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16 Rules for Basketball Parents

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By Allen Stein

As both a coach and a father, I want to offer my 16 Rules for Basketball Parents:

  1. Parents… you must embrace the fact that this is your child’s journey – not yours. Do not live vicariously through them. Put your focus on being a supportive and encouraging parent.
  2. Parents… it’s true. Coaches do play favorites. They favor players who give the team the best chance to win, who have great attitudes, who work hard every day, who embrace their role (regardless of what that role is) and who support the program’s culture.  If you think a coach doesn’t ‘like’ your child; your child is more than likely deficient in one (or more) of these areas.
  3. Parents… as far as playing time goes, coaches want to win. They want to win badly. If your child will help them win… they will play. If not… they won’t.  Period.
  4. Parents… more often than not, your child’s coach is in a better position to evaluate and determine appropriate playing time because they see everything. They see workouts, practices, meetings, film breakdown and games (where as most parents get an incomplete picture because they only see games).
  5. Parents… more often than not, through both experience and professional development, coaches usually have a better basketball IQ and general understanding of the game then parents do (so questioning a coach’s X’s & O’s or their ability to judge talent is inappropriate).
  6. Parents… stop coaching your child from the sideline. The only ‘voice’ a player should receive instructions from is the ‘voice’ of their coaching staff.  Cheer for them all you want, but do not coach them. That isn’t your job.
  7. Parents… you love your child more than anything in the world. You always want what is best for them(which is understandable and respectable).  However, a coach’s obligation is to do what is best for the TEAM.  In many instances, what you want for your child and what is best of the team is not congruent.
  8. Parents… you should never push to discuss playing time, strategy or another player with your child’s coach. Ever. Those 3 domains are sacred ground.
  9. Parents… politicking will never get your child more playing time. I promise you, this statement hasnever been said by a coach in the history of high school basketball, “I really need to start playing Jeffrey more because his mom thinks he isn’t playing enough.”
  10. Parents… you should encourage your child to communicate any issues, questions or concerns they have (or you have) directly with their coach by having them schedule a meeting. It is my belief, as a parent, you have the right to attend that meeting, simply as an observant, but the discussion should be between your child and the coach.
  11. Parents… do not undermine your child’s coach in the car ride home or at the dinner table. Subtle, passive aggressive comments like ‘Your coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’ or ‘I can’t believe you don’t play more’ do not comfort your child (although I am sure that is your intention) – it enables them to have a bad attitude and to make excuses… both of which are unacceptable.
  12. Parents… if your child isn’t getting the playing time they feel they deserve or if they lose a tough game… use that experience as a powerful teaching tool. Teach them how to own it. Teach them what they can do in the future to possibly get a different outcome.
  13. Parents… stop berating the referees. It sets a bad example and it makes you look foolish. The referees are doing the best they can. More often than not, a referee has a better position and a much better understanding of the rules to make the correct call then a parent does. And I promise you this statement has never been said either, “Can we stop the game? I’m sorry everyone. The loud-mouth mom in the stands is right, her son did get fouled on that last play.”
  14. Parents… it is highly unlikely that your child will play professionally.  In fact, statistically, only a very small percentage of you will have children that play in college. So let them enjoy the journey. Their playing days will be over before you know it. Use basketball as a vehicle to teach the life lessons they will need when they grow up.
  15. Parents… don’t push your child too hard.  It’s OK to encourage. It’s OK to suggest. It’s OK to hold your child to a very high standard of excellence… but don’t force them to ‘get up extra shots’ or get in extra workouts.  That has to come from them, not you.  If they choose to do those things on their own, be supportive. If they choose not to, if they choose to only do the bare minimum, they will eventually learn a potent life lesson (not make the team, not get much playing time, etc.).
  16. Parents… one of the best things you can do is develop a quality relationship with your child’s coach. Listen to this for some sound advice:


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Personal accountability is simply defined as people assuming responsibility for their own actions.

You’ve heard it before, “There is no I in team.” But the old adage is quickly becoming outdated. In fact, there is an “I” in team. In order for my team to produce top results, ‘I’ must be accountable for my work. “I” must pull my own weight. “I” am just as accountable for my team members as they are for me.

Losers make excuses and blame coach and teammates: I’m not playing enough, our defense isn’t doing the job, our goalkeeper is bad, players don’t care enough, our conditioning is not good,

“Most people believe accountability is about holding other people accountable.”
It’s a very personal thing. “It’s all about me saying, ‘Today, how can I make a better choice? In my relationships, at work, in my personal life or in my financial life, how can I be better today than yesterday? What can I do to make a better choice?”


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By Kevin Eastman

“Don’t just try to get through the workout; try to get from the workout.”
This is so true now that the season is getting into the late stages.  Not only do the players need to get something out of each skill development session they have, but they must also get something from practice every day as well.  The ability of a team or a player to get something from every practice session is what will separate a lot of them from the rest of the pack as the battle for tournament and playoff spots wages on.

Human nature says that when fatigue sets in, often we will try to just get through this practice or through this skill workout.  What successful teams do is understand the need and the importance of each, and that they have to get something from these sessions.  The more they get from these sessions, the better the chances are for successful results.

So as you talk to your team, it’s important to make sure they know that they have a choice each time they walk onto the floor, into the weight room, or even into a film session.  They can do what the average teams do and just try to get through the session. Or they can make a championship decision and get something from each session. It takes a little bit higher level of concentration and focus to get something from each session, but it pays much greater rewards in the long run!  A simple decision, if you ask me.

On a side note, I think this philosophy can apply to coaches and in the corporate setting as well.  So often I hear people trying to just get through the day.  Yet when I think about the characteristics of successful people, I often find that they seem to get more from their day than others.  We all have to make sure that we are not just going to work but that we are getting something from our day — not just getting through our day.  Pretty simple…”through” or “from.”  Which mindset will make you more productive?  Which mindset will make you feel better about your day today?  I can tell you from years of observation and personal growth that successful people are all about the “from!”


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by Jay Bilas

“Be hard to play against, and easy to play with” I have heard the word “toughness” thrown around a lot lately. Reporters on television, radio and in print have opined about a team or player’s “toughness” or quoted a coach talking about his team having to be “tougher” to win.

Then, in almost coordinated fashion, I would watch games and see player upon player thumping his chest after a routine play, angrily taunting an opponent after a blocked shot, getting into a shouting match with an opposing player, or squaring up nose-to-nose as if a fight might ensue. I see players jawing at each other, trying to “intimidate” other players. What a waste of time. That is nothing more than fake toughness, and it has no real value. I often wonder: Do people really understand what coaches and experienced players mean when they emphasize “toughness” in basketball? Or is it just some buzzword that is thrown around haphazardly without clear definition or understanding? I thought it was the latter, and I wrote a short blog item about it a couple of weeks ago. The response I received was overwhelming. Dozens of college basketball coaches called to tell me that they had put the article up in the locker room, put it in each player’s locker, or had gone over it in detail with their teams. Memphis coach John Calipari called to say that he had his players post the definition of toughness over their beds because he believed that true “toughness” was the one thing that his team needed to develop to reach its potential. I received messages from high school coaches who wanted to relay the definition of toughness to their players and wanted to talk about it further. Well, I got the message that I should expound upon what I consider toughness to be. It may not be what you think.

Toughness is something I had to learn the hard way, and something I had no real idea of until I played college basketball. When I played my first game in college, I thought that toughness was physical and based on how much punishment I could dish out and how much I could take. I thought I was tough. I found out pretty quickly that I wasn’t, but I toughened up over time, and I got a pretty good understanding of toughness through playing in the ACC, for USA Basketball, in NBA training camps, and as a professional basketball player in Europe. I left my playing career a heck of a lot tougher than I started it, and my only regret is that I didn’t truly “get it” much earlier in my playing career. When I faced a tough opponent, I wasn’t worried that I would get hit — I was concerned that I would get sealed on ball reversal by a tough post man, or that I would get boxed out on every play, or that my assignment would sprint the floor on every possession and get something easy on me.

The toughest guys I had to guard were the ones who made it tough on me. Toughness has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. Some players may be born tough, but I believe that toughness is a skill, and it is a skill that can be developed and improved. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always says, “Players play, but tough players win.” He is right. Here are some of the ways true toughness is exhibited in basketball:

Set a good screen: The toughest players to guard are the players who set good screens. When you set a good screen, you are improving the chances for a teammate to get open, and you are greatly improving your chances of getting open. A good screen can force the defense to make a mistake. A lazy or bad screen is a waste of everyone’s time and energy. To be a tough player, you need to be a “screener/scorer,” a player who screens hard and immediately looks for an opportunity on offense. On the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, Bob Knight made Michael Jordan set a screen before he could get a shot. If it is good enough for Jordan, arguably the toughest player ever, it is good enough for you.

Set up your cut: The toughest players make hard cuts, and set up their cuts. Basketball is about deception. Take your defender one way, and then plant the foot opposite of the direction you want to go and cut hard. A hard cut may get you a basket, but it may also get a teammate a basket. If you do not make a hard cut, you will not get anyone open. Setting up your cut, making the proper read of the defense, and making a hard cut require alertness, good conditioning and good concentration. Stephen Curry is hardly a physical muscle-man, but he is a tough player because he is in constant motion, he changes speeds, he sets up his cuts, and he cuts hard. Curry is hard to guard, and he is a tough player.

Talk on defense: The toughest players talk on defense, and communicate with their teammates. It is almost impossible to talk on defense and not be in a stance, down and ready, with a vision of man and ball. If you talk, you let your teammates know you are there, and make them and yourself better defenders. It also lets your opponent know that you are fully engaged. Jump to the ball: When on defense, the tough defenders move as the ball moves. The toughest players move on the flight of the ball, not when it gets to its destination. And the toughest players jump to the ball and take away the ball side of the cut. Tough players don’t let cutters cut across their face — they make the cutter change his path.

Don’t get screened: No coach can give a player the proper footwork to get through every screen. Tough players have a sense of urgency not to get screened and to get through screens so that the cutter cannot catch the ball where he wants to. A tough player makes the catch difficult. Get your hands up: A pass discouraged is just as good as a pass denied. Tough players play with their hands up to take away vision, get deflections and to discourage a pass in order to allow a teammate to cover up. Cutters and post players will get open, if only for a count. If your hands are up, you can keep the passer from seeing a momentary opening.Play the ball, see your man: Most defenders see the ball and hug their man, because they are afraid to get beat. A tough defender plays the ball and sees his man. There is a difference.

Get on the floor: In my first road game as a freshman, there was a loose ball that I thought I could pick up and take the other way for an easy one. While I was bending over at the waist, one of my opponents dived on the floor and got possession of the ball. My coach was livid. We lost possession of the ball because I wasn’t tough enough to get on the floor for it. I tried like hell never to get out-toughed like that again.
The first player to get to the floor is usually the one to come up with any loose ball.Close out under control: It is too easy to fly at a shooter and think you are a tough defender. A tough defender closes out under control, takes away a straight line drive and takes away the shot. A tough player has a sense of urgency but has the discipline to do it the right way.

Post your man, not a spot: Most post players just blindly run to the low block and get into a shoving match for a spot on the floor. The toughest post players are posting their defensive man. A tough post player is always open, and working to get the ball to the proper angle to get a post feed. Tough post players seal on ball reversal and call for the ball, and they continue to post strong even if their teammates miss them.

Run the floor: Tough players sprint the floor, which drags the defense and opens up things for others. Tough players run hard and get “easy” baskets, even though there is nothing easy about them. Easy baskets are hard to get. Tough players don’t take tough shots — they work hard to make them easy.

Play so hard, your coach has to take you out: I was a really hard worker in high school and college. But I worked and trained exceptionally hard to make playing easier. I was wrong. I once read that Bob Knight had criticized a player of his by saying, “You just want to be comfortable out there!” Well, that was me, and when I read that, it clicked with me. I needed to work to increase my capacity for work, not to make it easier to play. I needed to work in order to be more productive in my time on the floor. Tough players play so hard that their coaches have to take them out to get rest so they can put them back in. The toughest players don’t pace themselves.

Get to your teammate first: When your teammate lays his body on the line to dive on the floor or take a charge, the tough players get to him first to help him back up. If your teammate misses a free throw, tough players get to him right away. Tough players are also great teammates.

Take responsibility for your teammates: Tough players expect a lot from their teammates, but they also put them first. When the bus leaves at 9 a.m., tough players not only get themselves there, but they also make sure their teammates are up and get there, too. Tough players take responsibility for others in addition to themselves. They make sure their teammates eat first, and they give credit to their teammates before taking it themselves.

Take a charge: Tough players are in a stance, playing the ball, and alert in coming over from the weak side and taking a charge. Tough players understand the difference between being in the right spot and being in the right spot with the intention of stopping somebody. Some players will look puzzled and say, “But I was in the right spot.” Tough players know that they have to get to the right spot with the sense of urgency to stop someone. The toughest players never shy away from taking a charge.Get in a stance: Tough players don’t play straight up and down and put themselves in the position of having to get ready to get ready. Tough players are down in a stance on both ends of the floor, with feet staggered and ready to move. Tough players are the aggressor, and the aggressor is in a stance.

Finish plays: Tough players don’t just get fouled, they get fouled and complete the play. They don’t give up on a play or assume that a teammate will do it. A tough player plays through to the end of the play and works to finish every play. Work on your pass: A tough player doesn’t have his passes deflected. A tough player gets down, pivots, pass-fakes, and works to get the proper angle to pass away from the defense and deliver the ball. Throw yourself into your team’s defense: A tough player fills his tank on the defensive end, not on offense. A tough player is not deterred by a missed shot. A tough player values his performance first by how well he defended.

Take and give criticism the right way: Tough players can take criticism without feeling the need to answer back or give excuses. They are open to getting better and expect to be challenged and hear tough things. You will never again in your life have the opportunity you have now at the college level: a coaching staff that is totally and completely dedicated to making you and your team better. Tough players listen and are not afraid to say what other teammates may not want to hear, but need to hear. Show strength in your body language: Tough players project confidence and security with their body language. They do not hang their heads, do not react negatively to a mistake of a teammate, and do not whine and complain to officials. Tough players project strength, and do not cause their teammates to worry about them. Tough players do their jobs, and their body language communicates that to their teammates — and to their opponents.

Catch and face: Teams that press and trap are banking on the receiver’s falling apart and making a mistake. When pressed, tough players set up their cuts, cut hard to an open area and present themselves as a receiver to the passer. Tough players catch, face the defense,and make the right read and play, and they do it with poise. Tough players do not just catch and dribble; they catch and face.

Don’t get split: If you trap, a tough player gets shoulder-to-shoulder with his teammate and does not allow the handler to split the trap and gain an advantage on the back side of the trap.

Be alert: Tough players are not “cool.” Tough players are alert and active, and tough players communicate with teammates so that they are alert, too. Tough players echo commands until everyone is on the same page. They understand the best teams play five as one. Tough players are alert in transition and get back to protect the basket and the 3-point line. Tough players don’t just run back to find their man, they run back to stop the ball and protect the basket.

Concentrate, and encourage your teammates to concentrate: Concentration is a skill, and tough players work hard to concentrate on every play. Tough players go as hard as they can for as long as they can.

It’s not your shot; it’s our shot: Tough players don’t take bad shots, and they certainly don’t worry about getting “my” shots. Tough players work for good shots and understand that it is not “my” shot, it is “our” shot. Tough players celebrate when “we” score.
Box out and go to the glass every time: Tough players are disciplined enough to lay a body on someone. They make first contact and go after the ball. And tough players do it on every possession, not just when they feel like it. They understand defense is not complete until they secure the ball. Take responsibility for your actions: Tough players make no excuses. They take responsibility for their actions. Take James Johnson for example. With 17 seconds to go in Wake’s game against Duke on Wednesday, Jon Scheyer missed a 3-pointer that bounced right to Johnson. But instead of aggressively pursuing the ball with a sense of urgency, Johnson stood there and waited for the ball to come to him. It never did. Scheyer grabbed it, called a timeout and the Blue Devils hit a game-tying shot on a possession they never should’ve had. Going after the loose ball is toughness — and Johnson didn’t show it on that play. But what happened next? He re-focused, slipped a screen for the winning basket, and after the game — when he could’ve been basking only in the glow of victory — manned up to the mistake that could’ve cost his team the win. “That was my responsibility — I should have had that,” Johnson said of the goof. No excuses.

Shouldering the responsibility. That’s toughness. Look your coaches and teammates in the eye: Tough players never drop their heads. They always look coaches and teammates in the eye, because if they are talking, it is important to them and to you.Move on to the next play: Tough players don’t waste time celebrating a good play or lamenting a bad one. They understand that basketball is too fast a game to waste time and opportunities with celebratory gestures or angry reactions. Tough players move on to the next play. They know that the most important play in any game is the next one.

Be hard to play against, and easy to play with: Tough players make their teammates’ jobs easier, and their opponents’ jobs tougher. Make every game important: Tough players don’t categorize opponents and games. They know that if they are playing, it is important. Tough players understand that if they want to play in championship games, they must treat every game as a championship game.

Make getting better every day your goal: Tough players come to work every day to get better, and keep their horizons short. They meet victory and defeat the same way: They get up the next day and go to work to be better than they were the day before. Tough players hate losing but are not shaken or deterred by a loss. Tough players enjoy winning but are never satisfied. For tough players, a championship or a trophy is not a goal; it is a destination. The goal is to get better every day.

When I was playing, the players I respected most were not the best or most talented players. The players I respected most were the toughest players. I don’t remember anything about the players who talked a good game or blocked a shot and acted like a fool. I remember the players who were tough to play against. Anybody can talk. Not anybody can be tough.

Providence Honors Former UR Coach Foley

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Richmond Times Dispatch Thursday Feb. 14           Former University of Richmond Women’s Coach Bob Foley will be inducted into the Providence College Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday evening Feb. 15.
Foley, who now directs Richmond based Next Level youth instructional program, enjoyed significant success while coaching the Providence Women’s team from 1985 – 1996. He had an 11 year record of 207 – 127 and led the Friars to the 1990 Big East Championship with an 86 – 61 victory at UConn  and a berth in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Four of Foley’s teams were ranked in the Top 25 and 5 of his teams played in the NCAA Tournament. His 1991 team still holds the NCAA record averaging 96.7 points per game.
Foley said “I am honored and humbled to have a plaque on the same wall with great Coaches like  Dave Gavitt, Joe Mullaney, John Thompson and Lenny Wilkens.  I was blessed with great players and assistant coaches who made this possible”


The Right Voices

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By Kevin Eastman
No matter what line of work we’re in, we have people talking to us all the time, giving us never-ending information, and even offering us their opinions on what we should be doing.

We see this in athletics all the time, whether it’s family members, hangers-on, or close friends.  Everyone has the answers for us.  This is when it becomes dangerous, because if players listen to the wrong voices, they can seriously jeopardize their chances for attaining success.

A major key to growing and improving — and to reaching your goals — is to make sure you listen to the right voices.  The “right voices” may be tough to listen to, as they often tell you truths you may not want to hear.  But the truth will set you in motion to reach the goals and dreams you have for yourself.  Understand that the truth will hurt sometimes.  The truth will ask you to do things that are uncomfortable and difficult.  But the truth will also get you on your way to where you want to be!

It has been my experience that coaches are great voices to listen to.  I can tell you that our guys listen to Doc Rivers because his agenda is quite simple.  That agenda: (1) to win and (2) for each player to reach his potential for himself and this team.  There is no better person to hear the truth from than someone like Doc.

To find the right voices, we all have to think long and hard about the people who are truly interested in us, as opposed to those who really are in it more for themselves.  Those who are truly in it for you are the voices you need to listen to — not those who just tell you what you want to hear.

The great players in our league want the truth more than they want to feel good. The truth will help them get where they want to be!

The best way I can put it is this: Those who choose to listen to the right voices are the ones who most consistently make the right choices.

SELECTING AN AAU TEAM (click here for full story)

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Bob Foley Next Level Basketball

You need to be careful when selecting your travel team. AAU organizations have certain philosophies that they may preach but the team coach has the final say so make sure you go to the source (the coach) for the information you need. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions in advance or you can set up yourself and your child for a frustrating and miserable experience. Below are some areas that you want to investigate before making the commitment.

Speak with the coach about his goals and expectations. Do they match your expectations? Ask how practices will be run. Will there be a lot of teaching or will there be a lot of plays and scrimmaging. Will the players play man to man Defense or Zone? Will they run set plays or fast break?
Is winning more important than player development? If the coach is all gung-ho on winning states and their national ranking, you need to be very careful on how you proceed, especially if your child is not one of the top players on the team.
If your child is over 14 and is interested in playing basketball in college, exposure becomes a key factor in selecting a team to play with. This is where the coach’s philosophy on playing time is critical.

95% of the parent/coach issues involve playing time.
Let’s face the facts! Just about every AAU parent would rather their child play well than the team do well.
They say that winning solves a lot of problems but none more than playing time! Before any type of commitment, you must find out what is the coach’s philosophy on playing time?
Below are some of the options that you may hear.
1.) Player development is the primary goal. Equal time for all players;
2.) Each player will play at least a few minutes in each game. The rest is left to coach’s discretion.
3.) We play to win! The better players will play and less experienced players sit especially in close games.
4.) Some teams guarantee that each player will play in every game except state and national qualifying tournaments.

Find out before tryouts and be sure that the coach is clear on this issue. Before joining the team, be positive that you and your child can live with what you hear from the coach.

How many days a week will they practice? What are the coaches rules on missed practices. If you miss a practice do you miss any game time? Be aware that coach’s who are concerned about winning will sometimes not punish their better players for missing practice. The player will miss key practices and still play a majority of the game while bench players show up on time to every practice and still don’t play This can become a major problem as the season progresses.

How many tournaments will you be playing in each month? How many are out of town and will require a hotel stay? What is the [policy if you have a family conflict and have to miss a tournament?
If the team qualifies for the national tournament, do they plan to go? Where is the National tournament? How long will the season go? Some teams play until late July, even early August. Ask for an advance schedule of tournaments the team is planning to attend.

How many players are going to be on the team? Some coaches like big squads but there are only a certain number of minutes each game. If coaches are keeping more than 11 players there will be playing time issues!!! Find out before tryouts how many players the coach is planning on keeping.

How much will this cost me? Where is my money going? Do I pay for coach’s travel, tournament entry fees and uniforms? What do I have to pay for during team travel? Hotels, meals, travel coast? How many tournaments will require an overnight stay? What kind of Fundraisers are planned and what involvement is expected of the parents and players.

Some teams pick up additional players during the season to strengthen their team. They take playing time from players who have played all season. Are you OK with this. If not, be sure to know their philosophy in this area. Do the Pickups have to pay the same fee everyone else paid?

Be Willing to do the Little Things

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Article Written by Kyle Ohman of

Everybody wants to lead their team in scoring or in one of the other categories that are going to get them attention from fans, friends, teammates, etc. It is natural to want to be praised for doing something good. However this can be a trap to a lot of players because it keeps them from doing the little things that make you a great player and also really help your team. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this question, “How can I get more minutes for my basketball team?” Never once have I told the player go shoot the basketball every time you get it and try to score 30 a game but in that players mind he believes that his playing time is directly related to them scoring points. This is a trap and unfortunately a lot of players have fallen into it. Whether you are the best player on your team or the 12th man you should be doing the little things.

What are the “little things” that a player can do to get more playing time, become a better individual player, and ultimately help their team win games? The little things are; communicating on defense, setting a good screen, being in the right position to help on defense, keeping the floor spaced on offense, being a good teammate, etc. These are all things that anybody can do, you just have to chose to do them. It is sometimes the coaches fault for not emphasizing enough the importance of doing the little things and then also holding each player accountable. However I guarantee you that the coach knows the players that consistently are willing to do the little things that it takes to win games. It ultimately comes down to you as the player to hold yourself accountable and challenge yourself to do the little things on a regular basis.

Next practice or game instead of going into it thinking how can I score, think about how you can do all the little things. Make your coach and teammates think, “who is this guy?” Be a leader on the floor and encourage your teammates to become better at doing the little things by showing them that you are willing to do them first. If you are helping your team to become better and you are leading by example your coach is going to want you on the floor. Be willing to do all the things that might not get you the glory but that will help your team win games. You will know that you made an impact and the people that really understand the game will know as well.

List of Some of the “Little Things”
1. Communicate on defense every time down the floor
2. Help your teammates get open with good screens, ball movement, etc.
3. Make sure that you are in the right position on defense and offense
4. Be a good teammate
5. Box out on every shot
6. High hands on defensive closeouts
7. Stay in a defensive stance and don’t raise up just because it is easier
8. Make the extra pass to an open teammate if they have a better shot than you

The Struggle

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The Struggle

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

I asked for Strength……… And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom…… I asked for Prosperity….. And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage……… And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love……… And God gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favors……… And God gave me Opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted …….. I received everything I needed!


By | Motivation | No Comments



I’ve Two Choices

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and
always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was
doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a
unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around
from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was
because of his attitude. He was a natural
motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the
employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this
style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him,
“I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you
do it?”
Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have
two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to
be in a bad mood.” I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad
happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I
choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can
choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of
life. I choose the positive side of life.”
“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.
“Yes it is,” Jerry said, “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all
the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to
situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in
a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live
I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant
industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about
him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.
Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed
to do in a restaurant business, he left the back door open one morning and
was held up at gun point by three armed robbers. While trying to open the
safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The
robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly
and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks
of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of
the bullets still in his body.
I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he
was, he said, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”
I declined to see his wounds but did ask him what had gone through his mind
as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was
that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on
the floor, I remembered that I had two choices – I could choose to live, or
I could choose to die. I chose to live.”
“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.
Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was
going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw
the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared.
In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man. ” I knew I needed to take action.”
“What did you do?” I asked.
“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry.
“She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and
nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and
yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live.
Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”
Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his
amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to
live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Work like you don’t need the money.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching.