Sunday, August 12, 2018

What I learned in July 2018

I'm stealing an idea for Zak Boisvert and I've started a monthly "What I Learned" file. If you don't follow Zak and Pick and Pop.Net you are missing a TON of information. Zak provides so much to the coaching fraternity and is a great resource.

July was different for me. It was the first year in a long time I didn't get to attend Snow Valley. Instead I spoke at the USA Coaching Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. I will be speaking in August in Cleveland and would encourage you to make one of the three left this year or definitely plan on making one next year.

Here are a few things I learned this past July.

  • Frank Martin is a real guy. Like a Guy's Guy. Smart. Passionate and can relate to anyone. 
  • Vegas is hot. Don't let them say "Dry Heat" is different. 115 is 115 regardless. 
  • Don't let people say that NBA guys don't play hard. They compete and are amazing at what they do. Best of the Best. 
  • Jay Wright is a great communicator. He is also a great ambassador for the game. He left the National Team practice, hopped in a car for a 30 minute drive to speak at the Academy. The National Champs' Coach didn't have to. Recruiting was taking place but he did it. Earned a lot of respect from the Coaches in attendance.
  • Coaches want to learn. There were Coaches from the youth level to small College present.
  • USA Basketball has a vision that I wish everyone would adopt. 
  • Matt King's statement "Stop Selling Elite" has really stuck with me as we look to change our youth program. 
  •  As bad as the culture of our game in the summer seems, It's not that bad. The "AAU Bingo" types are out there but there is a growing number of people that want to change it. 
  • Danielle Viglione is brilliant. She is an outstanding teacher of the game
  • Rob Brost can flat out teach and coach. 
  • Chris Holtmann is a Coach that if you don't already keep up with, you should.
Those are just a few thoughts from an incredible month of basketball for me. School starts here tomorrow so it's back at it.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Things I'd Do Everyday in Practice.

I talked with some Coaches last week through email about this and so I wanted to share with you the things I feel are important enough to do everyday. Last season, we went on a 4 game skid. The game that we broke it with we didn't do anything extraordinary, we just went back to some things that I had gotten away from.

Tates Locke is a friend and mentor of mine. I've learned more from him than anyone. He is the absolute best teacher I've ever been around. He told me one time "Stop trying to reinvent and start reinvesting." So the practice after the 4th loss, we reinvested. We got back to our DNA.

Coaches are a little like that the History Channel and a little like that game show Super Market Sweep. We hold on to the past in case we might need something later and we are also quick to grab the newest, latest ideas. My friend Mike Neighbors talks about the "Dangers of Clinics" and how we all will try to use everything we learn.

Back to the skid...

So During that 4 game stretch I had stopped having our team do things we had been doing. I'm not sure why but I did. When we had lost 2 in a row I started to panic internally and looking for that new cure. Couldn't find it. Losses 3 and 4 come on and now it's time to decide what to do. The next practice We started with the drills we had done earlier. We found ourselves again. And we will do some if not all of our DNA drills daily.

These are the things that make up our DNA. They mean something to our program. I've found out that they also can match a lot of your Team's DNA.

DNA Drills

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Another Trip around the Sun...

I just celebrated my birthday and I always reflect back on the year for various reasons. I look at areas I can improve on, areas I handled really well and to plan for the next year. I do this in all aspects of my life. I try to have "separate lives" but the truth is they always mix together. My lives are:
Hayden and Evan's Dad, Coach White and Greg. You see, There are certain jobs that you don't get to turn off. I tell people the two most scrutinized I know are Pastors and Coaches. I was at dinner a couple nights ago, without any indication that I was a Coach and the young man waiting on us remembered me from 5 years prior as a student. We kinda laughed about it when he walked off but it is overwhelming at times and can feel like a burden instead of a blessing if you let it. (a blog on this later)

What I (We)Did Well
One of the things we try to be in our program is transparent and truthful. Being a Coach is hard. It's not all fun. At least once a year you break hearts and crush dreams if you are coaching on a performance level that makes cuts to rosters. I spoke about this last month and I will a little this month at the USA Clinic  . I'm not trying to "shame" anyone but we have a conversation with every player we cut, if they want to, about why they didn't make the team. We do this because in our opinion they deserve the truth, not just a posted list explanation.
I tried to enjoy more moments of just being Dad because my oldest son is going to College this month.

What I Can Improve On
Coaching your own child is a difficult task. I don't think I handled it the best with Hayden. People ask me the biggest factor to us having early success at West High and I saw Hayden White. People look at him and think "He didn't start. He didn't play much. How is he the factor for your success?" Simple. He kept a lot of circumstances from happening. Hard to complain about playing time when the Coach doesn't start his son. He was a great teammate and is going to be an incredible Coach, if he decides that is what he wants to do.
I assume too much and expect the worst. I have to let it happen first before planning to fix it. I'm a self-professed over thinker. Got to learn to trust more, let things happen and go from there.

This Coming Year
Patience is my "One Word"  for the year. We just graduated 12 Seniors from our program. We will be returning one starter and no one with varsity playing experience. We knew this was coming so we really invested in our JV team and Freshman. This will be a fun but challenging season.

My kids are both at ages that they are going to make mistakes. We talk about results of these decisions and how they can change their futures. If you paid attention to the NFL draft, a tweet from years ago cost a young man millions. Think, Think about the now and the future so you can't blame your past.

I share this with you because we are all fighting the same fights, just different levels. Hopefully this helps someone and we can check back in a year and see how I did.