I have always been impressed by spectacular feats of athletic ability; it is one of the main reasons I love sports. It is absolutely mind-boggling what the human body is capable of doing. This past Sunday I watched the end of the NYC Marathon (26.2 mile race) in which an American runner (Meb Keflezighi) won for the first time since 1982. I ran the Baltimore Marathon back in 2002, so I have an incredible respect for anyone who can even complete such a grueling race, much less win it. What really blew my mind was the fact Meb ran his last mile at a staggering pace of 5:03. To put in perspective, Coach Vetter had our basketball team run one mile last week for time. Our team did well and half of our guys finished under 6:00; our fastest player finished in 5:18 (which is pretty impressive for a high school basketball player). That means Meb could run 100 laps around a standard track… then race our fastest player for an additional 4 laps… and still win!
This past weekend also marked the completion of my fall clinic tour; having most recently had great experiences at the state basketball coaches association clinics in Missouri, Minnesota, and Iowa. The hospitality was first class at each event and I really enjoyed meeting so many wonderful coaches. Presenting at clinics is a high priority for me for two reasons. One, I have such admiration for high school basketball coaches and am honored to be of service to them. Two, my goal has always been to have a positive impact on the game of basketball and to make a constructive change to the way players train. I have found that disseminating quality info at coaching clinics is a powerful way to do that. I take my craft very seriously and am always looking to improve my ability as both a strength & conditioning coach and as a clinician (presenter). In evaluating my most recent series of clinics I realized, on a couple of occasions, I got caught up in the excitement of the moment and used some profanity. I want to apologize if my language offended anyone in attendance as that was not my intent. Regardless, using profanity in a clinic setting is not necessary or acceptable. I will make sure it doesn’t happen again. Lesson learned. Along the lines of working on my craft, I just cracked open my 48th book of 2009; The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience. Constant professional development is a key to success!
While my official title is “strength & conditioning coach”, I am involved in a variety of capacities with the basketball program at Montrose Christian. I work with the team year round, attend many practices, and sit on the bench in coat and tie during every game. I am a part of team meetings and make sure I always know the pulse of both our coaching staff and players. Given Montrose’s illustrious track record, I know first-hand what it takes for a program to be successful. While I would never argue how helpful it is to have very talented players (and we most certainly do), I have learned it is actually the little things that make a big difference in having a successful season. It is the little things that make an average team a good team, a good team a great team, and great team a championship team!
Only a very small percentage of high school teams can say they won a state or conference championship. I have known and coached numerous elite level players who never won one. It is imperative you realize the road to a championship starts now! Here are some self evaluating questions you need to ask (and answer honestly) to maximize your team’s potential this season. While it is important for you to know the answers to these questions, it is equally important for everyone else in your program to know them as well. If you are a good leader, you will make sure they do.
1) In addition to winning a championship, does your team have other goals? What are they?
2) Does each coach and player on your team know their exact role?
3) Do you prepare for practice with the same mentality you prepare for games?
4) Do you believe on any given night any team can beat you? Do you believe you can beat anyone?
5) Is your team on top of their school work? Will academics be a distraction during the season?
6) Is your team getting ample sleep, eating breakfast, drinking plenty of water, and appropriately tending to nagging injuries every day?
7) Does your team get to practice 15 minutes early to get in extra shooting and ball handling work? Do they stay after practice as well?
8) During practice, are you an energy giver? Is your enthusiasm contagious? Do you take charges and dive for loose balls? Are you a great teammate?
9) Does your team warm-up properly before all practices and games?
10) Does your team continue to strength train during the season to maintain the strength they worked so hard to develop this past off-season?
The answer to these questions will help dictate the type of season you will have. You need to do the little things every day to make a big difference!
“Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”
Next week’s blog will add some additional tips to making sure your season starts off on the right foot. I wish everyone the absolute best this season.
If you need any help this season with your team’s in-season strength program or want info on appropriate stretches to do before and after practice; please email me at Alan@StrongerTeam.com. I will respond as quickly as possible.
Until then, for daily coaching points, motivational quotes, and videos of the “exercise of the week”, please follow me (and subscribe) to:
Train hard. Train smart.