Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coaching Job Description - by Dick Strockbine

Last week, the athletic department staff meeting at the University of Dallas focused on a "Back-to-school" type of theme. Our athletic director, Dick Strockbine, presented a letter that he had penned 16 years ago when he first took over the AD position at UD. It was his introduction to the coaching staff for the first time. In the following excerpt, he outlined what he wanted in his coaches and much of it is still relevant today. I hope that Coach Strockbine's letter inspires you, gives you pause as to what your job is, and makes you think about what you are doing now for the upcoming season.

"We must support each other. Look around. There's not many of us. We have to help each other or we will not succeed. Over recent years, we've been moderately successful and the reason is because we have all gotten along and helped each other. That has to continue.

I have a few rules/expectations:
1) No punishment drills.
2) Always put your best foot forward - Be prepared - "When you go to town, always wear your spurs. You never know when you might meet a horse."
3) No verbal abuse of players or officials.
4) Keep me up to speed on what you are doing.
5) Don't make rules you can't or are unwilling to enforce.
6) A record of 20-5 doesn't always mean success. 5-20 could be.
7) I expect us to hold our own against peer schools.
8) I will not interfere with the running of your team, but i will not sit back and let something happen that I believe is wrong.

To the outsider, college athletics is a halo profession. You have a job that many envy you for. A lot of people do give up high paying professional positions to do this. It's long hours, hard work, and low pay. Many times you will be working with athletes whose level of commitment might not be high and ultimately your successor failure in the eyes of many hinges on how much rest a 19 year old got the night before a big game. But, you have chosen it. Try to keep in mind the type of program this is and the type of student-athlete we are dealing with. These young people are bright and don't need babysitters or someone to tell that to stay out of the rain. Respect their intelligence, give them reasons and choices when possible, and don't take things personally. Remember that sports and games are not the only things in their lives. Show them respect and have fun.

In closing, I want to reiterate the need for us to support each other. We don't have room for outliers or for people who don't know if they want to be here or ,in fact, don't want to be here. We don't have room for people ho have to kick themselves in the ass in the morning to get out of bed to come to work. If there's anyone here who is not sure that this is what they should be doing right now at this time of their life, or anyone who is only here because they need a job, or need the insurance, I would urge you to give yourself and us a break and leave. Life is too short to be doing something you're not committed to. In the military they tell you that if you're spending 80% of your time on 20% of your people, you need to get rid of the 20%."

Dealing With A Difficult Player

I know that all coaches can agree that they have, at one time or another, had a difficult player on their roster. Doc Rivers talks about wanting "character over characters. More R's than S's." The "S's" can range from the physically violent or threatening to the psychological. We all have experienced a player that we consider to be a "cancer" to our team. The following tips can aid your dealings with those players.

The Aggressor = This is the player that is intimidating, hostile and enjoys threatening others.

What to do: LISTEN! Listen to everything this player has to say. Avoid escalation and arguments. Be formal with the player, call them by name. Be concise and clear with your reactions.

The Underminer = This is the player who takes pride in criticizing others, is sarcastic, and devious.

What to do: Focus on the issues at hand. Do not acknowledge the sarcasm. Don't overreact. Most of the time the underminer is begging for the attention. Be direct and let them know his actions will not be tolerated.

The Unresponsive = This is the player that is difficult to talk to, defiant, and never reveals thoughts or ideas.

What to do: Ask them open ended questions; rich questions where "yes" or "no" are not the answers. Be silent with them and wait for an answer. Be patient and friendly. Many times, for the unresponsive, the silence can be like fingernails on a chalkboard and they will ultimately say something even if it isn't the answer to the question. Let them know that this is a start!

The Egotist = This is the player that knows it all, feels superior, and acts superior.

What to do: Make sure you know the facts. Agree when possible and try to find common ground. Disagree only when you know you are right. Back yourself up with stats and video.

In all of these cases, we've got to put into perspective how the behavior is detrimental to the TEAM. Ask them, "What is good for the team?" You've got to sell the loyalty to their team and teammates.

Ask yourself, "What is good for the team?" Of course we've got to know when to cut dead weight. Sometimes we can do everything in our power to get our message across but that message still won't be received. If you have tried and tried and tried, the TEAM's well-being outweighs the individual.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zone Offense for Multiple Zone Defenses

This zone offense works against any zone look, both odd front and even front. We will look at this offense against a 2-3 and a 1-3-1. It not only can create looks for shooters, but also provides penetration opportunities and post looks.

Versus a 2-3 Zone:

Versus a 1-3-1 Zone:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lessons From Legends of Hydroplane Racing

Those of you that know me well, know that I am a HUGE fan of Unlimited Hydroplane racing. Growing up in the Seattle area, the first Sunday in August on Lake Washington was THE place to be; filled with the thunderous roars of these 30' boats powered by WWII fighter plane engines (now they are powered by helicopter turbines and sound like glorified hairdryers). At an airshow in Bremerton, WA when I was 4 or 5 years old, I was truly introduced to the hydros by a man displaying his boat and signing autographs that is now the winningest all-time driver in history.

The man was Bill Muncey; vivacious, good natured, and a master self-promoter. In his career spanning more than 30 years at the wheel, Muncey won a total of 62 races, 8 Gold Cups (the hydro racing equivalent of the Superbowl), 7 National Championships, and 4 World Championships. He has been inducted into the National Marine Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, and the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum Hall of Champions just to name a few. Unfortunately, it was only 2 years after I met Muncey that his boat blew over and was killed in a race in Acapulco.

Naturally, his replacement filled his void, both in my mind as a fan (anyone who took over for "my guy" was worthy of my fandom) and on the race course. Chip Hanauer took over in the cockpit of the Muncey racing team. Hanauer went on to become the most successful driver since Muncey winning 61 races, 11 Gold Cups, and 7 National Championships. Hanauer, too, has been inducted into the very same halls of fame as Muncey. Chip is not only a great racer, but a really great down-to-earth guy who doesn't carry himself in the conceited manner of current professional athletes and racers.

"Others (drivers) are colorful. I'm not so interesting to watch but when that checkered flag goes down, I try to see that I'm there."

"People tell me it's a mistake to expect to win every race. I tell them if you accept responsibility to put on a good performance, dedicate yourself and prepare mentally, why, there's no reason you can't win every time out. I don't come here to lose."

"There's nothing pleasant about racing an unlimited (hydroplane). The pleasure comes after you win."

"I don't believe in luck. If you're adequately prepared, you don't need luck."

"In the days before the race, I wander around the pits. I make it a point to find out how each driver is feeling, whether he's happy or confident or worried or scared or mad—and I file these ideas away for the race. See, I don't like to do anything casually."

"I define, as accurately as possible, everything I'm expected to do - an can do - and then go out and do it."

"If you're going to do something, I think you've got to do your very best. Otherwise everybody's let down, including yourself. I'm a poor loser. When I lose I'm terribly unhappy, because I feel somehow I've failed. I haven't done what everyone had a right to expect of me."

"I know there are people in other sports with my degree of success who are making 10 times the dough, but I have to question whether they're 10 times as happy."

"When you're in that boat, you're just part of a chain of elements which decide in the end whether you win, lose, flip, blow up or just go dead in the water. I'm no more important to it than a carburetor or a quill shaft."

"There's a feeling of satisfaction in winning doing what you love and making a living at the same time. I've gotten more than I ever have hoped for."

"There is only one success and that is to live your life in your own way and spend your days in a way that is of your own choosing."

"Having expectations about the end result is one of the surest ways of impeding your performance and sucking the joy out of the experience. Expect nothing, but give everything you have. You will most likely be pleased with what results."

"I approached every race, as the most important race I will ever be in. It's a simply truth. The races which came before, had already been won or lost. The races to come in the future, may never be. I needed to win only one race in my entire life. The one I was currently involved."

"Change is inevitable. You will simply wither as a person and as an athlete, if you don't embrace change and try to anticipate what that change might, "look" like before it arrives. The first person to identify and adapt to the inevitable change, has a huge advantage!"

"My philosophy on racing hydroplanes was that it was my life's work. As my life's work, how I conducted myself in it's pursuit helps define who I am as a person. What we choose as our life's work is not nearly as important as how we conduct ourselves in it's execution."

"Winning championships is the result of being associated with talented, dedicated people, working hard, hour by hour, motivating teammates to be their best and allowing yourself to be motivated by them. Then there's three additional aspects, communication, communication and more communication. Hard to beat any team. in any sport, that has refined the art of communication!"

** A very special thank you to Chip Hanauer for contributing to this blog post! Chip, you're the best and I hope that our paths will cross again in the near future. **

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alabama Football: Motivational Meeting

I just saw this on ESPN's website. Great stuff for all coaches regardless of sport. These are things that all of our athletes need to hear. In order to win, you've got to commit to something larger than yourself. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lawrence Frank - Defensive Concepts

"Your every day habits will determine your execution."

To play on a good defensive team you must:
a. be a good individual defender.
b. be a good team defender.
c. be both a & b.
** If neither, you won't play! **

Defensive non-negotiables:
1. Sprinting back on defense.
2. Protecting our paint.
3. Closing out hard and contesting the shot.
4. Playing aggressively without unnecessary fouls.
5. All five players blocking out and rebounding.
** No Layups
** No Freethrows
** No corner 3's

If the ball gets into the paint, what are the consequences for the offense?
1. Charge
2. Steal
3. Deflection
4. Blocked shot
5. Hard "NBA" foul
** Never mention anything about scoring!

Transition Defense:
1 back = Dunk
2 back = Layup
3 back = Jumper
4 back = Got a chance
5 back = GAME ON!
- Win the first 3 steps!
- Stop the ball above the 3-point line
- Get the ball out of the middle 1/3
- Think "help"
- Open shots beat you in transition, but mismatches rarely will.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Selecting A Staff - Doc Rivers

Some thoughts on creating your coaching staff from Doc Rivers, Head Coach of the Boston Celtics:

- Build your staff based on the idea of what your team should be. Ask yourself what do you want your team to stand for? Hire accordingly. Things Doc looks for is loyalty, talent, and team players

- Engaging Assistants. Don't hire "yes men". Look for people that will provide insight into what will make you better. Debate, explore, decide, and implement.

*** Pat Riley "Beginners are open. Experts are closed. The challenge is to stay open."

- Take a page from the football coaching mentality. Find staff members that have strengths that compliment each other. Much like football coaches being position specific and/or offensively or defensively specific, find coaches that fill voids. Doc says, "Give them room to be great!"

- If you tell your team to play their roles, shouldn't you do the same with you and your staff?

- The X's and O's don't matter. What matters is if you and your staff can get the players to buy in. Assistant coaches must buy in to the system and goal(s) as much as, if not more than, the players.