Eric Musselman

Eric Musselman

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 21:59

Bench Coaching

Wednesday, 18 November 2015 21:58

Eric and Referee

Monday, 12 October 2015 22:38

Are you willing to bet on yourself?

Found a great little book by Jeffrey Gitomer the other day titled "Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Teal Book of Trust." It's only a couple of hundred pages, but it's a wonderful book -- one that I'd consider giving to other coaches and players.

Here's a good excerpt from the first part of Gitomer's book:

Have you ever looked back at a decision you made and scolded yourself, almost punished yourself, for making the wrong decision or realizing you could have made a better decision?

Monday-morning quarterbacks are always correct. They see what could have been done or should have been done on Sunday, and talk about it on Monday as though they could have gone back to Sunday and done it themselves.

People who go back and chastise themselves, or second-guess themselves, for making a wrong decision continue to set themselves up for failure in future decisions simply because they don't trust themselves.

I maintain that your judgment should always be trusted and never be second-guessed. That doesn't mean you won't make errors. That's why they call it judgment.

But I'm challenging you to look at incorrect decisions as lessons, life's lessons.

Mistakes in judgement are the best teachers in the world, and if you choose to learn from them, then you will begin to trust yourself and understand that, correct or incorrect, you were decisive and moved on.

Oh, you may rely on others. Oh, you may be dependent on others. But reliance and dependence are mutually exclusive of trust.

In order to build trust and become a trusted advisor to others, you have to first trust yourself. This means you have to trust your thinking, your wisdom, your knowledge, your judgment, your instincts, your powers of observation,your powers of dedication, your ability to reason, and your ability to discern.

You must be decisive. Trusted people are not wishy-washy. Trusted people do not pass the buck. Trusted people are willing to bet on themselves. It's not "trust me." It's "trust yourself."

Mike Montgomery is in his first season as head coach at Cal but he "guided Stanford to 12 NCAA appearances including the 1998 Final Four."

To get his Cal players excited about the tourney, "after the team's regular season had concluded at Arizona State, Montgomery assembled his players. He showed them a video about the NCAA tournament, featuring big moments and big plays. Montgomery then spoke of his own March Madness experiences to a locker room in which 10 of the 15 players had never been on the court in an NCAA game."

"I told them," Montgomery said, "how they don't understand how hard it is to win in the tournament, how they don't have any idea yet how big a deal this is. It's something you'll look back on and you need to cherish it. I talked to them about the heartbreak that can happen when you give it everything and sell your souls out and still lose — but how it's all worth it."


"He got a little emotional about it,'' point guard Jerome Randle said. "He was talking about the memories you can have, about how once you get there, anything can happen. It's a serious deal for him."

Monday, 12 October 2015 22:33

Trying to make your opponent uncomfortable

Good story in the Minneapolis paper about 31-year-old veteran Brian Cardinal, who's proving in MIN that he can still contribute.

"After he watched for the season's opening month, he has become a valuable, contributing member of coach Kevin McHale's rotation, playing as many as 35 minutes Friday against New York when his team had about seven healthy bodies."


As evident from this quote, one of Cardinal's strengths is his attitude:

"It's tough to just sit over there and watch, but I knew at some point in time something was going to happen because that's just how this league is," Cardinal said. "It's crazy: Some days, you play. Some days, you don't. Sometimes, your number is called. Sometimes, it's not. You have to be ready at all times. I'm just lucky Mac has had some faith in me."


According to the Star-Tribute article, when they traded for him, "the Wolves... received a veteran who didn't complain when he didn't play and who has contributed with his defense, his ability to make the right play and even with his three-point shooting, whether he plays five minutes or 35. He has made seven three-pointers in the past three games."

"The last game, he had three steals, and he took three charges," [Coach] McHale said. "That's six possessions. That's huge."


Cardinal is one of those rare NBA role players who, as Dr. J said here, understands his role and is happy to be in the league. Cardinal is first to acknowledge that he's "heavy on will and seemingly light on skill."


"I'm not the greatest of athletes, the greatest of jumpers," he said. "The list of things I'm not very good at goes on and on. I try to make up for that with hard work and just knowing the game. I try to make people somewhat uncomfortable. Anytime you're in your comfort zone, you're at your best. So I try to make the other guy uncomfortable."
Monday, 12 October 2015 22:32

The function of basketball is penetration

As he's done from time to time this season, DAL coach Rick Carlisle "hatched a surprise" recently against the Lakers -- a zone defense that "caused confusion" and "bog[ged] down the Lakers offense."

"We hadn't seen a zone for a long time and it came out of nowhere," Vujacic said Monday. "For 60 games teams played man-to-man against us. No team played zone."


LA won the game, but the zone worked for time, as "the Lakers offense went stagnant."

"When the zone got sprung on [the second unit], they had that hesitation and ended up shooting nine 3-pointers that didn't go in," Coach Phil Jackson said. "That was a loss of focus because they lost the function of basketball, which is penetration."


To prepare for the next time they face a zone, "the Lakers spent the majority of Monday's two-hour practice working on the principles of their zone offense. The focus was on the best ways to attack a zone, which include moving the basketball to make the zone shift, making sharp cuts without the ball, and maintaining proper spacing."

Monday, 12 October 2015 22:30

It's called growing up

In HOU, Aaron Brooks is experiencing some growing pains now that he's moved into the starting PG position.

In his words, "it's a little bit of a burden."

While Brooks is settling into his role, he does not fit into the traditional point guard mold, someone who looks to set the table. Without Tracy McGrady in the lineup — especially at the end of games — Brooks is the primary creator. That means he’s going to be more offensive-minded, because that is what is required of him.

What leaps out are games such as Saturday’s, when Brooks played 31½ minutes, took 18 shots and did not deal a single assist.


According to teammate Shane Battier, for Brooks, "the next step for him is to find a way to use his speed to make his people better. It’s part of the maturation process, and you can’t rush it. It’s called growing up. It’s called living."

Continue to work through Joe Torre's book, "The Yankee Years." There's a good excerpt that ties into a post from yesterday from Jeffrey Gitomer's book about trust.

Torre took over a Yankee team that had "played under the tightly wound [Bucky] Showalter, who had played, coached, and managed so long in the Yankees organization, where Steinbrenner's divide-and-conquer style of leadership was designed to keep everyone uncomfortable, that trust did not come easily to him."

In 1996, when Torre was named manager of the team, "they had a tast of the playoffs," Torre said, "and I think they were grown up enough to know somebody has to make the decisions. Whether you like me or believe me, you have to understand that. They were at the point where they knew in order to win we have to work together. And somebody has to point us in that direction."

I pulled the following from page 10 of the book:

~~~~~~~~~~

Torre provided a complete contrast to Showalter's micromanagement style. He gave his coaches and players a wide berth. One word kept coming up over and over again in the application of his management philosophy: trust.

"What I try to do is treat everybody fairly," Torre said. "It doesn't mean I treat everybody the same. But everybody deserves a fair shake. That's the only right thing to do. I'd rather be wrong trusting somebody than never trusting them."

"I'm of the belief that the game belongs to the players, and you have to facilitate that the best you can. I want them to use their natural ability. If they're doing something wrong, you tell them, but I'd like it to be instructive, rather than robotic. The only thing I want them all to think about is what our goal is and what the at-bats are supposed to represent. And that simply is this: 'What can I do to help us win a game?'"

Players quickly bought into Torre's management-by-trust style, and they did so because its abiding principle was honesty.

"Honesty is important to me. Where does it come from? I don't know, but even when I think back it was always something that was ingrained in me. Even now I may have trouble when I have to tell someone the truth if it's not a pleasant thing, but I won't lie to them. I can't do that. The only way you can get commitment is through trust, and you've got to earn that trust."

Loved how Memphis coach John Calipari turned over practice to forward Robert Dozier the other day in a move designed to force the quiet senior to take more of a leadership role with the team.

As this article describes, "Calipari left the gym, leaving Dozier on his own to coach."

"He thinks I'm too quiet," Dozier says. "He wanted me to be vocal, get on guys and be more of a leader. I was mad at first, because I didn't want to do it. But I had fun with it. The guys enjoyed it. It wasn't a long practice." The usually subdued Dozier said he tried to get as animated as Calipari, a dynamic, demonstrative speechmaker never at a loss for words. "I had to tone it down," Dozier says, laughing. "There were a lot of people in there."


If you're wondering why, at a Memphis practice, "there were a lot of people in there," it's because Coach Cal opens nearly all of the Tigers' practices to the public.

Retired folks stop in with their grandchildren; a postman comes by after finishing his route. For many elite programs, open practices were long abandoned in an Internet age when word can spread fast to rivals about a team's offensive and defensive schemes or a frustrated coach can show up on YouTube for pitching a fit. Calipari shrugs off those possibilities but notes he keeps some practices closed during the NCAA tournament.


Says Coach Cal: "I don't have anything to hide. You've got people, their lives seem to be this basketball program. They come to practice four or five times a week. They're able to get on the phone and talk to friends about what we're working on."

After his team lost the national championship game last season, Coach Cal was criticized for not having his players properly prepared.

"Either you use an experience to help build you and make you better and stronger, or the experience breaks you," he says. "That experience ... it did nothing except good stuff for us. None of it was bad."
Saturday, 08 August 2015 01:58

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