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Innovative Athletes

8 Posts tagged with the basketball tag

I wonder how many of us ever thought about this. Do we really proactively seek out to have a great relationship with our coach? I feel like sometimes we play against the current and fight tooth and nail not to like our coach.


Is it because he/she might yell at us? Or criticize our play at times?


Is it because we may disagree with him/her? How many times have you turned your back and rolled your eyes at your coach during practice after they stopped the play to do their job and correct the minor thing you did wrong?


You must understand that coaches cannot accept mediocrity from you, because that means they accept mediocrity from themselves…not setting up your cut correctly in practice may seem minor at the time but come game time that can result in not getting a decent shot off, you add up 3 or 4 of those per game, you’re leaving points on the floor.


As a player, take your relationship with your coach seriously. Meaningful relationships last past the 4 years you play for him/her and it’s important for you to understand how to build, manage and create a meaningful, trustworthy relationship with your coach.


Think about it…if you’re a high school senior trying to play college ball somewhere, guess who just may know someone and recommend you? Your coach.


Think about it…if you’re a college senior looking to get a job right after graduation, guess who may know the hiring manager at the consulting firm down the street? Your coach.


I have written down 6 key things you can do to have the type of relationship you want and need with your current coach.

Be Reliable

Being reliable extends beyond the hardwood; can your coach depend on you to go to class? Can he trust you to help guide the younger players? Does he trust that you are training hard this off season or does he have to micro-manage your day to day activities?


I spoke to a few of my ex-coaches this weekend and asked; what’s the biggest detriment they have seen over the years, honesty was number 1. Coaches get lied too constantly, whether it’s about when you tell them you went to class but didn’t, or when you got detention and told them it wasn’t your fault or when you lied to them about being late for practice. Respect your coach enough to always be honest with them, in the end lying will only make it worse and damage the relationship. Think about it, if you get told something that isn’t true isn’t it hard for you to ever trust that person again? Remember that next time you lie.

Show up on time

Ever heard of Lombardi time? Start doubling that! Nothing agitates a coach more than a kid showing up late. Don’t ever let it happen, not once. Being late is a slap in the face to the coach’s vision, discipline and long-term strategy with your team. Personally, there is nothing worse in my book then a kid showing up late. If you don’t drive, make sure you have a ride the night before, get a bike, walk – I don’t care, show up 20-30min before you have to be there.


Promote the program, when you win a big game and talking to the media; give a shout out to your coach and his play calling. Coaches like to hear you have their back and are aware they know what they are doing. It could be as simple as telling your Father in the car ride home how you thought coach did a good job today.


Always keep an open and honest line of communication with your coach. Set weekly meetings with him/her. Most coaches (if not all) have an “open door” policy – take advantage of that. If you’re struggling with remembering a few plays, ask them to stay after with you and watch film or walk you through them for 5minutes after practice. If academics are tough at the time, let your coach know – maybe he/she can get you a tutor or extra help. Also know, communication is a 2-way street, sometimes it just takes genuinely listening and applying what you hear.

Take pride in your work

Coaches can see right through “fake-hustle” and notice pure passion from the start. If you take pride in your work, the coach is going to take pride in your work, that’s when you start maximizing your talent.

They got your back:


If you do these 6 simple things, your coach will have your back. Is there anything better as a player when you take the ball hard to the rack, get fouled but nothing gets called and you hear your coaching sticking up for you? It makes you play harder for him/her, right? It gives you more confidence as a player to know that your coach is going to support you no matter what.


In the end, it’s not worth going against the grain of your coach, embrace his/her philosophy, build a meaningful relationship with them and get the most out of your time in their program.

Now, I do need to address that unfortunately at the junior high and high school level (and even in college) there are a few instances of just having a bad coach. This happens, and you got the raw end of the deal here.


Does it suck, yeah it does. But you can only control what you do, how you act and what you say. It could be as simple as not being the right fit, physically or personally, that’s okay it happens the key is to know when it’s not working and try something different. But remember, don’t burn any bridges and still be respectful.


(if you would like to download this and place it in your basketball notebook, click here: )

370 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, coaching, academy, coach, leadership, innovativeathletes, iathletes

The 1% Club

Posted by iAthletes May 24, 2010

All serious basketball players work hard right? (key term here is: serious). All good shooters can make 65/100 3′s, right?


We all play on sweet AAU teams, we all lift  wieghts down at the rec center and hit the gym to shoot our shots afterwards, right?


Sounds like a full schedule of basketball, man we must be working really hard, what a great work ethic we have. We all do it, so why do only some of us stand out? Why do only some of us get college scholarships?

Luck? maybe a little bit.


With a little hard work, you know the standard amount; It’s easy to go from 50/100 to 65/100 in 3′s but why is it so hard to go from 65 to 80/100….consistently?


If all you’re doing is the standard amount, all you’re going to get is the standard result. The hard part is the last 8% and yes even the last 1%, everyone is already doing the standard amount, if we practice enough we can all hit 65 made 3′s out of 100, but that’s not going to make us stand out from a crowded market. The hard part is getting to 80 on a consistent basis, now you’re in an exclusive club that only 1% of your peers are in…does this give you a better opportunity of getting a college scholarship? I think so!


Which part of your game is in the 1% club?


Notice the key words I used: “we all do this” “we all can shoot 65%”, be the one that says “only I can shoot 80%!"

348 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, college, success, academy, scholarship, 3, decision, innovativeathletes, iathletes


Posted by iAthletes May 14, 2010

Did the And1 mix-tape era ruin some players?


A few minutes ago I just got done speaking with a young player overseas and he shared with me he was online looking for good 1on1 moves to practice and only kept getting highlight video’s of the and1 mix-tape tour.

His response to me was this: “These aren’t legal are they”? “They seem ridiculous”


I had to laugh because they are ridiculous but also very entertaining. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch guys with cool nicknames throwing it off each other’s faces then off the backboard for a reverse dunk?


But speaking to him made me think of the possible influence it may have had on many young ball players looking for an identity, looking for something to hold on to and believe in, looking for guidance. The appeal of And1 can be addicting, all the flare and excitement can make you want to play like that.


For those of us who are veterans of the game, we know this to be what it is, an entertaining lie. But the question is, what did the young players think of it as? Reality?

You betcha! I can speak from first hand experience on this one, I grew up at the height of the And1 mix-tape and had several teammates (both high school and AAU) train and do drills straight from the And1 mix tape tours. They truly thought this was the best way to invest their time and energy. So yes, they could do really high cross-overs and fancy behind the back spin moves or even pretend to fake you out by thinking they threw the ball behind your back, looked awesome without any defense.


The harsh reality was that these moves won’t and can never be effective in a real live game with decent defenders. First off, 98% of the moves are illegal and second off they always led to a turnover.


The point is this, don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamor of our game and don’t try to be like anyone else. Seek out knowledge from knowledgeable sources and they will tell you what I have always told you, fundamentals and skill development are still king on the hardwood.


Who here has failed trying to complete a move they couldn’t do for the sake of showing off? I know I have and it seems like trying and failing is the best medicine for not trying it again? What do you think?


Enjoy the weekend everyone!

1,517 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, success, academy, youth, scholarship, fundamentals, 3, decision, showboat, baskebtall

Flying V

Posted by iAthletes May 10, 2010

What does the ‘Flying V’ and a flock of geese have to do with this site, your basketball career, success of your team and your life beyond athletics?


Well, I am going to tell you:


Take a few minutes to observe a flock of geese in flight and you’ll understand.  One goose flies at the front of the V, fighting wind resistence and putting in the effort so that the flock can fly further and achieve more than any of them could on their own, being the leader of the flock is difficult and exhausting therefore one goose can only take the lead for a short amount of time, the geese rotate the leader of the V ever so often to share the burden of fighting the wind. Without a cohesive, well-structured plan where all the geese buy into the system, the flying V will fail.


The individual goose must establish trust with his/her peers within the flock, without trust and teamwork the objective of the flying V cannot be sustained.


Here are some concrete idea’s we can learn from the flock.

  1. The team is always greater than any individual
  2. Establishing roles and responsibilities is key to success
  3. Create your own trustworthy flock, gather together your teammates this off season and build genuine, trustworthy relationships and start preparing for a championship next year.
  4. One vision – each member of your flock must see and understand the flock’s objective.
  5. Trust must always be constant. That wind gets strong, so the trust in your flock must be stronger


Have you ever thought of yourself as a goose?

380 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, success, athletes, academy, scholarship, leadership, 3, innovativeathletes, iathletes, teamwork

Sport's Mom

Posted by iAthletes May 9, 2010

A special weekend post:

In honor of Mother’s Day, I have asked a sport’s mom who is a regular reader of iA to be a guest contributer and write about her experience bringing up two athletes (basketball players) in her family, this is her story unedited!


From a very early age, we knew our sons were going to play basketball, it was in their blood and they were talented. They were very fortunate to have very good coaching, and a gym at their disposal, which helped them develop their skills. As parents, it is our responsibility to discover what talent lies within our children and then do whatever is necessary to develop that talent. Whether the talent is music, or art, or athletics, knowing what they are good at, is half the battle.  We were always very supportive of our sons. From their very first game at the YMCA (2nd grade), to their last college game, we were always there for them. We never missed a game and always made sure they were on time for games and practices.


Developing their self esteem was crucial and basketball did that for our sons.

Motivating our boys was actually easy…they loved the sport; they worked hard during the regular season, and more importantly the off season. But they needed us to show legitimate interest in their activities, always attending games, asking those important questions, and providing the financial support that developing their talent would need.


They needed approval, positive words, smiles, and letting them know that we recognize their improvements. We NEVER allowed Coach trashing. They were taught that all adults were to be treated with respect, and we were very lucky to have very good coaches in their lives.


We as parents enjoyed every minute of watching our sons play basketball, and the success they enjoyed during their playing days. We have watched them grow into positive, hard working young men, and playing an organized sport for much of their lives helped get them there.


One of my favorite words in raising an athlete, is the word “we “.”We will work on it”, or “We can do better next time”, these are positive statements and gives out the message that we are all in this journey together.

Parents, I promise when using the term; “we”, when talking to their kids, will see a positive change in their child’s habits and performances. To parents just starting out, enjoy the ride, be always positive, and always be there for them, ask questions and make sure that what they are doing is making them happy and leading them in the right direction towards becoming an adult.


Have fun and enjoy the experience, I know we did.


Happy Mother’s Day from the iA family!

421 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: sports, basketball, athletes, academy, mom, business, 3, innovativeathletes, iathletes


Posted by iAthletes May 5, 2010

Congratulations, you have been appointed as CEO of a new start up company, the mission statement of your new company is “reach my potential and make good decisions”, its simple but compelling and this takes thoughtful planning and ingenuity as a young Chief Executive.


You have to look at your career as if you’re running a business, all decisions go through you and all outcomes are because of you, you are the only employee of your company. You have to do the accounting, the marketing, the sales, the R/D, and develop your product.


Every company needs partnerships, we all need help from others to achieve our objectives, your partners are your teammates, you need your partners to reach your goals, so treat them fairly, work hard for them as you simultaneously help them achieve their objectives and trust they will provide the assistance you need.


Every company needs investors, people with resources that provide you every opportunity to reach your objective. These are your parents/guardians. How many times have your parents drove 45 min to take you to


AAU practice, spent $400 on a summer camp, and bought you those $120 NIKE’s? They are investing in your future, the same goes with Angel investors or Venture Capital Companies looking to invest in a small startup company. You need to convince them it is worth their time, energy and money, they are also a strategic partner for your future…Make sure you thank them daily and use their resources wisely.


A lot of startup companies use outside resources to ask unbiased questions and to get honest feedback, they are called “consultants”. This is your coach, your coach should always provide you the most accurate and honest feedback. They should be wise, fair and always have your best intentions at heart. One of their many responsibilities is to empower you on a successful path.


Every company (and athlete) needs:

  • A business plan – a detailed, mapped out plan that shows how you will get to your objective.
  • A business model - How your business operates efficiently, what are your best practices and disciplined habits that make you stand out in a competitive market?
  • A product/service - What market are you in and why your product is the best. For me I was in the shooting guard market and I needed to be the best long range shooter available for purchase.
  • Marketing and Brand - How do you make people aware of your product and how do you brand yourself? Your personal brand is everything; embrace this responsibility because no one can market your brand like you. This involves your attitude, the way you carry yourself and how you treat others. It also speaks to your work ethic.
  • Target Market - Who are your customers? In this case your audience. Who are you performing for? As players, we all want fans, people who pay money at the door to watch you perform. All good CEO’s know that the customer’s need to have a great experience if they are to keep coming back. Put on a show every time you are on stage for your fans.


Have you ever thought of yourself as a CEO? If not, lets’ start now!

Did I miss anything?



552 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, college, academy, point, business, 3, innovative, decision, innovativeathletes, iathletes, ceo

A lot of time in sports we are motivated by famous quotes and inspirational sayings that get us all hyped up to play. These three questions serve that cause but also serve a self-assessment cause. You guys know by now that I am big on self-assessment and when you can narrow it down to three important questions, that’s even better….Ask yourself these questions on a regular basis and don’t lose focus of who you are and where you want to be.


1.)    Can people trust me do to my best?

2.)    Am I committed to the task at hand?

3.)    Do I care about other people and show it?


If the answer to these questions are ‘yes’, there is no way you can fail.

-Lou Holtz.


Coach Holtz didn’t just mean this in relevance to sports; these are three important questions you can continue to ask yourself throughout life in whatever it is you choose to do. This takes some serious critical thinking on your part!


Please share a few questions that you ask yourself in your own journey and we’ll compile a good running list for the community. For short term goal setting this off season and long term desired goals, please send me an email and we’ll work on it together.


Good Luck,


437 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, college, success, youth, scholarship, decision, making, innovativeathletes

12 Characteristics of Winning Athletes

Objective - Look for, build up and identify these characteristics


Going through my notes, speaking with college coaches and athletes and revisiting my past as a former division 1 athlete, I wanted to come up with characteristics that define winning athletes, no matter what sport you play.

As a matter of fact, looking through them they seem like 12 characteristics of winning at life.

Here is my list:

1.)    Desire – I put this first for a reason, nothing on this list matters without desire or passion to be the best you can be. A desire to always improve, to compete, to win. A burning desire that keeps you up at night.

2.)    Aggressiveness – Go out and hunt for what you want, don’t wait for things to happen magically. Produce your own results and always be on attack mode.

3.)    Determination – The refusal to quit or accept defeat. Persistence to keep getting up every time you fall down and knowing that your willingness to practice harder than anyone else will lead you to your success.

4.)    Responsibility – Admit errors, and take responsibility for their own actions.

5.)    Leadership – When needed, pick and your choose when to demonstrate the necessary leadership skills that are needed at that time. A huge leadership attribute is knowing how to lead in certain situations and what tactics to use at that given time period. (This deserves its own blog).

6.)    Self-Confidence - Confidence breeds success. Believe in your abilities. I truly believe confidence comes from practicing and dedicating yourself to the cause. Knowing you’ve been through something and have practiced it millions of times provides you confidence.

7.)    Emotion Control – Handling the pressure of competitive sports and athletic success. Letting the game come to you and slowing things down in your mind during key situations of the game. Not letting your emotions get the best of you and channeling them into a positive direction that benefits you and your team.

8.)    Mental Toughness – Not many people have this or know this but mental toughness is a big factor in athletic success. Being able to accept criticism and rigorous training. Being mentally stronger than your opponent will give you a competitive edge.

9.)    Coach-ability – Embrace others knowledge and expertise. Don’t question your coaches methods and believe his best interest is in your development as an athlete and placing the team in positions to win.

10.) Conscientious – Having high standards of character. Having a deep sense of obligation and know a team must have discipline to be successful. Putting the team before yourself, be self-less.

11.) Trust – Athletes are believers, they accept people at face value and know that mutual trust is a major factor in building a successful team. A trustworthy locker room is one of high spirit, high morale, better communication and everyone understanding the goals at hand.

12.) Attitude – Last but not least, your attitude in anything you do will determine your success. Positive attitudes will separate you from the rest. Have you ever noticed how many people around you are negative and are always complaining? Be the opposite and always take a positive view on things and if you think positive in your athletic career, positive things will happen.


Oh, I have 1 more to add, so I guess it’s a baker’s dozen….

13.) Ownership – Take ownership in your athletic journey, what I mean by that is: Understand this is your career, seek out the best advice from experts and understand that if you don’t put in the time and effort you will not get anything out of it.


You are in full control of your You can only be an athlete for so long, and then all of a sudden it will end – so take full advantage of your situation and embrace the hardships, the competitive nature and enjoy the journey.


What do you think, did I leave anything out?

762 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: basketball, athletes, drills, innovative