12 Simple Yet Significant Daily To Do’s For Leaders


The High School Season may be over, but  AAU has kicked into full swing across the country. And I found this post from “The Coaching Toolbox” to be very inspiring for young men and women striving to be leaders on their teams.

1. Be the hardest worker at practice. Without fail, one of the quickest ways to impact a team is with your own work ethic. Choose to be one of the hardest workers on your team today. Not only does it set the tone for the work ethic of your program, it is also one of the best and quickest ways to enhance your leadership credibility with your teammates and coaches.

2. Be a spark of energy and enthusiasm. Let your passion for the sport shine through. Spread a contagious energy and enthusiasm amongst your teammates. Think about how lucky you are to be able to play and compete. Remember back to when you were a young child and reconnect with the joy you played with back then. Make your sport fun again for yourself and your teammates.

3. Model mental toughness. Because your teammates will look to you under pressure, adversity, and stress, be sure to model mental toughness. Bounce back quickly after errors to show your teammates how to respond to negative situations. Maintain your poise and optimism despite any mistakes you might make so that your teammates can trust and rely on you to get them through the tough times.

4. Connect with a teammate. Leadership is all about relationships. Invest the time to build and strengthen the relationships you have with each of your teammates. Inquire about their day, challenges, and goals. Make a special and ongoing effort to get to know every athlete on your team, not just your friends and classmates. The relationship building you do each day will pay off immeasurably down the road.

5. Compliment a teammate. Be on the lookout for teammates who are contributing to your team. Call out a teammate for making a hustle play, pushing through a weight workout, recovering quickly from a mistake, getting an A on an exam, etc. Praise the actions and attitudes you want to see repeated. As Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”

6. Challenge a teammate. Challenge at least one of your teammates. Positively push them and yourself to make the most of your workout. Make a friendly wager to see if they can be successful at least 4 out of 5 times in a drill. See if you both can improve your times in conditioning. Offer to stay after to help if there is anything they want to work on. Good leaders consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.

7. Support a teammate. Odds are, at least one of your teammates is struggling with something today – it could be a performance slump, a rocky romantic relationship, a disagreement with a coach, an unglamorous role, struggling with a class, or a sick family member. Good leaders are consistently on the lookout for teammates who might be struggling and are ready to offer an ear to listen, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, or a shoulder to cry on.

8. Constructively confront negativity, pessimism, and laziness. As a leader, have the courage to constructively confront the negativity, pessimism, and laziness that will crop up on your team from time to time. Instead of fueling the fire by joining in or silently standing by, be sure to refocus your teammates on solutions rather than dwelling on and complaining about the problems. Left unchecked, these problems can quickly grow to distract, divide, and destroy your team.

9. Build and bond your team. Team chemistry naturally ebbs and flows throughout the course of the season. Take the time to monitor and maintain your team’s chemistry. Let your reserves and support staff know how much you appreciate them. Stay connected and current with each of the natural sub-groups on your team. Douse any brush fires that might be occurring and continually remind team members about your common goal and common bond.

10. Check in with your coach. Invest the time to check in with your coach today. Ask what you can do to best help the team this week. Find out what your coach wants to accomplish with today’s practice. Also discuss if there is anything your coach is concerned about regarding your team. Discuss your collective insights on your team’s chemistry, focus, and mindset. Work together to effectively co-lead your team.

11. Remind your team how today’s work leads to tomorrow’s dreams. It’s easy to get bogged down during your season with monotonous drills, tiring conditioning, and demanding workouts. Remind your teammates how all the quality work you do today gives you a distinct advantage over your opponents. Help them see and even get excited about how today’s hard work is a long-term investment in your team’s goals, rather than just a short-term hardship or sacrifice.

12. Represent yourself and team with class and pride. Leaders have the awesome privilege and responsibility of representing their teams. Take advantage of this opportunity by representing your team with class and pride today. Hold a door open for someone, sit in the front rows of class and actively engage in the discussion, say please and thank you, dress in respectful attire, etc. These tiny pushes represent you and your team with class and distinction. And they ultimately set you up for a lifetime of respect and success.


16 Rules for Basketball Parents

1. Parents… you must embrace the fact that this is your child’s journey – not yours. Do not live vicariously through them. Put your focus on being a supportive and encouraging parent.

2. Parents… it’s true. Coaches do play favorites. They favor players who give the team the best chance to win, who have great attitudes, who work hard every day, who embrace their role (regardless of what that role is) and who support the program’s culture.  If you think a coach doesn’t ‘like’ FamilyCircusyour child; your child is more than likely deficient in one (or more) of these areas.

3. Parents… as far as playing time goes, coaches want to win. They want to win badly. If your child will help them win… they will play. If not… they won’t.  Period.

4. Parents… more often than not, your child’s coach is in a better position to evaluate and determine appropriate playing time because they see everything. They see workouts, practices, meetings, film breakdown and games (whereas most parents get an incomplete picture because they only see games).

5.Parents… more often than not, through both experience and professional development, coaches usually have a better basketball IQ and general understanding of the game then parents do (so questioning a coach’s X’s & O’s or their ability to judge talent is inappropriate).

6. Parents… stop coaching your child from the sideline. The only ‘voice’ a player should receive instructions from is the ‘voice’ of their coaching staff.  Cheer for them all you want, but do not coach them. That isn’t your job.

7. Parents… you love your child more than anything in the world. You always want what is best for them (which is understandable and respectable).  However, a coach’s obligation is to do what is best for the team.  In many instances, what you want for your child and what is best of the team is not congruent.

8. Parents… you should never push to discuss playing time, strategy or another player with your child’s coach. Ever. Those 3 domains are sacred ground.

9. Parents… politicking will never get your child more playing time. I promise you, this statement has never been said by a coach in the history of high school basketball, “I really need to start playing Jeffrey more because his mom thinks he isn’t playing enough.”

10. Parents… you should encourage your child to communicate any issues, questions or concerns they have (or you have) directly with their coach by having them schedule a meeting. It is my belief, as a parent, you have the right to attend that meeting, simply as an observant, but the discussion should be between your child and the coach.

11.Parents… do not undermine your child’s coach in the car ride home or at the dinner table. Subtle, passive aggressive comments like ‘Your coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’ or ‘I can’t believe you don’t play more’ do not comfort your child (although I am sure that is your intention) – it enables them to have a bad attitude and to make excuses… both of which are unacceptable.

12. Parents… if your child isn’t getting the playing time they feel they deserve or if they lose a tough game… use that experience as a powerful teaching tool. Teach them how to own it. Teach them what they can do in the future to possibly get a different outcome.

13. Parents… stop berating the referees. It sets a bad example and it makes you look foolish. The referees are doing they best they can. More often than not, a referee has a better position and a much better understanding of the rules to make the correct call then a parent does. And I promise you this statement has never been said either, “Can we stop the game? I’m sorry everyone. The loud-mouth mom in the stands is right, her son did get fouled on that last play.”

14. Parents… it is highly unlikely that your child will play professionally.  In fact, statistically, only a very small percentage of you will have children that play in college. So let them enjoy the journey. Their playing days will be over before you know it. Use basketball as a vehicle to teach the life lessons they will need when they grow up.

15. Parents… don’t push your child too hard.  It’s OK to encourage. It’s OK to suggest. It’s OK to hold your child to a very high standard of excellence… but don’t force them to ‘get up extra shots’ or get in extra workouts.  That has to come from them, not you.  If they choose to do those things on their own, be supportive. If they choose not to, if they choose to only do the bare minimum, they will eventually learn a potent life lesson (not make the team, not get much playing time, etc.).

16. Parents… one of the best things you can do is develop a quality relationship with your child’s coach.



Things We Do As Coaches & Need To Do To Improve Ourselves

1) LEAD: All eyes are on you…always. You are actively and inactively doing this at all times with your team. Your words and your actions are heard, observed, and emulated. There are literally 1000s of books to help you with ideas but ultimately you must develop your own style and your own tactics.

2) LISTEN: Hearing and listening are two completely separate things. You must listen to your staff, your players, your managers, your athletic trainers, your administration… You surround yourself with good people. So, listen to their ideas, their critiques, and their problems. This builds TRUST and TRUST builds championship cultures and identities.

3) COMMUNICATE: Your ability to do this as a coach has direct reflection on quality of your program and the quality of the people associated with it. In the iY Generation there is still no better way to make someone feel special than a handwritten note. A face to face encounter shows importance. Don’t totally discount the value of the technology we all have access to. Text message, face book, Twitter, and Instagram should all be resources in your arsenal.

4) MAKE DECISIONS: “The Village Idiot can do 95% of your job, boy. It’s the 5% of the things you have to do that separate you from them.”- Papa Neighbors. I grew up with that advice in my ear from a young age no matter what I was doing. As a coach it couldn’t be truer. You must make the decisions that will mold your team and your program. You get paid to be right more often than you are wrong. It takes experience. If you don’t have experience…READ!!

5) PRACTICE: Over the course of a full calendar year, you practice at least 5 times more often as you play a game. You must be good at planning and executing a practice. Every effective practice I have ever planned took at least twice as long to plan than it does to execute.


1) READ: “The man who chooses not to read is no different from the man who can NOT read”. You MUST make time to read. It’s the only way to gain experience. It’s the only way you will catch up to coaches who have more experience than you!!

 Write out your thoughts. You will be surprised how much thinking you will do on it before you are willing to share with someone else!! 

3) OBSERVE: Go to clinics. Attend practices. Watch DVD’s. Go on-line and use YOUTUBE or VIMEO. You can spend hours on hours. I have been watching NBA TV Training Camp and getting new ideas every hour. Again you are making the choice to or NOT to learn from others. If you already KNOW IT ALL, let me know so I can come observe YOU!!

 4) REACH OUT: There are so many resources out there. If you aren’t reaching out to others, you are losing ground to those who do. There are coaches all over the country willing to share. There are blogs. There are Newsletters. There are YOUTUBE channels. All with coaches willing to give back what others have shared with them? As Don Meyer shares “collect all the good ideas whether you use them OR not”.

Traits of Great Players

Taken from Alan Stein’s blog

Every trait on this list is 100% controllable!

  1. Great players go after every rebound on both ends of the floor – they are crafty and aggressive.
  2. Great players run the floor as fast as possible on fast breaks and defensive transition.
  3. Great players are defensive stoppers – they stop their man as well as help teammates. They do the things offensive players hate!
  4. Great players contest all shots. They don’t go for ball fakes or shot fakes. They deflect passes, bump cutters, and take charges.
  5. Great players don’t gamble on offense or defense. They aim to make the right play, not the highlight play.
  6. Great players are strong with the ball. They rip through hard on offense, ‘chin’ all rebounds, and don’t expose the ball when dribbling.
  7. Great players play under control and play at different speeds. They know that playing slow can be very effective.
  8. Great players practice just as hard as they play in games. They don’t have an On and Off Switch – they are always on!
  9. Great players allow themselves to be coached. They make eye contact, listen, and welcome coaching. They crave getting better.
  10. Great players are great teammates. They are supportive, high energy, and make their enthusiasm contagious.
  11. Great players Play Present. They focus on the process, not the outcome. They focus on what they can control. They don’t get distracted.
  12. Great players take advantage of every opportunity to get better. Every workout, every practice, and every game is a chance to improve.
  13. Great players are mentally and physically tough. They are comfortable being uncomfortable.
  14. Great players can pivot both ways off of either foot and can dribble, pass, and finish around the basket with either hand. They don’t have a ‘weak’ hand.
  15. Great players love and respect the game of basketball. They don’t play for money or fame.
  16. Great players are unselfish passers. They hit open teammates. They know the goal is to get the best shot; not their best shot.
  17. Great players don’t commit stupid fouls.  They know their greatness is eliminated if they are on the bench in foul trouble
  18. Great players are students of the game. They watch film. They study opponents. They study themselves.
  19. Great players value every possession.  They aren’t careless with ball.  They make smart passes and take high percentage shots.
  20. Great players don’t wait for the workout or practice or game to start… they prepare for it! They prepare mentally and physically.
  21. Great players are super competitive. They hate losing more than they enjoy winning. They compete in everything they do.
  22. Great players always know the time and score. They know how many time-outs they have as well as who is in foul trouble on both teams.
  23. Great players log the game in their mind. At any point in time, they can tell you exactly what happened, on both ends of the floor, the last 3 possessions.
  24. Great players are assertive with the ball, welcome contact when driving to the cup, and get to the free throw line.
  25. Great players immediately think Next Play. They don’t dwell on mistakes (missed shot or turnover). Instead, they make up for it on the other end.
  26. Great players make plays, not excuses. They don’t care if the refs suck, if the floor is slippery, or if they have a cold. They get it done.
  27. Great players are the first ones in the gym… and the last ones to leave every day.
  28. Great players don’t worry about getting exposure.  Instead they focus on never getting exposed!
  29. Great players elevate their teammates to become great players too.
  30. Great players know that their legacy will be judged on their ability to win, not personal accolades or stats.
  31. Great players would rather play ball than anything else.  They truly love to play.
  32. Great players are well rounded and have a complete game.  They can hurt you in a variety of ways.
  33. Great players are top-notch communicators.  They talk with a presence on both ends of the floor.
  34. Great players want the ball in their hands when the game is on the line because they know they have put in the work to deserve success.
  35. Great players practice with a purpose. They are focused and intense. Nothing they do on the court is casual.
  36. Great players give back to their program and are humble and grateful for what basketball has done for them.
  37. Great players are responsible for tone and effort of the entire team… every practice and every game.
  38. Great players hold themselves, their teammates, and their coaches accountable. They believe in collective responsibility.
  39. Great players play in straight lines and sharp angles. They make hard basket cuts and set solid screens.
  40. Great players love playing and competing against other great players.



3 Ways Coaches Can Better Motivate Their Players

Posted by Jodi Murphy

Every coach has their own style of coaching. And while plenty of coaches yell from time to time most would probably agree that constantly screaming and swearing at their team is not the best way to motivate players. When you are working with younger players it’s important to keep practices and games fun. We’re not suggesting you let your team do whatever they want and encouraging them to be competitive is not inherently a bad thing, but if we want to encourage kids to keep playing sports for years to come we can’t scare them off! There is a difference between being rough around the edges and just getting mean as an attempt to push your players.

Find out what drives them as individuals.

This might be a little harder with a huge football team, but on a small basketball team it doesn’t take much time to talk with each player and learn what motivates them as individuals. Is one kid looking to follow in the footsteps of a big brother or sister? Is another player just excited to be part of a team and wear a uniform? Maybe some of the kids need a coach that is a little harder on them, while some players need the coach to have a little more patience. Just like coaches have different coaching styles players have different internal motivations. If you can figure out what drives each athlete you can use that to encourage each individual player to reach their maximum potential.

Set smaller, more attainable goals.

Hitting 9 out of 10 free throws is a pretty high goal for anyone, even a professional basketball player. So instead of setting the bar so high your team will hardly be able to reach it (which can be very defeating), why not set slightly smaller goals that work them up to that big one? For instance, instead of going for 9 out of 10 free throws why not look for better mechanics when shooting? Or focus on getting players in the right position for a rebound. These are little things that young players have more control over and as they meet these little goals it boosts their confidence and they get one step closer to achieving the big ones.

Positive feedback is almost always a good fallback.

Dr. Chris Stankovitch made a great point; Genuine, positive reinforcement should always be your default approach when dealing with tough kids who seem like they are not very motivated.  Even if the results are not there, if you see a kid working hard be sure to offer genuine praise.

Just about everyone responds well to praise and support. A well-meant “good job” goes a long way in motivating your team to keep up what they are doing. Let your team know what they are doing well, even when you are critiquing their performance, so they don’t feel like they can do nothing right.

Is Your Child Going Pro?

Let’s be honest with ourselves sports parents, who among us has not dreamed of seeing our child “go pro” someday? From the very first time we teach them to throw, to swim, or to tumble the wheels start turning and we have daydreams about college scholarships, Olympic medals and first round draft picks. It’s okay to admit you have them too! But it’s a long road between the first day of tee-ball and the World Series and with every passing year the odds of your kid going pro, even if they live and breathe sports, even if they have fantastic natural talent, gets smaller and smaller.

In 2011, the NCAA put up the statistics that show the likelihood of your child going pro. Here are some of the most interesting numbers:


There are 1,108,441 high school football players and 316,697 are in their senior year. The percentage of high school football players who go on to play in the NCAA is only 6.1%. That Your Kid is Not Going Pro means that less than one in 16 of all high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will go on to play football in the NCAA. Of the 15,086 NCAA football players that make it to their senior year about 1 in 50 are actually drafted into the NFL. At the end of the day, only eight in 10,000 of high school seniors will actually be drafted and play professional football.

Women’s Basketball

According to the NCAA, in 2011 438,933 girls were playing basketball and 125,409 of those girls made are in their senior year. However, only 3.5% (about 3 in 100) of high school female basketball players will go on to play basketball in college. Of the 3,491 NCAA senior student athletes less than 1 in 100 will be drafted by the WNBA, meaning 1 in 5,000 (.03%) of high school senior girls will eventually go pro.


With 471,025 high school baseball players, 134,579 of which are in their senior year, about three in 50 (6.4%) of high school senior boys will go on to play men’s baseball in college. Believe it or not, baseball players actually have the best chance of going pro—a whopping nine in 100 of NCAA senior male baseball players (a whole 9%!) will ultimately get drafted by an MLB team. That means that approximately one in 200 high school senior boys will eventually be drafted by an MLB team.

Let’s not even go into the odds of your child becoming an Olympian someday…let alone actually bringing home the gold.

This is not to say that there aren’t fantastic youth athletes out there with the willpower, the talent, and the drive to play sports all the way through high school, get noticed by a college recruiter and kick butt up and down the field/court/ice hard enough to get drafted by a major league team, but for many youth athletes, no matter how much they want it, the odds just aren’t in their favor.

We as sports parents can’t control the direction of our child’s sports career. We can’t count on college scholarships or bank on them “going pro” no matter how talented they are because at the end of the day, they are still just kids! They might live and breathe lacrosse or hockey this year, but in a few years they might really love tennis or swimming, or leave sports entirely to pick up the tuba, chess, or basket-weaving. Going pro is a fantastic dream that every youth athlete should have just once, but let’s not lose site of the real value of youth sports—to have fun, make friends, learn how to be a graceful winner and loser, to work in a team and keep active!

Coach has seen Title IX’s positive impact


Teresa (Allmon) Tanner was playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball long before it was cool. Yet time playing travel ball did far more than keep her in shape. She eventually parlayed her gym time into a full-ride scholarship to University of Montevallo, which Tanner used to earn a degree. In which also opened doors for her to pursue her career of coaching at the University of Mobile and South Alabama.

Tanner birth, nurtured, trained and was mother/coach to her two daughters to lay the foundation and the discipline, as she’s now the mother of two Auburn WBB scholarship players — Tyrese is a rising senior and Nicole is a rising sophomore.  She gives back to the game by coaching with the Alabama Twisters AAU Program.”Basketball gave me a purpose and direction that continues to make me a better person,” said Tanner, now 46. “I’ve met so many people, so many great people, and they’ve had such an incredible impact on me. To think back to 7th grade – all I wanted to be was a cheerleader. I’m glad that didn’t work out.”

Title IX had expanded well beyond simple legislation when Tanner was playing high-school ball in eastern Tennessee.  “I was the only one on my high-school team that even played AAU,” Tanner said. “It wasn’t all talent, but the desire and drive as well. I had several teammates that could have and did play in college.  The high-school season was enough for some people.”

Tanner, who stands six feet tall, blossomed into a dominating forward on the court. Yet she didn’t appreciate the significance of academic excellence in high school and didn’t have the grades to qualify at most major-conference schools. She instead found a home in junior college, worked more diligently in the classroom and earned an offer from Montevallo after two seasons. Tanner’s winding road from AAU to college graduate remains an important theme.

“I didn’t have that knowledge of how the system worked – how important your grades were,” Tanner said. “I’m always reminding my players and their parents now about the need to be a good student as well as a good athlete. The biggest thing for players now is that they have real role models in the WNBA and coaches who have shown it can be done. You have to be well-rounded.”

Tanner’s life never strays far from Title IX’s significance. She has coached players who earned scholarships. She has coached against players who have earned scholarships. The world of year-round basketball, once limited to just a handful of girls, now supports more than 50 AAU teams in Alabama alone. Opportunities are expanding every year. Tanner knows why.

“What we’re seeing now would not have happened without Title IX,” she said. “It changed my life for the better and I see it touching girls’ lives all the time for the better. I’m not sure (athletic funding is) 100-percent equal like it should be, but I look back at the way it was in the mid 80s and we’ve come a long way. The opportunities these players have now basically didn’t exist for their parents. That’s progress.”