All things point to the process. Whether it’s Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, James Clear, Charles Duhigg, or wherever else I turn the focus always seems to come back to the value of establishing the type of habits that lead to championship performance.  The ability to connect the mundane and repetitious nature of seeking continual improvement to the moment when your best will be demanded is something winners can do across disciplines.  While listening to Above the Line again a bit this morning, the idea of the CHASE came up again.  We are daily chasing who we can be and who we should be.  If we don’t do that, there comes a point when it’s too late to “flip the switch” and we’ve “habited” ourselves out of contention.  My observations here are nothing new.  Anyone who’s been studying and reading about winning in the past 5 years or so have heard all of this.  I just thought of an acrostic to marry the process and chase analogy that I believe I’ll use for my team some this upcoming year.
Strategy and tactics assume that the habits are in place and have been in place long enough to give those strategies and tactics the chance to succeed.  We as coaches are shown over and over that that’s too big an assumption to make.  We have to hammer this message to our players and ourselves every day!  Looking forward to the CHASE myself!

It’s that special time of year where all eyes turn from March Madness and high school coaches around the country can step back and think about how to improve our great game.  The shot-clock debate is not a new one but has officially shown up on the April GHSA agenda for a vote for the first time I know of.   Thanks to Coach Rory Welsh at Langston Hughes @LHughesHoops for getting it on the agenda!!
I’m not going to really argue for or against it.  I surveyed an extensive list of Georgia coaches a couple years back and was surprised to find out that over 70% favored, strongly favored, or at least did not oppose a shot clock.
This article does a good job summarizing the debate.
Slow is better than no. You CAN but you don’t have to. Per GHSA rules, if it is voted down this year it will be another two years before it can come up again. The primary question on yes or no for the executive board is “how”? I believe that as coaches we’ve usually asked for a yes or no on the shot clock in conversations before we’ve laid out a clear plan for how it would be done and the uncertainty combined with real objections on cost and operation have led to a default “no”.
I’ve laid out a 3 year phase in that would free schools up to use it next season and give others the option to phase in slowly or even not at all based on their region, school, and budgetary needs.  We could, as coaches, revisit this or alter it, but I thought it would be a good jumping off point in discussing with our athletic directors and region representatives.
  1. Allow home teams to play with a shot clock if the opponent agrees out of region.  Tournaments and showcases can do either they’d like and teams would know going in.
  2. Allow regions to play with a shot clock in league play and their tournament or tournament only if they prefer.
  3. Sub-Varsity games can follow the same guidelines.  They’re not required to play with a shot clock to save money.
  4. The state tournament will still be played without the shot clock giving teams a full year to budget for and install it as well as adjust strategy for it. 
1. Allow home teams to play with a shot clock if the opponent agrees out of region.  Tournaments and showcases can do either they’d like and teams would know going in.
2. Allow regions to play with a shot clock in league play and their tournament or tournament only if they prefer.
3. Sub-Varsity games can follow the same guidelines.  They’re not required to play with a shot clock to save money.
4. The state tournament from 3rd round forward will be played with a shot clock insuring the facility has the equipment to do so. If 3rd round sites are kept like this past year that will be the case. 
1. Allow home teams to play with a shot clock if the opponent agrees out of region.  Tournaments and showcases can do either they’d like and teams would know going in.
2.  Allow regions to play with a shot clock in league play and their tournament or tournament only if they prefer.
3. Sub-Varsity games can follow the same guidelines.  They’re not required to play with a shot clock to save money.
4. All region tournament and state tournament games will be played with a shot clock.  Should the host team not have equipment to do so, they will default to the other school that does or find a nearby gym that does. 
Re-evaluate state-wide to see what adjustments need to be made.
I’m assuming the proposal involves a 35 second clock.  Haven’t seen that written down.
This plan allows for regions to adapt a bit to their needs.  It allows the schools that can afford and want to play with a shot clock the freedom to do so.  It insures at the region and state level that we get all the benefits to the shot clock while allowing schools more time to budget and train for it’s use in the regular season.
Please contact your AD’s and region reps before the meetings on 4/14 and 4/15.
Pass on your thoughts on the charge circle as well.  That’s an easier fix that could be put in for play next season.
As basketball regions, it would be great to let them know your collective opinion as well if you could.
Don’t @ me with pro or con points on WHETHER we should have it.  I can play either way and there’s plenty of that on Twitter!!  This is to start a discussion on HOW it can be done in the best way.  Feel free to pass on suggestions on the implementation to my twitter, to Rory, GACA, Atlanta Tip-Off club, the more we discuss, the better.
Thanks for your time!!
Also, there’s a common objection I hear that isn’t accurate i don’t believe. Just my thoughts on it.
“It takes more money to pay someone to work the clock, we can barely get people to do it now.”
Most scoreboard consoles come with a shot clock button already on it.  If you don’t have that you can upgrade when they are installed.  It doesn’t take another person, all you have to do is push the button when the ball hits the rim.  This is signaled by the official.  Not someone’s call from the table.  Most scoring a errors I’ve seen come from the score keeper not paying attention due to long scoring drought.  If they are running the shot clock they know there’s something to record every possession.  Many clocks can be equipped with a handheld button so the score keeper can keep their eyes up and just reset without finding it on the console

In times of uncertainty, it’s important that we make sure the competitive fire stays hot. If there’s not an opponent right before you make that opponent yourself. You always win if you’re striving to be better. If you don’t have a clear direction to point your competitiveness, create one. There are a lot of directions this can go and still be beneficial for you. The weight room, the treadmill, a friendly competition with a friend. Just don’t let the fire die down because there’s nothing to “burn” in your immediate future. It should stay hot and prepared to be unleashed on whatever you need it for when the opportunity arises. It’s not something you want to try to get burning again when you need it.

I believe that one of the most effective ways a coach can improve is to remove anger from his coaching tool box.  Before this statement makes you angry and you click on to something else, hear me out.  You’ll often hear players say things like the following:

  1. If I miss practice, coach will be mad.
  2. If I take that shot, coach will be mad.
  3. If I’m late, coach will be mad.

While it is great to have your players want to avoid making you mad, it would be much more beneficial to teach them WHY it makes you “mad”.  Why does missing practice, bad shot selection, and being late make you mad?  What is the principle that’s being violated mean to the team? If we can clearly articulate our standards and have them be truly value driven, we can increase our ability to teach and instruct and also be more likely for our players to be able to transfer those lessons in to their life after they move on from our teams.  You’ll also save yourself a TON of grief when every poor decision has a clear consequence that’s set before hand so they know that “anger” isn’t the thing to worry about.  You’re late, you do X after practice.  You shoot that shot, you’re likely to sit down.  You’re not “mad”, you’re holding them to standards that make sense for the group and have been clearly taught and explained.   Reserve anger for when it is truly appropriate and there will undoubtedly be those moments.  I’ve tried to keep a running list of things that make me “mad” as a coach and see if I can remove the emotion and just transfer it to a consequence that’s simple and clear.  When you feel it coming on you can ask:

  1. Does this really matter?
  2. Have I clearly taught what is expected?
  3. How can I hold the standard and maintain the relationship?

Life’s easier when anger isn’t a built in part of every day you show up to work together.  Just some thoughts I hope helps us have a happier and less angry season!!

kick practice

Every so often in life you hit something you never expected and there is no clear path to the next step. If you’ve run up against such a challenge, here are a few thoughts and phrases that have continued to come to mind.  Maybe they’ll be helpful to you when you face something similar.

1. Next Best Action
2. Future Focused
3. Service Minded
4. Let your words build rather than destroy.
5. Hug those you love a lot.
6. Don’t let bitterness cross our doorway.
7. Give 0 energy to things I can’t control.
8. Is it in my power to change something?
9. NO BCD.  Blame/Complain/Defend. You need all the energy you can get for the next step.  I’m responsible for my attitude and response.
10. What is before you matters more than what’s behind.  There’s no changing the past.
11. Do no harm.
12. Head up/shoulders back.  Circumstances can impact you but they do not define.
13. Count your blessings.  They are everywhere.
14. Sometimes the things that happen to you happen for you.  Be looking for the message.
15. You find out who your friends are and you are lucky to have them.
16. Trying times make you better or bitter.  That’s largely up to you.
17. Lean on those who have offered a shoulder.  You don’t have to carry things alone.
18. Seeking help isn’t weakness; it’s strength.
I’ll no doubt struggle to apply the above list myself, but it’s what I keep coming back to.  Thanks for listening.

You often hear of those that have had great successes having at one time experienced great failures.  The maxim that you have to go through the bad to experience the good is one we often repeat to our players and to ourselves.  While the truth that hard times are to be expected to set up the good is one we should accept and allow to give us patience, it shouldn’t numb us to examining what our part is in the hard times we may be facing.  Hard work is a given but hard times may be caused or at least prolonged by things completely within our control.  If you got under a weight on the bench you couldn’t get up, laying there under it isn’t going to change that fact. It will take time, discipline, and WORK on our behalf to be able to come back to it and move that obstacle.  It’s not just our job to ENDURE the hard stuff, it’s our job to work to get out of it by growing our skills, strength, knowledge, and character.  Will we go through hard times?  Yes.  Will we grow through them?  Well, that’s more up to us than we often realize.

During a workout on the beach recently I had several thoughts come together on prayer in an unexpected way.  It’s well-known that there’s something magestic in watching dolphins be themselves when you have the time and opportunity.  It reminded me of a few truths related to our prayer lives
  1. Just because you know it’s there doesn’t mean you now where it will be seen next.  I tried to time the patterns of those I watched assuming intervals and directions would be fairly consistent.  At times this was the case but often times they were nowhere to be found.  God’s timetable and our own are often not the same.  As frustrating as this is, it makes the time’s we do see His work that much more special.
  2. Expect something big when you least expect it.  While most of the time is spent seeing just a fin or occasional tail slap, sometimes, you get a full jump.  You have to be looking for it.  God can take a prayer you haven’t seen answered for so long you’ve stopped asking and show you it was never off His radar.
  3. It’s easier to see when you’re not by yourself.  9 of 10 times I see them either with a partner or in a group..  Sharing our prayers with others gives us strength.
There are more that I could share but that’s enough for now.  Hope you can enjoy this perspective the next time you’re blessed with this experience.