Basketball4ALL Roundtable
COACH LOK'S BIG THREE
CARE. When teams begin to work together and go thru the everyday effort necessary, they develop a certain comraderie that forces them to truly CARE about their teammates. When that happens, they will do everything that they can not to let their teammates down.
THINK. Players and coaches must strive to have knowledge of the system and the fundamentals of the game of ba
sketball, inside and out. THINK about the risk and reward involved in each decision, both on and off the court. 
TRY. Just try. Your very best. Every time! Be competitors without equal. Players and coaches, should strive to make sure that no one prepares more thoroughly or works more diligently to become successful - in everything they do.
To reach your goals turn to the 
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A baketball or coaching site would not be complete without mention of John Wooden and his Pyramid of Sucess. Here is my favorite Pyramid of Success Photo. 
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PLAYGROUND
Pick-up basketball is a great place for players to build their game by playing against other players, maybe that are bigger or better, and testing their skills in an open environment. Other lessons are learned like getting along with others, conflict resolution, and the will to do your best - because if you don't your team steps oiff and ..."who's got next?"
YOUTH BASKETBALL
Teach young playters Skills not Systems. They need to learn how to play & make play-not just run plays. Do this in practice thru dynamic games and competitions, rather than static drills, to allow them to discover their abilities. Keep this level fun so they continue to come back and equate basketball with a great time!
HIGH SCHOOL
High School basketball is still educational based athletics. Even though it looks like pro sports it has a different mission. Coaches need to continue to strive to win, but understand the greater goal is to teach players some life-long lessons they can use long after the ball stops bouncing.
COLLEGE
Basketball can provide an avenue for social mobility and open doors to colleges players may not have thought of, gain admission to schools they may not have gotten into, get financial assistance to attend those schools, and connect them with others who can help them after graduation. Players should begin to prepare for this early and make sure their academics are in order.
DEVELOPMENTAL LEAGUES
NBA D-League, the PBDL, and the new ABA are all leagues where players can continue to compete and some can develop to the extent they get looks from higher professional leagues.
PROFESSIONAL 
By the time you see players at this level they've put in 1000s of hours into their game. The time to start is NOW!

Track Shots!

Basketball4ALL Roundtable

Basketball Logic

by Ray Lokar on 07/17/18

Do we want to be easy to guard or hard to guard? Hard to guard. #Logic

Are you harder to guard when you are standing still or moving?  Moving.  Then move. #Logic

Is it easier to get open, pass or drive when it's crowded or when you have space? When you have space. So create good spacing. #Logic

Is it easier to throw short passes or long ones? Short ones. Throw short passes. #Logic

If you have good spacing, it's impossible to throw a basketball pass too hard. How hard should we throw it? As hard as we can. #Logic

If a teammate is open, what should we do? Throw them the ball. #Logic

Are you sure a teammate will be open later? NO. So Who should you throw the ball to? The 1st open man.  #Logic

Is the ball in the air longer if you wait for it, or come and meet it? When you wait. Don't wait. Meet the pass. #Logic

Is it easier to catch a ball with one hand or two. Two. Then catch  the ball with two hands. #Logic

Once you catch it, can you run with the ball or do you have to stop? You have to stop. So be on balance, and stop #Logic

Why would a teammate throw you the ball? You were open. So do something with it. #Logic

If you're open, it's a shot your supposed to take, and you're in your range, what should you do? Shoot it. #Logic

If you're going to shoot it, shoot it the way that gives you the best balance, vision and rhythm. #Logic

Do you shoot better when you're on or off balance. On balance. So be on balance #Logic

Do you make more shots when you're open or guarded? Open. So work to get open shots. #Logic

Is it easier to make short shots, or long ones? Short ones. Take short shots. #Logic

If you could shoot or pass-you would have. Maybe you need to go somewhere you're supposed to. So get there. #Logic 

Why dribble? Go somewhere you're supposed to. Improve a passing angle if you need to. Escape pressure if you have to. #Logic 

If you're not open for a shot your supposed to take, continue with #Basketball #Logic. The right shot will find the right player at the right time.

Basketball Logic

by Ray Lokar on 05/23/18


Do we want to be easy to guard or hard to guard? Hard to guard. #Logic


Are you harder to guard when you are standing still or moving?  Moving.  Then move. #Logic

Is it easier to get open, pass or drive when it's crowded or when you have space? When you have space. So create good spacing. #Logic

Is it easier to throw short passes or long ones? Short ones. Throw short passes. #Logic

If you have good spacing, it's impossible to throw a basketball pass too hard. How hard should we throw it? As hard as we can. #Logic

If a teammate is open, what should we do? Throw them the ball. #Logic

Are you sure a teammate will be open later? NO. So Who should you throw the ball to? The 1st open man.  #Logic

Is the ball in the air longer if you wait for it, or come and meet it? When you wait. Don't wait. Meet the pass. #Logic

Is it easier to catch a ball with one hand or two. Two. Then catch  the ball with two hands. #Logic

Once you catch it, can you run with the ball or do you have to stop? You have to stop. So be on balance, and stop #Logic

Why would a teammate throw you the ball? You were open. So do something with it. #Logic

If you're open, it's a shot your supposed to take, and you're in your range, what should you do? Shoot it. #Logic

If you're going to shoot it, shoot it the way that gives you the best balance, vision and rhythm. #Logic

Do you shoot better when you're on or off balance. On balance. So be on balance #Logic

Do you make more shots when you're open or guarded? Open. So work to get open shots. #Logic

Is it easier to make short shots, or long ones? Short ones. Take short shots. #Logic

If you could shoot or pass-you would have. Maybe you need to go somewhere you're supposed to. So get there. #Logic 

Why dribble? Go somewhere you're supposed to. Improve a passing angle if you need to. Escape pressure if you have to. #Logic 

If you're not open for a shot your supposed to take, continue with #Basketball #Logic. The right shot will find the right player at the right time.

"Magical" Steps to Creating Confident and Coachable Players

by Ray Lokar on 01/06/16

The brain registers 20,000 snap-shots (memories) every day. Those memories will be filed as either positive or negative memories. Positive memories Fill our Emotional Tanks while negative memories will drain it. When people (and players specifically) feel better due to full E-Tanks they have a more positive attitude. When we are more positive, we are more open to ideas, more optimistic, and will work harder…with the emotional energy to deal with setbacks. More confident…and more coachable based on how we categorize our memories.

 
I’ve mentioned in previous posts one of the key principles in the Positive Coaching Alliance’s Double-Goal Coaching philosophy is to Fill Emotional Tanks of the players. The principle is based on trying to achieve the “Magic Ratio” of five positives for every criticism or correction. There is plenty of research to support this ratio in athletics, as well as academics, business, and even relationships or marriage.
Five to one seems like a daunting task to many coaches at first glance, but with some effort is very achievable. We must critique, but do it in such a way that the player is being taught – not scolded. Remember Coach Wooden’s line about taking the time to teach implies confidence, and in some ways that is a tank-filler.
I broke down the statistics on Coach Wooden’s acts of coaching his final year at UCLA. In 1975 Tharp and Gallimore found that 83% of his words and actions were either positive or contained information designed to teach – almost exactly 5 to 1.
This Magic-Ratio is not necessarily 5:1 every play, every day, and not just what you say. Not five warm and fuzzies and one pice of coaching. It is rather the total experience the athlete recieves during their participation on the team. This ratio is achieved by not only what you say, and what you do (nonverbals), but also whatever you provide that will create a positive memory.
What other kind of things can we do as coaches, or parents, to provide positive memories for a child? Things we do like recognition, pictures, videos, awards, nice uniforms, fields, facilities and the like all provide a positive memory that Fills Emotional Tanks.

Remember when we said we wanted to “control the controllables”? There are just some things we can't control that will drain our tank and we can't do anything about them. But we can make up for them.
As a coach, when things go bad or after a tough loss we often tend to over-analyze, correct, and drain our players’ tanks even more. That is the time when we need to do our job and try to make up for that.
I was speaking to the athletic staff at Loyola University of Chicago and Brandon Eitz, the Women’s Soccer Coach, said his team comes to practice every day because of deficiencies in their facilities at the time. He said, “...and I can’t do anything about that right now…so I need to make up for it!
The other very important point about the Magic Ratio, is it is not just the coaches job, but everyone involved: the teammates, parents, fans, all can contribute. As a parent, if the coach has been particularly tough on the players that day, deserved or not, we can’t do anything about that – but we can make up for it.
It is important to encourage teammates to pitch in with positive communication. PCA suggests using the “Buddy System”. Players can partner up with a teammate and spend that day praising their teammate for everything they do well, and their partner can do the same for them. This get’s players to pay attention, think about what’s right and wrong – AND communicate in a positive manner. That only leads to a better practice.
When discussing player-to-player relationships, I like to talk about “The Golden Rule X 2”. Everyone knows “The Golden Rule” is "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Good teammates say good things to other teammates. “The Golden Rule X 2” states not to say anything to yourself that a good teammate wouldn’t say to you.
We all have that voice of judgment that, at times, say’s we’re not good enough. That negative self-talk is detrimental to a players’ confidence – and sometimes it’s the biggest culprit. So how do we fight that feeling?
The first step is to recognize that it is just that – a feeling. Most negative self-talk is not true, but the feeling is very real. We talk about “The Power of the Big But.” Yes – that is with ONE “T” not two.
The word “but” makes us think in a way that devalues everything that is said before it. “That was a good paper, but…”, “That is a nice outfit, but…, or “That was a good play, but…” all make us put more importance on what is said next.
 When players’ say to themselves, “I can’t guard that girl” or I can’t block that guy” they probably really can, they just “feel’ like they can’t. So we are going to use “The Power of the Big But” for good instead of evil to give our confidence a shot in the arm.
Since the word “but” erases what is before it, get them to think about the negative as a feeling first. Then insert the big but. “I feel like I can’t (whatever the doubt is)…BUT...(insert the specific coaches instruction here). It might sound like this “I feel like I can’t guard that girl BUT if I stay in stance and pick good angles, I can contain her!”
Essentially, as William James said, “If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.” In a New York Times article “First Step in Becoming a Winner: Act Like One” it says,
It’s a method — a learned skill for convincing your mind that you already are what you want to become. The body follows where the mind leads.
“Act as if you’re a great shooter,” she would instruct. “Act as if you love the drill. Act as if when you hit the deck it doesn’t hurt.” Negativity, even in the form of body language, was not tolerated.
It’s basically a decision. If I’m tired, Act As If I’m not. If I’m hot, decide it’s not going to bother me. If my confidence is shaken, “Fake it til you make it.” Coachability is, in large part, a decision too.
To be coachable a player must open their mind to help and accept they don’t know everything and be willing to listen and do what your coach says. Be able to accept criticism and not get “defensive” every time someone suggests something different is a decision. Being patient and in it for the long haul, not expecting or demanding quick results. Endure the plateaus, the highs and lows, mistakes and setbacks and be mentally tough.
Many people have tried to define “toughness” and I believe it is entirely a mental decision. Toughness is "The ability to mentally focus on, and physically execute, the ONE single thing that's MOST important right NOW!" (Remember What’s ImportantNow?) Players who are mentally tough are confident they attend to the task at hand and embrace the challenge.
When a Double-Goal Coach® strives to reach that Gold Standard of Coaching they help there players build their confidence, put them in a coachable state of mind by fostering the mental toughness necessary to be a Triple-Impact Competitor®.
If we expect our players to try to be good teammates, listen and try to learn, and give their best effort then we need to work as hard as he expects them to, show that we are knowledgeable, and care about them on and off the court?. We need to acknowledge their efforts and make all players feel like an important piece of the puzzle.
I came across a great piece I adapted for my teams when I sensed some players were questioning their contributions to the team:
 YoX are a ValXable
Even thoXgh my compXter is a beat-Xp, rXndown, and Xgly model, when I Xse it, it works wonderfXlly - oXtside of one key. YoX woXld think that with all the other keys fXnctioning sXitably, one key slipping Xp and not working woXld hardly be noticed, bXt jXst one key oXt of whack seems to rXin the whole effort.
YoX may say to yoXrself, “I’m jXst one gXy. No one will notice if I don’t pXt forth my very best.” BXt it does make a difference, becaXse  a groXp mXst Xnderstand that throXgh every individXal giving their very best is how yXu Xltimately achieve sXccess.
So the next time yoX think yoX are not valXable, remember my old compXter. YoX ARE  crXcial to our sXccess!
THE ONLY THING MISSING IS U
When we can create an environment where it is fun to try, without the fear of failure, kids will begin to give us a little better effort every day. And it doesn't really change much as they get older.
In an interview a few years ago with the Washington State basketball team’s point guard, Derrick Lowe. Lowe was asked why they were having such a great season after being picked last in the Pac 10 preseason poll. The legendary coach Dick Bennett had just retired, and the job was passed to his son, Tony. Both are GREAT coaches. He said, "Last year we tried to play hard because we were afraid of what would happen if we didn't. This year we are playing hard because it's a little more fun, and we are not as afraid of making a mistake."
Just last weekend Frank Gore, of the surprising San Francisco 49ers, was asked the difference in the locker room between this year under Jim Harbaugh and last year’s team who struggled under Mike Singletary, both former Chicago Bear teammates. Gore replied, “instead of being told how BAD we were, we are told WE CAN DO IT"
Whether it is Youth Sports, High School, or Pro, the player needs the coach to help them with their confidence and put the player in a “coachable” state of mind. I know all coaches want confident and coachable players, so it’s in their best interest to meet that Gold Standard of Coaching to maximize the players improvement on the climb to their personal best.
 

The Mortar

by Ray Lokar on 01/06/16

If you are a frequent visitor to this site you are quite familiar with John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. The "Pyramid" may be the most complete description of what individuals need to strive for in their pursuit of success, which Coach Wooden defines as, "peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."


Interesting that Coach feels you should look at success, not as something concrete you achieve or attain like a championship or certain status, but simply by being "at peace with your efforts." Coach spent years trying to decide what qualities individuals must possess if they are really going to give their very best effort. This became "The Pyramid"

Many people are able to rattle off the fifteen "Blocks" of the Pyramid. The Cornerstones of Industriousness and Enthusiasm with Friendship, Cooperation, and Loyaltymaking up the rest of the Foundation. Self-ControlIntentness, Alertness, andInitiative make up the second tier while Condition, Team Spirit and Skill are at the Heart of the Pyramid. The above qualities may help someone develop Poise andConfidence and a person who possesses all of those qualities may achieveCompetitive Greatness.

While I believe Coach Wooden was looking, primarily, at an individual's success - this also can apply to a team or organizations pursuit of that peace of mind. Different people in the group may exhibit some of those qualities in a more developed manner. I believe that as you are creating your team, this is important to keep this in mind. Someone, maybe multiple someones, need to fill each of these roles in order for the group to approach success.

However, what I really want to spend some time on is an oft-overlooked and under-rated part of John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. In addition to the qualities the Blocks represent, Coach also felt there were a series of necessary traits that, I think, may help develop and maintain the qualities of the Pyramid to an even greater extent. Wooden calls these ten traits "The Mortar" of the Pyramid. Mortar is what holds together any structure, and without it even the strongest materials (the Blocks) could fall apart. We should all concentrate on working on these traits, to solidify the work we do on developing the blocks of the Pyramid.

The Pyramid is held together by Sincerity and properly focused Ambition. There are plenty of people who are ambitious, but who choose to cut corners or bend the rules in a belief that the end justifies the means. Sincerity with others as well as a Honesty, in all ways, should guide ones' ambition. Achievement attained any other way, is not really much of an achievement at all.

On any journey there is bound to be obstacles to overcome and adjustments to the game plan. One of Coach Wooden's (and my) favorite quotes is "Things work out best for those that make the best of the way that things work out." In order to fully embrace this philosophy one must have tremendous Adaptability and Resourcefulness in any situation.

In any of those cases an individual must continue to Fight, but it is important to fight with Integrity. Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do and show someReliability. When others depend on you, as teammates depend on each other, that reliability is what builds trust. This trust allows each individual to do their job, because they know the other member  will do his. When that breaks down on either side, there is a subconscious (and sometimes conscious) tendency to not live up to one end of the bargain.

The two most emphasized traits in "The Mortar" are Patience and Faith. Anything worth being successful at does not come easy and will take time to build. It is impossible to get there without these two traits. Patience and Faith does not mean just sitting back and letting things happen. Generally those are the people that end up asking, "What just happened"?

Patience and Faith are both active processes. Patience is progressing at the appropriate rate, and not trying to get somewhere too soon. Often people are in such a hurry to achieve  "success" they try to rush. It is vital to go through the proper progression and at the proper rate. e prepared for when the time comes, but don't rush to get there before being prepared. This is probably one of the most common reasons for failure in any group, team, organization or business. Too many people think, "God grant me patience...but I want it NOW!"

I believe that Faith is pretty close to the "peace of mind" John Wooden pursues in trying to attain success. When someone knows they are giving their best effort to do the things they need to be doing, it's much easier to have faiththat will happen. If an individual is doing those two things they must understand that things will work out about as they should.

This is true in life, and on the scoreboard. Absolutely believing in this, is having Faith.

TIME

by Ray Lokar on 01/06/16

People all around the world have different lives, different, jobs, different cars, different homes - but we all have one thing the same and that is TIME. Every day- everyone has the same amount of time. 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day. 86,400 seconds. How those 86.400 seconds are used often defines our lives. If you've been reading often you know I'm an old John Wooden disciple, so get ready for some "Wooden-isms". One of Coach Wooden's most famous quotes is,"Don't mistake activity for achievement." Many folks get caught up in going, going, going and "appear" really busy. Often times those people are in a a hurry - and we all know to "Be Quick - but Don't Hurry". I See people rushing around all the time because they are in one of two extremes. They either lack planning or preparation and "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." And "if you don't have time to do it right - when are you going to find the time to do it over?" At times people are at the other extreme where they micro-manage and work far harder than they need to. The key, sometimes, is to work smarter not harder, and that often involves organization. At times it is important in the organization process to just stop and think. Take the time to develop your thoughts and plan accordingly. Slowing down to think makes some people uncomfortable because they feel like they aren't doing something. Many times when I'm reading, browsing, or even "tweeting" I'll be asked what I'm doing. I do those things because I like to know stuff. I guess formally they'd call that learning and education. That accumulation of knowledge, while folly to some, is preparation to me. I'm not always sure what - but I have faith that someday - that knowledge, however trivial it may seem, may come in handy at some point and I want to be prepared for that. Abe Lincoln said 

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."
I look at these times simply as "sharpening the axe". If more people spent time "sharpening the axe" it might be easier to "chop down their tree". Metaphorically speaking, of course. So we need to train ourselves to accept the fact that just thinking is good. There have been plenty of recent studies that show this may be your most productive time.One of the most oft-repeated quotes comes from Bill Bradley, star NBA guard for the Knicks and American Politician who quoted in his book Values of the Game
Somewhere someone is practicing. If you're not and you meet them in competition, all other things being equal, you will lose!
I’m wondering if MAYBE the following statement is just as true... 
Somewhere, someone is resting and recovering. That will revitalize them to the point when they take the court again, they will work harder, longer, and with more focus . This periodization of training leads to a more productive practice regimen. And when and you meet them in competition, all other things being equal, you will lose! --Coach Lok
I think the same thing applies to our work and our everyday lives. The key may be to look at work just like training. You can't go 100% all the time. There needs to be some "periodization" involved. So whatever you're doing, whether it's working, recovering, or "sharpening the axe" - do so with a purpose. And put all 86,400 seconds to good use. 
"If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds' worth of distance run - Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it..." --Rudyard Kipling's "IF"
How we "fill the unforgiving minute..." always reminds me of the wonderful poem "The Dashby Linda Ellis which she eloquently describes as the little line between the date of someones birth and the date their death which represents all that has happened between...how that life has been lived.. You'll enjoy spending some time watching "The Dash movie" too. What are we going to do to make sure our "dash" represents what we want it to? It's good to think about what we want our dash to represent, and what we are going to do to ensure that happens. Set some goals, work to achieve them - then if you"re derailed, keep plugging away without being discouraged. "Now" just may not be the time. I remember a comic strip, I think it was Frank & Ernest, where one of them was praying and said "God, how long is a million years? "A voice from above said, "To me, it’s about a minute." The man asked, "God, how much is a million dollars? "The voice bellowed, "To me, its just a penny. "In the next frame the man smiled and asked, "God, can I have a penny? " God answered, "In a minute." I think of this all the times when something doesn't seem to be happening on MY schedule or as fast as I want it to. In the coaching profession so many coaches are looking for that next job, or how to "move up". Life's not always on OUR schedule. Keep working. Do the right thing. Make the big time wherever you are. Be patient. Have faith. An often overlooked feature of John Wooden's Pyramid of Success are the sides of the Pyramid - which is the mortar that holds the 15 blocks together. Notice the mortar at the top of the Pyramid is "Patience" and "Faith" Stay tuned for next month when we'll discuss the "mortar" that holds the Pyramid of Success together. Until then..be patient.