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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pre game Practice

I have been coaching basketball for a long time, this is the 19th year overall, 6th as varsity coach. Every single year, I never know what we have going into the season. Sometimes you have a better understanding than in other years, but more often than not, you don't know until you play a game. Many times you don't even know until around January.

The pre game practices stand alone more often than not. The first two days are great because the guys are motivated and fired up for practice to begin. After that I have to motivate them to get better every day. Also, you never know what the guys are going through emotionally and are bringing that into practice.

The season begins and it seems you are never quite ready for the first game and as you build up about half way through, you usually take some days off over the holidays. When you come back, you have the second half blues. If you are doing well, they are lazy because they have forgotten what it took to get there, and if they are losing they often don't want to be there.

But those pre games practices are confusing. One day, you can think you will be really, really good, then the next day you wonder if you will win at all. I have learned to not over think it (as much as that is possible) and realize that I won't know anything until January...and then maybe later than that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Basketball and Golf

As I have grown older I don't put as much pressure on myself to win, well, ok, I do want to win and I do put lots of pressure on myself to put my team in a position to win. But, winning doesn't identify me anymore. It used to be that if I didn't win, not only was I a loser, but I was somehow less of a person because of it. Not true now, I guess it comes with maturity, having children, and growing in my faith.

But, coaching basketball is very much like playing golf to me. In golf, I can play a bad shot, hole or round, but when you hit that next great shot (for me), play that next great hole, or a pretty good round, you are ready to go pro in golf. And then, just like that you want to quit.

Coaching basketball can be like that for me. We have a great practice, and I am motivated, positive and ready to go. Have a bad practice or two in a row and I often wonder why I can't get through to the guys and if I should contemplate doing something else.

It is in those moments of question and doubt where we are defined. Courage and motivation are not the absence of question and doubt, but acting in the face of those moments. And not acting to go through the motions, but to choose to be strong, courageous, and motivated when doubt is screaming in your ears.

Mental toughness is everything.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


When trying to schedule basketball games, it is not as easy as it may seem. We want to play a tough schedule to make us better, but I also think we want to be competitive and win some games. I think that playing a tough schedule and not winning doesn't prepare you for post season success. If a team does nothing but lose, even if it is against great teams, doesn't build a winning mentality.

I had a coach once tell me that with a 20 game schedule, you want 5 you will have a hard time winning, 5 you will have a hard time losing and 10 that can go either way. That sounds good in theory, but so many teams are up and down that the number changes. There are some teams on our schedule that we beat often, but are better recently making it a game that could go either way, and vice versa.

Since I took over, we have removed some games that were regular wins, and replaced them with games that are in that middle ten. I am hoping that we continue to play a tougher schedule, but one that allows us to be successful. We are a 1A/2A school and have added 3A North Harrison, and a tournament with a very good 1A Edinburgh and Crothersville who is much better in recent years. Some of the teams we play were new schools and have now had time to become highly competitive.

Scheduling at a smaller school is harder because our own talent level could fluctuate from year to year. Again, I want us to be competitive against a relatively strong schedule. Last year, our schedule was ranked in the upper 5% of 1A teams, and we take pride in playing that schedule and staying competitive.

Nov. 23 at Silver Creek {3A} 7:30 pm
Nov. 27 Springs Valley Tournament
Nov. 30 Christian Academy {1A} 7:30 pm
Dec. 4 at North Harrison {3A} 7:30 pm
Dec. 7 at Charlestown {3A} 7:30 pm
Dec. 10 Austin {2A} 7:30 pm
Dec. 17 Lanesville {1A}‡ 7:30 pm
Dec. 29 Henryville Tournament
Jan. 8 at Trinity Lutheran {1A} 7:30 pm
Jan. 11 at Rock Creek Academy {1A} 7:30 pm
Jan. 14 New Washington {1A}‡ 7:30 pm
Jan. 21 Providence {2A} 7:30 pm
Jan. 22 at Borden {1A}‡ 7:30 pm
Jan. 28 at South Central (Elizabeth) {1A}‡ 7:30 pm
Feb. 4 Crothersville {1A}‡ 7:30 pm
Feb. 10 at Eastern (Pekin) {2A} 7:30 pm
Feb. 18 West Washington {2A} 7:30 pm
Feb. 25 Clarksville {2A}