The Journal –

Each player at the beginning of the year will receive a journal – a self made guide that will help them learn what basketball is all about. Each day – Each player will be required to repeat what they have learned during that days practice and games. We the coaches will keep tabs on the journals by having a “Word of The Day” that must be used in each entry. At unannounced times we will read the Journals and find where we may need to emphasize a lesson.


As practices at all levels begin in earnest in October and November, it’s always good to make sure that each group involved brings to each practice what’s most needed for each practice to be the best it can be.  Let’s take a look at some things that both coaches and players need to bring each day:


  • must bring great energy and enthusiasm (and not just the first week, but every day)
  • must bring the preparation needed to make sure that what he’s working on is what’s most needed for that day
  • must bring a keen eye to spot the mistakes that will keep the team from improving that day
  • must organize the practice so that he gets maximum work in the allotted time
  • must know his system so well that he actually has the answers before the players ask the questions


  • must bring great energy and enthusiasm
  • must walk onto the floor “clutter free” — all outside distractions must be cleared up or at least put to the side for that time period
  • must always seek to “get from” practice not just “get through” practice
  • must bring great focus, as the first month is always filled with teaching and learning
  • must have a “get in great shape” mindset for both physical conditioning as well as mental focus (being able to stay focused even through fatigue)

This is a short list of what all players and coaches must bring to make sure they’re holding up their end of the “practice bargain” and the “improvement bargain.”

One final thought — both groups must jump on every opportunity to help someone else get better, learn faster, go longer.  That’s a sign of a great team!

Bud Wilkinson:

“Football in its purest form remains a physical fight. As in any fight, if you don’t want to fight, it’s impossible to win.”

PLAYING WITH MORALE AND INTENSITY (with thanks to Bud Wilkinson)
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all” (Vince Lombard)

There is no magic formula for developing morale, but there is a means of getting consistent effort from your team and intensity is what it is all about. How close do your players come to making their best effort every time the ball is snapped? That is what it is all about, and if your team can do that then they are going to play very well. My theory of judging how well a team is coached is not how many games they won that they shouldn’t have won (they upset somebody), it’s games they lost when they were a superior team, they didn’t play well that day. And why didn’t they play well — nobody got geared up about it. Teach your players to think of the game totally as a chance to find out about themselves — what kind of a man am I and how well can I play when it is tough to play? You begin by explaining to them that this is a most uncomfortable game to play. There is no way you can play football and feel good. The first two or three plays everybody feels good. But now I am the Nose Tackle and I have got to meet someone me and now it’s a sweep and I’ve got to run 20 yards and there is a big collision and I’ve got to line up again and meet somebody and run 20 yards and then there is another collision. I do this three or four times and I don’t feel good. Now, do I quit at this point and wait to get my breath or do I continue to go as hard as I can to try as hard as I can try? THAT’S WHERE THE GAME IS WON OR LOST! What happens to most teams is they play the first two or three plays as well as they can, then they get to a point, I used to call this the “QUITTING DOWN”, where two or three guys tell themselves, “If I coast on this play then I’ll be able to go real hard on the next one”. They have gotten kind of tired so they coast for a while. So they go hard again but now a few others decide it is time for them to coast and the result of this is that you never get eleven guys going all out.

So to get back to the basic point, if you can convince your people that the reason for playing is for them to find out about themselves and for them to find out how close they can come to playing as well as they can on every snap. Then you can eliminate, I think, that “up and down”. So now I have three practices and I get the men together after practice and I ask them, “how many of you think you went as hard as you could every time” and if anybody puts his hand up he is lying. “How many of you did it 90% of the time”, I don’t think you get any hands if you have an honest relationship. “80% of the time”, you will get some hands and you explain to them again, that’s not very good if you expect to be a good football team, and we’ve got to make the effort every time the ball is snapped and if you don’t think you can, walk off the field — it takes more courage than standing out there bluffing. I’m never going to know if you make the big effort, and your teammates are not going to know if you make the big effort, but you are going to know and the whole game is a test of yourself. Now, if your players understand this, and I think if you explain it to them they will, some days they are going to play a guy in a red shirt who is a super athlete, some other day it will be a guy in a green shirt who cannot play a lick but that does not effect your guy’s performance at all because his whole purpose is to find out today how close, “I can come to making my maximum effort every time they snap the ball”. After the game in the locker room, “Okay how many of you went the best you could everytime”, I don’t think you will ever see any hands. How many of you went 95%”, maybe one. “90%”, maybe 4. But this is something that if they understand what I’m talking about, as the season goes along more and more of them will be able to get their hand up and if you can ever get them all giving their best effort then it is going to be awfully hard to beat you. And the major thing that happens is this, if you players begin to think this is just an opportunity to for me to find out about myself, “today, how close can I come to doing the best I possibly can”, then it doesn’t matter whether you are supposed to win by four touchdowns, because the objective has nothing to do with that, their objective is to find out about themselves. Or, they are supposed to lose by three, that has nothing to do with it. It is simply a question of “today, am I able to beat MYSELF”. I’m the toughest opponent that anybody ever had, there is no question about that. If they do honestly believe that, that is the purpose of the game, then I believe they will play consistently with MAXIMUIM INTENSITY!!! Get everyone on the field doing that – it will be very hard for anyone to defeat you!


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