Friday, October 17, 2008


"I'm supposed to be a franchise player, and we talkin about practice....not a game, not a game. We talkin about practice."
-Allen Iverson

Life and the prosperity in it can be broken down into one simple Coach Rice proverb;
"If it's not practice time, then it's game time. If it's not game time, it's practice time."

Every phase in our lives that we've been through and/or are currently going through is training ground for the next level. From the time we started pre-school and matriculated through our respective grades, there has been one constant theme; practice, practice, practice. Now let's be honest. A lot of us hate practice. Often times we hate practice because we feel as if it is beneath us. We feel like we can't get any better. Thus, we only want to reap the benefits of game time. The reality is that the benefits of game time is winning, which is direct result of practice and game time adjustments.

Practice eventually breeds a spirit of confidence, develops a mastery of needed skills and ultimately it creates beneficial habits. Practice was designed for us to become our own best competition. It's why homework, prayer, meditation, weight-training, martial arts, were created. These things were meant to properly prepare us for war. Once we've been shown what to do in practice , it is incumbent on us to push ourselves during our private workouts. While we strive for perfection, that is not the goal of practice. The goal of practice is to make everything we do permanent; our thoughts, actions, leadership, and the impact that we make during our lifetime.

How good we become at certain things is determined not simply by how consistently and vigorously we practice, but how well we plan our practice. Once we create our practice plan, it must contain 3 things; 1) A list of relevant, challenging and effective exercises 2)A realistic time limit to complete the workout regimen 3) The exact time and place for the next game

In this life we do well what we do most. The more we commit to consistently, effectively and vigorously practicing the better we will perform during game time. In order to perform well during game time, we must apply what we do in practice once game time is here. Thus, whatever it is you wish to have or wish to do you must practice as if game time is now even if it's hours, days, weeks, months and years from now. No matter how many times you win or how many times you lose, you still gotta continue to practice. In this life you're either at practice or you're in the game. REAP THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICE IN EVERY POSSESSION OF EVERY QUARTER OF EVERY GAME. If it's not practice time, it's game time. Let's go!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Being defeated is temporary, but giving up makes it permanent.

This past Sunday my son and his self-esteem took off into the the next stratosphere. He rode his bike without the training wheels one week to the day he attempted it for the first time. At that moment he authored an irreplaceable memory and chapter in his childhood and a proud moment in my adulthood.

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times. From the wobbling, swerving, the soft crash landings in the grass, the frustration, the tears, the crying and yes the snotty nose and dirty looks at Dad to the moment when the light bulb came on and he surprised himself. As my son pushed off the pavement, he pedalled and turned the handlebars from side to side. In a split second the bike and my son became smaller and smaller as he rode further and further away from me. All of a sudden, it all begins to make sense. Dad's instructions were simple; "The moment you stop pedalling is the moment that you fall."What initially sounded like a foreign language to him turned into a fluent, prophetic proverb that is applicable to our lives.

After countless repetitive commands, words of encouragement, face-to-face stare downs, man to boy challenges, and reverse psychology fused with echoed positive affirmations, my son consolidated his confusion, determination, frustration, setbacks and turned them into the best day of his life, the best ride of his life, and the best coaching job of my life. He turned around and from about 300 feet away I could see his ear-to-ear smile, I could hear the excitement in his stomach where butterflies once did back flips, and I could taste the victory and hear the roar of the crowd as we laughed and popped imaginary champagne bottles in celebration of this milestone and a rite of passage of every boy's life. It was freedom in every sense of the word.

In that very lesson of riding his bike, my son taught me more than I could ever teach him. He taught me to utilize my periodic impatient nature to create a competitive fire within. I told him several times, "get mad at me, then prove me wrong and ride this bike. Prove me wrong, son. We are not going home until you get this thing right." As I said these very words to him, I then held myself to the very same standard. Get mad at the haters, listen to their criticism, internalize it, then do everything in your power to shut them up and never mention a word of your victory to them. Thus, when goals are achieved, it's not a notion of 'I told you so', it's a notion of I told myself so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Everything we do in our lives has a beginning and an end. Everything!! The schools we attend, the jobs that we work, the food that we eat, the relationships that we have, the seasons we hate to see go and those we hate to see arrive and yes even the very breath in our lungs.

The uncertainty of what each day will bring is the gift, the curse, the blessing and the reality of this life. With that in mind I am reminded of the way in which our lives were intended to be lived. Progress in this life is about setting and achieving goals day in and day out and making the communities we live in more progressive, more powerful and more fertile. When we reach these goals we ultimately close the deal that we have made with ourselves. During those times we don't reach those goals three things happen; we simply work harder, we procrastinate, and/or we give simply up and ultimately leave the deal on the table.

It's unfinished business in every sense of the phrase. In order to ensure that we consistently close the deals in our lifetime we must look at and treat ourselves as our own realtors who are trying to sell our goals and dreams to ourselves. With this in mind, we must carefully ask ourselves the following questions:

1) Is this goal located in a neighborhood in which I want to live?

2) Is the neighborhood in which the goal resides safe?

3) How much does this goal cost?

4) Can I afford this goal?

5) Once I achieve this goal, will I move to a different neighborhood in pursuit of a bigger goal?

Prior to closing the deal, these questions are relevant regarding our pursuit of an ideal quality of life. The moment we truly focus our minds, our hearts and our efforts on those things we wish to achieve is the moment that the countdown to closing the deal begins. No matter how long the deal takes, no matter who we have to talk to, no matter who we have to ask for help, no matter where we have to go. Let's make a ethically binding contract with ourselves to name our goal, make an offer, negotiate the price of goal, and as we close the deal, take possession at closing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This life does not come equipped with rearview mirrors that are designed to be gawked into. As we embark on this journey of life we need to use our rearview mirror sparingly to make the necessary lane changes. We must constantly move forward and endure the unpredictable weather, road blocks, construction, terribly slow drivers, dangerously fast drivers and those high way patrol officers who remind us of our overzealous nature. The unpredictable weather is the moods that we find ourselves in from one day to the next along with the moods of others. It also speaks to our energy level, our drive and determination that varies from day to day. We’ve gotta get on this road of life even on the days we just don’t feel like it. Road blocks and terribly slow drivers are the people who stand in your way and transfer negative energy into your life. They do this by the words they speak into your life or quietly wish bad karma on our endeavors.

See, those patrol officers truly believe that it’s okay to hustle and be a go-getter, but they are placed strategically on the road to remind us that hustling requires us to think critically and carefully. We must live with the decisions that we make on a regular. We have to be increasingly aware of the relationships we start, develop and/or end.

Thus every day matters on the road of life. Whether we travel 5 miles or 500 miles each day, we must make the journey matter. We have to put the right fuel into our minds, bodies, and spirits on a consistent basis to be aware of our surroundings because sooner or later we will breakdown. But it is at the moment that we are stranded on the side of the road that we find out how prepared we are to deal with adversity. If so, let's run a checklist to see:


Flashlight-Have you asked God to light the path?
Flares- Have let people know that you need help?
Spare tire -Do you have a back-up plan?
Gas can-Do you have the additional fuel to motivate yourself?
Blankets-Are you prepared for the cold rejection from other people?
Hydraulic Jack-Do you have the tools and the skills to put yourself back on the road?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then it's time to get back on the road. Once you are back in the thick of the hustle, it's imperative to make every day matter. Thus, why are you still sitting there reading this? Make it happen and make it matter!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008


Ability will allow anyone to get to the top, however, it's their character that keeps them there.

I remember the first time I shared this quote with some of my former basketball players. Without question, it's one of my favorite. When I was coaching I selected players by quality, content and upside. Sounds good right? I must admit it wasn't something that I did knowingly at the time I picked them, but as I reflect, all of the players who finished the season fit the prototype. Of course, to play for me players had to be able to play, but beyond that, they had to be willing to become students of the game, young men in transition and more importantly strategists and critical thinkers for life.

From the basketball court, to the weight room, in martial arts and even in politics, the majority of the people place unneccessary emphasis on speed, force, size and quantity. How many times can I cross my defender over? How much total weight can I struggle to bench press? How hard can I hit my opponent/attacker? How much dirt can I dig up in order to win votes? We've been misinformed and utlimately brainwashed by an obsession with grandiosity. Everyone wants to do it big, but not enough people want to strategize and do the detailed-oriented work behind the scenes. Behind every intriguing story there is failure, tragedy, disappointment, but there is also a moment of clarity, an acknowledgement of self-realization, a strategy for success and then maximizing the moment and talent.

During my first year of coaching, we were losing to our arch rival school by 15 points. The gym was so loud and my players were in such a big hurry to make the next big play that they lost sight of the goal which was to win the game. I took a full time out and yelled at them at the top of my lungs, my eyes were bloodshot red, my voice was virtually gone and my fists clinched beyond limit and when I finished, I was exhausted. The looks on the faces of those young men defied description yet told me, "coach we are trying our hardest, but it's not working. There's a lot of noise, a lot of pressure. We need your encouragement to help us win this game not your anger." While I yelled at them because they lost their focus as players, I realized I had no right to yell at them because I lost my focus as a coach. The strength of my yelling was noticeable, but there was zero impact, zero motivation and zero strategy.

That was my moment of clarity and at that moment I became a better coach. I promised myself I would never yell at my players like that again if we found ourselves in that situation. Mind you, I didn't say I stopped yelling at my players completely. After all, that is one of the joys of coaching. I simply had re-think my strategy game by game, time-out by time-out, player by player, and season after season. There were times when they needed to be calmed down and instructed then there were times they need to be challenged. Once I got to a place where I understood each player's personality, I was able to use the strength of critical thinking, enthusiasm, anger, sarcasm, and humor as my strategy for winning basketball games, challenging athletes to think and empowering them to achieve goals beyond their expectation and comprehension. From that point players looked forward to playing for me and I looked forward to coaching them and helping them learn more about their character through playing the game of basketball.

Success in the lives that we live is about the strategy we create and furthermore execute. While strength is absolutely necessary, it's not only our external strength that helps us succeed. Our internal strength carries us to the next level. Therefore, the strength of our goals is actually in the strategy. Thus, I challenge you to strive to improve your quality of life not your quantity of life.

Monday, September 1, 2008


You'll never be smart. You'll never make it past 25. You'll never make the grade. You'll never make the team. This is the best that you can do. YOU WILL NEVER......

At some point in our lives, we all have heard words similar to these. We've allowed people to inject negative energy into our veins, our brains, and our hearts. We've allowed people to breathe negative energy into our mouths. As a result we embody death in our thoughts, our body language, and in the words we speak because we allow people to program an incorrect mathematical equation into our spirit (DIFFICULT=IMPOSSIBLE).

Often times these people who constantly discourage our goals and dreams, doubt our ability, and question our motives for wanting to succeed are the very people who interpret difficult to equal impossible. The main reason for this is because they lack the drive, the discipline, the focus, the skills, the resilience, the work ethic, and the vision to take it to the next level. Thus, they stand on philosophies that are self-defeating prophecies, they think spiteful thoughts that emanate through their pores and give off an uninviting odor and they speak hate. In their world, difficult is impossible because thy selfishly expect to have the things that they want with ease. Accordingly, they criticize people who have achieved what they have worked hard for.

Verily I say unto those of you have experienced this type of behavior and find it difficult to deal with. Make it impossible for these people to deter you. Utilize their negativity as a tool of motivation to achieve, not to just to prove them wrong but to prove yourself right. Thus, remove the obstacles from your path one by one, possession by possession and prayer by prayer.

Hard does not equal unattainable

Out of sight doesn't equal out of reach

Losing doesn't equal failure

Patience doesn't equal procrastination

Impossible doesn't equal Barack earning the Democratic Nomination

Impossible equals the ultimate curse word

Impossible equals the most destructive drug............... just say no.