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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Want to Feel Small?

If you think you are a big deal, check out this video by Francis Chan.  It is called the Awe Factor of God.  It starts with you/us at earth level and keeps pulling back further and further until you can understand how small and insignificant we are....and yet we are all specially created.

You can youtube Francis Chan's sermons, but if you want to read a couple of good books, check out Crazy Love or Forgotten God.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Only 5 More Days Until Christmas Day

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. Luke 2:14

Are They Getting It?

One thing each year that I struggle with is getting our players to understand what we are trying to do.  You would think after 7 years as a head coach and doing the drills we do every day for 4 years that they would get "it".  No matter what we do during the summer or how often we work on things, they have to get "it" during games once the season begins.

The easiest thing that players do, and really what we all do in life, is to rely or fall back on what you know.  To rely on that which makes you comfortable.  No matter how successful or not it makes you, you still do it because it is easy.

Last night, I attended a high school basketball game in Louisville, KY.  The game starts and one of the people I was sitting by made a comment about 3 minutes into the game.  One team had raced to a huge lead and the team behind called timeout.  This gentleman said "wow, that team is just getting out coached".  Now, that kind of thing doesn't sit too well with me especially when I am tired.  I told him that it wasn't coaching that one team came out hitting shots and the other did not.  His comment was "they are shooting too many 3's" (the team behind).  My response...I am sure he didn't tell them to shoot and miss them and I bet that is what the timeout is about.

The teams come back out on the court and wouldn't you know....the team that was behind came back causing the team who once was ahead to now be behind.  Timeout....and of course behing who I am, I then said...."I guess the coaching got better after his timeout".  The gentleman smiled.

To me this story shows if the guys on any team get "it".  What is "it"?  It is what the coaching staff is trying to convey to the individuals and team overall.  It is trying to fight against everything that is out there going against what the individual and team needs according to the coach.

I sat with Mike Burris, head coach at Olney Junior College, and we talked about that in depth.  Him being a JUCO coach, he has his players for two years and their mentality is farther along than my guys, but having them for two years it is hard to teach a "system".  That's another word I love; system.

What is a system?   Here is my system: 1. get kids to play hard and compete. 2. get my best offensive players in a position to take great shots, and 3. come up with some way to make it hard for the other team to get great shots.  That's it.

Maybe that is why my guys take so long to get it.  Maybe they actually get it much better than I comprehend because often others have a higher opinion on our team than I do and vice versa.  Call it the "competitor" in us as coaches, always looking for ways to make our teams better.  But this weekend was the first time this season that I felt like our guys were getting it on the offensive end.  If we can maintain that and then start getting it defensively, we should improve greatly as the season progresses.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lasting Effects

Many times coaches are praised or critisized about their ability or inability to motivate basketball players.  Sometimes it may be a fair assessment, but I have found that the only motivation that has lasting effects is self-motivation.  No other motivation lasts very long.  I was asked recently before a game by a radio guy if last year's loss to a certain team would have any positive effects on our guys.  I told him that I believe that if I used that kind of thing that it would be fake motivation.  It is a kind of motivation that gets a kid up during pre game and at the jump ball.  Two minutes into the game....all that hype is gone and you are playing the game.

Self's that thing that gets you up and gets you back to work every day whether the day is sunny or overcast.  I read recently in Hebrews chapter 12 about endurance and I thought it was insightful about how you are individually in life.  In a nutshell: The key to persistence is passion.  The key to passion is purpose.  The key to purpose is perspective.  With proper perspective you will define your purpose.  Once you have that purpose it will be something that you will be passionate about.  Once you have that passion, you will become persistent.  Passion is the key to persistence!

Christian Music is Boring

If you think that Christian music is boring, check out this latest single from Switchfoot; Dark Horses. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Movie: It's a Wonderful Life

During my more formative years (early 20's) was the first time that I watched this movie, It's a Wonderful Life all the way through.  I had seen parts when I was younger as it was on about 30 times or more per Christmas season, but I had never sat down and watched it from the beginning to the end.

It is a pretty long movie in comparison to today's movies, but it takes a while for the story to unfold.  If you can stick with the first half of the film, the second half is moving.  A traditional Christmas movie that shows George Bailey, the main character, what life would be like without him.  At the point that an angel comes down from heaven to show him, he has decided through a set of negative events that maybe he his worth more dead than alive.

By the end of the movie and the final scene, if you are invested in this movie, you will be moved.  It is interesting because many of us, if not most, have those feelings of what am I doing here?  Why am I here?  Am I doing anything to make a difference?  I wonder would it be like if you could see the world without you ever having been born.  My guess is that each of you reading this has done many things that if it weren't for you negative things would have occurred to individuals that you stepped in to help. 

That help may not be a huge, hit over the head incident, it may just be a small word of encouragment that you gave and didn't think any more of but that person was motivated to do more.  It may not have been your words and just the way you live your life.  When you feel that you aren't doing anything to help or to make a difference, we could always do more, but I bet you have done more than you realize.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interesting Video I Came Across

A student here at school told me about this video that was shown at his youth group.  I watched it and decided that it was something I would show at FCA in the morning.  It is a pretty powerful video.  The song is "Everything" by the group Lifehouse.

Lifehouse; Everything skit.

What Christmas is All About

Ah, memories from childhood. Charlie Brown's Christmas cartoon...we watch it every year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sanctus Real: Lead Me

Husbands and Fathers, we are called to be men. We are called to be loving husbands and fathers even when it is not easy to do. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Just Because

I am an Indiana University basketball fan.  I have been for a long time and recently IU has been immersed in its probably worst times in history.  Coach Tom Crean was hired and it has taken a long time to get the program back, but I believe he is doing it.  Yesterday, they defeated #1 ranked University of Kentucky at home....when IU's Christian Watford hit that last second "3" to win the game at the buzzer, it reminded me of when I was a little kid. 

Tomorrow, at school, I will be wearing my IU red; as I have every once in awhile throughout the last 3 years.  Go IU!

IU Beats #1 UK on a last second 3!

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's a Family Affair

Coaching and having a team is very much like having a family.  In all of the good and bad ways.  You know that they are going through similar situations, you know they care about you (most of the time), you know there is someone that you don't get along with that well, but you do it for the good of the family, there are arguments, there is hurt, there is laughing and spending time together.

Something that has changed in me through the years coaching is what goes on at practice and at games.  It really bothered me for people to shoot around or talk while we were practicing, now it doesn't.  Don't get me wrong, when I talk I want it quiet, but our jr. high managers shooting doesn't bother me.  Having my children or any other children at practice doesn't bother me.  To be honest, sometimes I get frustrated because my children can't read my mind, but I enjoy them being around.

At our games at home or away you can find my family hard at work besides me and the players.  My daughter cheers with the high school cheerleaders at home games, but on the road, she is usually the only herself....with all her might in her cheerleader outfit.  My son has become a little manager.  It is good for our guys to be around him because his love for them is 100% and not fake, false and not based on anything other than they play basketball and they pay attention to him.  You can find him out on the court while the players are warming up dribbling a basketball.  Finally, my wife keeps the book, and does a very good job at it.

Some people wonder if it is good that they are so involved because, well, it can be a mean vocation that I have chosen and it puts my family in positions to have to hear or deal with that ferocity.  I, however, wouldn't want it any other way.  When I decide to hang it up, if by my choice, one of the things that will delay my decision is knowing my children will not have the opportunities to do what they do now.  Even if I assist some day, it doesn't mean that the head coach will have the same ideas about family that I do.

My wife and I have treated our players, past and present, as family members.  We have cared about them, helped them, and hopefully influenced them (my wife does a lot!).  But having my own children involved is rewarding far beyond what I thought it could be.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Every Year It's Something

I don't know why, call it the optimist in me, but every year, I go into a season thinking everything will move easily not dealing with any problems.  I don't know why I would think that because basketball does a great job of mirroring real life and real life is often full of bumps and road blocks.

We sit now in a situation that is tough.  After having won an early season tournament, on the road, we have for some reason lost our way.  We have gotten away from what we did to be successful this summer and in that one day.

There is so much psychology that goes into coaching today and you hope you can find the right buttons to push to get the guys to be successful.  We definitely try many things to make every kid successful by putting them in different situations to be successful, but you struggle with some of them to find that niche.

Things that need to happen, we need to stop making so many turnovers.  We need to hit the offensive boards more, and we need to make it harder for teams to score.  One thing that can get you a shot is to hit the offensive boards.  I have never told anyone to pass out of an offensive rebound, ever.  A player who gets those can shoot it 100% of the time.  We need to be able to score as a team and individually, but we need to take pride in both team and individual defense.  We need to want to dominate on both ends of the floor.  And possession of the ball needs to be treasured whether the possession lasts 2 seconds or 30 seconds. 

We have only played 5 games and have a long way to go.  And if we are playing similarly in January as now, we as a coaching staff (I will take all responsibility) isn't doing its job.  You put your hands to the plow and you finish the row...that's what we will do.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Not Their Fault

(kids at 5 and 2, love this picture)
My kids are 7 and 3 1/2 and on most days they want to act their ages (imagine that).  Most days I can take it, but still does aggravate me at times.  Why?  Because I spend a full day at school with other people's children and often don't get home until late because of it (I choose to do this, not asking for a pity party).  When I get home the last thing I want to be is the mean disciplinarian dad.  I want to laugh, talk and have some peace and quiet when I get home for the short time before they go to bed. 

Why doesn't it happen that way?  My expectations for my own children and their behavior is horribly unattainable for them.  Most days, I can tolerate how they act (mornings are way worse), but some days I cannot take it.  I end up taking out my day's frustrations on my wife and children.  It's not their fault, yet they get the brunt of my frustration.

Maybe if I were more consistent the kids wouldn't be confused, but I probably let them get away with too much most nights just to maintain some peace.  If I were more consistent (often too tired, but it's not an excuse) maybe they wouldn't act certain ways.  It has to cause confusion for them.  The best thing about feeling inadequate is that with a huge ego that I have, it passes in a day or two...or three.

A group of us started a Bible study on Sunday nights and we talked about our relationships with our fathers, past and present.  The point was brought up that we have issues, we all have issues and that we are passing some of our "stuff" onto our own children.  What we have to do is pass as little negative as possible onto them, and some days I wonder if that's occurring.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Letdown....For Sure

We preached in the locker room after our win on Saturday that the next Tuesday could potentially be a let down game...and it was.  In many ways.  From our mental prep, to our execution, to the finished product.

We will get back to work as we have 16 regular season games left.  Let's hope this is a bump in the road that steers us in the correct direction.