Charateristics of Being Game Ready

NBA Finals

NBA Finals (Photo credit: Paolo Rosa)

Here is a new list of characteristics of being game ready that I received from the Coaching Insider.  If you watch basketball regularly or have just been enjoying the NBA Finals, you have heard a few stories of players stepping up or coming off the bench and being ready for their moment!  Danny Green, Mike Miller, Gary Neal, etc…You never know when your coach may call your number so make sure you are prepared and ready!

Relaxed: The days of getting psyched up are over. Research has shown over and over that the best performances occur when you are just slightly above your normal state of arousal, not the extreme.

Confident: There is no fear. You should expect to be successful, not hope or wish to be successful.

Completely focused: You are oblivious to everything else going on around you—consumed by the moment. Like a child playing with his toys, you are so absorbed in the moment that nothing outside can affect you.

Effortless: Things just sort of happen with little or no effort.

Automatic: There is no interference from your thoughts or emotions. Things are just happening.

Fun: When you having fun its easy!

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5 Keys to Maximize Your Talent

KG had a breakaway dunk that the whole crowd e...

KG had a breakaway dunk that the whole crowd erupted for. Hard to not get with this guy even if he plays on the other team. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below is an article that discusses 5 keys to maximize your talent.  “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”  Enjoy the article!

Written By: J.P. Clark
Boston Celtics
Assistant Skill Development

“I don’t want to be any good.”

“I am not interested in becoming the best I can become.”

“I want to be mediocre.”

Have you ever heard any of the above statements spoken from an aspiring player? The answer to that question is most likely no. These statements are never spoken, ever. You see, as players, really as humans, we all have an innate desire to be great; to become special. Deep down, we all want to live to our greatest potential; to become the best we can become. The question is how do we fully maximize our talents? How do we live to our full potential? Today, I am going to share with you The 5 Keys to Fully Maximize Your Talent.

Each one of us has been blessed with our own unique gifts and talents from God. Every one of us has a special talent. These gifts and talents are what separates us as individuals. Each of our talents and gifts are different, but deep down, we are all the same. We would all like to live to our greatest potential and become the best we can become.

The reason I have selected this topic is because I have seen so many instances in which player X was not able to fully maximize his/her talent. I have seen this happen in high school, college, the NBADL, and most recently in the NBA. I will address the problem with a couple of suggestions that of I have learned and observed from working with some of the best players and coaches in the world.

I know how much players want to excel in their specific sports. I know we all want to maximize our God-given talents and reach our highest potential. My hope is that this article gives you some direction in your quest of becoming the best player that you can become. My why in writing this article is simple, it’s to help you perform at your highest level in hopes of helping you reach your greatest potential as a player.

I will share with you some of the most valuable lessons that I have learned in hopes of helping you maximize every ounce of your athletic potential.

I will start off by saying, when it comes to fully maximizing your talent, of course having raw talent can help. Clearly, if you have been blessed with great athleticism, size and strength, you will have an advantage over your competition. However, being able to fully maximize your potential as a player has very little to do with your initial level of raw talent. Raw talent is nice, but there are countless stories of players with incredible potential who do not amount to much because of their lack of a work ethic, character issues, and their lack of discipline. The Talent Code Author Daniel Coyle sums it up perfectly, “Talent is determined far less by our genes and far more by our actions.”

Here are the 5 Keys to Maximizing All of Your Talent:

5 Keys to Maximizing All of Your Talent:

1. The Best Athletes Have a Well Defined “WHY”
The best players have a specific purpose. A personal mission statement. The best players know who they are and they know exactly what they want. The best players have a clear vision and have already set up their goals to make their dreams a reality. The best know WHY they play the game. The best know why they get out of bed every morning. Simon Sinek is the author of the book, “Start with WHY,” he commented in his book, “People who come to work with a clear sense of WHY are less prone to giving up after a few failures because they understand the greater cause.” Or as author Jon Gordon commented “Our purpose is our ultimate guidance system that provides us with direction for our lives. Purpose fuels us with passion, and this passion gives us confidence and vitality to go after our dreams.” The best athletes know their WHY!

2. The Best Athletes Have a Plan of Action
Once you know your personal WHY, then the only question you have to ask is, HOW? How will I achieve my goals? How will I live up to my WHY? How will I go from good to great? The best athletes understand that whatever got them here will not get them to where their hopes/aspirations are. The best athletes come up with a detailed plan of how they will improve upon their strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve their goals. Remember, great ideas without a plan is delusion. Just like in a real game, we have to be able to execute the game plan to be successful! We must have a detailed game plan mapping out our road to success. The best have their goals written down and a plan of action to achieve them!

3. The Best Athletes Outwork the Competition
When you talk of work ethic, the perfect player example is one of our players, the ultimate competitor, Kevin Garnett. Kevin is fanatical about his daily routine, shooting the same shots from the same spots with the same movements every single day. As you can imagine, KG works extremely hard at all times. There are no days off, no plays off and certainly no practices off. The stories of KG during shoot around breaking a full sweat are widespread, but what people do not realize is it’s every single shoot around he’s in a full sweat. Tape/no tape, it doesn’t matter, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, it doesn’t matter. To KG, shootarounds are games and he must get himself in the exact positions and coverage situations that he will find himself in that night. And to do this realistically, KG must go game speed and this is how he treats every practice, every shoot around and every walk through. Coach Doc Rivers commented on KG when he first got to Boston, “You knew (Garnett) has great intensity. You didn’t know he had it full time on and off the floor. His intensity in shootarounds and practices spread to our entire team. Our shootarounds were phenomenal. They listened to every word. There was no talking. They were focused. That was all from Kevin Garnett and that changed our team.” The best athletes outwork the competition.

4. The Best Athletes Believe in Themselves
This is the most important of the keys. The best athletes believe in themselves. They expect to go out and perform. “The best believe in themselves. I have a determination where I don’t think anybody I line up against, on any given night, will be able to out-will me, I just refuse to believe that,” said Kobe Bryant. The best athletes have a disciplined mind that allows them to believe in themselves even as negativity begins to set in. The best athletes believe in themselves by guarding their minds. The best athletes understand that by controlling your thoughts, you control your life. By controlling your life, everything in your life is simplified. By simplifying your life, you allow yourself to devote 100% focus to becoming the best player you can become. Remember as Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” We must make the conscious choice to believe in ourselves! The best athletes believe in themselves.

5. The Best Understand They Can’t do it Alone – Become Lifelong Learners
The best athletes know they can’t reach their full potential alone. The best know they will need constant help along the way. One of my favorite phrases from Coach Rivers is, “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” The best players understand the value of seeking wisdom and direction from their mentors. The best submit to a life of lifelong learning, understanding they never will truly arrive. The best understand greatness is a lifelong mission. Maximizing your talent is about striving to become the best you that you can be. To be the best, you must fully commit to being a lifelong learner. The best understand they can’t do it alone.

Remember, life will throw you a few curveballs along the journey. The key is to view life as an adventure. View setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Your purpose must be greater than your challenges. Instead of focusing on your problems, focus on your purpose. See yourself as a hero in your journey and enjoy the process. Strive each and every day to stretch yourself and grow. Spend time on your WHY, Plan out your action plan, believe in yourself and work as hard you can. Good luck!

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Characteristics of Winning Teams

English: Bill Russell posing with other NBA Le...

English: Bill Russell posing with other NBA Legends and the NBA Championship Trophy (not shown) for the 2005 NBA Legends Tour: Destination Finals kick off held at the NBA store. The Tour visited various cities and United Service Organizations (USO) supported military installations as part of the NBA’s ongoing effort to support service members during the upcoming playoff season. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an article discussing characteristics of winning teams that I received in an email this morning.  The article was written by Sidney Goldstein.  Enjoy!

Characteristics of Winning Teams
by Sidney Goldstein

After about 30 radio interviews concerning the characteristics of winning teams I decided to put this information in a short article.

The first characteristic is that winning teams are physically superior. This means that the coach recruited players that are taller, stronger, more agile, quicker than players on other teams and properly conditioned the team. As a coach and player you must always remember that the game is physical. That physicality always trumps finesse. And your biggest job as a coach or player that wants to improve is in this area. For high schoolers and older players this means running, maybe 3 miles per day, and lifting weights for a minimum 15-30 minutes.
Coaches can incorporate conditioning drills into practice, so that each player runs 15-40 minutes continuously while handling the basketball. I call these continuous motion drills which are the most important part of practice. Video 3 in our series shows many of these drills which are also worthwhile as skill teaching exercises.

A second characteristic of winning teams is that they go inside looking for 3 foot shots before 3 point shots. A good inside percentage is over 90% where as a good 3 point percentage is only 50%. Percentage-wise or point-wise the difference always favors the 3 foot shot, just like the percentage always favors the house at casinos. With the percentage in their favor, Casinos don’t lose and if your team is good enough then you won’t lose scoring opportunities either if you go inside.
Talking is easier than doing, so here is a brief road map on how to teach players to go inside. There are about 10 skills involved that can not be taught using plays. Plays are not the answer, they are the problem. Looking, timing, cutting, catching, faking, communication, and passing are skills that need to taught directly, not jumbled up in some unique astonishing incredible play that will save the day, the practice and your job as a coach. There is no way to build a house unless you start with the foundation. So it is with basketball skills. Team play is the endpoint of practice, not the place to start. My books and videos are filled with exercises to teach the offensive skills needed to work the ball inside. Most of a team’s practice should be concentrated on these drills.

A third characteristic is that winning teams box-out on the defensive boards preventing easy second shots. Again talking is easier than doing. There are 3 basic skills and about 6 or so drills involving boxing out. The first skill is blocking, the second is keeping the offense on the back and the third is the transition between the two. Before players can even attempt these drills work on defensive foot movement and rebounding.

The fourth characteristic of winning teams is that they go for offensive rebounds. Believe it or not many teams do not send players for offensive rebounds. Talking is again much easier than doing. To rebound offensively there must be communication between he shooter and the rest of the team. You just can’t say to your players, “Go for offensive rebounds.” To begin with players must be looking and anticipating the shot so they can get position. The art of rebounding must also be taught. Two great rebounders, Bill Russell and Dennis Rodman, planned very specifically for each rebound based on who was shooting from where on the court so they could reach an optimum rebounding position.

The fifth characteristic is that the players help out on defense. Helping out usually means that off-ball defenders move a step or two towards the ball. When you boil defense down to basics there is no zone or person-to-person. All defenses meld into each player being in the most advantageous position at each instant. Again talking is easier than doing. 90% of defense involves moving properly: jump steps and running. No walking or sliding. One wrong or slow or confused step, one run instead of a jump, jump instead of a run, gives the offense the advantage. This is the start and key to learning defense. Coordinating the team to help out is the easy part.
Working on fundamentals yields incredible results almost immediately if you are a pro or college coach with players that have great physical talent. For coaches with younger less physically talented players, improve

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Jamie Dixon Defensive Drills

Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, Pittsburgh Panthers

Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, Pittsburgh Panthers (Photo credit: MattBritt00)

Jamie Dixon the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Pittsburgh has been known for his team’s great defensive play over the years.  Below are some notes of defensive drills that he utilizes with his team.  Enjoy!

Jaime Dixon Defensive Philosophy Drills Nike 2013

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Guard and Post Player Workout

Basketball Camp 3

Basketball Camp 3 (Photo credit: pennstatenews)

Below is a link to a couple of quick workouts; one for post players and one for guards.  The workouts come from Coach Marc Skeleton a coach from Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the Bronx, NY.  Enjoy!

Marc Skeleton Big Man and Guard Workout

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Bill O’Brien 6 Qualities of a Good Leader!

Bill O'Brien spring press conf.-002

Bill O’Brien spring press conf.-002 (Photo credit: pennstatenews)

Penn State’s football program was going through trying times over the past couple of years.  One of the greatest coaches of all-time; Joe Paterno was removed as the head football coach because of the Jerry Sandusky incidents.  So what was going to happen to this storied football program?  In comes new coach Bill O’Brien and with all the controversy and distractions surrounding this program, he was able to right the ship and move the program in a positive direction.  Bill O’Brien was recently asked be the keynote speaker to high school graduates from Walt Whitman High School.  His speech laid out what he believes to be the six qualities of a good leader.  Below is his list; enjoy!

1) Communication: In this day and age of Facebook and Twitter… people don’t have face-to-face communication anymore. This is the antitheses of what football is all about. So when we came to Penn State, one of the things we wanted to do was make sure we have a lot of face-to-face communication with our players, with the people in the athletic department, with our coaching staff…As you head out into the world, in order to be a good leader, you have to be a good communicator. But before you can be a good communicator you have to be an excellent listener. Listen to what the other person is saying to you. I think that is part of communication.

2) People skills: To be a great leader, you have to love being around people and learning about each individual — who you’re on the same team with, who you’re on the same club with and the same organization. Learn about these people. One of the things we do at Penn State is when we go into pre-season training camp, we have a few of our guys each night stand up and talk about things for five minutes that are important to them. It’s our way of learning about each other, whether it is a coach or a player. But I think that is really important to have the people skills to learn about all the people that you’ll become involved with and have interaction with in the different endeavors that you move forward with.

4) Competence: If you’re going to be the leader of an organization, a team a group of people then you have to be competent. You have to know what you’re doing. Whitman has laid the foundation for you. They’ve given you a fantastic education and now you’re going to carry that into college. And now you’re going to figure out what else you want to really know about. Maybe you already have. Maybe you know what you want to do when you graduate college, but most of you haven’t. And so it is important for you to go into college now and become very competent in what it is you have a passion for. Because when you get out into the workforce, when you get out into whatever profession you choose, it’s very important that if you’re going to be a leader that you know what you’re teaching, what your business is about, whatever it may be that you head into.

5) A good heart: To me, this one is really important. Continue to give back to your community. Pick a charity or an organization that is near and dear to your heart. Whether it is a church, an elementary school near where you go to college, special needs children — reach out to these people and give back. A lot of people out there are obviously less fortunate than us. It’s important for you to give back.

6) Courage: Courage is a big word. Know the difference between right and wrong. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you think something is wrong. Have the courage to tell people what you believe in. Find out what you believe in earlier. Don’t wait until it is too late in life to find out what you believe in and have the courage to tell people what that is. Be mentally tough. Be an educated risk taker. If you think about it, if you think it’s worth doing, then take that risk. But be mentally tough to bounce back if it doesn’t work out.

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10 Undervalued Keys to Great Defense

10 years in the making

10 years in the making (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kevin Eastman is one of the assistant coaches for the Boston Celtics and is heavily involved with Coaching U.  Kevin is considered to be one of the best assistant coaches in the NBA and if you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak at a clinic or catch one of his videos or podcasts, I highly recommend it.  Below is an article I received from Coaching U today written by Kevin Eastman.  Enjoy!

10 Undervalued Keys to Great Defense

By Kevin Eastman

Most of us agree that defense is critical to team success and championship play. Here are some things to think about as you go about your defensive work. You can apply these no matter what defense you play.

FIRST 3 STEPS: The key to all great defenses is getting back in transition and setting your defense so the opponent has to play against your “set defense” all night. The first 3 steps must be an all-out sprint.

LOAD TO THE BALL: It’s vitally important to make sure that the great perimeter players in today’s game don’t see any seams in your defense in transition. Guards today are so good that they will take advantage of any little gap they see while you’re getting back. Pull your defense over to take away these seams, but also be aware of your man.

LOW MAN WINS: Simply put, the lower man between the offensive player and the defensive player usually wins that possession. The lower man has the advantage of the leverage game, the reaction game, and the relative quickness game. Get down and be in a stance, ready to move and adjust.

GET YOUR ANTENNAE UP: Players must be alert to what’s going on around them. Alertness is a trait all the great defensive teams share. This demands readiness in your eyes, your feet, your hands, and your mind.

SNIFFING THINGS OUT: Knowing what’s likely to happen next is an ingredient to all great defensive teams and players. To be able to “sniff things out,” you have to study the game and listen intently during scouting reports.

PLUGGING HOLES: Offenses are very good as well, so they will create problems and find holes in the defense. The great defensive teams are always ready to plug that hole and players have a trust that someone will have their back.

TALK INTIMIDATES: Teams that talk always seem to play with more energy and intensity. Talking lets the opponent know that you see everything they’re doing and that you know their stuff every bit as much as they do. Talking teams also always seem to be the more aggressive teams.

FIRST TO THE FLOOR: There will be a number of possessions in a game that come down to “who wants it more.” Being first to the floor is very important, as is being first to the long rebound. We call this the 50-50 game; we want to win the 50-50 game every night.

FINISH YOUR DEFENSE: How many times have we had a great possession and the opponent gets an offensive rebound? It’s a killer. Finish all slides, finish getting over screens, and finish every possession with a block out and rebound. We never want to start something that we won’t finish.

*TRUST: I’ve saved this for last because it’s the most important component of all great defensive teams. It’s so important for players to know they can be intelligently aggressive. Players who know they have someone behind them to cover their backs can defend with intelligent abandon (NOT careless abandon). Trust actually makes your defense quicker and more alert because there’s no hesitation; a hesitant athlete is a non-athlete.

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

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