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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rick Pitino's 8 Traits that Corrupt Team Chemistry

According to Rick Pitino there are eight traits that corrupt team chemistry. Team chemistry is a touchy thing that can be manipulated easily due to many different types of internal or external feelings. Below are Coach Pitino's eight.

1. Jealousy...we must get across that for any of us to succeed, we must all succeed. We must instill the idea that it is enjoyable to watch others succeed. Seeing someone else's name in the paper consistently or their picture, it important to get across to the other players they are vital as well. It really helps when your best players give credit consistently to their teammates.

2. Cynicism...usually occurs when things are going badly. They feel they are not part of the solution, they will question the plan, doubt the leader and believe that the end result won't be positive so why bother? It can creep into a team also by outside influences such as parents, fans, message boards.

3. Inflated occurs when an individual believes that the group cannot function without them, they must remember that their value only matters within the framework of the group.

4. Inflexible personality...this occurs with the person who is not willing to listen and is a know it all. They believe they know more than the coaches and usually comes from some outside influence.

5. Discipline deficiency...lack of discipline leads to bad habits which destroys individual improvement and team progression.

6. Lack of Passion...people lacking passion are not looking to always improve....we don't deal with I don't know people.

7. Excuse making...when something goes wrong it is never their fault. It is the teacher's fault for their grades, it is the referee's fault for the bad call, it is their teammate's fault for not getting them the ball.

8. Front's easy to be positive and upbeat when everything is going well, but how do you respond in times of despair? They cannot generate passion in times of adversity which brings the team down.

So many of the above things are related and can grow. Unfortunately, even under the best circumstances outside influences can affect your players. As a coach, we must work consistently on these eight items and make sure team chemistry is affected minimally.

Friday, August 27, 2010


If you want to read an easy, quick book to help put your "misery" into perspective and help you realize how lucky you are to do what you, I highly recommend the book Fish! by Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen. 107 pages and you can get it for a penny on
It is a fictional book about a company that has a group that is described as a toxic dump. Throughout the book, the company observes guys at a fish market who do hard, boring work with passion and it transforms their own workplace.

According to the book, we can do 4 things to improve the quality of our lives: 1. choose your attitude; you can choose to be happy, mad, a victim, anything, you have a choice and if you don't believe you do, then you don't. 2. Play; take your job/life seriously, but have fun which will create more energy. 3. Make their day; include those around you and do something for them that you could never be repaid for, make somebody feel special today, heck...make many people feel special today. 4. Be Present; listen and focus on anyone who is taking time to speak with you, don't multi task when dealing with human beings.

Great quote from the book: "customers (people) feel how they feel. No matter what excuses we offer or what kind of spin we put on it, it doesn't change how our internal customers feel. That's the reality as they see it. The question is, what are we going to do about it?" Make their day!

Also "my daughter wanted to go to the park, but I was living a busy life. I said she should wait until later, after I had a chance to catch up. But there always seemed to be some urgent and pressing work to do and the days passed. Days led to weeks and weeks to months." With a choking voice, he said that four years passed and he never did go to the park. His daughter is now fifteen and no longer interested in the park, nor, for that matter, in him. Be present!

Get it, read it, enjoy it, make changes!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The bus leaves at..........

"Be on time". "If you are not 15 minutes early you are late."

Those were the words that I grew up with at home, not verbally, but in our actions at going anywhere. Then in high school they were the exact words my high school coach used. I don't know if that being beaten into me from such a young age or not, but I think being on time, actually being early, is one of the most important things you can do as a player/coach/person.

Telling someone that you will be somewhere at a certain time is giving your word. If you are late, then in some way you are being less than truthful about how important you think their time is. Being told to be somewhere at a certain time is an act of responsibility to your employer, to the team, to anything you are going to.

It may be very easy for me as I have rarely had a problem with time and for something it just seems to be an issue... Often it is because that person is doing too many things or has lost track of time, but those are excuses often not reasons. I do realize that there are sometimes things we cannot control which causes us to be late, but I would bet that a large amount of those things we cannot control could have been contained by our actions.

Being on time is important. If that is something that you or those in power can know they rely upon with you, it is a great building block for success. Be on time!!! Better early!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


University of Tennessee women's coach made a comment in her book Reach for the Summit "it doesn't take much to push my buttons because they stay about half way pushed in all the time". When I read that line in that book, I had one of those "somebody understands me" moments.

It is amazing to myself how agitated I seem to stay most of the time. I try to reinforce and force myself to be positive, but it seems too often I get worked up about, well, nothing. I get upset with myself then that I didn't stay calm, I look back on the situation and wonder why in the heck did I get so upset about something that I obviously couldn't control. Whether it be a situation or a really is ridiculous.

I truly believe that you should make due with what you have...make the best out of your current situation. You cannot control what happened, but you can control how you react to it, but I often wonder when is it enough? Where is the line of making due and fighting for what you believe in? And what happens when you stand up and fight for what you believe in are smirked at and you lose? I can tell you what happens with brain gets fuzzy, I forget to be a calm, educated person, and I lose control. So not only do I lose the fight, but I lose the war.

My buttons stay halfway pushed in all the time and I have worked hard to improve my positivity and emotions, but sometimes............sometimes........I lose.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Increasing Interest in the Boys' Basketball Program

I think you can never rest in trying to build interest and loyalty in your program. Some of the things we have done to try and build interest:
1. Started a basketball

2. Started a twitter site with my thoughts and Henryville Basketball on facebook (over 1100 followers and blog).

3. Moved our camps from 2nd grade down to kindergarten age players.

4. At camps, we give away something every day and often lots of stuff.

5. We played younger kids at halftime of varsity games.

6. We send out Christmas and Birthday cards to players in the program; from current players to any one who has participated in camps recently.

7. We have a team camp out.

8. The players are invited to my house to eat at least once a year.

9. Take the players to different universities in the summer to see what colleges are like.

10. Open the gym at 7 AM since I have taken over.

11. Have workouts and open gyms in pre season.

12. Give the players ample time to unwind from basketball.

13. Give travel suits to the varsity team every season, those that were used during the season.

14. Have given basketballs to campers and high school players.

15. Taken players to practices and scrimmages at colleges.

16. During summer have traveled to other basketball sites in Indiana (Hall of Fame, etc.).

17. Helped any player who wanted to play past h.s. if told by them (many players have been given the opportunity to play, but have chosen not to due to financial reasons, travel, etc.).

18. Had a newsletter we sent out to keep anyone who chose informed.

19. Kept the camp cost affordable for most and cheaper than many other camps.

20. Had a highly competitive last 5 years winning 2 conference championships and participating in 2 sectional finals.

21. Texting players with positive notes.

22. Giving players the benefit of the doubt academically, socially, and discipline wise to a point.

23. Have attended AAU games as far as Indianapolis and Cincinnati and all star games in Louisville and north of Indy. For anyone who will tell me when they play.

24. Showed appreciation to students who have increased support in recent years.

25. Donated time by reading to the elementary students.

26. Volunteered to be on the Advisory Board of Team Southern Indiana AAU program.

27. Became an Associate Director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

28. Traveled to Serbia and Macedonia with hopes of taking players in the future.

29. Schedule, work, and referee elementary basketball games.

30. Try to keep the facility in a first class manner by keeping it clean during the season.

Most of what has been listed above has either been started in the last 5 years or built upon by the previous boys' basketball coaches. We often hear criticisms and would love to know what else we can do to increase interest in the boys' basketball program.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Parent Commandments from

1. Always remember that children tend to exaggerate both when praised or critisized. Temper your reactions when your children come home of tales of woe or heroics.

2. Try to be as completely honest as possible about your child's ability level, his competitive attitude, his sportsmanship, and athletic ability.

3. Be helpful, but don't coach on the way to the gym or on the way home....or ever at breakfast.

4. Teach him to enjoy the "thrill of competition". Never say "winning doesn't matter", because it does.

5. And hear this parents; trying to relive your athletic career through your child increases pressure. Don't pressure him because of your pride.

6. Don't compete with the coach. In many cases the coach becomes a hero to his players, someone who can do no wrong.

7. Which is why it is important to get to know the coach so you can know if his philosophy, attitude, ethics, and knowledge is something you want to expose your child to.

8. Do not compare your child's ability, attitude, or work ethic to other players especially where he can hear.

9. Make sure your child knows that win or lose, scared, or heroic that you love him, appreciate his efforts and are not disappointed in him.

10. Make a point of understanding courage and the fact that it is relative. Some of climb mountains, but fear a fight. Some of us fight, but fear a bee sting. Children must know that courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in the face of fear. is the best website on Indiana high school basketball. It is a paid site, so the conversation is a much more respectful conversation on the message board. Leigh Evans, who runs it, is a first class individual and Indiana basketball is better because of his efforts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coaching and Family

One of the great things about coaching at the high school level is that my players and other students adopt my children as little brothers and sisters. My two kids love these people as much as anybody in our family because of the attention they give them. It is wonderful to see these young men and women be so good to my children (which I use on them often "do you realize if you get in trouble how much Maddie or Brandon will be upset?").

But....each year the players/students they become so close with graduate and move on. My daughter knows that when they graduate, she won't get to see them as often and it upsets her. It is part of life and growing up and she is learning great lessons from this heart ache, but it still is hard to watch as she loses people she considers "best friends".

Whether it be my son walking through Meijer's yelling "Weeks, Weeks" looking for a former player who works there or my daughter crying because one of her favorite people won't be around as often next year, it is quite sad. But, she does see them come back to games or graduation and she understands that they have moved on, have grown up, and that it will happen to her some day.

We helped to console her that we will take her to watch this young woman, Amanda Embry, play a softball game or two next year, but it won't be the same. But the way kids bounce back, there will be others that she will be connected to this year adding to the long list of people she considers family and crying over losing at the end of this year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Uh...Coach...Can I talk to you for a second...thought you should know.....

When does the appearance of something "fishy" actually make you decide to change your opinion about something or someone?

One of the things we tell our guys constantly is that even though they may not be guilty of anything, if they hang around with known guilty parties they can expect to be linked to them. How do I know they are guilty? Many of these people are not afraid to be vocal enough so that I hear about it in class or hallways. It isn't fair to our guys, but it is the way it is. So, do we tell them to not hang with their friends? Of course not. But I do tell them to understand that there will continue to be rumors swirling about them and be prepared to be confronted by me every time I hear something negative.

I have even told players that seem to constantly be in the "rumor mill" that I am giving them the benefit of the doubt, but if something does occur that resembles what I am hearing they can forget about winning my trust again. I have asked and they have either lied and/or not removed themselves from a situation that could end their playing careers and taken advantage of the coaching staff's trust.

But is it about them embarrassing the basketball program or me? No, it really isn't. It is about trying to keep them from developing a bad habit that could lead to severe unhappiness. At best, they will drink socially or become a functional alcoholic. This could take money from their families or cause them to have a criminal record with a DUI or PI. At worst, they are a complete burden to their family and could potentially kill someone.

That is what I am trying to do....keep them from ruining their lives. Sure, I don't like for my program to be perceived negatively, but it's not about me, but about them . I am not naieve enough to think that nothing ever goes on, but I can tell you that when I do find out about it, and I don't run from the rumors, that the rules will be followed.