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 
three legs of the 
"TRIANGLE OF TRIUMPH"

HomeAbout LokAbout UsTrainingStaffResources

Become a Pure Shooter with these SWISH DVD's
Google
Basketball Tip of the Day
Powered by Basketball.LifeTips.com

INFORMATION  INDEX

ARTICLES BY COACH LOK
AUDIO CLIPS OF COACH LOK
BASKETBALL FORENSICS
CAMPS, CLINICS & LESSONS 
COACHES ROUNDTABLE  BLOG
COLLEGE RECRUITING GUIDE
CONTACT US 
FUNDAMENTALS FACTORY
IMPROVE  COURT SENSE
NEWS FROM LOK'S LEDGER
SPEAKING/CONSULTING SERVICES
VIDEO ROOM
YOUR PERSONAL PRESSBREAK

****************************
ORDER BOOKLETS ON:​
Coaching, Scouting, Practice Planning, ​Dribbling, Passing, Camp Organization ​...and more!!!

****************************
 Hear "Coach Lok's" 
full interview on
Ultimate Sports Parent Radio

****************************









****************************
CLICK HERE TO IMPROVE YOUR 
COURT SENSE
****************************

VIEW ARCHIVES OF COACH LOK'S
 BASKETBALL NEWSLETTER
****************************
INDIVIDUAL  SKILLS ASSESSMENT 
(read more...)
Tweets by @CoachLok
Find out the secrets to developing a great basketball shooting technique that will give you a consistent jump shot and the perfect shooting fundamentals that you have been looking for. Develop a follow thru and the use of your legs that, with practice, will make you a great shooter.. Find out more from Dr. Tom Norland at Swish22.com
********************
Be the smartest basketball player around. Use the ACE IntelliGym (tm) and they'll say, "he really has court sense"...sees the floor"... has a high basketball IQ"...has good instincts, or...really understands the game".
Play Smart  - can you afford not to ?
********************
Check out Coach "Lok's"
Fundamental Booklet Series  of instructional booklets, and  t-shirts with educational  and motivational  basketball slogans and designs.
********************
The #1 Basketball Training Site on the web! 
JumpUSA specializes in selling the widest variety of basketball equipment. Basketball training aids, Spalding Infusion basketballs and Hydra Rib basketball hoops are just some of the top name brand basketball equipment you will find at the lowest prices guaranteed!
********************


********************


********************


Adverstise Here 
with Basketball4ALL








BASKETBALL TIPS
Ball Handling -
Ball Handling Drills
Basketball Conditioning -
Speed Training -
Strength training -
Vertical Jump -     
Quickness and agility
Basketball Defense -
Off ball defense -
On Ball Defense -
Post Defense -
Team Defense -
Zone defense –
Basketball Training Equipment
Basketball Hoops -
Strength Shoes –
Stability -Balls
Balance Balls -
Basketball Footwork -
Individual Offense –
Basketball Guard Play -
Point Guard -
Shooting Guard -
Basketball Offense -
Individual offense -
Offense with the Ball -
Offense without the ball -
Team Offense -
Post Player  -
Post Moves -
Post Position -
Receiving the ball -
Basketball Rebounding -
Defensive rebounds -
Fundamentals -
Offensive Rebounds -
Outlet pass -
*Basketball Rules -
Court dimensions -
Fouls -
Rules-general -
Violations -
Basketball Shooting -
Drills -
Free throws -
Fundamentals -
Jump shots -
Layups 
Basketball Terminology -
Court -
Defense -
Offense -
Basketball Videos &Training Aids 
Basketball Training Software -    
Basketball Training Videos -
Coaching Basketball -
Drills -
Organization -
Philosophy -
Practices -
Scouting -
College Basketball Selection -
Choosing a school -
Getting scouts attention -
The Recruiting Process -
Dribbling -
Dribble moves -
Dribbling drills -
Fast Break in Basketball -
Improve Your Basketball Game 
5 absolute musts! -
Defensive extras -
Offensive extras -
The Bottom Line! -
Individual Training -
Ball handling -
Dribbling -
Guard workouts -
Individual Trainers -
Post player workouts -
Injuries in Basketball -
Care -
Prevention –
Athletic Ankle Supports -
Introduction to Basketball Skills -
Basketball Skills -
Mental game -
Know the Game! -
Mental Toughness -
Parent Involvement -
Playoff time! -
Passing -
Pressbreak -
Principles -
Pyramid of Success -
Slap up a slam dunk NBA Fathead today!
Ray Lokar's Fundamentals Factory and Practice Planning Set - Youth Basketball DVD - Championship Productions *********************
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. 
To go to Coach Wooden's official site click here...
Buy "Coach Lok's DVD Set Now!!!
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

"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.

THE POST-GAME HANDSHAKE

by Ray Lokar on 01/06/16

The "Post-Game Handshake" has come under a lot of fire recently due to some confrontations, poor acts of sportsmanship, disrespect, or simply the percieved lack of sincerity in the process. Some organizations and leagues have discussed and/or actually eliminated the practice. A nice discussion started on Twitter after my friend @ClarenceGaines2 shared that @CoachFinamore had called into a show on the topic by @HeyCoachTony on his show, aptly named, "Hey Coach Tony"


Coach Tony, whose show originates from Conneticut, provided an opportunity for my friend Steve Finamore, a successful high school basketball coach at East Lansing High School in Michigan and opened the door for discussion with a couple guys from SoCal. How great is Twitter? Their premise that handshakes have become meaningless, empty gestures and create an opportunity for some conflict isI actually one I largely agree with agree with. However... 

The fact that a situation creates a potential conflict is not reason enough to outlaw  it, but rather creates another teachable moment we can use to allow another life lesson to be learned. It takes a certain amount of character to do your best, fall a little short and congratulate the victor with dignity and grace - even when you are disappointed and may not feel like it. This doesn't happen only in athletics, this happens in life. Whether it's who got an "A" in a class, won the talent show, made  the big sale, got the job promotion, or even when a decision doesn't go your way after a good debate.

Network TV is full of reality shows that are competition based like the talent driven "American Idol" and "X-Factor" or shows where a winner is chosen, such as "The Apprentice" or even "The Bachelor". Producers apparently feel it is good TV to zoom in on the losers and every time I see one who is irrate, disrespectful, or devasted to tears,  I think to myself, "that person must not have played sports". What a valuable lesson can be learned to help the player quickly recover from setbacks.

Players need to learn to accept the fact that, while it is often much more fun to win, it is entirely possible to be dissappointed in a result, but proud of your efforts. When a player can face the fact that the gave their best Effort, executed what they've learned, and managed Mistakes - yet still came up short - they have done all they could do. This recognition can deaden some of the sting in a difficult loss, but the point must be consistently reinforced by all those involved - teammates, parents, and coaches.

The reality is that if you have done all those things, and the opponent was still able to defeat you...they must be pretty darn good and deserving of your respct. By congratulating them, you are reallycongratulating yourself by telling them that they must have had to really "bring it" that day if they were going to beat you.

Think about what the disappointment and tears after a loss really means. It's not a stretch to understand they come from the exact same place in your soul as tears of joy. All of the work that caused you to care so much that makes losing so difficult is something a player should be really proud of. All that work must have created a whole lot of joy along the way while you were preparing to play that game. There usually is not great dissappointment after a loss until players have endured the real rigors of preparation to compete that day and have felt the great thrill of victory at some point in the past.

Instead of eliminating "the Post-Game Handshake" because of a potential conflict or the"empty gesture" that it often is,  Double-Goal Coaches should work towards filling this moment with meaning, rather than simply participating in a well intentioned ritual of sportsmanship.

I'm always very impressed with Roy Williams and Mike Kzryzewski who consistently appear to have very sincere comments to opposing coaches and certain players after their games, win or lose. There are some coaches who might need to follow their lead and be a bit more sincere as well. If coaches can learn to exercise this practice, certainly players can too.

Athletes should be taught to always pay attention to what their opponents are doing during the competition, as that helps them strive to compete their very best. If a player can recognize ane remember  positive aspects of an opponents play, that is precisely what they should  appreciate the foe during the Post-Game Handshake. A simple, truthful and specific statement to an opposing player after the game to acknowledge good shooting, nice pitching, or great hustle is honoring your opponent's good efforts. I know players would be honored if an opponent said that about them, so do unto others...

In several of our Positive Coaching Alliance Workshops we show a famous picture of Aaron Afflalo helping up a distraught Adam Morrison after a game. UCLA had just come back from  a 16pt deficit to win in the final seconds, ending Morrison's career and catapulting UCLA into the Final Four.

It always amazes me that at that precise moment in time, the rest of the Bruins were celebrating in a dogpile and getting ready to cut down the nets. Rather than joining in the celebration,  in the great display of respect, Afflalo stopped to help his fallen foe. 

The intesting thing about respect is it is earned, not just given. By competing in such a way that makes an impression on your opponent,  a player is much more likely to get that same respect back. Afflalo and Morrison battled for the entire game, and possibly several times earlier in their career. They had earned each others respect.

The other aspect involved is showing some  compassion and empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is much easier for an individual to win with grace when they have also experienced losing with dignity. For that reason we need to take special care in not "protecting" our players from losing by arranging for them to be on certain teams, or jumping from a team that struggles to another that wins. There are plenty of great lessons that come from losing...if we manage them properly.

It turns out that I know for a fact that Afflalo understood and was able to share Morrison's feelings. A couple years earlier Afflalo was a great high school player competing for a championship in an early game at the Anaheim Pond. It was a tremendous game with several lead changes, a last second shot to go into overtime, which was ultimately lost be Afflalos team. I personally witnessed him handling the defeat then with as much class as he handled their victory a couple year later.

I was present at that game because we were scheduled to play for our divisions championship next. We had just upset the #1 seed, Artesia, and our opponent, Palm Desert, had knocked off the #2 seed in the semis. Palm Desert was coached by a very good friend of mine,  Don Brady, who I served with on the Executive Board of theSouthern California Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association for several years.

Our children were around the same age and as they were kids growing up Don coached his kids, as I coached mine. We often discussed their progress as student-athletes and the trials and tribulations of being "Coach-Dad".  My son had just graduated and I had the fortune to coach him in high school. Now Don was living that dream with his son, Donald Jr, in a championship game.

Donald Jr, was the starting shooting guard, had a great basketball IQ, and was the ultimate "coaches kid." he had the best game of all his teammates that day but, fortunately for me,  we played a great "Fourth Quarter in March" and pulled away for the first California Interscholastic Federation Championship in our schools history.

While my guys met at mid-court and I was congratulating my staff...I thought of Don. While we were experiencing the "Thrill of Victory" he was feeling the "Agony of Defeat". I had been in his shoes as the Runner-Up twice before and knew exactly how he felt. So I cut the celebration a bit short and proceeded to start the "Post-agame Handshake Line"

Don and I exchanged congratulations, because they had a magical season too.  When I reached Donald Jr I stopped and explained what a special year it was for him and his Dad, something he's been dreaming about since you were in the 3rd grade and a time they should never forget. He got just a bit more "misty" but we exchanged hugs and moved on to the next person in line.

In an interesting turn of events, he went to University of of Redlands and was classmates with my daughter. They became both played basketball, became great friends and he was actually a teammate and roommates with her future husband. The topic of our game would come up periodically and he told them he was handling the loss just fine until that point in the handshake line. But it was a special moment none-the-less.

I still watch my own son, who has become a college assistant coach, in handshake lines. When the game ends I am tansfixed to his exchanges with opposing coaches and players and am proud at how he manages that situation, win or lose. I see the progression from Hand Slap to Hand Shake to Hand Shake plus a Shoulder Slap to Hand Shake and a "Bro-Hug or all the way to the full man hug when you feel the ultimate respect.

I currently see this practice of respect in many handshake lines among a few players that are particular standouts, friends, or with opponents who they may have been matched up against each other at some point in the contest. However, players can be even more diligent in their observations of all players and, if if nothing else to say comes to mind - thank them! 

Without  an opponent we couldnt play the game, and a quality opponent is a special gift. Nothing is better than a close, hard-fought game. However, those are also the games that get the most tense and, at times, lead to players being disappointed, upset, angry, and holding grudges...which makes the handshake difficult. But in reality, those are the kind of games Triple-Impact Competitors really love to play in. So at the very least solid  eye-contact, a firm handshake, accompanied by a sincere "Thank You!" might truly be in order.