Category Archives: Sports Culture

Pick Three

“Pick three key attributes or features, get those things very, very right, and then forget about everything else… by focusing on only a few core features in the first version, you are forced to find the true essence and value of the product.”        -Paul Buchheit creator of Gmail and Google AdSense

Coaches what are the three key attributes of your teams offense….your teams defense….your teams culture? 

Players what are the three key attributes that you can excel at as a player…. as a teammate?

Coaches and players identify and focus on those key attributes.  Focusing on more than three things you will never  get anything very, very right.  But when you get a few things very, very right you will attain new levels of success .  

There are many great examples of this approach in basketball from individuals such as Dennis Rodman focusing on rebounding, defense, and hustle to a Karl Malone focusing on the key attributes of the pick and roll. As well as examples of teams that identified their best offense to feature a focus on using the  shot clock, eliminating turnovers, and scoring points in the paint  while other teams are best equipped to feature  up-tempo style, dribble-drives, and spot-up threes.

Success is found in specializing in what works best for you and avoiding what doesn’t and that starts with identifying what you can best specialize in.



Three Talents of Champions: Available to Everyone

The Talent to Listen…through this simply act we learn, we become aware of the situation around us, and we show respect to teammates and earn the right to lead.

The Talent to Persevere… Can you deal with adversity in a way that doesn’t negatively alter your focus, your effort, or your relationships with those on your team.

The Talent to Play Hard…. All the time not merely when one feels like it, when it is easy, or when it is glamorous.  But everytime you step on the court.

What can NCAA institutions learn from the PGA?

“You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.” Bobby Jones

PGA players have a long history of honoring the rules  and policing themselves out of respect to the game and their fellow competitors. As example Jim Furyk recently  called a penalty on himself for having an illegal number of clubs in his golf bag during a tournament. He was assessed the two strokes for every hole that was completed with the illegal number of clubs and continued on with his tournament. It took a matter of minutes for this to get assessed and while it did cost Jim some sizable amount of cash ($131,250.00 in lost prize money to be exact) there was no appeal, no excuses, nor any blaming of the rule or the failure of others to monitor and prevent this (such as his caddie). It became nothing more than a seemingly benign and relatively unheadline worthy story from the sports world.  

Yet this was occurring at about the same time allegations were coming to light that Rich Rodriguez the Football coach at Michigan University was breaking a similarly  low-profile type of NCAA rule limiting the number of mandatory organized team activity hours in a week. This lead to press conferences, denials, rebuttals to denials, alibis, and the call for investigatory committee to look into it.  Maybe he did maybe he didn’t I don’t know. What is known is Rich Rodriguez knows whether he did or didn’t. Sadly we can’t trust his answer because football coaches and their coaching brethen in the other ‘money’ sport basketball do not have the same history of respecting the game and their fellow competitors by self-policing and reporting.  In fact it appears to be just the opposite; most operate under the assumption that everbody is  cheating until caught.  Lane Kiffen hadn’t even coached a game at Tennessee before he was accusing his counterpart at Florida for cheating in recruiting.

These facts combine to cause me to ask an overly simplistic questions. Why can’t higher educational institutions and their employees (head coaches with guaranteed six to seven figure contracts) be trusted to abide by the rules governing the conduction of their sport.; yet professional athletes participating in a sport that has no guarantee of pay (it is the proverbial eat what you kill model) have  no problem enforcing the rules on themselves? Where have we gone wrong in team sports? College sports?

Just in case you want to make the argument that the only reason Jim Furyk called this on himself is because he is established and that extra $100 grand doesn’t mean much to him check out this story on J.P. Hayes. Pro golfer Hayes penalizes himself out of a job – JSOnline

Life to the full!

Just a thought…

I just started reading a book by Tom Farrey titled “Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children” and in it he talks about the drive to start kids earlier and earlier and specialize more but contrasts it with numerous examples of top performers in their respective sports who got a late start relative to today’s standards and/or give credit to the playing of multiple sports in their development.  It got me thinking there are a couple of  great questions any and all of us who are involved with youth athletics should be asking ourselves?

  • What are we doing to keep kids involved?
  • Is what we are currently doing contributing to the increasing number of kids dropping out of sports and at an earlier age than ever before?
  • Why do we want kids playing sport and does our program align with these reasons.

I would recommend that before or while answering those questions you take a look at some books such as Tom Farrey’s and maybe visit some websites such as the Postive Coaching Alliance ( to help in this evaluation.

Life to the Full