2013-2014 Basketball Season!

200430572-001_XSI wanted to take a second to wish all of my friends and colleagues in the coaching profession at all levels the best of luck as the 2013-2014 season is upon us or will be soon!  I wish you all the best of luck and hope that everyone has another great year, remains healthy, and has safe travels.  Continue to teach and motivate your players on and off the court and strive to accomplish your goals!


Tim McDonald

Cabrini College

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc… Also let me know if you have any articles, plays, drills, etc…that you would like me to publish for you on the site.

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com


Best Is Better: 8 Ways To Create Excellence In Anything You Do.

Great article by Bryce Edem…Enjoy!
Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc… Also let me know if you have any articles, plays, drills, etc…that you would like me to publish for you on the site.
You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Bryce Edem

Martin Luther King Jr, the renowned civil rights campaigner, once said:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or as Beethoven composed music, or as Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

That is so, but unfortunately, most people will not have the benefit of such a glorious epitaph. And so many people will not even have such a glowing, superfluous commendation while alive.

Too many people are members of the nameless crowd, living an average life, and too few dare to answer the call to excellence.

Make no mistake about this: the world does not celebrate mediocrity. The never-do-wells may receive a few sympathies but certainly no honours. Honour has always been for those…

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The Most Successful Leaders Do 15 Things Automatically, Every Day

Peyton Manning draft

Peyton Manning draft (Photo credit: Phlyerssuck)

Here is a great article on leadership that I just found on Forbes.com that I really liked.  Enjoy!

Leadership is learned behavior that becomes unconscious and automatic over time.  For example, leaders can make several important decisions about an issue in the time it takes others to understand the question.   Many people wonder how leaders know how to make the best decisions, often under immense pressure.  The process of making these decisions comes from an accumulation of experiences and encounters with a multitude of difference circumstances, personality types and unforeseen failures.   More so, the decision making process is an acute understanding of being familiar with the cause and effect of behavioral and circumstantial patterns;  knowing the intelligence and interconnection points of the variables involved in these patterns allows a leader to confidently make decisions and project the probability of their desired outcomes.   The most successful leaders are instinctual decision makers.  Having done it so many times throughout their careers, they become immune to the pressure associated with decision making and extremely intuitive about the process of making the most strategic and best decisions. This is why most senior executives will tell you they depend strongly upon their “gut-feel” when making difficult decisions at a moment’s notice.

Beyond decision making, successful leadership across all areas becomes learned and instinctual over a period of time. Successful leaders have learned the mastery of anticipating business patterns, finding opportunities in pressure situations, serving the people they lead and overcoming hardships.   No wonder the best CEOs are paid so much money.   In 2011, salaries for the 200 top-paid CEOs rose 5 percent to a median $14.5 million per year, according to a study by compensation-data company Equilar for The New York Times.

If you are looking to advance your career into a leadership capacity and / or already assume leadership responsibilities – here are 15 things you must do automatically, every day, to be a successful leader in the workplace:

Many times leaders intimidate their colleagues with their title and power when they walk into a room.   Successful leaders deflect attention away from themselves and encourage others to voice their opinions.  They are experts at making others feel safe to speak-up and confidently share their perspectives and points of view.   They use their executive presence to create an approachable environment.

2.  Make Decisions

Successful leaders are expert decision makers.    They either facilitate the dialogue to empower their colleagues to reach a strategic conclusion or they do it themselves.  They focus on “making things happen” at all times – decision making activities that sustain progress.   Successful leaders have mastered the art of politicking and thus don’t waste their time on issues that disrupt momentum.  They know how to make 30 decisions in 30 minutes.

3.  Communicate Expectations

Successful leaders are great communicators, and this is especially true when it comes to “performance expectations.”   In doing so, they remind their colleagues of the organization’s core values and mission statement – ensuring that their vision is properly translated and actionable objectives are properly executed.

I had a boss that managed the team by reminding us of the expectations that she had of the group.   She made it easy for the team to stay focused and on track.  The protocol she implemented – by clearly communicating expectations – increased performance and helped to identify those on the team that could not keep up with the standards she expected from us.

4.  Challenge People to Think

The most successful leaders understand their colleagues’ mindsets, capabilities and areas for improvement.  They use this knowledge/insight to challenge their teams to think and stretch them to reach for more.   These types of leaders excel in keeping their people on their toes, never allowing them to get comfortable and enabling them with the tools to grow.

If you are not thinking, you’re not learning new things.  If you’re not learning, you’re not growing – and over time becoming irrelevant in your work.

5.  Be Accountable to Others

Successful leaders allow their colleagues to manage them.  This doesn’t mean they are allowing others to control them – but rather becoming accountable to assure they are being proactive to their colleagues needs.

Beyond just mentoring and sponsoring selected employees, being accountable to others is a sign that your leader is focused more on your success than just their own.

6.  Lead by Example

Leading by example sounds easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one.   Successful leaders practice what they preach and are mindful of their actions. They know everyone is watching them and therefore are incredibly intuitive about detecting those who are observing their every move, waiting to detect a performance shortfall.

7.  Measure & Reward Performance

Great leaders always have a strong “pulse” on business performance and those people who are the performance champions. Not only do they review the numbers and measure performance ROI, they are active in acknowledging hard work and efforts (no matter the result).    Successful leaders never take consistent performers for granted and are mindful of rewarding them.

8.  Provide Continuous Feedback

Employees want their leaders to know that they are paying attention to them and they appreciate any insights along the way.  Successful leaders always provide feedback and they welcome reciprocal feedback by creating trustworthy relationships with their colleagues. They understand the power of perspective and have learned the importance of feedback early on in their career as it has served them to enable workplace advancement.

9.  Properly Allocate and Deploy Talent

Successful leaders know their talent pool and how to use it.  They are experts at activating the capabilities of their colleagues and knowing when to deploy their unique skill sets given the circumstances at hand.

10.  Ask Questions, Seek Counsel

Successful leaders ask questions and seek counsel all the time.  From the outside, they appear to know-it-all – yet on the inside, they have a deep thirst for knowledge and constantly are on the look-out to learn new things because of their commitment to making themselves better through the wisdom of others.

11.  Problem Solve; Avoid Procrastination

Successful leaders tackle issues head-on and know how to discover the heart of the matter at hand.    They don’t procrastinate and thus become incredibly proficient at problem solving; they learn from and don’t avoid uncomfortable circumstances (they welcome them).

Getting ahead in life is about doing the things that most people don’t like doing.

12.  Positive Energy & Attitude

Successful leaders create a positive and inspiring workplace culture.  They know how to set the tone and bring an attitude that motivates their colleagues to take action.   As such, they are likeable, respected and strong willed.  They don’t allow failures to disrupt momentum.

13.  Be a Great Teacher

Many employees in the workplace will tell you that their leaders have stopped being teachers.   Successful leaders never stop teaching because they are so self-motivated to learn themselves.  They use teaching to keep their colleagues well-informed and knowledgeable through statistics, trends, and other newsworthy items.

Successful leaders take the time to mentor their colleagues and make the investment to sponsor those who have proven they are able and eager to advance.

14.  Invest in Relationships

Successful leaders don’t focus on protecting their domain – instead they expand it by investing in mutually beneficial relationships. Successful leaders associate themselves with “lifters and other leaders” – the types of people that can broaden their sphere of influence.  Not only for their own advancement, but that of others.

Leaders share the harvest of their success to help build momentum for those around them.

15.  Genuinely Enjoy Responsibilities

Successful leaders love being leaders – not for the sake of power but for the meaningful and purposeful impact they can create.   When you have reached a senior level of leadership – it’s about your ability to serve others and this can’t be accomplished unless you genuinely enjoy what you do.

In the end, successful leaders are able to sustain their success because these 15 things ultimately allow them to increase the value of their organization’s brand – while at the same time minimize the operating risk profile.   They serve as the enablers of talent, culture and results.

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc… Also let me know if you have any articles, plays, drills, etc…that you would like me to publish for you on the site.

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Motivational Quotes

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Here are a few motivational quotes for you.  Enjoy!

  • Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: it was somebody’s name, or he happened to be at the right place at the right time, or it was so then and another day it would have been different. Strong men believe in cause and effect.–Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The average person puts only 25 percent of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50 percent of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100 percent. —Andrew Carnegie
  • Whether it’s in business, politics, education, or athletics, there has to be respect and loyalty for the leader. Success or failure depends on it. There are three questions from the leader that must be answered affirmatively by the group members if the group needs assurance that it can reach its desired goal. Can I trust you? Are you committed? Do you respect or care about me? If the individual can answer yes to their leader to these three questions, even greatness is within their grasp.–Lou Holtz
  • I feel more strongly about this than anything else in coaching. Anybody who lacks the discipline who does not want to be a part of the team, who doesn’t want to meet the requirements has to go. It’s that simple.–Bud Wilkinson
  • When everyone on our team believes that our own personal signature is on everything our team does—then we have a chance to be a great team. And not until we believe that every ball we play with has our team’s name on it will we be proud of our performance.
  • Almost everyday in this job, there is a challenge of some sort to the team’s unity. A person pulling apart, maybe a guy on the bench exerting his own challenge to the system whether he’s stepping out of his role or having developed it too far or maybe the guy’s just moody.–Phil Jackson

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc… Also let me know if you have any articles, plays, drills, etc…that you would like me to publish for you on the site.

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Team Building

English: Former basketball player Michael Jordan

English: Former basketball player Michael Jordan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a six step list to developing a cohesive team.  I found this in the Coaching and Leadership Journal.  The article also deals with team building and goal setting.  Enjoy!

Step One: Set the team goal. All team members work together by fulfilling their roles and helping each other to succeed.

Step Two: Determine the roles that are necessary for the team to succeed. Emphasize that all roles are of equal importance.

Step Three: Carefully evaluate and place the right team members in the right roles. Explain what that role is and why it is important to the team.

Step Four: Allow each team member to develop within that role. They must be given freedom to create new and better ways to do the job.

Step Five: Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.

Step Six: Hold regular meetings to ensure everyone understands the team goals and other aspects of team play.

Teaching Points – Sideline Pick & Roll

English: Chris Paul dribbling the ball

English: Chris Paul dribbling the ball (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this checklist online from Coach Ryan Goodson…A great checklist of teaching points for the sideline pick and roll.  Enjoy!

Checklist of Teaching Points for Sideline P&R

  1. Dribbler needs to engage defender-get him/her below level of the screen
  2. Dribbler needs to bump defender right before they go off the ball screen to create separation.  “Initiate Contact to Separate!”
  3. Go shoulder to hip past the screener .
  4. Attack the high foot or “ankle” of the defender showing.  “Must be low to absorb the contact”
  5. Attack when the defender’s meet on the recovery.  “See their back-ATTACK!”
  6. Go 2 dribbles off the screen to create space and to draw help defense.

Reads off the sideline pick and roll in order:

  1. Dribblers Shot:  “Attack to Score”
  2. Hit the Screener on Roll/Pop/Slip
  3. The post player in the alley for Lob or Duck in.
  4. Weak side spot up Shooter/Ball side shooter
  5. Replace

Reads For the Dribbler to Score Off of the Sideline P & R

  1. Turn the Corner and Score “Soft hedge or no hedge”
  2. Reject (Refuse the screen if you see defender’s head turn, or if they jump over the top of the screen.)
  3. Split: If there is a gap between the screener and shower use a crossover to get through the gap.
  4. Gap Shot: Defender goes under the screen. Stop behind the screener for the three.
  5. Hard Hedge:  Turn the corner or retreat two dribbles.  As soon as the screeners defender turns their back on the interchange—Attack!
  6. Bounce Off: Defense Shows Hard and you bounce off/back then attack)
  7. Steal the Spot/Veer:  Keep your defender on your hip as you come off the screen; curl cut but for a ball screen. This is a NBA move when the screener’s defender does not show or you are “forced down” on a sideline pick and roll.
  8. Rescreen: Go hard 2 dribbles off the ball screen and then get a “rescreen” from the big.
  9. Go 2 dribbles hard off the screen or bounce off 2 dribbles – make an inside out dribble as the big is going to recover.
  10. Hard Stop and Go: Go hard to the shower if they hard hedge, keep your dribble alive and defender on your hip. As soon as the shower leaves to recover, drive the ball straight down the lane line and keep your defender on your hip.
  11. Blitz or Double Team:  Retreat two dribbles and then attack the weaker or slower defender on their closeout—–Retreat two dribbles and make sure your teammates give up their position for possession by creating a triangle of options (3 nearby receivers with 10 to 15 ft. of space between each).

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc… Also let me know if you have any articles, plays, drills, etc…that you would like me to publish for you on the site.

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com



Coaching progression

Nice article by Coach Mumford…Enjoy!


Players want it all, now! They want coaches to touch them on the head and make them a great player. They are impatient to find the shortcut, the easy way out, the basketball equivalent of a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme. They want to skip the beginner stuff and get to the advanced skills, the elite strategies, and the pro-level drills.

As coaches, we want to impress players with our knowledge and abilities, and it is very tempting to give it to them all at once. However, every coach needs to learn the progression required to build an advanced level skill. To allow a beginning athlete to jump into advanced skills without first mastering the basics, is to open the door to disaster. Through repeated failure to succeed at a skill, injury at a young age, or burnout from doing too much, too soon, many players are lost from the sport of basketball…

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