Basketball

Razzle & Dazzle

When I was a kid my best friend and I would play basketball for hours on a lowered rim and commentate on our greatness as we threw each other ally-oops and performed amazing feats never before seen on the hardwood. Our names: Razzle and Dazzle. The result was something like this: “Razzle brings the ball up the court with just seconds left in this barn-burner of a game. He and Dazzle have really put on a show here tonight, but they will need one more bucket for the win. 5 seconds left…Razzle crosses over to his right as Dazzle comes up for the handoff. 4 seconds…Dazzle dribbles to the left wing. Razzle flashes on the baseline. 3 seconds left…Dazzle throws the lob. Razzle goes up in traffic, and tips it off the backboard. 2 seconds…Oh My! Dazzle is crashing down the lane! 1 second…He snatches the ball out of the air and throws down a monstrous JAM as the buzzer sounds! Razzle & Dazzle have done it again!! Razzle Dazzle baby!! Etc. etc. We would do this for hours and hours, as many days a week as our parents would let us. Needless to say, our attitude and effort were always at a maximum level.

Attitude & Effort are critical to success. They are the only things your athletes have control over each and every day. Typically we focus more on effort than attitude because it is easier to measure or assess effort. However, our best effort does not always lead to the outcomes or results we desire. So what does this do to your attitude? When you give your best effort as a coach, but it does not result in the outcome you are looking for, what happens to your attitude? If you’re not sure, take a look at your athletes - their attitude is probably a mirror image of your own attitude response. 

The game of basketball is FUN. That’s why we say we PLAY basketball. Often times we bring language from other places into basketball, like, “Let’s go to work.” But the reality remains that basketball is a game, and an incredibly fun one at that! At points in the season it is often easy to forget that this is supposed to be fun. Conference games are in full swing. Practices can seem to drag on. The travel is wearing on you. Altogether it can be exhausting. This is where Attitude changes everything. Razzle & Dazzle never got tired of running the same plays. Think back to why you love the game of basketball. Why is it fun for you? Whatever that answer is, infuse it into your practices and games. Set the tone with your attitude and enjoy the privilege that it is to be part of a team in the midst of basketball season! Make it fun. Your drills, conditioning, performance, and effort will improve as a result. Attitude reflects leadership. You are leading. Lead with an attitude that makes your team want to Razzle & Dazzle.

Chemistry & Character

"The more you move up the ladder of success in the NBA, character, chemistry and intelligence become more valuable.  Talent becomes less valuable.  There are 10 teams in the league that have enough talent to win a championship.  There are probably three, by the end of the playoffs that have the character and the chemistry to actually win the championship.  And you're eliminated somewhere along the way by your chemistry, by your character or by your intelligence, not by your talent." - George Karl

Each member of your team engages in 4 different ways that are key to team chemistry and character:

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As your athletes are identifying their individual and group tasks/skills, have they identified their RELATIONAL role on the team or as an individual?  Often down the stretch of the season, having a fully engaged team will be the deciding factor Coach Karl refers to. That process starts early in the season but is most evident at the end.  What are you doing in your practices to reinforce the value and significance of every individual and their role on the team?

The time given to each aspect is not nearly as important as the process of engaging your athletes holistically.  Does your practice plan reflect this? The skill you, as coach, must master is knowing your athletes and your team.  The challenge of balancing time and attention to each dimension is critical.