurgence of basketball at HHS. In 1980, HHS won two sectional games and were the first games they had won in the postseason since 1963. In 1981, they lead HHS to a regular season record of 17-3 and lost in the first round at Madison to Madison in overtime. Then in '82, Robin's senior year team made it to the sectional championship before bowing to Silver Creek. Take in the '84 team who had Jack Brooks and my '88 team who beat Borden, and we won about as many sectional games in that decade as any other decade during the 1 class era.

I looked at the pictures that I have one time and found only one season in which there wasn't one player from the previous season on the next season's team. Meaning that other than that one year, you can look at a team's seniors and they have played with the seniors 3 years previous. There is a line that runs from each class that is unbroken except that one time all the way back to 1938, I believe.

So, it is important, and I don't know if it is because I am a history teacher, to remember the past. The HHS basketball program was here before us, it has had it's periods of success and failures, but each person, each team worked to be the very best they could be.

There are many more stories for boys' basketball, but each sport has it's own rich history. If you would ever love to write them down and send them to me, please do not hesitate, they will be taken care of and kept for future generations.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Standards....Do We Really Have Any Anymore?

Anytime you are in charge of a large group of people that represent more than just themselves, you must have rules. That word for me has changed over the years from "rules" to "guidelines" to now I am changing them yet again...."standards". Standards sounds more cooperative "for us" than me mandating "rules" on them. Also, I like to get feedback on some of the standards we have, some of them are unbending and I will be firm in resolve with them.

I believe that HHS basketball players will be and should be held to a higher standard. So our standards are used to make sure they reach that higher standard. When it comes to enforcing standards there are a couple of things I like to tell the players. Discipline yourself and others will not have to, and if you think that if I were to catch, see, or know about it and you might think I wouldn't like it, you might want to rethink doing it. For that split moment, they need to think ab0ut the reprucussion of that action.

Some of the standards that we like are included in a paper that the player and their parent will sign. I want everyone to know what my/our expectations are.

1. I will wear a white dress shirt, tie, dress pants, dress shoes, or approved attire by the coaching staff to games...We and they represent more than ourselves. They represent me, their school, the community, and many eyes are looking at them. They need to be dressed appropriately.

2. I will ride the bust to and from games during the season....a couple things on this, as per contract, I am responsible for the players to and back from the games. It is in its basics a liability issue for me. Also, when we win everyone wants to be together, but when you lose, you like to ride home with your parents and girlfriend and go out to eat and be consoled. I feel that we need to share in that moment as much as the joy of winning. That is when teams are built.

3. I will not allow my girlfriend to sit with me during any playing of games....the players need to be focused, period. Also, I have had people comment how bad it looks if kids are hanging on each other, and it is not a perception I want of my program.

4. I will get to class/school on time...this is a problem for all students, and seems that it should be a simple thing to follow, but it isn't. Our lax society has allowed for it to be okay to be a little late here and there, and I cannot stand it. I believe if you want to be a disciplined participant of society, you need to be on time.

5. I will stay out of trouble at school, I will stay in class, I will not make out with my girlfriend at school or games, I will be at school, I will try to do my best in school, I will stay out of trouble at school....believe it or not, every single standard on this list is something that has been dealt with in the past. We want to make sure that if we deal with it during the season, they have heard and agreed these are important standards.

6. I will not leave school early unless for a specific, excused reason. I will notify the coaching staff if I do leave early...this is a respect issue. We have practice, we have something else scheduled, I need to know if they are not going to be there. Plus, we may have to change some things up in practice if somebody gets ill or cannot be at practice.

7. I/We understand that the coaching staff reserves the right to deal with any unmentioned problems in the future at their discretion and within reason....this is to cover us in case something comes up we don't expect. We need to have the flexbility to make sure our players are living up to standards and not the lowest of the low either.

8. School standards: Must pass 5 solid classes, West Clark drug/alcohol policy....these are corporation mandated standards.

9. Haircuts should be above the collar, off the ears and above the eyebrows. No extreme sideburns, hair color or haircuts, no facial hair, no earrings during the season at any time, no visible tattoos during games...these are all perception things for the program. Call me old school, but I believe these are important standards because remember, the players are representing more than just themselves. They represent me, the student body, and the little old lady in row 22.

10. If you are late, you will run. If you miss, you will not start/play...this is also a respect issue. Respect the coaches, respect your teammates, and respect the game especially as it is played in Indiana.

11. Detentions should not happen and there is no policy, but if they ever get out of hand, there will be one implemented. And it will require circumstances so that it never happens again.

12. In school suspension=100 wall to walls for each day and suspension for 1/2 game for each day of ISS. On the 2nd separate ocassion, you will be removed from the team....perception and being held to a higher standard. I believe in second chances, but after that you will find something else to do other than basketball at HHS.

13. Out of school suspension=100 wall to walls for each day and suspended as many games as your OSS lasts. (Suspended for 3 days=300 wall to walls and 3 game suspension.) On the second separate OSS, you will be removed from the team....I have very little tolerance for out of school suspensions.

14. If any teacher talks to me about your behavior in school, the first time I will conference with you, the second time running will be involved.

It seems like more written out than it really is. Believe me, if they are decent human beings, players can go through four years of high school basketball at HHS and never have a problem with me. Disciplining players is one of the things I dislike about coaching, but is a necessary evil. Hopefully, our standards are things that they can carry over into their lives after school.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Does loyalty still exist? It is something that cannot be forced on someone or asked from someone, but it is a tangible that still exists for me. This is my blog, and I think that by getting some of my thoughts and beliefs in writing, it will help me understand me, but also help others on my insights.

My loyalty to my staff is that they are welcome to coach at HHS while I am there unless they are cancerous to the program. We have had assistants who yell, some who don't, some who use negative reinforcement, some who use positive and most of them do all of the above at any given time. I am far from perfect and often feel hypocritical when ever speaking with one of them about improving because I have done every stupid thing you can imagine in 18 years of coaching basketball. I try to take care of them with free Henryville basketball shirts/jackets, or at least discounted shoes for the season. I want them to feel that they are important to me and the program. I appreciate their time, effort and loyalty.

One of the things that I have tried to improve upon is showing more loyalty to the staff and administration. Not that I am out talking about everything that goes on, but there is a level of gossip that goes on with any position. I realize that my position is one which there tends to have a higher level of complaints, comparison, just plain communication about my job. I may speak about concerns with faculty or administration, but it is usually with a small group of my tight friends. I do it to air frustrations and to ask for advice, but even that needs to be cut back. I try to show loyalty to the staff by attending some of their events so they can know I appreciate the extra time and effort they put in for our school to strive.

I show loyalty to my players. One example is, I feel, that if you play basketball at Henryville from 5th grade all the way to your senior year, you should not be cut. As I have written before, fewer and fewer players stay with basketball for that amount of time. I believe that if a kid shows that kind of dedication, it demands to be rewarded. I have had this discussion with some who disagree, that by keeping seniors who might not play, who might not help it is taking away a space or time from a younger player who will help in the future. Maybe one day we will have the luxury to cut players because we have so many trying to play, but when we have 15-25 total guys trying to play, cuts should be one of the last things we do. However, if you have never played and try to play your junior or especially senior year, I feel you had better be pretty darn good, or you will be told to try something else in the winter.

I show loyalty to my players by trying to be consistent in upholding our team standards. By not doing so would show a disrespect to them that will only cheat them in the future. They may not understand that at the present moment, but it is a delayed reward. One that many players of the past have come and thanked me and the coaching staff for teaching them tough lessons, lessons not understood by 17 year olds, but is by 22 year olds.

I show loyalty to my players, and I have had many disagree with this, in that the older guys get the shot to play and contribute before the younger guys. Unless you are just an amazing talent at a young age, the older guys will get the first shot to win games for HHS. If they cannot get it done, I think it is fair to then give the younger players their chance. This idea goes back to the whole playing since 5th grade. If you are on the team, and considered one of the top 7-9 players, you should be given your shot because you have earned it. How long that shot is given depends on the back up players. If they are minimally talented, their shot may last longer, if they are highly talented, your shot may last a much shorter amount of time.

I hope I show loyalty to my former players in that each and every one of them who plays their senior year and graduates is welcome at any point to come to practice. They are welcome at any point to come into the locker room after a game to my office. They are welcome and will have an access that the casual fan does not have. I want to know how they are doing, are they succeeding, if not, why? What can I do to help?

I show loyalty to companies who have given us a good deal with the basketball program. Whether it is with shoes, travel suits, t-shirts, or anything we have bought to improve our program, I will go to them more often than not even if they raise their price a little higher than a competitor. Some would say that is stupid, but I have found it ensures more cooperation if something doesn't work out.

Loyalty, I show it with basketball and I show it with life. I know that I fall short in some of the things I have written about, but know that I do try to be better. I try to live up to these guidelines and standards because they are just that. Something to strive for. If you know everything or are the greatest at any endeavor, why try to improve? Many people who are the greatest in coaching basketball or in playing basketball still strive to improve. That proves to me that there is always something to learn, or improve upon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Henryville High School Basketball Players

Sometimes people tend to think that the basketball players are treated differently, given things just because of who they are. I cannot argue that basketball isn't a big deal in our town. I can't argue that maybe they get a little more attention than regular students. But I can argue that they have to deal with me and I am not always the easiest person to please, plus my expectations for them off the court is something few other students have to deal with.

But, with that being said, I would argue that some of that extra attention is deserved. Let me explain. When the season ends in March, there is a meeting for any boy 8-11 who wants to play basketball next year. At that meeting they are given a schedule of the expectations for them in June and July.

In the month of June, if they want to be considered seriously for basketball in the winter, they must be at HHS for practice 3 times a week for 2 hours. Then for 3 weekends, they are expected to attend any tournaments that are scheduled. Also, games can be added during the week. They do all this and work and try to have some fun also in the summer. In July, I am not as demanding of their time. We have 6 old school Open Gyms, and I am more flexible, but it is still nice to see the guys take it seriously.

That doesn't sound like much, right? As soon as school begins, there is another meeting and at that meeting they are given schedules of open gyms, conditioning, and the first day of practice. Open gym is in September, 3 days a week, conditioning is in October for 3 days a week, and practice begins on November 9. When practice begins, many of the high school basketball players will have worked "officially" on their games approximately 44-46 days with me.

Then practice begins, and depending on the length of the season, they will have approximately 75 practices to go with 21-25 games. That is almost 1/3 of the year they are doing something basketball related. We do something basketball related in all or parts of every month of the year when you throw in elementary basketball intramurals on Saturday mornings that some of the guys come to.

That is a dedication that warrants and almost demands respect. Two things with that: 1. Just because it warrants or demands respect, doesn't mean that respect should be expected by the players. They should never behave in a manner publicly that is an air of arrogance because of that, but they should know inside that they are special for it. Which gets me to 2. Every year it seems that fewer and fewer high school boys choose to do what I have written about. That is o.k., there are zero hard feelings on my part, not everyone is cut out for it, I understand. They may have likes in something else where they can be just as dedicated. But it does show how each year in an instant gratification society how special those who do participate in basketball are.

And what about the pressure? The pressure to succeed in something that many, many people care about. Home games of 800-2000 in attendance, every single game. I know students who would be scared to walk out on the gym floor with that many in attendance and these guys are competing and possibly failing in front of that many people. Students align their work schedules around the games so they can be part of the game. Tournaments where every possession on defense and offense counts, and will be critiqued if the game is lost.

Those 15-24 guys out of 300+ students deserve respect. They deserve at least a pat on the back. But, they also must understand that the respect, that pat on the back isn't just given, it is earned. There are generations of HHS basketball players before them, some hugely successful, others not, but all who busted their tails for the school and the program. There are generations of HHS basketball players who will come after them who will do the same, and many of those future generations (the little kids) look up to them as if they are rock stars. Which brings its own different type of pressure.

I want to close by saying that even though I have let you in on how I believe the basketball players should be perceived, I also want everyone to know that my high expectations on their behavior both on and off the court rarely are met. Many players past and present can tell you stories where their lack of meeting my expectations off the court has rendered harsh, um, re-alignment of their behavior.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sometimes You Have to do it Yourself

There are many jobs that need to be done around a school and more specifically for my purposes, the basketball program. Our custodians have plenty to do, so there are things that I have done to try to improve the overall look of the program. Maybe some things you don't even notice, but I do.

Here is a list from off the top of my head:
1. Dust the poles that the goals hang on. You wouldn't believe how much dust is in the rafters and gathers on those poles.
2. Have painted the side backboards. They were white when I took over, and I gave them a fresh coating of paint.
3. Put tape around the outside of the side backboards to look neater. Before there were just white backboards. Some of them had gray foam on them and other didn't. I made them look uniform.
4. Windex the glass backboards every 10 games. Get the ladder out and risk your life.
5. Clean the floor every day. We have a court clean system which cleans the floor way better than with just a broom. Includes using water and a new bacteria killing formula that "makes the water wetter".
6. Painted the floor of the locker room. When they did the construction a few years ago, it was almost as if they forgot to finish our locker rooms. They put a layer of sealant over top some ugly looking concrete. I painted our locker room Battleship Grey.
7. Laid the black base on the floor. Again, almost as if they forgot to finish our locker room.
8. Painted the office walls. The white paint was chipping away and I painted them gold with a strip of black at the bottom and top.
9. Sweep bleachers as needed. It is amazing how dirty they can get pulled in over the summer.
10. Raise and lower goals for games/practice.
11. Pull bleachers out for games/practice.
12. Scrape up gum off gym floor. I have a special tool for this.
13. Use wet towels to clean up coke and mud on floor. Usually carry a smaller wet towel around when sweeping or using court clean to make sure we get all the dirt.
14. Disinfect water bottles every 3 games and equipment twice a season. We want to make sure the bottles stay clean as well as the equipment.
15. Laid carpet, but lost the locker room to share for P.E. so I did #6.
Special thanks to Al Wheatbrook and Dale Robertson for the help they have given me in guiding me towards the direction I wanted to go. Also, Al helped with painting the locker room 5 years ago.

Doing these things has less to do with what I believe needs to be done by others and more with what I believe I should do. If you want to run a first class program, you must be willing to do the little things that you may not believe fall under your job description.
But....they do.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Discipline was defined by Bob Knight as "doing what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it." And I added "even when you don't want to".

To me that means it can be for many different things. It can be as simple as remembering to set your alarm for the morning, then when the alarm goes off, you get up. No snooze, you get up. If you want to sleep later, set the alarm for later. It can be as simple as being on time, all the time. Usually the reason why I am late to anything is because I was not disciplined enough to set an alarm, get ready, or get moving.

If I didn't have some form of discipline, I could not get all of the things accomplished during the day that I need to during a school year. Discipline is getting those things done, discipline is staying on your practice plan with even "fun" time scheduled into it. Discipline is also understanding when something isn't working and changing it even if it is in the middle of a practice or game.

Discipline is helping with the kids when you don't want to. Discipline is helping out around the house, when you don't want to. Discipline is helping your parents, helping a co-worker, picking up trash in the hallway, helping students even though it is time to go home. Discipline is helping and doing even when it is the last thing you possibly want to do.

Now, if you help and do something good, but only because you are supposed to do it does it make you a bad person? My belief is no, in fact, it may make you an even better person because you do it despite what your selfish wants or maybe even needs are at that moment.

The most undisciplined thing I probably have is my closet. My entire life is decently structured (not so regimented that I am no fun) especially during the school year, but if you were to look in my closet..... About once every 3 months, I have to pick up what I have thrown in there, hang clothes, and get it organized. It would be more disciplined to keep it up consistently, but I just cannot make myself do it.

Finally, discipline is what our military personnel need to have to do the things that they do. Pictured above is 2004 HHS alum Brad Guernsey when he was using discipline to guard someone in a basketball game. Today, he has used discipline in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan (in picture on right, he is second from the right). Without discipline, he wouldn't have been as successful in high school athletics, and now that discipline is keeping him safe.

Discipline sometimes comes off as a negative word and the reason it is, I believe, is because it requires us to come out of our comfort zones. It requires us to do more than what feels good, it requires us to be better. It doesn't ask, it doesn't requires.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

West Clark Community Schools Drug and Alcohol Policy

West Clark Community Schools (which Henryville High School is a member of) recognizes that athletes, cheerleaders, and extra-curricular participants stand in a special relationship with their school, community, and other students. It is understood that wearing the uniform of the school and/or representing the school in competition confers both extra recognition and extra responsibilities upon the student.

Therefore, the use of any alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs is prohibited among all students, including athletes, cheerleaders, and extra-curricular participants.

This prohibition extends 365 days a year, 24 hours a day for athletes, cheerleaders, and extra curricular participants in West Clark Community Schools.

Possession or use of illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco or participation in an activity which would reasonably be considered criminal activity, such as theft, will result in the following penalty:

1st offense: Suspension from participation in 1/3 of the contests for that particular season. Participation in practices may be permitted, depending on circumstances.
2nd offense: (during career in elementary, jr. high, and then high school): Suspension from participation for 365 days.
3rd offense: (during career in elementary, jr. high, and then high school): No participation in athletics, cheerleading, or other extra curricular for the rest of the student’s years in that level school.
In the event the offense occurs late in the season or out of season, there will be a carry-over to the next season, whether that season would be the same school year or the next one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Don't Be a Victim

We really try to take the blame for our mistakes and our failures with Henryville Basketball. One of the easiest defense mechanisms (which has been nurtured by our society the last 45 years) is to blame someone else for our shortcomings.
Basketball related "it was the refs fault"; "I didn't walk, he just doesn't know a good move"; "He takes too many shots"; "he needs to pass more"; "the fans are supportive enough"; the other kids are punks"; "the administration needs to have my back"; I could go on and on.

We as a staff must be able to accept our mistakes, acknowledge them, and move on. We will make mistakes, and if we try to deflect, blame others, act like it isn't the pink elephant in the room, we will lose respect as the leader of the program/team.

I have said "sorry" to my team, to my players individually, to my assistants when I was wrong. Believe it or not, I have been wrong. I know, I know if you go into the stands on a Friday night you will find a lot of people who agree with that assessment, but I am admitting it.

Don't be a victim, one of the hardest things to do is lose a game on a Tuesday night, especially sectional games, and come to school the next day. To walk the halls and look at the people who the previous night were doing all they could to help you win, and you feel that somehow you let them all down. Usually, they are very nice, but sometimes you don't even want that.

In life, we have a victim mindset that has permeated everything. We all need something, have failed because of something whether it be child molestation, murder, parents that loved you too much, parents that didn't love you enough, mean teachers, hard ass coaches, lenient substitutes, the police...something, somebody has caused you not to do what you are supposed to do, has made you into what you are.

Trust me, I have had more than my fair share of bad things happen to me, some worse than others, but I absolutely refuse to be a victom. Often we cannot control what happens to us but we can control how we react to it. It isn't easy sometimes, probably most times, but what other choice do we have?

Lie around and feel sorry for ourselves? Blame others? Do things we aren't supposed to do? Crime? Passing that sin onto others? Not me, I refuse to be a victim, I prefer to be a victor. I absolutely refuse to blame others for my mistakes; I refuse it. Do I fall short sometimes? Yes, I know when I am doing it, and I should stop, but it makes you feel better inside, psychologically, which is not right in my opinion.
I do believe that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself, to be depressed, to be down. If you put a lot of time and effort into something you are bound to feel defeated when you fail. It is normal, and okay to feel this way, but you must not keep you from moving forward. It is at that moment when you find out what you are made of, what kind of mental toughness do you have?
Perspective helps, too. I look at the stories of some people who have it worse than I do financially, career wise, health wise and it humbles you. Some of the things I have complained about, been upset about are really nothing in the grand scheme of things, in the overall picture.
But, in those darkest moments when you are dealing with death, when you are dealing with the illness of a loved one you must seek out the help of others. Someone to talk to, someone to vent to, someone to help you keep proper perspective. You have to have someone in your worst times, heck in all bad times that you can share your feelings with. Even in these worst of times, it too shall pass, and then what do you do? I would hope we move forward and persevere because that is what is wanted for us.

So, when you come to our games in the future, you can know that we are taking responsibility for us. We have practiced, planned, and prepared for that game. But, when you see me on the referees, or one of our players complaining about something, you can know we are falling short, but always striving to not be a victim.
(Pictured is Clint Horine, a recent graduate of HHS, fan of HHS basketball, and The Voice of HHS baseball. Clint has battled some daily struggles with his health, sometimes is down, but takes a negative situation better than most adults and makes a positive out of it. He is one of my heroes.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day in the Life of a High School Basketball Coach

Day in the life of a high school basketball coach...practice before the season begins:
6:00 AM...wake up and get ready/ read paper/eat breakfast
6:50 AM...wake daughter up and get her ready
7:00 AM...head to school
7:15 AM...arrive at school/open gym door for any player wanting to shoot/prepare for day
7:35 AM...hall duty, supervise until class starts.
8:00 AM...teaching responsibilities begin/teach US History, Psychology, and Sociology/during the day prepare practice plan/ make sure practice gear is cleaned and dried
2:50 PM...head to gym/get practice gear for guys/turn on lights/make sure floor is getting cleaned/ talk to assts. as you head out/ make sure everyone is getting in right frame of mind
5-5:30 PM...practice ends/this year the coaching staff will discuss practice, how it went and what we need to work on
5:45 with jr. high or elementary practices or prepare to attend one of these lower level games
6:00 PM...make sure you eat something/ no jr. high or elementary games and you head home for supper with the family/ play with the kids /if there is a lower level game, arrive home around 8 PM, then spend time with the kids
9:00 practice or game film or just watch t.v., usually just t.v. to clear mind/ video games help to clear the mind from basketball also
11:00 PM..hope you can get to sleep by now and sleep through the night....many times I wake up around 4 AM thinking basketball and trying to go back to sleep.

Day in the life of a high school basketball coach...HOME game:
6:00 AM...wake up and get ready/ read paper/eat breakfast
6:50 AM...wake daughter up and get her ready
7:00 AM...head to school
7:15 AM...arrive at school/open gym door for any player wanting to shoot/prepare for day
7:35 AM...hall duty, supervise until class starts.
8:00 AM...teaching responsibilities begin/teach US History, Psychology, and Sociology/during the day prepare look over game plan/ make sure practice gear is cleaned and dried
2:50 PM...get to locker room and make sure uniforms, warm ups are laid out/ sweep and clean game floor/ make sure bleachers are pulled out/ get something to eat/watch jr. high practice
4:30 PM...back to gym to get dressed and open doors for players
5:00 PM...players are allowed to shoot around/ sit and compose thoughts or watch game tapes of opponent
5:30 PM...make sure opponents have everything they need, and socialize with opposing coaches
6:00 PM...J.V. game begins
6:20 PM...J.V. 1/2 time/ make sure game plan is on board in varsity locker room
6:40 rest of J.V. game
7:00 PM...go over game plan with team
7:10 PM...send team to warm up/ speak with opposing coach/ referee meeting
7:30 PM...starting line ups, National Anthem, jump ball
8:45 PM...discuss result with team shortly and dismiss them as you go to the office.
8:55 PM...discuss result with assistants then call in scores to The Evening News and The Courier Journal
9:00 PM...make sure game uniforms are being washed and dried
9:10 with wife and kids and either head home or out to eat to discuss game or to relax **I never watch the game tape the night of the game. I try to leave it at the gym even though I rarely get to sleep before 1 AM on game nights, hard to wind down.**

Day in the life of a high school basketball coach...AWAY game:
6:00 AM...wake up and get ready/ read paper/eat breakfast
6:50 AM...wake daughter up and get her ready
7:00 AM...head to school
7:15 AM...arrive at school/open gym door for any player wanting to shoot/prepare for day
7:35 AM...hall duty, supervise until class starts.
8:00 AM...teaching responsibilities begin/teach US History, Psychology, and Sociology/during the day prepare look over game plan/ make sure practice gear, game uniforms are cleaned and dried
2:50 PM...get to locker room and make sure uniforms, warm ups, team bags are laid out/ sweep and clean game floor/ get something to eat
4:30 PM...back to gym to to leave depending on leave time
5:25 PM...arrive at opponents gym socialize with opposing coaches/ make sure J.V. coach has what he needs
6:00 PM...J.V. game begins
6:20 PM...J.V. 1/2 time/ make sure game plan is on board in varsity locker room
6:40 rest of J.V. game
7:00 PM...go over game plan with team
7:10 PM...send team to warm up/ speak with opposing coach/ referee meeting
7:30 PM...starting line ups, National Anthem, jump ball
8:45 PM...discuss result with team
9:00 PM...hopefully by now we are on the bus headed home
9:45 PM...make sure game uniforms are being washed and dried
9:55 PM...speak with wife on the phone on whether I need to get something to eat or if something is at home
**I never watch the game tape the night of the game. I try to leave it at the gym even though I rarely get to sleep before 1 AM on game nights, again hard to wind down.**

Day in the life of a high school basketball coach...during the summer:
During the summer, I will spend anywhere from 3-38 hours on the job at any given one time. On practice or open gym days, it will be closer to 3 hours, but when we go out of town for two days, it can be up to 38 hours with the team. We spend 21 days during the summer for these different amounts of time with the players.
I often speak with college coaches and tell them there is no way I could put in the hours they do, finally one day an assistant from the University of Evansville told me to put down on paper my typical day. I was amazed...and then I went home and thanked my wife for putting up with it.

Developing A Program from Kindergarten - Seniors in High School

One of the things that I did when I took over was to expand our intramural program to Kindergarten and 1st graders. The previous coaches had done a good job installing and continuing the program at 2nd grade through to 8th grade, but I wanted to give the younger classes a chance also.
I feel that the sooner we can get the kids exposed to basketball, the sooner they will put some of the skills to work. At each level, we teach them different fundamental drills to work on, and we emphasize that if they want to get better they must take those skills home and practice. You can really tell the difference in the guys from year to year on those who do go home and practice and those who don't.

What I have found, too, is that you will find what kids are extremely serious about basketball and which are not. It isn't a bad thing at a young age if you are not so driven that you are at the gym every single time it is open, but we want to give all boys K-8 that opportunity.

We have changed, too how we do things. We used to have intramurals in the fall, and in the summer a camp. But our numbers would be way down in the summer as opposed to the fall, so last spring we installed spring intramurals also. There were two main reasons, 1. to get more kids involved, and 2. one thing I noticed our kids didn't understand was basic basketball stuff in games.

We practice for 1/2 hour, showing fundamentals, shooting drills, etc., then for the last 1/2 hour we let them play. Trying to teach the younger kids about the baseline, the sideline, what is a walk, double dribble, when to pass, and so on.

With the Kindergarteners, we match them up, and every time down court, we match the defense up with the offense. And we allow someone different to bring the ball up the court every single time. Unfortunately at that age level, the person bringing the ball up is the one who shoots it.
At every level above that, we work hard for that 1/2 hour getting kids to understand the game. From playing defense, to passing, to shooting, to talking as we get to the older grades.

Then during the varsity season we take each group (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) and allow them to run up and down the court at one of our home games in front of the crowd. The players are allowed in free, but the parents and other family members pay. From the feedback I get, it is something that the kids and parents look forward to each winter.

In four years, I have changed some things and done some things the same. I hope that what we are doing is instilling a love for the game of basketball in the kids and is getting them to work on their games from an early age til the time we get them. I want them to have a love affair with the game, but I also want players when they get to high school who are fundamental and understand the game.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Plan your work, Work your plan

Many coaches are much smarter than I am and maybe don't need notes at practice. However, I have found that I always forget something that I want to do on that day.
Below is an example of one of our practice plans:

November 12/ Practice #2

3:05 – 3:08 Thought Of The Day…..get better every day.

3:08 – 3:14 Pre-practice

3:14 – 3:18 Full court dribbling

3:18 – 3:30 Offensive footwork
-Fist shooting…..curls off screen, catch and rip where you came from, catch and go.
-Posts should always be stepping into open areas.
-mix in shots, feeding the post for a shot, and shooter re-locating for a shot
-then perimeter catches, screen away for a shot coming off “double” screen.

3:30 – 3:40 Defensive breakdown
-wall up
-1 on 1 ½ court…keep ball on side….catch and shot fake, make sure you stay down, hands up.

3:40 – 3:45 1 on 1 block out

3:45 – 3:55 Run….2 in: 22
FT/ Drink

3:55 – 4:03 Shadow D

4:03 – 4:08 3 out/ 1 in….2 out of 3 stops.

4:08 – 4:23 Forward Help/Recover
-3 on 3 with person in corner being beaten.
-3 straight stops or run

4:23 – 4:28 100 point shooting

4:28 – 4:43 Break breakdown with Defense

4:43 – 4:58 Guard help/recover
-3 on 3 with person on wing extended being beaten
-3 straight stops or run

4:58 – 5:03 FT

5:03 – 5:08 4 on 3 in the lane

5:08 – 5:18 4 on 3 live
-get 2 stops and you are out.
5:18 – 5:27 5 on 5 shell/ transition

Just the titles of the drills gives me the idea of what I want to do. If I need to, I will write or even type in extra details on a new drill, or an old drill to make sure we hit what we are trying to do.

We usually want to warm up, then work on individual offensive moves or individual defense, then we move it to team offense and defense. We try to make as much of it a competition as possible to get them to compete all practice.

I believe that practice should be hard and short. We will go 2 1/2 hours for the first couple of weeks, but if they practice hard, we go 2 hours only. By 5 o'clock, they are ready to go home and I have seen a decline in effort.

I am planning on having 1 open practice again this fall, everyone and anyone is invited to come watch that one day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How do you want to be remembered?

The title of this article is a question I ask my players and students on a semi-regular basis.
For two reasons:
1. most people will say they want to be remembered in a positive manner, so I have them look at their behaviors. Does their behavior connect with their wishes?

"I want to be remembered as a good kid." Are you doing things on a consistent basis in class, on the court, in society that will render that memory?
"I want to be remembered as a hard worker." Are you turning in all your assignments, diving for loose balls, putting in the extra time to render that memory?
"I want to be remembered as......" It doesn't matter, if your actions don't equal your wishes, then one of two things needs to happen. You need to either change your actions, or change your wish. Hopefully, more often than not, we change our actions.

2. Not every basketball player is going to be remembered as one of the top 10 basketball players of all time at HHS, but you can be remembered as the consumate team player on a team that wins. The program was here before us, it is here while we are here, and when we graduate/retire, it will go on. Memories are formed whether we want them to or not.

People may not remember your name, but when you tell them you played on the 81 team, the 04 team, the 05 helps for them to connect you with those winning teams.

You may score 20 points a game, but if you have a losing record and cannot get your teammates to bond as a team, then people forget you. They might say "yeah, I remember you could really shoot, but how well did your team do?"

I know as coaches we will remember all the players, but the ones who gave of themselves for the sake of the team are the ones who will stand out in the future. Basketball and life, are selfish endeavors. You play because you get something out of it, and if you give up something of yourself, something that helps you enjoy it to make the team better...those are the greatest players ever.
What is the cruel part of being remembered is that some of us no matter what or how we do things, no matter how successful you are, we will be judged by numbers. Each year when a team wins or loses, in our record book, it isn't the name of the players next to the record. It is the coach, the coach's name is next to the W-L column. It isn't just in coaching, it could be in accounting, any job where making a profit is the bottom line. If you are the greatest person in the world, if you the numbers are bad, you will be remembered for that, sometimes only for that.
So, what can we do? We work as hard as we can, try to be good people, continue to strive to be better in every way, and then at night be able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Four Agreements

I get a monthly newsletter from Xavier University Men's Basketball program.
In one of the newsletters it included The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Found it interesting and a good guide in life.

1. Always Do Your Best: No matter the circumstance do your best, no more, no less. When doing your best, you will learn to accept yourself, you will learn from your mistakes, look honestly at results and keep working. You will be accountable to yourself and to others.

2. Be Impeccable with your Word: Your word is the power to express and communicate which creates events in your life. Take responsibility for your actions, but do not judge or blame yourself too harshly.

3. Don't Take Anything Personally: Taking things personally is the maximum expression of selfishness because we assume that everything is about me. Nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of them.

4. Don't Make Assumptions: You tend to make assumptions on everything and the problem is that we believe that assumption to be the truth. We assume things on what others are doing or thinking and we take it personally. To keep from doing this, ask questions until it is clear what it is that you want to know.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why We Play High School Athletics

I got this from someone a few years back, but it was "Why we play college athletics". I changed a few things so that it would make more sense to the people that I coached in high school.

Why we play high school athletics....It's not about getting a scholarship, getting drafted, or making Sports Center. It's a deep need in us that comes from the heart. We need to practice, to play, to lift, to hustle, to sweat. We do it all for our teammates and for the student in our Biology class that we don't even know.

We don't practice with a future major league first baseman; we practice with a future athletic trainer. We don't lift weights with a future Olympic wrestler; we lift with a future doctor. We don't run with a future NCAA champion; we run with a future lawyer. It's a bigger part of us than our friends and family can understand. Sometimes we play for 2,000 fans; sometimes for 200. But we still play hard.

You cheer for us because you know us. You know more than just our names. Like all of you, we are students first. We don't sign autographs. But we do sign college applications, ACT exams, and tests in all of our classes. When we miss a shot, or strike out, we don't let down an entire state. We only let own our teammates, coaches, and fans. But the hurt is still the same. We train hard, lift, throw, run, shoot, dribble, and run some more, and in the morning we go to class. And in that class we are nothing more than students.

It's about pride in ourselves, in our school. It's about our love and passion for the game. And when it's over, when we walk off that court or field for the last time, our hearts crumble. Those tears are real. But deep down inside, we are very proud of ourselves. We will forever be what few can claim....high school athletes.

Author unknown

I never understand when a student-athlete in high school decides not to play a sport they love or are good at. They probably only have 1 four year window in which it really matters. Very few are going to go on and play in college at any sport, but while in high school they hire officials, they have concessions, people pay admission, the band plays, cheerleaders cheer, students act wild and yet some students are willing to give that up for a job or girlfriend/boyfriend.

I know that a high percentage if not 100% of the students who have quit a sport that they were good at have regretted it. Some have verbally expressed, and others haven't, but you can tell from their demeanor and that they are at every single game how they feel.

I tell our high school athletes each year with the changing culture of our society that they are more and more special. They work hard, they have someone yelling at them and demanding they give up their time and self for the good of the group. That just does not happen much in today's individualistic society especially if you aren't a starter and maybe don't get to play much.

But being part of a team, giving of yourself for the sake of your friends and school makes you special.  Unfortunately athletes become more special each year, not because of a greater effort given by them, but by the acceptance of mediocrity as being special by society.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

11 Principles of a Good Parent

I ran across this on, and hope to employ it if my children decide to participate in athletics. It is a good guideline, but I don't know if you can ever have a "set in stone" set of guidelines to raising a child.
Here it is:
1. Make tough decisions: Give your children roots, a stable place for them to be, and you can't always be the popular parent. Sometimes your kids have to hate you because they are hedonistic, selfish individuals who are learning to not be.

2. Get kids out of activities: One per semester. Children should have varied interests, but kids today participate in too many things. Everything is organized, give them time to be kids and meet up with the kids in the neighborhood to play games.

3. Raise your own children: Be there for them. Attend their athletic functions, their band shows, their spelling bees. Even if they don't want you around, be there. They may never want to share their lives with you, but ask and be there. Raise your child.

4. Realize that people are more important than things: Spend time with your kids even if it means you work less and can't afford a new car, big screen t.v., or an i-phone. Your relationship with your kids will last a lot longer than things. And all that time you worked, can never be replaced with time missed with your children.

5. Discipline your children with love: Again, sometimes you are going to be hated by your children, it is a part of growing up. Discipline them, but never allow them to have to guess if you love them or not.

6. Take your children to your place of worship: There is a world out there ready to instill their values on your children. Give your children good values so when they encounter that world, they have something stable to fall back on.

7. Have dinner together as a family: It shows that it is important to be together as a family. It sort of forces you to be in one place and communication can begin and flourish. You will find out a lot more over a meal, then walking into their room and asking "What's up?".

8. Realize your kids don't necessarily need what you didn't have: We all are guilty of spoiling our children. We need to realize that by giving our children too many things, we are not teaching them that people are more important than stuff.

9. Turn off your television: This is one of the things that is instilling the worlds values on your children. The things you don't blatantly see, are the things you should be worried about. Kids are like sponges picking up many things that we don't see because we are older. If you can't turn off the t.v. on a regular basis, at least do it at supper time.

10. Walk it! Don't talk it!: You can talk to your children and instill your values, but if you tell them one thing and do the opposite, you can forget it. If you tell them not to smoke and you do, they will. If you tell them not to sleep around, and you have a different boyfriend/girlfriend every 2-3 weeks, they will, too. You must walk the walk and it may be the hardest thing to do on the list.

11. You can't run your life on feelings: The sign of a mature emotional person is someone who is under control most of the time. It is all right to be extremely happy, it is okay to cry, it is okay to be mad, but if you are hitting all these emotions on a regular basis (daily) expect to be unhappy. Also, expect to teach your children that is acceptable behavior imprisoning them to a life of emotional unhappiness.

I believe that these are great guidelines to being a good parent. Also, making you a relatively happy person. It may be something that helps you, it may not, but it is something that I will work towards on a daily basis to try be the best parent I can be.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ten Rules to Live and Play By

I haven't given this out to the players in awhile, but will do so again this year. I stole some of these from Pat Summitt's Defnite Dozen from her book, Reach the Summitt. Coach Summitt is the all time winningest coach in college basketball, mens or womens.

I believe that these 10 things will help you to be successful in life as well as on the basketball court.

1. Respect: You must respect yourself which believe it or not, some players/people do not do. Whether it be that you are consistently making bad decisions in life or on the court, it can be because of a lack of self-respect. Respect others also. Most people in life have dealt with enough garbage and deserve some semblance of respect. On the basketball court, respect your opponent. We say often, respect everyone, fear no one.

2. Take responsibility: In my opinion, one of the worst things about our society today, and it seeps onto the court, is a lack of taking responsibility for yourself. It is always someone elses fault, or some unforeseen mystical force kept you from doing what needed to be done. It is better to say "my bad" and move on. But also take responsibility for others. If you are in a class, don't let your teammates or friends act in a way that is detrimental to the class, take responsibility for the group.

3. Develop and Demontrate Loyalty: Don't let the winds of popularity decide who is your friend. And on the court, all of your teammates are working and having the same high expectations thrust on them as is being expected of a loyal teammate. Integrity above all else.

4. Discipline yourself and others will not have to: Do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it and you will have very few problems on the court or in life.

5. Establish good habits: Get up early, be on time, word hard, work smart. Eat right, hang out with positive people, and get up and do it again each and every day. It is much easier to say than to do.

6. Put the team before yourself: In the summer, I understand that the self/family will sometimes come before the team, but if you play sports or work a job somewhere, often the team will come before you. You may have to give up some things that you enjoy doing during a season for the good of the team, we do it all the time as coaches.

7. Compete: Be persistent every day, all the time; never give up every day, all the time; and in all things, make the other team earn its victory. Do not just give up, go through the motions and lose. Scratch, claw, and fight!!!

8. Communicate: Probably one of the most important items on this list for a team and in any relationship is communication. Talk, if you are confused, ask questions until everything is perfectly clear. This will keep problems from occurring. If you get burned, get it in writing the next time, an email will suffice.

9. Accept change: Most people like how things are going if it is being semi-successful or comfortable for them. Accept change, accept losing playing time, or a starting position if it can help the team. Sometimes others do not display loyalty, and you must accept it because you will eventually get some type of reward. It may not be immediate, but it may be something that you have learned that will help you in dealing with another aspect of your life.

10. Handle success and failure the same: I believe that if you win, celebrate, have fun then move on to the next competition. If you fail, it is okay to be down, but never give up. Competitors do not see failure as the end all, but as a way to learn something or the beginning of something else. In the end, handle both, though, the same....with class. Win and shake hands and do not rub it in, and when you lose muster up your strength, shake hands, congratulate the victor and head to the locker room but do it with class.

You can't score, if you don't shoot!

At HHS, we also have 10 basic rules on offense. As with defense, they are rules that we look at often, redefine, and hopefully make better. Below are the 10 items, I think that are important to be a good individual offensive player as well as a good offensive team.
As in defense, we want our players to communicate, communicate, communicate. It never amazes me that kids who want to talk during school all day, want to enter the gym where we want them talking and won't.

1. Off the catch, triple threat: When we catch the pass, we want to go immediately into the triple threat position. That way you are prepared to be a threat offensively. It doesn't necessarily mean shooting, but driving and drawing two defenders and passing to the open man. Now sometimes we want to catch and rip immediately if the defense overplays the pass because the defense is at a disadvantage and scrambling.

2. Off the bounce, chin it: When picking up the basketball from the dribble, we want our players to chin the basketball. The defense through the years has been allowed to get away with more pushing, shoving, and slapping, fouling in general, and we want our guys to be strong with the ball. When working on this, I will tell them often to "check the air pressure" so that they think to be strong.

3. Without the ball, always put pressure on the defense: As an offensive player, we do not want to allow our defensive player be able to relax or take their mind off us. We want our players ready to make a cut, a backdoor cut, or a seal in the post if their defensive player falls asleep. Even if we run a set, I want the other guys not involved ready to be offensive. I will often say during practice "don't let the set keep us from scoring" because someone hasn't taken advantage of their defensive players lack of awareness.

4. Use your arms and body to get open: We try to teach our guys to be physical on both ends of the floor, but on the offensive end of the floor, if they will take advantage of a little arm bar push or dragging their man into a screen they can be more successful. But not only can they be physical with their defensive player, but I also want them to use their teammates. I want them to push and shove the screener in places to help bump their defensive player.

5. When the shot goes up, rebound. *Shooting % increases with each additional shot*: Never concede that a shot is going in, never, never, never. Also, pay attention to the coaches and live action to see where rebounds come off during action. Offensive rebounds can be a back breaker to other teams.

6. Minimize turnovers: The fewer TO's you have the more opportunities you have to shoot which increases your chance of scoring.

7. Take good shots: This is an individual thing. What is a good shot for one player, may not be a good shot for another player. However, if you have a good shot for you, our players must feel comfortable to shoot at any time....again, if it is a good shot for them. This is something that some people don't understand because one player may have the green light to shoot an off balance shot with 2 players on them, and another may not because it's a good shot for one player and not another.

8. Pass up a good shot to get a great shot: This is one of the hardest things for kids to understand. But it is something that can increase shooting %. This usually happens on a ball reversal or a drive and kick where someone passes up a good shot to get a wide open shot. Wide open shots for guys that can hit it are great shots.

9. Be unselfish, and it will come back to you: Kind of a Zen way of thinking, but most scorers from jr. high want to shoot, or pass it and get it right back. We try to teach our guys that the best way to get open for a great shot is to pass it and get away from the ball. By doing so, they create space and gives their defensive player a better chance of making a mistake. The game is full of hundreds of passes that lead to nothing other than maybe getting you or a teammate open in the future.

10. Throw the ball inside. Open 3's on reversals and inside out: Even if your post players aren't that great at scoring, you have to throw it inside so they can pass it back out. It is almost always going to happen, but some perimeter defensive player will help leaving somebody open, weakside will come to the help side even more leaving the opposite elbow open, or a pass out could lead to another pass to a wide open shot (see #9). Also, any perimeter who can hit a 3 point shot, if the ball is reversed quickly and they are open, have the green light to shoot.
If your posts can score, it makes your perimeter players even more dangerously open.