Thursday, July 30, 2009

Positive Attitude

Players don't care how much I know until they know how much I care. -Frosty Westering

You have to dream big and go for it. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and ignore those who try to bring you down. Never give up, no matter what - overcoming obstacles makes you stronger!
-Shannon MacMillan

Make each day your masterpiece. You have control over that.
-John Wooden

We can choose to see life as a series of trials and tribulations, or we can choose to see life as an accumulation of treasures.

If you haven't got all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have that you don't want.

Our small efforts at kindness can change people's lives more than we will ever know. Since it takes so little time and energy to change the world for the better, why not make an effort to do it every day?
-Pat Williams

I tell people: If you don't want to get into positive thinking, that's OK. Just eliminate all the negative thoughts from your mind, and whatever's left will be fine.
-Bob Rotella

Be grateful for the doors of opportunity - and the friends who oil the hinges.

Gratitude is the heart's memory.
-Ancient Greek Proverb

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that.
-Michael Leuning

There are positive and negative thoughts. And, hey, it doesn't cost you a cent more to think positively.
-Angelo Dundee

There is no room in your mind for negative thoughts. The busier you keep yourself with the particulars of shot assessment and execution, the less chance your mind has to dwell on the emotional. This is sheer intensity.
-Jack Nicklaus

There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can't. What you've got to do is turn around and say, "I can. Watch me."
-Layn Beachley


First off, let me apologize for not having posted in a couple of weeks. Finishing up graduate school classes, recruiting trips to showcases, trying to finalize student's schedules for the fall, and traveling to New Orleans with my band have put posting on the back burner.

Yes, I did say I play in a band. I play drums in an oldies to classic rock cover band. We play strictly for charity, so it doesn't become a job and it stays a hobby. I think we sound pretty good, and if you're interested you can check out our website at

We did play a gig in New Orleans recently. I lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana for a short time. I interviewed for a position the weekend before Katrina ripped through NOLA. Took the job, moved to (as some of the locals call it) Puddle Chuck, and two weeks later Rita rolled right through the middle of town. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I know practically nothing about natural disasters. Got a taste of tornadoes in Oklahoma, but hurricanes were unfamiliar territory for me. I think the scariest thing about them is that you know well ahead of time that they're coming!

As I crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana and drove along I-10, there were still constant reminders of the storms. Houses still had blue tarps on their roofs. Signage along the freeway were not all repaired. In some parts it looked as if absolutely nothing had been done. The city of New Orleans has come a long way since Katrina. Even went through another monster in Gustav. It would be extremely easy for those folks to just drop everything and call it quits.

I am amazed at the resiliency of the folks in Louisiana! There is so much rich history there. They get devastated by hurricanes which cause floods, evacuations, topple structures, etc. and yet they bounce back... and bounce back with a smile on their face with true southern hospitality. What can we, as coaches, learn from this? My recent visit proved that the people there have it figured out!

We can press on! That's the lesson. No matter how bad it gets in the win/loss column, there is always another day. We can work hard to improve our situation. Even if things are in disrepair, we can have a positive attitude. We can treat others around us with kindness and caring even in the worst of situations. As we do that, the situation won't seem quite as desperate as we originally thought. Others will rally around you and fight for common good.

I look back and read my previous post about the teaching of Les Brown and see that he is really talking about the people of Louisiana. Not one person that I ran into during my trip ever have a negative thing to say. Even though the world around them was still not the same as before, they were still inviting and ever so gracious. Those folks know that it is worth fighting for. If we can instill that kind of commitment into our players, nothing will stop us!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Keep Your Dream Alive!

10 Steps on How to Make It Happen
By Les Brown

1. Be Thankful - Show an "Attitude of Gratitude". Positivity is the key. Quitting is not an option.

2. Be Thoughtful - When set backs occur, look inward. Go on with a clear head. Turn the page and come up with a plan to move forward.

3. Be Active - Begin with small steps. Keep moving forward regardless the circumstances. Action prevents anger or depression.

4. Be Connected - Seek out others for assistance. Most people seclude themselves out of pride in times of trouble. Connecting with others may reveal a solution not thought of previously.

5. Be Patient - In a world full of instant gratification, this is a tough lesson to learn and implement. Don't focus on the process - focus on the outcome.

6. Be Persistent - Stay hungry. This will keep you going through failures. This means you are willing to keep your commitment and keep bouncing back.

7. Be Positive - Opportunity does not come knocking. Expect things to happen and share that with others. Positivity eliminates you form locking in on doubt, worry, and regret.

8. Be Creative - Look for new ways to be effective and win. Just because its the way things have been done, doesn't mean that's the way it has to be done.

9. Be Consumed - Apply an inner filter. Look for useful information and block out the negative. It is unrealistic to hide your head in the sand assuming everything is OK.

10. Be Faithful - Faith and worry cannot coexist. One will dominate the other. Brown states, "Faith is the oil that takes the friction out of living."

Lessons from 1985

I found a great article written by Don Yaeger on the 1985 NCAA Division-I National Champions, Villanova Wildcats. The following are highlights of the lessons learned from that national championship game.

1. You have to play the game - No matter the odds or the pre-game hype, it's your performance that determines the outcome.

2. Count on your team - Following a well scripted game plan and relying on each other helped the Wildcats exude confidence in every situation as they faced the defending NCAA champion (Georgetown) Hoyas.

3. Shut out the naysayers - "Don't tell others what is expected to happen. Make it happen," says Ed Pinckney, named Most Outstanding Player of the 1985 Final Four. "If you believe what others say, you'll never beat Goliath."

4. Stretch beyond your reach - This game's outcome might have been different had Gary McLain not dived to control the last-second inbounds pass, landing on his stomach, cradling the ball in his left hand, his right fist pounding the air in triumph as theclock ticked down the final two seconds.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do you "know it all"?

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
- Socrates

I saw this quote this morning and found it to be quite true. There is so much information out there that we just don't know. What does this mean for us? What are the consequences?

Overall it means that we need to challenge ourselves constantly to learn something new everyday. As a growing global community this has tremendous impact on how we view others and the interactions we have.

From a coaching perspective, it means that we too need to be searching for new information all the time. There are so many leadership techniques and motivational tools that have been developed and can be inspiration for our own views or implemented into our own philosophies. Coaches are constantly toying with new ideas, strategies, and tactical schemes that could be beneficial to our own programs.

As coaches, this also impacts our players. As soon as they think they've got it all figured out, that is when we see a decline in performance. This could be in the classroom or on the court. It is often the reason for the "sophomore slump".

This past year, I tried to combat the "slump" by engaging my post players in activities that would keep them thinking and exploring on their own. I had them come up with their own Directive Affirmations (an earlier post talks about this). This goal setting technique demonstrated that even a very good player still has room for improvement. I also provided my post players daily quotes in which they had to relate the quote to their affirmation and why it was important.

I would encourage coaches to read something every day that will assist them in bettering their program. This was something that George Raveling believed in strongly. Read an article from a newspaper or magazine, a book on leadership, or an inspirational story. I would encourage coaches to have their players participate as well. Bob Knight would have his team read books that he distributed to his team to keep them activated.

These are not new ideas, but little things that we tend to forget. The more we can understand that we don't know it all, the better we can become down the road.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What it takes to be number one!

There is little doubt in anyone's mind that Vince Lombardi was a great coach and leader. I found this great online movie and absolutely love Coach Lombardi's lessons. Enjoy!