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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

1st Basketball Meeting

Every year, we have a meeting once school starts to talk to the prospective players about many different things.  The main thing we do is give the schedule of open gyms and conditioning.  I also think it is important to give them the dates of Thanksgiving and Christmas practices well in advance so that everyone is prepared for the upcoming season and families can work around basketball schedules if possible.

Also, we talk about staying on top of their grades, making sure they are behaving in class, and that they will be held to a higher standard than most students.  We want to make it clear that when they decide to play basketball, they will put much time and effort into a sport that many people choose not to do anymore, that they will give up free time during holidays, and that they will be held accountable for their actions both on and off the court.

One thing that happens every year is that there will be a few people who show up for that meeting who probably have zero intention of playing.  They may think they are planning to play, but once some things are spelled out...we won't see them again.  I really believe that some guys 100% believe they are playing until that meeting.  Sometimes it is until conditioning starts.  Sometimes after practices begin.  It is different for every guy, but at some point they decide they do not want to do what we want them to do. 

The seniors and juniors who have played have a great understanding of what is expected as well as most sophomores because of their experience in playing.  However, the freshman are new and no matter how serious you make junior high, it is not the same as high school basketball especially in Indiana.  I often wonder when I look at the prospective players which ones will make it. 

Playing and surviving basketball is similar to, but not anywhere close to, military boot camp.  Many start and few finish and if you suceed you are special, but if you do not...well, let's just say it isn't for everybody.

Twenty-four players in 9th-12th showed up at the meeting today, how many will be there at the last regular season game?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sports Reach

Today I am headed after school to Sports Reach Ministry's Annual auction and dinner.  I have had this marked on my calendar for quite some time.  It will hopefully be a way I can mix two of my favorite things together: basketball and my faith. 

Sports Reach is a not for profit group that uses sports to reach the world and to spread the gospel.  The people that I have been in touch with are professional and first class people.  I look forward to helping them in some capacity in the future whether through coaching or running copies for an event.

The auction tonight will be interesting as there are tons of great things to bid on.  I asked my wife how much I could spend...she just laughed.  I probably won't bring anything home, but I will be able to fellowship with like minded people and listen to UK AD Mitch Barnhart deliver his testimony.

It should be a great evening.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

West Clark Community Schools Substance Abuse Policy for Extracurricular Participants

WCCS 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 reperesenting 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 WCCS.

Possession or use of illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco or participation in an activity which would reasonabily 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 the 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.

(re-printed directly from the Henryville Junior/Senior High School hand book for 2011-2012)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who You Are When No One's Looking

Just finished a pretty good book by Bill Hybels Who You Are When No One's Looking .  It is funny because when I started reading it, I wans't too enthralled, but came back to it a week ago and couldn't put it down.  I will give you a brief rundown of what is in the book.

The first chapter is over character.  We really are who we are when no one is looking.  Hybels covers that if you are living one life in public and a different life in private where you could develop spiritually will be stunted or even stopped.

In the second chapter he covers courage. He covers spiritual courage, the courage to follow, relational courage and moral courage.  He states that we must face our fears, rally around role models, and allow our minds to be transformed.

Next he spoke of discipline. One of the main points he used was in being successful we have to delay our gratification on almost all things.  The easy, "feel good" way often leads to being unsuccessful.  Our lives are intended for greatness, we must be patient.

Vision, be able to look beyond the obvious in finding solutions to problems.  In this chapter, he used an anology of two men trapped in a prison cell.  One prisoner could see no further than the bars on the cell to the window outside.  The other prisoner was able to focus on the stars beyond the window, he was able to have vision and he had hope because of it.

Endurance, we must be able to break through "quitting points".  All of us feel that moment at some point where we do not want to go on, we do not want to fight the good fight.  We must be able to break through those moments.  Proceeding when wanting to quit doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you a great person.  Often when we do quit it is just short of the success we were searching for.

In the next few chapters he spoke of different types of "love".  The first was tender love.  Before we judge and critisize we must walk in the shoes of another.  We must understand that no matter what is said or done by another that they were created by God and loved as a special person, just as we are.

Tough some points in life, you have to confront certain issues.  Telling people what they want to hear all of the time even when they are wrong is not what they need.

Sacrificial love...which taken all the way to an extreme is giving everything and expecting nothing in return.  That is probably never going to happen, but striving along the way to that point shows sacrificial love.

And finally he covers radical loveThat is the kind of love that you find for everyone.  Everyone is worthy of it as a human being.  He does concede that there are times that trying to realize that about someone who is visibly upset with you is not an easy task.

"When I listen to the evening news or read the morning paper these days my reaction is always the same: what's wrong in the world will not be set right until people who love God and who refuse to cave to these overwhelming challenges put the things they believe into action, things like courage and discipline and love." Bill Hybels

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Schools Starts; Gearing Up For Another Run

We started back to school this week.  You never quite remember just how tired you are when you go back that first week.  My voice gets weak because I am not as used to talking, but my legs...and feet...from standing up in shoes that aren't exactly made for that, it seems.

I get excited, the kids get excited and the basketball players want to get going ASAP, some of them.  We usually let one week go by before we get too much into anything.  They need to get into routines and I need to rest!

We will start with small group workouts next week, then in September we will have open gym.  We will work small groups out, but in another gym we will have guys playing.  They will be trying to get some kind of legs under them before conditioning starts.  Conditioning will start in October and go right until practice starts in November.

I don't foresee me coaching forever, but I often wonder what I would do without being at these things when the school year starts and then during the long winter months when we are in season.  I know that by the end of the school year when I don't do anything basketball related, I lose a little focus and long for June to get here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What I Have Found, or Noticed, or Know

We often dislike with great intensity in others what we are ourselves and even more so, what we dislike with great intensity in ourselves.

Reflection, honest thoughts, change, reflection, honest thoughts, change...and so on.  That is the way of life.  No reflection, no honest thoughts and no change may make you worldy successful, but is it worth it? 

Is it okay to gain the whole world only to lose your soul?

Friday, August 5, 2011

How Do I Stay Positive?

Some people think I am a pretty positive person, some maybe not.  I have tried and I am sure, in fact, I know that I am not always positive.  I am human and sometimes let the world bring me down.  But there are two things that I do to try and remain positive....every matter the circumstance and I am saying this from a perspective that I have been very fortunate in my life.  Fortunate in that I haven't had to deal with severe adversity.  I am not untouched by it and have dealt with it in my personal life, but in the grand scheme of things, I am highly blessed.

1. I force myself to be positive.  When I cannot handle what is going on or something is really getting to me, I will blog about it (quite cathartic) or I will sit and think about how blessed I am.  I have a job/career that I enjoy; a family that is relatively healthy and happy; and financially doing "okay".  Comparatively speaking, it isn't that bad and I remind myself that it isn't about me in every way you can take that statement, so I tell myself to quit whining and to stop feeling sorry for myself.

2. It can always be worse.  Last year we weren't winning. It could be worse.  We had suspensions.  It could be worse.  We had injuries.  It could be worse.  We lost close games.  It could be worse.  We lost by large margins.  It could be worse.  If your professional life isn't what you want at the moment, focus on how lucky you are to be alive.  If your own health isn't what it should be, look at your family, specifically your children and see how lucky they are to be healthy.  If they aren't think about how blessed you are to have had the years you had or the time with your family.  I do believe there are certain things that even I would struggle with but it has to do with my own children. There is nothing that could happen to me or any other adult that I wouldn't be upset about, probably depressed, but eventually "get over" because of my children.  My children are my weakest spot, the place where I would need much help in dealing with something that happened to them.

I don't like to claim or boast about my faith, but I won't back down from it either.  If you ask, I will discuss it, but I also use my faith, my belief in Jesus Christ.  When I realize that I am not in control of this world or the plans laid out for me, it takes much of the worry out of me.  As I have told people that doesn't mean I can just lay around and expect anything, I must use the gifts I was given and help to give back the many blessings that I have.

With all of that said, I fail.  I fail often in being positive (claming that is inherently negative isn't it?).  I look around and see people who don't do things ethically and sometimes illegally and wonder how they can be successful and I haven't been.  And that is when I realize that "the world" is seeping into my psyche and turn my eyes elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sharing Hoosier Hysteria

(Me, Bobby Plum of Milan and Butler fame, Coach Shane Matzen from Chesterfield, MO)
I realize that coaching in Indiana is a special place.  Basketball here is different, it just is.  I realize also that most people think that about their own specific places are special, but until you have been to Indiana, you just don't understand.  We have a high school gym that seats 9,000 people.  I think 15 of the largest 16 high school gyms in the world are located in Indiana with towns whose populations are much smaller than other major cities and the size of their gyms are double if not more.

I meet coaches each summer from other states and now other countries, who ask about Indiana basketball.  They ask about the history, the gyms, the teams...they know about our state, our game.  One guy in particular stands out.  Shane Matzen who lives in Chesterfield, MO and is the coach of Marquette HS there.  They have over 2,000 students at his school and they have a very good team year in and year out.  Yet the gym holds around 1,300 people.  They can't hold a convocation with the whole school which is the norm to most people. 

I met Coach Matzen at Murray State University a few summers back and he started asking me about some of the gyms in Indiana.  I felt like he and I hit it off pretty well and stayed in contact though the years.  Coach Matzen does a great job and one of the things he does is have his own t.v. show online.  Marquette Mustangs: Mustang Mania TV show He invited me to be interviewed for the show (watch Hoosier Hysteria episode )when he came on a small visit of Indiana.  What an honor it was for me and I got to tag along and share Hoosier Hysteria with people who were seeing it for the first time.

First, we went to Bobby Plump's restaurant Last Shot.  He interviewed him and I got to meet him and have a picture taken.  Then it was off to Hinkle Fieldhouse, The Hall of Fame, Hoosiers Gym, and New Castle HS gym.  It was Coach, his mom and dad, and two sons that I got to be with and share our state treasures with.  Hinkle where Butler plays and is in the movie Hoosiers, The Hall of Fame, you have to visit it to understand, Hoosiers Gym where the Huskers of Hickory played their home games and then NC gym...the largest gym in the world.

(Coach Matzen and family at the world's largest high school gym in New Castle, IN)
I gave them some Henryville t-shirts and after a day of fun, I headed home.  Then I got an email from Coach Matzen's mother, Gloria.  She and her husband Merle were going to be in the area and wondered if I could show them the gym at HHS.  Of course, I would love to do that.  Sharing not just Indiana basketball, but my own gym....sure thing!  My wife and children and I gave them the grand tour of HHS and then sent them on their way to Bloomington, IN where they were able to get into Assembly Hall.  On the way back, they stopped at Springs Valley, HS to see where Larry Bird played.  She said a secretary allowed them in and gave them a tour.

(Merle and Gloria Matzen at H.G. Furnish Gymnasium in Henryville IN...seating= 2,400)
Sharing our heritage is something that I love to do.  I have been to most of the places that are special here many times and I wouldn't say I take them for granted, but I have lost that little kid aweness of the places...somewhat.  But I get that back when I take people to these places and look at their reactions.  To see them smile and look overwhelmed reminds me why it is special to coach high school basketball in Indiana.