8 Negatives From Bobby Knight

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE, Alaska -- Coach Bobby Kni...

ELMENDORF AIR FORCE, Alaska — Coach Bobby Knight, Texas Tech University basketball, watches his players practice at the fitness center here Nov. 21. Coach Knight spoke with Airmen and Soldiers before his team began practicing for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. The basketball tournament took place Nov. 20-24 at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Texas Tech lost to Butler University 81-71 in the championship game Nov. 24. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Steffen) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an article from Success.com that derives from Coach Bobby Knight’s book titled “The Power of Negative Thinking.”  The title of the book makes it unconventional but from what I have heard about it (Haven’t read it just yet); it really is just a unique way of looking negative words or statements and turning them into positive thoughts that allow you to become successful.  Once I get a chance to read this, I will give a much better report.  For now, here is the article:

8 ‘Negatives’ You Can Learn from Bobby Knight

Bob Knight is a glass-half-empty kind of guy. As one of the most iconic basketball coaches in the college game, Knight has grabbed 902 wins, three NCAA championships, four National Coach of the Year awards and Olympic gold medals for his Team USA. Something bold was behind those achievements. And it wasn’t optimism. It was what he calls “negative thinking.”

In his new book, The Power of Negative Thinking (Amazon Publishing, March 2013), the long-time Indiana Hoosiers coach shows how bad coaching is the same as poor leadership. According to Knight, unrealistic optimism won’t win you anything, not a game or a business deal. So what does Knight mean by negative thinking?

“What seems too good to be true usually is,” Knight writes. “There is a genuine need to be cautious, to look both ways before crossing any streets in life. Paying attention to the downside is a difficult but essential quality for achieving long-term success in any occupation or family situation.”

Here are some of his takeaways about the power of negative thinking:

Failure is about mistakes. And success is about preparation. To succeed, you must eliminate mistakes. “Victory favors the team making the fewest mistakes.”

Preparation is key. You can’t depend on pure hope and crossing fingers if you want to experience success.

The negatives “no” and “don’t” are important for setting parameters. Knight considers these the greatest words in the English language. They are firm and final—and they bring positive results.

Leaders help their “players” understand their personal strengths and weaknesses. “That’s how teams win: by playing to their strengths and away from weaknesses.”

Get rid of the ideas that don’t work anymore. If it was valuable once and isn’t anymore, throw it out and move on to the next idea that will allow you to grow. Knight knows passion is vital, but “driving that passion into a ditch is pure stupidity.” It is the ability to adjust, to transform the game plan, that will boost success.

Ditch your comfort zone. A leader will know when a teammate’s norm isn’t cutting it—hearing that negative feedback is essential, says Knight. It will help you realize that you won’t move forward or win if you stay inside that zone.

Utilize “negative imaging” and prepare for potential problems. This is where the “if…then…” model comes into play. Gather information and plan goals with multiple courses of action, and you’ll better your chances of success. If something happens to put you off track, then go to the next option.

Demand results. To win, you have to demand action and expect the utmost productivity out of your employees. “Successful leadership is [about] being hard to please.”

Knight intertwines his story of basketball glory with the key aspects of his cautious and conscientious approach to leadership. Much of this bracing book rings true, but at SUCCESS, we believe a leader can stay realistic and cautious while fostering a warm, positive atmosphere and keeping clear goals alive before his or her team.

What do you think?

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San Antonio Spurs Video Playbook

Spurs logo 2002–present

Spurs logo 2002–present (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below is a video of the San Antonio Spurs playbook that was put together by Iona College Assistant Coach Zak Boisvert who I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few years.  This is a great video compilation and underneath the video on his YouTube Channel Zak has the plays diagramed for you to look at.  Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc…

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Communicating with your Child-Athlete

Sport in childhood. Association football, show...

Sport in childhood. Association football, shown above, is a team sport which also provides opportunities to nurture social interaction skills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just found this article on the Men’s Basketball Hoop Scoop website and I just had to share this.  Coach Peterman posted it earlier in the week and it really is a great article for parents who have kids playing sports at any age.  It looks like the article was originally written by Layton Westmoreland.  Great advice!

8 Ways to Effectively Communicate With Your Child-Athlete

1.      Be a positive source of support and encouragement. Save the critical evaluation of player performance for your coaches, they are the experts. Be an unconditional source of support. Criticism will break down parent-child bonds.

2.      Be an attentive listener! We all love to explain our competitive experiences to others, so allow your child to talk about the game. Listen to understand first, and then reply.

3.      Along those same lines, allow your child to start conversations about their performance. Try not to get into the details of the game as your child is still dealing with the emotions of it. If this is later that night or the next morning that is okay. They may just need time to get over it. If you do feel the need to speak to them about the game then wait a few hours and then ask “Would you like to talk about the game?”

4.      Avoid undermining the coaching staff in post-game conversations, even if you think your coaches are out to lunch. You may not always agree with the coaches, but they are the leaders of the team. Second-guessing the coaches in front of your child can confuse him or her as to what he or she should do and ultimately may hurt performance. Also, you are undermining team chemistry and negatively affecting each person involved with that team.

5.      Following tough losses or poor performances (or riding the pine) remind your child that their worth as a person is not related to their abilities as an athlete. Helping them recognize that tomorrow is a new day and that with hard work they can overcome what is keeping them from their goals will help your child deal with the frustrations of sport.

6.      Be honest and sincere. Some parents get into trouble by saying “good game” or “you did your best.” If Billy does not think this is true you are going to get a sneer or sarcastic remark back. Be supportive in your comments but do not lie or exaggerate. Children will see through your well-intentioned attempt to support. If you attempt to hide your disapproval for your child’s performance your body language will signal the truth. Remembering that the goal of sport is to have fun and improve should help you in providing positive support and maintaining positive body language.

7.      Stick to your normal routine no matter the outcome of the game. If you go to lunch after a win, do the same after a loss. Otherwise, your child might relate the activities after the game with winning and losing.

8.      Avoid comparing your child to other children even as it relates to training methods or skills. It can create hurt feelings and pressure.

Unfortunately, many parents unintentionally make the sport experience less than fulfilling for their children. These parents may have an inappropriate perspective of what sport is all about, but often it is the well-meaning parent that says the wrong thing at the wrong time (and does not learn from it) that gets into trouble. It does not take much for a child to feel pressure to appease his or her parents. And, you can create pressure just by being at a competition, let alone acting negatively.


Layton Westmoreland

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Coaching – Book of the Week!

Cover of "A Coach's Life"

Cover of A Coach’s Life

This week I will share with you the first coaching book that I read back when I was a college student at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.  The book is an autobiography on Coach Dean Smith the former head coach at the University of North Carolina and is titled “A Coach’s Life.”  I remember vividly reading this book and thinking to myself; man I can’t wait to become a coach!  The book looks back on Coach Smith’s 40 years of coaching at the collegiate level and is full of great stories from his times at North Carolina.  This book is a great read and a must for any coach.  Enjoy!

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc…

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com


Basketball Player Recognition Checklist

English: Former basketball player Michael Jordan

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

This afternoon I put out my recruiting checklist and received a couple from players and parents asking how they should go about getting recognition from college coaches either for themselves or their kids.  So here is another checklist for what players or parents can do to gain recognition from collegiate basketball coaches.

  1. Be the best student you can be – the better your academics, the more opportunities you will have
  2. Dedicate yourself to the game – you must put the work in to see the results
  3. High School Basketball – your main focus should be here; other teams come second!  Strive to be the best player and teammate you can be.  Your high school coach will provide college coaches with the bulk of the information on you; will it be good or bad information?  The choice is yours…
  4. AAU Basketball – while your high school team should be your main focus, it is a must to get out and play on the AAU circuit!
  5. Exposure camps – There are a bunch of camps and clinics that are available; if you can afford to attend it is a huge benefit.  I work at just about every Hoop Group Elite camp and the majority of the players I recruit come from those camps
  6. Recruiting Services – In my opinion, I would never and I mean NEVER recommend a player or parent paying for recruiting services!  If you are a good enough player and attend AAU events and Exposure camps, you will be included in recruiting reports that collegiate coaches spend big money on to help them with recruiting.  If you are going to sign up for recruiting services; choose the free ones such as NCSASports.org or berecruited.com
  7. Sending recruiting videos or letters to college coaches – I have no problem with the letters being sent but why not save some money and just send an email.  However, instead of sending a letter or email; I would recommend going on the schools website and filling out their athletic questionnaire.  As far as the videos go, coaches do NOT want to see highlight videos!  Send a full game or a couple of games and very important, let the coaches know what number you are!
  8. Be patient and continue to work hard!  Not everyone is cut out to be a collegiate athlete.  However, if you are dedicated to the game and continue to improve, you may be able to work your way on to a team!

Hope this information helps and best of luck!

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc…

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Recruiting Checklist

Salem Civic Center

Salem Civic Center (Photo credit: Cavalier92)

I was asked in an email this weekend to give a checklist I look for when recruiting.  First, let me say as a Division III coach, recruiting is much different because we do not have athletic scholarships for our recruits.  With that being said, we most likely have the same basic ideas when determining if a potential recruit is a good fit for our team.  As a program, our philosophy is to get the best possible players for our program while making sure that they are a good fit on our team and in our school.  Below is the checklist I have come up with:

  1. Skill level is first attraction
  2. Fit for our system and style of play
  3. Character of the player
  4. Are they winners or are they willing to sacrifice to learn how to win
  5. Academics – is our school a good fit for what they hope to accomplish with their degree
  6. Athleticism – Athletes can be developed into productive players especially on the defensive end of the floor
  7. Dedication – our program isn’t for everyone; do they have what it takes?  We aren’t allowed to have offseason workouts; will the players put the work in themselves?
  8. Versatility – can they do more than just shoot; play multiple positions
  9. Do they come from winning programs? – players who come from winning programs do not need to learn how to win; they expect it
  10. Measurements – not a huge factor at our level, but if you’re going to win these need to be taken into account especially for your wing and post players
  11.  Are they coachable?

This is a very basic list and obviously this process can go into much more depth.  For instance, you may have noticed that I didn’t mention defense at all in my checklist.  My thoughts on that at the Division III level, is that every defensive system is going to be different.  If they are athletic enough and have the offensive skill set we are looking for then the player will learn to play defense within our system.  Defense is all about effort, if the player wants to get on the floor, they will learn our system and give the effort.  I am sure there are many other things people may have questions about so please let me know what you think of the list and what you think may be missing.

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc…

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com

Andrew Wiggins Letter to Huntington

Kansas Jayhawks athletic logo

Kansas Jayhawks athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a fantastic story; actually a letter written by the number one high school basketball recruit in the country; Andrew Wiggins from Huntington Prep thanking the school and the community for their support.  What makes this story amazing to me is that this is a talented player heading to the University of Kansas next year who gets it!  He knows a lot of people have helped him along the way and is sincerely thanking them for their help.  Wiggins is a Canadian born basketball player who is projected to be a future NBA star.  Enjoy!

Click on the link below to view the article:

Andrew Wiggins Open Letter to Huntington

Please let me know if you have any requests for plays, drills, defenses, etc…

You can email me at coachtimmcdonald@gmail.com