“Are you blind?” “You’re missing a good game out there, ref.” “Come on, that was a foul!” “Are you kidding me?” “3 seconds!!!!” “That’s a travel”
These are just a few of the things you’ll hear if you come to any high school basketball game. For the men and women that commit their time to officiate these sports for a measly $65 a game or less this is their norm. No matter the outcome of the game 50% or more of the crowd leaves upset and angry at them. Blaming the refs for their team’s inability to secure victory. It's no wonder leagues are struggling to find people to do the job.
One thing I’ve always found fascinating though is no one thanks the refs when they win. If we are going to say they are the deciding factor in a game, then they deserve as much praise when you win. You can’t just blame them for the bad and not give them credit for the good.
Reading that statement probably made you feel a certain way. You might be saying, “Coach that’s stupid, of course the refs weren’t the reason we won.” And I would agree, they absolutely aren’t, just like they aren’t the reason you lost. It’s time we stop wasting energy on berating officials and put that energy into supporting the athletes. Officials will absolutely miss calls or make a bad call, just like players miss shots and turn the ball over or coaches substitute the wrong person, call the wrong play, and wait too long to call time out. That’s part of being human. But the team that focuses on the controllable is usually the one that sees the best results in the long run.
In our program we constantly remind our athletes of the fact we are in sole control of our destiny. We determine what outcomes we get, no one else. This is an important life mindset. When you take ownership of your success and failures you have control over your life.
I believe this mindset paid off for our team and will continue to pay dividends for the players long into the future.
So how do you adopt this approach? Try these simple things.
So you’ve just got home after a great few days at a conference. You met some great people and got more information than you could have even hoped for. Now what? How can you make sure that you keep the positive momentum rolling and don’t forget all you’ve learned? This is a question I recently asked myself and here is what I’ve come up with as the most effective way to ensure you get the most of your conference experience and don’t allow all those connections and knowledge to disappear to a shelf in a notebook.
Type Up Notes
The first thing you need to do is retype your notes. I suggest doing this as soon as you get home from the conference. This will allow you to review all your notes while it’s fresh in your mind. If you are like me some of your notes are in short hand and the longer you wait to retype it the more likely you are to forget what you meant by that short hand. All those new plays you got draw them out using FastDraw. If you don’t have FastDraw, just draw them back out by hand in a more legible form. By doing this you will be getting the material in many different ways. You will have heard it, wrote it down once, read it, and wrote it down again for 4 exposures to the material. With each exposure you are more likely to remember it.
After typing it all up, read back through it and create a Top 10. The ten most important nuggets you got from the conference, or the ten things you most want to use going forward. Top 10 lists are easy to remember and are also very easy to share.
Reach Out to People You Met
The next step is to reach out to all the amazing people you met at the conference. Everyone has made connections at the conference, whether it be with the presenters or just other coaches. It is important to continue to cultivate those relationships. Like a fresh seed planted in the ground if you don’t water it, it’ll never grow.
For presenters you connected, I suggest a simple email thanking them for their time, and reminding them about whatever you talked about. Remember these individuals likely spoke with hundreds of people over the course of the weekend if you don’t reach out quickly and are specific about what you chatted about they may not remember you. From there you can continue on the path of working with the presenter going forward.
With the other coaches you met, send them a message including your conference notes. Ask them to take a look perhaps ask if they could share any notes they have. You are helping them by sharing your notes and top 10 and you are further fostering that relationship. I would also consider creating a coaches accountability circle with this group. Everyone shares the actions they plan on taking and then you can check in regularly going forward to see how everyone is doing. This will also give you a group to bounce ideas off of if you are having trouble with implementing something from the conference. It is also good to get people outside of your immediate circle to help hold you accountable. Those closest sometimes are blinded to the truth and someone on the outside is much more likely to be objective with you.
Schedule meeting with important parties to share your knowledge
Now that you’ve got your notes organized, gotten notes from other coaches, and come to a plan it’s time to bring in the parties who will be involved with your changes. This may include your other coaches, the administration of your school, parents and players. Getting all these parties involved early in the process and getting feedback will help strengthen any changes you do make. This is especially true if you are trying to change the overall culture. It is important to get buy in from all these parties as dissent from any one could ground your initiatives before they even take off.
Add all that up and you’ll have had at least 10 exposures to the material within the first few weeks of learning it. Hearing it, writing it down, reading it, rewriting it, scanning it and creating top 10, sharing it with connections made, sharing it with your staff, administration, parents, and players. This ensures that the information becomes ingrained in you and doesn’t get lost.
Develop a Final Plan
After going through all those meetings with the parties involved now it’s time to develop a final plan. What action steps are you going to take and when are you going to take it. Write all these down and once again share them with all involved. Got new plays or offense you are going to adopt? Send it out to players to start reviewing over summer to get a jump on it before the season starts. Going to impart some new team rules to change the culture? Let the parties know now so they aren’t surprised when the season begins. This will be your road map to success.
Have any other suggestions? Please reach out and share with me. Also if you are interested in being a part of a coaching accountability circle let me know. I’d love to work with as many other coaches as I can to make each other better.
What a great first day at the PGC/Glazier Clinic here in Detroit. This is my first PGC coaches clinic and I can already say its already the best clinic I've ever attended. So much knowledge under one roof. If you are a coach reading this who hasn't attended a PGC Clinic get out the the closest one to you ASAP. You will not regret.
Before a quick recap of the day, I want to spend another minute talking about the importance of development. As a coach it is important that we are willing to put in as much time if not more than we ask our athletes to do. So I ask you this, how much did you ask your players to practice this summer? Did you ask them to commit to something as little as 30 minutes a day of either dirbbling or shooting? Maybe you asked them to do an 1 or get up a minimum amount of shots but I'm going to guess you assigned them something. Now ask yourself this, are you spending that same amount of time perfecting your craft? IF the answer is no get on it. There are so many great materials and programs out there to help expand your coaching knowledge.
I was fortunate enough today to spend time with 4 great minds. By volunteering to be a room moderator I got the opportunity to spend a little extra time with each one picking their brain and didn't they all have some phenomenal stories and insight. Day started with Stephanie Zonar. I was particularly interested in what she had to say as she has been the official leadership count for over 60 NCAA basketball programs. As you all know I think the importance of leadership can not be understated. If you want more information about Stephanie check out www.lifebeyondsports.com . Notes from her sessions on the Easiest Method to Better Team Communication an d Three Keys to Building a Winning Team Culture.
Next I got to spend time with Sue Ramsey and let me tell you I'm not sure you can be in the same room with Sue without smiling. She has an infectious loving personality and it made the whole room feel more like home. It was like everyone that walked in the door was walking into her National Championship locker room as part of the team. Sue challenged us all to work on developing our Transformational Purpose statements as coaches and ask ourselves tough questions like, what will my legacy be? Notes from her sessions on 3D Coaching and Untold Elements Behind Winning a National Championship.
TJ Rosene was the next presenter I got to spend time with. Many of you may feel like TJ has been part of your coaching staff all year if you've subscribe to PGC Coaches Circle and listened to his weekly videos. I know for me it felt that way. TJ brings a great energy to the room engaging all who are there to listen. I got to sit in with TJ for 2 quick hitter 25 minute sessions that seemed like they were even shorter due to the energy in the room. TJ shared insight into how to create a great communicating team and mastering late game situations. Notes
Lastly I got to sit in on Rich Czeslawski's session about creating better practice plans. As you may have seen I tend to think I do a pretty good practice plan but Rich opened my eyes to so many more things I could do to improve. This is what's so great about these clinics, even when you think you are pretty good at something you get around people who have different experiences and ideas and you realize there is so much more to learn. Rich did a great job detailing out the process and giving us personal examples and even though we had the last session of the night ending at 10:05 he stuck around talking with us coaches long after, saying he knows he was blessed by the game of basketball to have the opportunities he has had and he wants to give back to the game by helping coaches. Here are his notes.
That's Day 1 in a nutshell. Hope you found this recap and its attached notes helpful in your journey. If you are reading this as an attendee of the current clinic I would love to hear about your experience and see what notes you came up with. If you are reading as a non attendee I hope it convinces you to come to a clinic in the future.
As always leave me a comment or reach out to me on social media to let me know what you think.
Throughout our lives various mentors in our lives have always been sure to tell us to think before we speak. Whether that person was a parent, grandparent, teacher or some other at some point I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase. So it seems we are more cognizant of the power of our words and have a pretty good understanding of how to choose our words wisely. But what you may not be aware of it that when it comes to communication, the words we use only make up 7% of what we are communicating to people.
So what determines the other 93% of your communication? Well 38% is the tone you use and 55%, over half of your message, is being communicated by your body language! But no one ever warned us growing up that we needed to watch our body language so how would we know? For many of us we may have never even considered what out body language is communicating to others. I know for me I never was conscious of it until taking my first Communications course in college.
Not sure what I mean when I say body language is communicating a big message? Try this: While watching the NCAA tournament, watch how players react to being subbed out of a game. Are they walking to the bench hunched over, head down? Are they jogging over high-fiving the incoming player and pointing out who they had? Do they interact with other people on the bench on the way by? How about the interaction with the coaches do the make eye contact and listen or are they looking away? What is the story this athlete is telling.
When a call goes against the player what do they do? If they don’t get passed the ball during an offensive possession how do they react? When getting beat on the defensive end? When a teammate gets beat? How about after a mistake by a teammate or themselves? All of these moments our body language is conveying a message.
Then think about yourself. What do you do in those situations? What message is your body language telling your teammates, coach, and those watching. You may think this isn’t very important but the message you are communicating tells people what kind of person you are.
To get you started on the road of improving your body language here are five tips:
There was under a minute left to go in the game and we were down 5 with a baseline out of bound at our hoop. We set up a play that was our go to play for getting a quick 3. As the ball was inbounded it was clear from the sidelines that the other team was prepared for it and they defended it well. The ball swung to the player who was supposed to get the shot out of the play and he was closely guarded by two defenders. He shot the ball anyway, and immediately you could tell he knew he shouldn’t. His hands went right to his head and then head down as the shot missed and the other team got the rebound.
We fouled immediately to send them to the line. The shooter was walking up the court head down in hands, clearly dejected that he had made the mistake, when the captain of our team, the individual who had taken the ball out, ran up from behind gave him a pat on the head and butt and simply said “We got this”.
That confidence and support gave the rest of the team a boost that there was still enough time to win that game. We did end up winning that game, scoring 6 points in the final 30 seconds to send it into overtime and winning in overtime, but it was a simple gesture that sparked the whole thing.
The ability to control ones body language and be cognizant of its power on the message we are trying to deliver is arguably one of the most valuable communication skills one can master. This is especially true on the basketball court. As a player, your body language is often the only thing that is communicating to those in the crowd , your teammates and coach. Focus on telling the story you want.
State championship winning basketball coach, Chris Woodside, shares his journey of going from varsity boys coach, to becoming a men's college coach, to currently coaching girls varsity basketball as well as life lessons learned on + off the court.