Wednesday, July 28, 2010


My friends in hoop, it has been a long while since I've posted. Summer has been a beast! My Wednesday night posting has fallen off and for that I am sorry. If you tune in regularly to this blog, you're probably thinking, "I've heard this song and dance before." I can't deny it, and I still do this at the risk of crying wolf. Enough said about that.

This summer has seen a couple of coaching legends pass on to the big court in the sky. The most obvious was Coach Wooden. The impact Coach Wooden has had on the world is well documented and my little blog post here would not only be just white noise, but it certainly wouldn't do him justice. To say that he is a mentor (to all coaches) is... well, it just goes without saying. We will all miss Coach Wooden!

The not-so-obvious loss to the coaching community (unless of course you live in my hometown of Bremerton, Washington) was Les Eathorne. Although I never had the pleasure of playing for Coach Eathorne, he was a tremendous mentor of mine. I grew up in Coach Eathorne's gym. He was the one that taught me what it truly means to be a hoops junkie. He was a brilliant basketball mind. He perfected his craft and studied the game. Most importantly he was one of the kindest, most caring men I have ever known. He always had time to share and listen. I am glad that I had a chance to have breakfast with Coach Eathorne the last time I visited Bremerton. I will miss him.

Last week, I had the opportunity to work for one of my biggest mentors, Kevin Eastman, at Coaching U Live! in Las Vegas. The day before the event, we were putting together packets and name badges for the attendees in Coach E's room. As I sat there stuffing legal pads and pads of court diagrams into folders, I was washed over with awe. Not starstruck, but rather awed by the amazing knowledge that Coach E possesses and he continues to seek more. One of my friends at the event did not realize that I was, in his words, "part of the Kevin Eastman coaching tree". I not only consider myself part of his "coaching tree", but I consider myself part of his "family tree". It was an unbelievable honor to be able to say that in front of the great coaches attending Coaching U. During my time in Vegas, I couldn't thank him enough for including me! I wanted to say thanks to him for giving me an opportunity, for sticking with me and encouraging me through tough times, for being a role model and mentor... the list goes on and on. So, at the risk of being a complete pain in the butt, I told him... often!

That's really what this is all about. Say thanks to those who helped get you where you are. Take a quick minute to make a phone call, shoot an email, or the best method: jot a quick note. You just never know when you won't have that opportunity any more.

Hunting vs. Fishing - Chris Widener

I recently heard an interview of Chris Widener in which he spoke about business, specifically marketing and sales. He describes his thoughts on business approach in relation to fishing versus hunting.

Think about hunting for a second. The images that come to my mind are of stalking, hiding, sneaky, and camouflage. I also see a scared animal that, when fearing for its life, runs from the hunter instinctively.

Now, think about fishing. The images I see are definitely more peaceful and relaxing. There is a focused patience toward the goal. Not to mention that the animals actually come to you!

Widener suggests that the same mentality should be applied to business. Here are four pointers in using the fishing approach:

1. There has to be fish - The beauty of coaching basketball is that there are always kids that want to play. I don't see a shortage of "fish" for us coaches. Sometimes we are fishing in the wrong waters, but there are always kids wanting to play!

2. The fish have to be hungry - For college coaches, this is the direct correlation to recruiting, but for coaches at the high school and junior high levels this is important too. You have to build a relationship with your prospective players. What makes them tick? What can they bring to the team? What are their dreams and aspirations? They have got to want to play for you!

3. You need the right kind of bait - In regards to coaching, I read this as having integrity. Especially for college coaches during the recruiting process. You may have a great product (post-season appearances, developed pro players, great facilities, etc.) but the bait is still YOU! An appealing bait will attract fish, so too will a coach of integrity attract players.

4. Develop better bait - I hear this all the time from great coaches and truly believe this: You must keep thirsting for knowledge. Widener says developing your bait is working on your sales presentation. We as coaches need to do the same. What approach can I take to get my message across? What worked? What didn't? Are there other resources available to add to my program? Keep working on your craft.

Kevin Eastman's 6 Post Moves to Master

1. Midline jump hook - Own the midline. The closer to the catch/post is to the midline, the less skill is needed to score.

2. Dribble drop step - Feet give the advantage; the ball gives separation. Step = to the basket, dribble = toward front foot, hop = two foot jump stop to a finish.

3. Up and under - Have a counter. Create advantage and potential freethrow situation. Go through the defender's chest and chin.

4. Quick spin baseline - Any time the defender's forearm is on the offensive player's back.

5. Catch/jump hook from block - Highly skilled move. Need to get reps!

6. Free throw - A critical shot for post players to master!