Art of Playing Point Guard

Here are 5 musts for point guards according to ESPN’s Monday, Feb 20th telecast of the Iowa State/Texas Tech game:

1.Eliminate emotional fogs

2. Decision maker vs. Risk taker

3. Don’t be shot happy but make open shots and timely shots

4. Defend your position

5. Make your team and teammates better

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Post Fundamental Drill

Here is a short video that Kevin Clifford, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Buffalo State, sent me today:

Two things coaches at any level cannot forget to teach is proper footwork and the basic rules of the game (travelling, double dribbling, etc.).

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Whistle and a Clipboard Podcast Notes – Randy Brown

Here is a link to the Whistle and a Clipboard podcast by Jason Oates (Whistle – Randy Brown interview).

In this episode, Coach Randy Brown was the featured guest and shared some great observations, opinions and coaching musts!

If you would like my version of the notes in from the full 1 hr 20+ minute podcast, just follow me on @CoachDeSalvo and direct message me and I will be sure to email them to you.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Death By Entitlement

 No matter if you are involved with business, education or athletics, you must surround yourself and your organization with hard workers who have a realistic view on their strengths and weaknesses and those who understand that entitlement is root of failure an organizations demise.

I was thinking about this as I watched last night’s episode of “The Profit” which involved an entrepreneur’s son who felt that he was owed a 10% equity stake in the company for no particular reason. It reminded me of a similar situation that occurred in my coaching career.

I once had a player come in to speak with my coaching staff about how they “deserved to play”. Keep in mind, that this was a freshman who had no real recourse for this statement and in the coaches eyes was uncoachable, lacked certain on the court skills and was not invested in their teammates (or the program’s) ultimate success.

What was the thought process behind this statement? 

I have an idea although it is most likely a mixture of factors and not just one lone piece. I imagine it is that this individual was spoiled/coddled by their parents (cruises, new car, etc.) and were never told “no” in any real sense. If I were to guess, they probably got “things” when the got an A on a paper or if they merely cleaned their room. 

The expectation was that they got something, instead of just doing something their best or the right way because that’s how it should be done 100% of the time. Their reward was a material item, not self pride in knowing they did the job the right way.

I don’t want to make this solely about parenting, because I still believe that each individual has a choice to make regarding if they will have an elitist/entitled attitude or not. However, this type of parenting, surely doesn’t help the child.

Moreover, in athletics especially when players are used to winning, either because they play in small high school leagues with minimal competition or AAU teams that play in low brackets and simply are more talented, constant success creates a climate where hard work and constant improvement is not really that important. The mentality of “if I work hard we will win by 25 and if I don’t we will win by 15” eventually catches up to the student-athletes in athletics, education and life.

As one can imagine, I chuckled (on the inside) when I heard “I deserved to play” thought process. I was quick to point out that “nobody deserves to play and that this program is a meritocracy and I play those players who can help our team be successful. Not one minute more or one minute less.”

Coaches must be weary of having ANY players in their program that “deserve” minutes, to start, be the leading scored, etc. One leads to two, and two leads to three, and it becomes a vicious cycle.

As the head coach, I try to instill that nobody is bigger than the program by doing ALL OF THE LITTLE THINGS to show (not say!) that not even I am above the program. Carrying uniforms, gear, sweeping the gym floor, etc. are all “menial” tasks for some head coaches, but to me it shows my players that if I can do the daily tasks and pay attention to the details, they can too.

It’s about work and success not image and attitude.

Leaders must address this behavior immediately, especially if coaches are taking over a new program and did not get to build relationships with player(s) during the recruiting process. If the player(s) cannot change their mindset coaches will be doomed to DEATH BY ENTITLEMENT or coaches will have to remove them from the program.

This is the only way to lay the foundation for building a true championship culture.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo


Holiday “Returns” for Coaches

‘Tis the season…to return all the clothes that don’t fit, the Blu-Rays that you already have or that one thing that you will never, ever use.

To keep with the spirit of the holidays, here are three things that coaches should return for the holidays:

  1. Poor free throw shooting: This is an easy one. It is the only shot in the game that the defense can’t play defense on your shooter and your end of game players can’t make it? Even if it is not an end of the game player, free throws missed in the 1st half matters just the same in the final outcome of the game. Come on! Get your players the gym, try new techniques and work on this skill so that opposing teams do not have a distinct advantage throughout the contest.
  2. Play players who know your system: How much does playing a player who does not know the sets/schemes hurt team chemistry, compromise your authority and build a culture of excuse making? Ask yourself, “Is it worth playing this player?”
  3. Exhibit enthusiasm: It can be a long season…especially if you are not winning your share of games. As a coach, it is your responsibility to energize your group and set the tone for the final stretch. You will be surprised by what some positive energy can bring to your bunch.

What I like about all of these “Returns” is that YOU can control all of them. They don’t require a budget, just a little bit of creativity and some mental toughness.

What would your three “returns” be?

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

The Big Ticket’s New Role

In the most recent issue of ESPN the Magazine, Jackie MacMullen wrote a piece on Kevin Garnett’s evolving role with the Minnesota Timberwolves   (“The Cruel Tutelage of Kevin Garnett – Jackie MacMullan – ESPN the Magazine – 12-7-15“).

MacMullen shares some great stories to add to the legend of KG and his ultra-intense personality.

Garnett acknowledges that “I don’t mind being the OG (old generation/old guard). It’s what I am. I’m starting to see my purpose. Every day, it’s clearer and clearer to me.”

For Garnett, who hates to even take a practice off (MacMullen shares a GREAT story of Garnett with the Celtics and Doc Rivers threat to him), the change is constant and Garnett is continuing to accept his role and excel in it.

In addition, MacMullen shares maybe the best Garnett quote of all-time: “You can’t teach the beast. It’s either in you or it isn’t. You can’t just go to the store and buy a six-pack of beast. It don’t work like that.”

The biggest thing I took out of this article was that if KG, one of the top 50 players to ever play the game, can take a diminished role on the court for the betterment of his team, then anyone should be able to do this.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo