Thursday, December 1, 2011


The lockout is over. I repeat, the lockout is over. Now, we can finally start the season. I'm not talking about the recently terminated NBA Lockout. Im talking about life's lockout.

What is life's lockout?Life's lockout happens when we play this game for the wrong reasons; Monetary Gain & Personal Recognition. Life's lockout occurs when we expect and demand more profit from management as it relates to the job we're doing. We've been selfishly lobbying for certain perks so that we can get what we think we deserve. There exists a preoccupation with the benefits that our fellow teammates and opponents have been awarded. Once we find out what they've been awarded with we automatically want what they have, just because. Naturally, we lock out ourselves out of the genuine satisfaction of doing what we're passionate about, we lock ourselves out of valuable relationships that we could have with our teammates along with other professionals in the league and we ultimate lock ourselves out of the arena because we've lost focus on what the true owner has called us to do; commit our work to Him. No matter what job we do, it must be done in the spirit of service that benefits those around us.

Today is Christmas and the season has begun. Christmas is coined as a season of giving, but every season we're blessed to play should be a season of giving. Regardless of the position we play on the team, we must properly play our role and think pass first. We've all been blessed with gifts that allow us to make a living when we should use those gifts to make a life. Our priorities are way out of line. We think being blessed is about our point accumulation when in fact it's about what we do to help our team win. That said, play this season as if your contract is based on assists instead of points scored. Give your time, talent, tithe and tongue to those who are in need. This season, enter each game with the goal of making your team better. Allow your teammates, opponents, coaches, fans and the owner to witness that you are committed to the future of the franchise and the profession. Every season is not about how you make your Championship Run. Instead each season is about where you make your Dynasty Stand.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


As halftime draws to a close and you prepare to head back out onto the court, there’s one last question that needs to be addressed;


The immediate response that comes to mind is simple; play harder & smarter, but often times that’s not enough. You can play extremely hard, but just hustling isn’t enough. Don’t mistake motion for action. It is when you rush success that it blows up in your face. True enough, in order to win, we must have a sense of urgency, but that urgency must be controlled. Preparing for your return onto the court the following must be in place:

1.Hold yourself accountable first and admit what you’ve failed to do
2.Communicate the expectation you have for yourself and your teammates
3.Commit to your role on the team
4.Ask them for help before you need it

January through June has been what it will be. No do-overs. There’s nothing you can do about it now except prepare to do everything in your power to either enhance history or keep history from repeating itself depending on how the first half went. If you had a good first half, then congratulations are in order. Celebrate, but stay focused. Do your best to replicate the behavior that has brought you success. Maintenance is required in order to match good but deliberate elevation is required to turn good into great. If you had a bad first half then halftime is the most important part of the game. You must experience intentional amnesia regarding what went wrong, then start over. Do a meticulous self-analysis prior to the end of the halftime speech. Re-train your mind to focus on hard work, teamwork, and winning. Correct your body language in such a way that is contagious and conveys a message of a champion who is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Let the words that your prepare to speak challenge, motivate and direct your team to victory.

So as you call your team into the huddle, remind them of what the expectation is, what the focus is, what every member will commit to, and remind them the following rules:

Think the game one possession at a time
Systematically put together possessions that help build momentum
Encourage your teammates on good and missed plays
Leave everything on the floor.

Halftime is over. The 2nd half is the half that is the most meaningful. Return to the floor and expect and prepare to win.



As halftime draws to a close and you prepare to head back out onto the court, there’s one last question that needs to be addressed;


The immediate response that comes to mind is simple; play harder & smarter, but often times that’s not enough. You can play extremely hard, but just hustling isn’t enough. Don’t mistake motion for action. It is when you rush success that it blows up in your face. True enough, in order to win, we must have a sense of urgency, but that urgency must be controlled. Preparing for your return to the court the following must be in place:

1.Hold yourself accountable first and admit what you’ve failed to do
2.Communicate the expectation you have for yourself and your teammates
3.Commit to your role on the team
4.Ask your teammates for help before you need it

January through June has been what it will be. No do-overs. There’s nothing you can do about it now except prepare to do everything in your power to either enhance history or keep history from repeating itself depending on how the first half went. If you had a good first half, then congratulations are in order. Celebrate, but stay focused. Do your best to replicate the behavior that has brought you success. Maintenance is required in order to match good but deliberate elevation is required to turn good into great. If you had a bad first half then halftime is the most important part of the game. You must experience intentional amnesia regarding what went wrong, then start over. Do a meticulous self-analysis prior to the end of the halftime speech. Re-train your mind to focus on hard work, teamwork, and winning. Correct your body language such that it is so contagious that your teammates correct their body language. Allow your body confident and intimidating body language to send a message of a champion who is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Let the words that your prepare to speak to your teammates challenge, motivate and direct your team to victory.

So as you call your team into the huddle, remind them of what the expectation is, what the focus is, what every member will commit to, and remind them of the following rules:

Think the game one possession at a time
Systematically put together possessions that help build momentum
Encourage your teammates on good and missed plays
Leave everything on the floor.

Halftime is over. The 2nd half is the most meaningful half. Return to the floor not just to expect and prepare to win, but to work until you win.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011



Sometimes people want all the good news first because they believe that hearing good news will ease the pain and take away the impact of the bad news. Well, to each his own and to each coach his own. Often times we have to endure some pain and criticism in order to get better. In those moments of pain and criticism is when you discover what motivates you to play. As I write this, I think back to games in which I vividly remember starting halftime with the “bad news” first to remind my players of the expectation(s) we had for ourselves as a team and furthermore to reiterate the very fine details we reviewed, prepared for and practiced leading up to the game.

The halftime speech is a preliminary character exam, a gut check pop quiz and/or a dissertation of deference that’s worth 100% of your grade. Pointing to the shortcomings or areas of improvement are absolutely imperative. My question at halftime is never, “what’s happening out there?” Rather, my question is; what have you prepared for and focused on during practice?" When your team is doing poorly there are several things that possibly contribute to their poor performance;

Poor Defense- not protecting your goal, not communicating, not calling for helpside defense, not helping on helpside defense, and not fighting through screens is a sure fire way to lose sight of your team's goal.

No Hustle- someone can be more talented than you, but never let them out work you. The opponent who outthinks and outworks you, rules you. Hard work beats talent.

Poor Shot Selection-your decisions are your power. Recognize that deciding to take certain shots, including those in your range, aren’t meant for you take on every possession.

Not Sharing the ball- utilize your teammates in order to get a better view of the goal. Make the passes that are sensible and in the best interest of your team. Passing the ball is your way of asking for help. Involve your teammates and they will involve you. If u can achieve your goal alone, the goal is too small.

Unforced Turnovers- you’re not holding your dreams and aspirations close enough to your heart. As a result, your dreams are easier for others to take from you.

Poor Rebounding- you’re not boxing out and fighting for the very thing that you claim to love and want. Sometimes you gotta do the dirty work. If you fight for it will eventually give you opportunities to take and make second and third-chance shots.

Sound familiar?

Whether you’re the coach, the point guard or the franchise player you’re not above criticism. Investigating what your team has done poorly or not done at all during halftime reiterates the importance of expecting and preparing in the heat of the battle. Whether you’re winning, losing or tied success and failure leave clues. During halftime, I challenge you to turn wrong into redemption.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IT'S HALFTIME (part 1 of 3)

Here we are at the midpoint of 2011. Guess what? It’s halftime. What do most people normally associate with halftime? A time to take a breather, get some snacks and relax. RIGHT? Well, if you’re a world-class spectator in this life, then the answer is yes, but if you are a champion, then the answer is an emphatic “NO”.

Halftime is the opportunity to analyze the stats from the first half and put together a winning strategy for the 2nd half. Whether you’re winning big, losing big, trading buckets in a close one, or tied, no lead or any series of bad plays are permanent. In fact, halftime reminds us of our responsibility to lead, follow or get out of the way. No matter how prepared, focused, and consistent you’ve been, the reality is that the first half is just a scrimmage. Therefore, you gotta acknowledge it, celebrate it briefly then get back to work. When have you ever heard someone talk about their overall success of an entire game or season when it’s only halfway done?

As you make your way into the locker room take note of the atmosphere in the arena, the body language of your teammates and coaches, how the fans are greeting you and what the commentators are saying. Most importantly pay attention to how you're making your way to the locker room; Are you running? Jogging? Walking? How you carry yourself can be an indicator of what contribution you've made to the team and are willing to make to the team consistently or what element you've taken away from the team consistently.

That said, let's review the first half from January to June. I want you to be completely honest with yourself in your halftime analysis. It’s absolutely imperative that you use halftime to ask ourselves 3 questions:


The What: name those things you’ve done well and those things you take pride in having accomplished.

The Who: name the teammates who have been instrumental to and supportive of you achieving your goals.

The When: name the time when you saw your strategy working for you

The Why: name the little things that have contributed to your success

The How: name the process and path that is responsible for your success

During the first half of this year you’ve had success in one or several areas. Whether you deem that success to be minor or major, it's a step in a positive direction. Write down the accomplishments (expected & unexpected) that you've made this year and identify the what, who, when,why and how then distinguish which accomplishments are most in line with your team's philosophy, vision, and objectives.

Check back in tomorrow, Wednesday, for It's Halftime (Part 2 of 3)


Thursday, June 9, 2011


As some of you know, Monday, June 6th, was, in fact, my birthday. Ironically my birthday is also the anniversary of D Day which was marked by June 6, 1944 during World War II, a war one of my grandfather's served in as a member of the United States Army. It was a day in which allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. President Dwight Eisenhower called it a crusade in which "we will accept nothing less than full victory."

What does the D in D Day stand for?

Because D-Day of Operation Overlord was the largest amphibious assault in military history, it became the popular expression to refer to June 6, 1944, and was not used to mark the first day of an operation thereafter. It basically took on the persona that the phrase "9/11" has taken to refer to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. General Eisenhwer and Winston Churchill may have tried to give the "D" an actual meaning for the benefit of the press and the civilians, but previous to that, it did not stand for anything except "day".

Coach what point are you trying to make?

I'm saying that we often celebrate our birthdays and treat them special and that's what we are supposed to do. However, we must begin to treat each day we're granted just as special and realize that every day that we wake up is a birthday. It's a rebirth of self, one that we've never seen before or will ever see again. The original D Day was a victory that troops expected and prepared to earn. It's time that we expect and prepare for victory every single day.

My challenge to you is make every day your D DAY one in which you "accept nothing less than full victory".

D= Dedicate time to your Creator, regardless of your faith. Thank Him for the gift.
D= Demand excellence every day you have breath in your lungs from yourself and those around you
D= Direct your thoughts, words, & actions in a such manner that your energy is positively contagious
D= Develop your craft and character
D= Dismiss all of the negative thoughts from your brain and people from your life who stunt your growth
D= Declare the goal, the dream, the victory before you begin
D= Demonstrate your leadership more by what you do then by what you say
D= Dominate every aspect of the game one possession at a time

Make today and every day that follows a Day of dedication, a Day of demand, a Day of direction, a Day of development, a Day of dismissal, a Day of declaration, a Day of demonstration and a Day of domination.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011


As we wrap up Lupus Awareness month it has dawned on me that this disease is very much a relentless and confused defender to those who are affected by it. For those that do not know what lupus is let me briefly explain.

Systemic lupus erythematosus, often abbreviated to SLE or lupus, is a systemic autoimmune disease (or autoimmune connective tissue disease) that can affect any part of the body. With lupus, the immune system attacks the body's healthy cells and tissue instead of the unhealthy cells, resulting in inflammation and tissue damage. It is a Type III hypersensitivity reaction caused by antibody-immune complex formation. SLE most often harms the heart, joints, skin, lungs, blood vessels, liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The course of the disease is unpredictable and often found to mimic other diseases and conditions. It disguises itself as the consummate team player when, in fact, it tears the team apart. Therefore, I call lupus a relentless, confused and unpredictable defender because it doesn't know it's role, it overcompensates to prove a point and it ultimately destroys team chemistry. Sound familiar?

Often times we willingly submit to and ultimately suffer from lupus in our lives. Coach what do you mean by that? We suffer from a different type of lupus when we choose certain people to play on our team. While they appear to be capable, hard working and committed to the team’s vision during practice and in the offseason, they show their true colors when game time comes. All of a sudden when game time arrives our “so-called” teammates turn into relentless, confused, and unpredictable defenders. They play hard, they battle for rebounds, they fight through screens they even dive on the floor for loose balls but as soon as they get steals they either give the ball back to the opposing team, they step out of bounds, or they shoot and score on the opposing team’s basket. Who does that? Some of the teammates you’ve selected in the past or the ones that are currently on your roster.

So, what am I saying? I’m saying that often times we put people on our team and our team is affected in the very same way. We pick people to play on our team because we think they can help us win because of their appearance instead of what they are actually capable of doing. We also put people on our team because they say they want to help the team win when in fact they’re only in it for themselves. When we construct our teams we must communicate what each member’s role will be on the team. If people can’t accept their role then cut em’. Do not sign and trade them because they could easily assume a lupus like role on someone else’s team. May is Lupus Awareness Month but people are affected by lupus all year around. Someone you know has Lupus.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Once you’ve reached the 4th round, there is an air of expectancy that I like to call a Responsibility of Recognition. Responsibility of recognition is the undeniable duty of acknowledging that you have been blessed with a gift and you have the duty to use it. When others know your gift, watch you use it, benefit from it and endorse it, you have created championship caliber expectations. Once the expectations have been set it’s your responsibility to recognize how and when you’ll use your gift to help your team get better and ultimately win.

The recognition that you are given is a reflection of who you are and what you stand for in this life. You’ve made it to the 4th round so naturally the stakes are higher, the competition is harder, the crowd is bigger, and people recognize that you are worthy to be where you are. With that recognition comes an enormous responsibility to be forthright, reliable, strong willed, focused, resilient and brave in the face of adversity. Therefore, the responsibility should be held in such a high regard that you expect, prepare for and demand nothing but success in all of your endeavors. You are responsible for recognizing the strengths and the weaknesses of the champion within and you must take advantage of that one shining moment to confirm and reconfirm who is the undisputed champion.

The responsibility of recognition is a lifestyle characterized by healthy habits like prayer, meditation, devotion, civility, sportsmanship, impeccable work ethic, and perseverance.

The responsibility of recognition is a demeanor of humility and gratitude that requires you to be humble yet not weak, proud yet not boastful.

The responsibility of recognition is governed by a bill of rights which gives you the right to demand more from yourself and your teammates every single day that you’re breathing.

The responsibility of recognition means you accept the duty to serve others first no matter what role you are playing.

The responsibility of recognition has the mantra “maintenance is required” which means you will vigorously hone your craft and sharpen your skill set today as if you will lose it tomorrow.

The responsibility of recognition is a presence of mind that knows while you’re resting, someone is practicing to take your spot.

The responsibility of recognition means that there is no off-season because champions only rest long enough to catch their breath.

Do you recognize your responsibility?


Sunday, April 10, 2011

REBOUND 4 SUCCESS:The Road To Your Final F.O.U.R. (Round 3 of 4) BE UNMOVABLE

In order to get to Round 3 of your FINAL FOUR, it is absolutely imperative that you be UNMOVABLE. In thought, word and deed being unmovable is not just about being a physical presence that refuses to move. Instead, it is about possessing an attitude that never quits, never backs down. Being unmovable is an inability to interpret or speak negativity. It is consciously refusing to convert to pessimism as a religion or a way of life. Being unmovable is about having an impregnable faith in a higher power and knowing that the higher power is the source of your internal and external strength.

Being unmovable means possessing the discipline to resist the temptation to second-guess yourself, lose focus of your goal, procrastinate, take shortcuts, or quit. It requires you to block out the noise of the crowd, the burning in your chest, the pounding of your heart, the butterflies in your stomach, the fatigue in your muscles, the thought of failing and the fear of fear itself. While blocking all of these things out you must recall the instructions of your head coach as well as listen to your inner coach as you tell yourself, "no one can move me, no one can deny me." After all, it is in trenches of your mind that you win the battle and the war before the ball is even tipped.

So let the competitive blood boil in your veins, baptize yourself in the sweat and the tears, invite your opponent to attempt to move you from your position, and hold your ground as if your very next breath depended on it. Wear victory on your chest instead of your emotions on your sleeve and never flinch in the face of adversity.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

REBOUND 4 SUCCESS: The Road To Your Final F.O.U.R. (Round 2 of 4)

Ownership is the 2nd Round on the Road to your Final F.O.U.R. It is during this round that you must reveal who you are not only by what you say but more so by what you do. Whether you win, lose or draw you must take ownership of the decisions that you’ve made and own the next moment. Some of you spend too much time dwelling on the wins thinking that they are the very things that define you. Defining yourself by wins alone gives birth to a false sense of entitlement and accomplishment and as a result your practice and performance suffer. What defines you are your losses and whether you react or respond to them. Reacting to a loss often results in extreme anger, self-doubt, giving up, blaming others and making excuses. Responding to a loss is looking at the stats, acknowledging what happened, focusing on the why, correcting the how and anxiously preparing to win the very next time. While winning is an expectation that you have for yourself, the key to growth is in how you win and how you lose. The lesson in both scenarios cultivate ownership. Wins build confidence while losses build character.

Ownership means that “you play like you practice”. Often times you don’t own your practice. You don’t intentionally practice with a sense of urgency that results in you getting better. Instead, you practice just to get finished. Ownership means that you practice and play with every ounce of strength you have and not blame anyone but yourself for not preparing better, not practicing harder, not playing smarter, not playing harder, not asking for help, not calling timeout when necessary, not listening to the coach, or not trusting your teammates.

Ownership requires that every movement and every decision you make is done with such vigor that your opponents and your teammates fear and respect you. Your opponents have a fear of facing you and your teammates fear letting you down. Whether you win, lose or draw today, own every decision, own every play and live with no regrets.


Saturday, March 19, 2011


Once again it's on. It's the middle of March and all the attention is turning to the one of the most exciting sporting events ever created; The NCAA Men's National Basketball Championship Tournament. 64 teams stand on the fringe preparing and practicing for the opportunity to truly be called “the best”. 64 teams with the same ultimate goal; to win the championship trophy. While this common goal/dream seems tangible to all teams, only one team will truly be able to make it a reality. However, your team is capable of making it to the FINAL F.O.U.R. every season.

The Final F.O.U.R that I’m referring to is rooted in your ability to achieve your dreams as part of your desire to live your purpose.

Fulfillment is the first round of the FINAL F.O.U.R. People often pursue numerous things in their lives with reckless abandon and different ulterior motives. Some pursue things for the money, recognition and prestige while others pursue for the pure passion of the work, but very few people pursue what gives them a sense of fulfillment. Why? Because they are dependent on the approval of their peers and often times their parents. The reality is that living for anyone’s approval other than God places them in psychological and occupational bondage. As a result, they become a slave to their own ego.

There are way too many of you setting goals and chasing dreams based on the outcome being monetary reward. While money is absolutely necessary to survive in this world, it’s only fulfilling as long as you view it as your path to power and/or the only thing that will affect change. The essence of fulfillment only occurs when you do who you are. Doing who you are allows you to do what you love and help others near and far. Fulfillment is a by-product of self-actualization. This means maximizing your potential in a specific manner while getting the continual satisfaction of a job well done that is appreciated by the intended recipient. You have a choice to pursue and execute those things in your life that make you genuinely feel good about yourself and others. I encourage you to strive to do the work that allows you to be so insatiable in the process that it no longer feels like work.

The tournament has begun and the first round opponent doesn't seem to intimidate you, but it should. Fulfillment is a desire and a need we all have, but won't admit. The more you try to ignore it, the harder it will be to face in the heat of battle because your ego is the teammate who has convinced you to look past fulfillment. If you ignore it's importance and impact you'll find yourself watching instead of changing the game.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


One mystery that is always synonymous with NBA All-Star Weekend is the trade deadline. Personally, I look forward to the trade deadline. Why? It’s the most exciting time of the season and a reminder to all of us that this game, as much as you may love it, is still a business. Every team owner, general manager, and head coach must assess their current team to see who’s worth keeping and who needs to be let go for the greater good of the team.

The end of February is near which means that 66% of the 1st quarter of 2011 is complete. No matter who your opponents have been or what the goal is for your team, the first quarter can very well set the tone for the quarters that follow. During the first quarter you’re just breaking a sweat, you’re finding out who is in a groove early, where the mismatches are and what plays are going to get the best shots most frequently. The first quarter is also the time when the coach has to figure out who he can count on to make plays consistently from 1st through 4th quarter throughout the season. The goal for your team is to compete at the highest level in order to win each quarter. The difference in your season en route to the championship is that during each quarter there is a trade deadline. Much like professional sports, you have people on your team that you need to evaluate and re-evaluate and just like most professional teammates they think they shouldn't be on the trading block. Why? In their mind they’re doing their job and helping the team. While they may be doing their job and they deserve to be in the league, they may not always be the best player for your team during this season.

The trade deadline is about the following questions:
1) What players have been instrumental to the team’s success thus far?
2) What roles have they played?
3) What do the stats indicate that your team needs the most?
4) Can you make a legit championship run with the players you have?
5) Is the team committed to your system, practice plan, vision for the franchise?
6) Who or what are you willing to give up to get to the next level?

While certain teammates undoubtedly deserve the franchise tag or a contract extension, there are players who may only be around for half the season or one full season. Other players regardless of how long they’ve been with the team may need to be traded, cut, or be sent to the D League. Is it personal? Never! It’s just business. As the player/coach you’ve got to make sure that you maintain your position and your position is determined by your team’s performance. The members you choose for each season will determine whether you just make the playoffs every season or become a storied franchise. The players on your team are fit into 2 categories; those that are in the way and those who are on their way. You’ve got major decisions to make: WHO STAYS and WHO GOES?

Rebound. Rest. Release.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The title might get your attention or have you shaking your head. Nonetheless, all of my former players are probably smiling or laughing to themselves right now. Why? Garbage Drill, while clearly the strangest name for a basketball drill, is a drill that majority of my former players frowned upon at first but eventually grew to love and request at every practice.

Without a whistle or warning, a coach rolls the ball out onto the floor and the drill is “live”. 3 players chase the ball down and the only way get the ball is to dive on the floor. The first one to get on the floor and secure the ball then passes the ball to nearest open teammate and they all run a fast break with no defense, make the lay-up and their turn is done.

Garbage Drill has 3 rules that are non-negotiable:
1) Everyone has to dive on the floor to get the ball
2) Whoever has the ball must pass it to the nearest teammate while still on the floor
3) Everyone must communicate in order to make the basket and finish the drill

Garbage Drill has 3 Life Lessons that all of us should recognize:

* In order to get the next level you gotta get dirty and do the tasks that may have nothing to with your passion and purpose in
life and do it with tenacity.

* High Risk, High Reward: “diving” on the floor for the loose ball requires you take pre-meditated and spontaneous risks.
Whether you fail or succeed you make progress because you learn. The reward is in the risk.

* There’s pride in every job because every job has purpose. No matter where you currently find yourself working, be advised
that if you don’t do your job and play your role then the team suffers.

GARBAGE DRILL is about doing the work we often despise en route to your passion. This work is not glamorous. However, by doing this work you are creating and developing a work ethic that will eventually allow you to elevate. Take a look at some friends of ours that have benefitted from garbage drill;

Nicholas Cage – Concessions at the Movie Theatre
Russell Simmons- Orange Julius
Jill Scott- Dairy Queen, Cache, Construction Worker (Jack Hammer)
Donald Trump-Rent Collector
Bill Gates-Congressional Page at Washington State House

The only difference between you and everybody else is the willingness to clean up the garbage instead of complaining about it.


Friday, February 4, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS: Getting The Shots You Want (Step 3 of 3)

Step 3: FINE TUNE YOUR FOCUS / Is the shot in your range?

If you've assessed your spacing by determining how far away your goal is (STEP 1) and you've removed all obstacles and determined who or what's in your way (STEP 2) the third step is the most crucial; fine tuning your focus.

Fine tuning your focus requires you to determine if the shot you're going to take is the best shot available. It's not just about being able to see the goal. Often times you see the goal and rush to shoot without considering the score, the time on the shot clock, your position on the floor, where your teammates are on the floor, what play you should be running. Just because you can clearly see the goal doesn't mean that you should immediately take the shot. Each possession will require you to call a different play which entails more passing, cutting, screening, and more dribbling.

Fine tuning your focus is about being realistically yet proactively patient with the offense. Even if you have the green light from the coach and a seemingly clear path to the basket, you still have to consider what is in the best interest of the team each possession. Fine tuning your focus also means pacing yourself even when you have the hot hand. You can consistently break down defenses off the dribble, by passing or screening, but instinctively you must know which shots are truly the right ones to take.

As you are fine tuning your focus you are actually finding your range. Therefore, some risks have to be taken. By risks, I mean you should take shots when you're open, when you're not so open, before the offense has been executed and after the offense has been executed. Why do say this Coach? Making rushed shots against solid defense and missing open shots in your range help you grow. Rushed made shots give you confidence and let you know that the goal is attainable consistently but you must respect the goal enough to be patient with the progress. Made rushed shots also remind you that you can achieve the goal regardless of the adversity that awaits you. Missed open shots let you know that the shot is in your range but your confidence must always be on a higher level that will compel you to keep shooting regardless of how many times you've missed. Whether you make them or miss them, the shots that you take in your range develop a determination and a passion to knock down shots in pursuit of your goal. Getting the shots you want ultimately lead you to learn the lesson you want and need to learn; The only way misses become makes is by shooting. FINE TUNE YOUR FOCUS, FIND YOUR RANGE AND KEEP SHOOTING!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS: Getting the Shots You Want (Step 2 or 3)

STEP 2: REMOVE THE OBSTACLES / Who or What's in Your Way?
Insert your favorite person’s (living or dead) right here. Now, take inventory of why that person is your favorite and look at their path. See anything Intriguing? Humbling? Inspiring? Are their obstacles similar to yours? Just as easily as you’ve been blessed with gifts, you’ve been even more blessed with obstacles. Don’t worry, this is not a typo. Obstacles are blessings no matter how vicious and insurmountable they seem, especially when the plot thickens and every teammate, opponent, referee and coach has raised their level. In order to get the shots that you want you have to REMOVE OBSTACLES. Believe or not, your blessings are waiting for you on the other side. There's a lot to be said about a person who is able to get the shots they want to get in this lifetime even when it seems that odds are stacked against them. Believe it or not, obstacles aren’t moved without identification or an itinerary.

IDENTIFICATION: I want to you think about the last goal you set and failed to reach. Now, Identify the obstacle(s). Whatever the obstacle, either you saw it coming and passed the ball or you didn’t see it coming at all and got your shot blocked. As you attempt to clear a path to get the shots you want you have to look at who or what intends on impeding your progress. Once the obstacle is identified let your teammates know if you need them to clear out or set a screen. Clearing out let’s your teammates know that you are fully capable of getting whatever shot you want, you simply need their moral support & trust , while calling for a screen allows you ask more specifically for what you need in terms of their physical support to help you get an open shot.

INTINERARY: Daily you show up to the court to play. Most times you’re late because you haven’t set a time to show up. You often just pick up the ball and start dribbling with minimal tenacity, zero passion, zero focus and expect to get the shots you want. You have no warm-up, no practice plan, no workout regimen and you expect your raw talent to provide a breakthrough. Ultimately when it’s game time you find yourself complaining to the ref about missed calls or blaming your teammates when things go wrong. Ultimately, the biggest OBSTACLE is YOU. Sometimes you get in your own way by not thinking this game or planning to play through it. You fail to plan then expect and demand great things from yourself and your teammates. REMOVING OBSTACLES requires that you thoroughly conduct a scouting report so that you know what lies ahead so that your practice and preparation creates a behavior of relentless pursuit of getting the shots that you want. It requires intense visualization, a detailed practice plan, and a work ethic that doesn’t allow you leave the gym satisfied, but hungrier than you were the day before.



Monday, January 31, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS: Getting The Shots You Want


So here we are at the end of the first month of the new year. Yeah, I know. It was a blur, right? Look back at the first of the year and let’s review the goals, objectives and resolutions that you set for yourself. How are you doing? Are you motivated or unmotivated? Are you focused or off-task? Are you making progress? Have you turned your misses into makes? Are you holding yourself accountable or blaming someone else? Are you watching or changing the game? Are you part of the 95%?

I stated in my first blog entry of 2011 (Turning Misses Into Makes) that statistics show that 95% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by the 15th day of the year.
Clearly it’s easy to be a part of that group. The enthusiasm that you had about starting fresh is susceptible to fading for numerous reasons; 1) The goal was too hard to reach; 2) Time didn’t permit; 3) It’s someone else’s fault; 4) Failure was the result after first few times you tried. Whatever your level of enthusiasm is, I am trusting and believing that you are going to be part of that 5% of people who are sticking to their goals/objectives and resolutions for this year and beyond. If not, let’s get you back on track so that you get the shots you want to take.

Everybody wants to take a shot at something that others may view as unconventional, strange, difficult, unattainable, and even impossible, but very few people actually take the shot. Regardless of what category you fit into for this 1st month of the year, there is one beautiful thing about falling short of your goal; you can always rebound and work toward getting the shots that you want.


When talking about getting the shots that you want it is imperative that you assess exactly how far away your goal is. Most shooters feel that every shot is a their shot. That’s a great attitude to have in theory, but in practice we all know any coach and/or team that relies on one shooter to take every single shot is going nowhere fast. However, getting the shots you want requires more than you showing up. Your reputation or your stats from your last game don’t matter. Neither of those will get you the shots that want during the game you’re currently playing.

In basketball, getting the shots you want are determined by several factors, but the first factor is spacing. In order to get the shots you want you have to look at where you have the ball on the court, how much space your defender is giving you, where your teammates are positioned, and how far you are from the basket. All of these factors must be taken into consideration before you decide what type of shot you will take.

As you apply this to your life and the goals that you have for the day, week, month or year, you must assess your spacing before you decide what kind of shot you’ll take. Often times the biggest space between you and your goal is writing it down. It has been found that 3% of the population who achieve at the highest level achieve because they’ve written their goals down first. After writing the goals down you have to create space through designing a deliberate yet realistic strategy that gets you closer to the goal. This deliberate, realistic strategy will not necessarily result in the goal being achieved the very first time, but it should increase your chances of taking and making shots. No matter how long or short the strategy, PRACTICE is a huge factor in getting there. You must practice writing down the goals daily. You must practice each step of your strategy over and over so that when it’s time to perform and/or present it’s as natural as breathing.

As you go through this week and you re-focus your energy and assess your spacing ask yourself the following questions:

How much time do I have to shoot?
Which shot am I going to take?
Is this shot in my range?
How often have I practiced this shot?
Is this shot in the best interest of my team?

Check back on Wednesday and I’ll explain the second key to getting the shots you want.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


As some of you know, I am a point guard. It's the only position I've ever played since I was 9 years old. In fact, it's the only position I've ever wanted to play. I was born to be a point guard and I truly feel that point guards make the best coaches. Biased opinion? Oh well, sue me. The point guard, without question, is the most important and coveted position on any basketball team. Why? Everything starts and ends with the point guard.

Believe it or not, at some point we've all played point guard or will have to play it one day whether we like it or not. Some of you think, “cool, gimme the ball and get out of the way. I got this.” Running the point is not all about control, it is about developing and fine-tuning your current skill set that allows you to grow and in turn help others grow as well. Through different phases in your life, you'll have 4 other valuable teammates that make up your starting line-up. Choosing your team is instrumental for your journey. More than likely your team will change but your purpose is still the same; to be the coach on the floor that helps your teammates get better and ultimately help your team win.

Everybody wants to be a point guard for numerous reasons. Some people want all eyes on them while others simply want to have control over everything, but being able to handle the ball is not enough to be an effective point guard. It's an enormous responsibility and once most people assume it, they often want to give it back. Effective point guards are multi-taskers with impeccable focus. They must have a keen ear for what the coach requires, excellent ball handling skills, superb court vision, as well as effective communication and critical thinking skills. I know what you’re thinking. Sure, you can multi-task, but whether you realize it or not it is your ability or inability to multi-task is affecting you and your team. Need some help? Here are the keys to becoming a better point guard:

God is the head coach who has carved out the game plan for you. If you listen to him and do what he asks, victory is within your reach if you’re committed to his practice plan, training schedule, system, philosophy and the adjustments he makes during the game.

Handling the ball is more than dribbling, passing, and shooting. It means utilizing the best skills and/or resources around you that will get you closer to your goal. Sometimes you have to drive hard to the hole, often times you have to pass to your teammate so they can help you and other times you just have to take the risk, shoot and have no regrets about the outcome.

Your teammates are valuable resources. Emphasize getting them involved on as many plays as possible in order to increase your chances of winning. Utilize your court vision to help them get the shots that they want. You must know your personnel well enough to know that every pass isn’t meant for every teammate. Some teammates you can lead with a bounce pass, some you can lead with a lob pass, while others can only handle a chest pass or a handoff. In other words, some people you have to ask for help in a diplomatic way, others you don’t necessarily have to ask because they will help you even before you ask by calling for the ball knowing that you already plan to pass it to them.

The “DEFENSE” is anybody or anything that is standing in the way of your goal. It’s the negative words, actions that your opponents use against you to take you out of your game. This adversity is meant to challenge you. Regardless of how tough the defense appears there are always openings and weaknesses that you can exploit. First you have to break down the defense in your mind and be more than confident your skills along with your teammates skills can penetrate the seams and get the shots you want. Often times you’ve done the scouting report and looked at film of the DEFENSE and you know exactly whom they attack, how they attack and how they shift in certain situations. Once you recognize and break down the DEFENSE mentally and physically you can get shots whenever you’re ready.

An effective point guard determines if and when their team will push the ball up the floor or slow it down. Through their actions and words point guards communicate what it most advantageous for the team each possession. There are times when you must take care of your daily goals and objectives with an extreme sense of urgency. Other days you have to slow down and practice patience depending on the goal, the positioning of your teammates on the floor and the tenacity of the defense. The most impactful shots you make are the ones that are a result of patiently running the offense that catches the defense by surprise and consistently puts you and your team in position to win.

Regardless of where you find yourself playing this week, know that point guards reap the benefits of thinking pass first. The consummate point guard’s objective is to play hard, play smart and have fun but their focus should be making their teammates better regardless of the outcome of the game. The generosity of a point guard leads to reciprocity from their teammates. Therefore, a team is only as good as it's point guard. Every day you're in the starting line-up. Although the days are different and the opponents are different the question remains the same; Who's Runnin "The Point"?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Are you hurt or are you injured?

During practice if a player falls, I simply blow the whistle and simply ask, "Are you hurt or injured?" Often times players respond, "I'm cool" and I immediately inform them that it's not what I asked them. "Coach, what's the difference?"

The difference between being hurt and being injured is simply a condition where there is a substantial amount of physical and/or emotional pain versus a condition of being impaired or tarnished. No matter how strong some of us appear or claim to be we all will have to endure some emotional and physical pain. It's not a matter of "if", it's simply a matter of "when". Often times on our journey we experience pain en route to achieving our short and long-term goals. Often times we use these very setbacks as the scapegoat for failure reach our goals when in all actuality it's the interpretation of pain as a reality and how we choose to rebound from it. In short, being hurt is a condition that we can play through while being injured is a situation we must will ourselves out of.

A week before Christmas 2010, I had foot surgery that was long overdue. While most would complain about the pain of the actual surgery the pain wasn't the issue. After all, pain is temporary. I surprisingly found the whole experience to be very insightful form surgery to recovery. Yes, I'm injured but being on this injured reserved list without question has been a moment of clarity. I've had the chance to see what life is like being physically challenged for a significant amount of time. Quite honestly, I'm actually extremely grateful for the experience. I'm grateful that I was able to take care of a health problem that I put off way too long. I'm grateful for the opportunity to get some time to get some much needed rest. I'm grateful that I've had the opportunity to experience a glimpse of what physically challenged people prepare for and endure on a daily basis. Most importantly, I'm grateful that I had some time to spend reflecting on how blessed I really have been throughout my life.

By virtue of being injured, I'm more organized, punctual, intentional, mindful, patient, focused and most importantly, more determined. Being on the injured reserved list has awakened a sleeping giant within that is more competitive and tenacious than before. If I had a choice, I'd rather be injured. Being injured puts things in High Definition with Bose Surround Sound and makes you realize how blessed you are to have the gifts God gave you.

If we, in fact, consider ourselves to be champions we must realize that our opponents are there to beat us. Often times they'll play dirty physically other times they'll trash talk and try to get us out of our game. Sometimes, they'll succeed in inflicting pain on us but we determine if we are able to play through the pain because we're hurt or if we will ask for help to rehab from being injured.

The only time we suffer a career-ending injury is when we allow ourselves to give up.

So I ask again, Are you hurt or are you injury?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

REBOUND FOR SUCCESS in 2011: Turning Misses Into Makes

Happy New Year!

With another year in the rearview mirror and the new year in full gear people are breaking their necks to break old habits. Thus, million dollar question; what’s your New Year’s resolution? While most promise to improve their physical health by vowing to exercise more, eat right, others vow to improve intellectually, financially and spiritually as they vow to read more, make more money, spend money more wisely and/or spend more time with family and attend church regularly. No matter what the resolutions are or how good their intentions, 95% of new year’s resolutions are broken by Jan. 15th. While I’m not saying this to discourage you, I’m saying this to put things into perspective as we strive for personal improvement. I’m gonna put a new twist on the new year’s resolutions. Most people say they're making resolutions when in all actuality they are simply setting goals. Is there a difference? Absolutely.

A goal by definition is a terminal state of a race while a resolution is defined as the act of determining or analyzing a complex notion into a simpler one. The common thread between the 2 concepts is that we set goals and make resolutions yet never finish the race nor make complex notions simpler. Instead, we do just the opposite. We start each new year with new energy and vigor and when we miss the mark, we give up, blame something or someone else as to why we "missed the mark". Missing the mark isn't failure. It's simply a temporary inconvenience. We've been convinced somewhere along the way that missing is failure when in actuality missing leads to success It helps us turn our misses into makes.

From my days of coaching I used to suggest that my players do the following in order to minimize their number of missed shots and increase their number of makes:

1) BRING THE GOAL CLOSER TO YOU: If you want to succeed you have to start inside and work your way out. You have to make sure the goal is up close and personal in order to become more acquainted and confident before you set and achieve bigger,more difficult goals. Bringing the goal closer means waking up thinking about it, praying about it, visualizing it, planning for it, practicing it and then going to sleep reflecting on it only to get it up the next day and do it all over again. Therefore, write down your goals and place them on your bathroom mirror and other places where you will constantly remind yourself of what you will accomplish. Set your smart phone to ring at strategic times of the day, email yourself, program your google calendar, and send yourself voicemails in order to remind yourself of your daily goals.

2) FINE TUNE YOUR MECHANICS : As you set out to achieve your goal your focus has to be intense, your form has to be perfect, and your body as well as your mind must be thoroughly immersed in your actions. Pay close attention to detail when you miss your goal and when you make it. Once you fine tune your mechanics you'll know what works and what doesn't. You may have to drastically change your form in order to improve your chances of achieving your goals. Once you find the form and rhythm that works best stick with it. Be mindful, it could take more time than you want to turn things around, but attention to detail is the path to greatness.

3) HOLD YOUR FOLLOW-THROUGH: As you pursue your goal hold your follow-through and do it in such a way that you know that you've already achieved it. Your follow-through is having the proper attitude even when you miss, however your pursuit, form and rhythm are all the same. Holding your follow-through means your body language indicates your connection to the goal. Holding your form means that your will speaks louder than voice, your focus is intense and your passion is perfect. Make or miss, your follow-through is turning your determination, tenacity, integrity and intensity up to the highest volume and leaving it there.

If you have more makes than misses today, will you be satisfied or will you still be hungry?
If you have more misses than makes today, will you respond or react?