What exactly does “playing the right way” mean?

It’s not too hard to understand. But it takes a few lessons. I firmly believe the learning begins at an early age.

As a coach, parent and teacher, it’s our duty to teach the children the right way to play.

Here are the 12 characteristics of someone who plays the right way:

1-ATTITUDE – Positive over negative.

2-MOTIVATION – The less motivated, weed themselves out.

3-CHARACTER – Be a good person.

4-TEAMMATE – Help others succeed.

5-WORK ETHIC – Nothing gets done without it.

6-PPTPW – Have to be tough. Tough players win.

7-CONFIDENCE – Know you can get it done.

8-THE BIG E’S – Energy, Enthusiasm, and Effort.

9-LOVE – Do it for love

10-COMMITMENT – All in. Buy in. 

11-NO EXCUSES – Stop complaining.

12 -FAILING IS NOT FAILURE – Never give up.

46 thoughts on “P.T.R.W.

  1. Corey,

    Thanks buddy. Do you coach? Have a great day. We’re always looking to improve the profession and share the knowledge.

  2. NCAA Hoops,

    Ok no problem and thanks for the compliment. I enjoy your site, you guys do a great job! We try and provide some valuable reading material and throw up some thoughts. Enjoy the rest of the NBA playoffs.

  3. I am writing to Larry Bird fans about his impact on my most remarkable friend Dan and his amazing family. I met Dan as a sophomore in High School 12 years ago. I had always enjoyed playing basketball, but had struggled to find a team and a coach who would enjoy it more and focus less on competition and winning. Dan accepted me on to his high school JV team without hesitation. This would be a season I will never forget. Dan taught a young group of high school girls, much more than the game of basketball, he taught us about the wonderful game of life. Dan encouraged us to elevate our level of play through selfless play and leadership. He always focused on teamwork and reminded us that we were all in this together. He was the true definition of coach, and continues to be a mentor to hundreds of children as a middle school social studies teacher.
    Dan frequently referred to his role model Larry Bird as he taught us the fundamentals of the game as well as the ideas of strength, determination, good sportsmanship, dedication, desire, and most importantly fun. I can’t remember a practice where Dan didn’t mention Larry Bird’s name, or the fact that one of his most prized possessions was his autographed Larry Bird basketball. He often sported high top converse all stars and bragged that he could take Larry one-on-one any day!
    Three years after having the pleasure of being coached by Dan, I was excited to hear that he and his wife had decided to adopt a beautiful baby boy. My teammates and I often teased Dan about being the best Dad ever, and could not wait for a child to be blessed with such a loving and devoted family. Larry’s autograph slowly took second place to Dan’s son, and then slowly to third as he added a beautiful daughter to his family. Dan was always first to brag about his beautiful children, but he would most certainly add how he was proud to show them his Bird autograph.
    On September 11, 2006 Dan’s 6 year old Daughter Taylor was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Many people were absolutely devastated by the news, and have rallied around Dan and his family for support and comfort. Fundraisers were quickly organized to help the family with medical bills and support. There were many touching and inspirational moments, but one of the hardest for me was seeing Dan hand over his autographed Larry Bird basketball for auction. Dan did not hesitate to add this to the mix of items being raffled, but it tore my heart out to see him selflessly give away, what I knew to be something so important to him. The basketball raised a large, much needed sum of money to help support the family, but the image of him handing it over continues to break my heart.
    On November 10, 2006 Taylor lost her battle with cancer and the world lost a true inspiration. Dan continues to be strong and humbled by the outpouring of love and support from his community. So many people have been inspired and moved by the strength and courage of Dan and his family. In a clutch performance, Dan has truly shown the Larry Bird in him, and come through strong and supportive, very few people could perform as brilliantly in critical moments. Such a tragic situation has brought out the best in strangers as well as loved ones. I continue to look back at the years I have known Dan and often think, if anyone can handle this it is him. He clearly has taught his family as well as everyone he has encountered the meaning of dedication, love, courage and strength.
    I thought it was important to share such a story with other fans of Larry Bird. To know that Dan claims Larry as a role model and now, so many claim Dan and his family as a role model really brings more meaning and power to the title coach and role model. If Larry was even remotely responsible for helping to teach Dan the things he has grown to teach so many, I would like to personally thank him for those things as well.

  4. Great blog. I am going to be a manager for a d1 team next year and I would really like to get into coaching. This site is really quite insightful and helpful. I am friends of Coach Datka, at St. Francis, and he showed me this sight…great job with it Coach.

  5. Billy,

    Coach Datka is good people, stick with him. As for your manager’s gig, e-mail me and I will give you the checklist of what every manager should do.



    This is a great topic for a future BLOG. Lawrence Frank, head coach of the New Jersey Nets was a manager at Indiana U.

  6. Rich,

    Dunk you very much. Hope you are well in the Big Apple! Gil Hodges is rolling over in his grave after the Mets collapse!

  7. See we tried to teach you about Coach Knight when you were younger. Glad you finally realized it.

  8. I was a big fan of Tark’s too. Plus don’t forget Pete Carrill who i just saw is helping out the washington wizards

  9. Steve

    This is a great blog. I can truely see that your passion is in the right place, and it is an honor to work with you. No matter what sport, this sight is great for all coaches.

  10. Leigh Ann,

    No problem – thanks for the kind words. I try and find articles on all sports so when you have an article on a volleyball coach, send it and I’ll post it.

    It’s all the same, we all deal with people.

  11. Wow! Steve, love your blog. You offer so much to both aspiring and veteran coaches. The amount of information available now to coaches of all ages is just so incredible. To have a coach like yourself to organize and write about issues of teaching and coaching is just fantastic.

    Please keep up the good work.


  12. Hey Coach. Really enjoying your blogs. I’m a former Juco player and recently resigned from being a Varsity Head Coach for 8 seasons in Flagstaff, AZ. Taking some time off to go back to school, but I’m really enjoying your insight on networking and the coaching fraternity. Just from one day of reading your blogs, I’ve been inspired to make sure I keep up my contacts in the D-I ranks, so I appreciate that. Look forward to reading more from you. Take Care

  13. Coach,

    We are hosting our 7th Annual Fall Coaching Clinic at Houston Christian High School on October 17. Normally we only promote the clinic to middle school coaches and high school coaches in the Houston area, but this year we are really excited about our speaker, Coach Doug Porter of Olivet Nazarene University.

    Coach Porter is the Head Women’s coach at ONU and is a super innovative offensive coach. He has adapted the “Grinnell System” and for lack of a better word, streamlined it. Our coaching staff has all of his DVDs and his teams are great fun to watch and play with incredible passion!

    I have inserted the link from my website where any coach who is interested can download a registration form with all of the details of the clinic and lots of background information on Coach Porter.


    If you would be kind enough to post it on your blog we would greatly appreciate it!


    Kevin Sivils
    Asst. A.D. Houston Christian High School

  14. Kevin, no problem. I will even take it one step further and throw it up on the front page of the blog. Thanks for all you do…

  15. All,
    Please learn all you can with regard to what Finamore says. He is my Buddy as children and knows this game better then most. I love him and we all miis him back in his “hometown” Brooklyn.

  16. Sammy, that’s very kind of you. I still have nightmares thinking back to trying to guard you! You ran circles around me when you had the ball! Brighton Y, Manhattan Beach, East 5th Street, Under the Bridge…

  17. I like your site! Can we exchange links? I’ve reviewed your website and think it would be mutually beneficial if we exchanged links. I will put a link to your homepage with a brief description of your site on my website if you would be willing to do the same for me by putting a link to my home page on your website. Please let me know if you are interested in exchanging links?

  18. Hi Bert,

    Thanks for the question on “Horns Up”. What it basically is is a set where the 4 and 5 men establish position at each elbow. The offense then is run through them; Pick and Roll, Pick and Pop, etc. You’ve probably seen it a million times. Most teams use the term “Horns Up” to start the this sort of action.

    Thanks for writing.

  19. Coach:

    Thank you for creating this blog and thank you for adding the link to my blog designed specifically for Small College Basketball (www.smallcollegebasketball.tumblr.com). You’ve created really good material for so many people involved in this great game. Keep up the great work.

    John McCarthy
    Small College Basketball
    Director – NAIA Div. I MBB National Championship
    Founder – Collegiate Basketball Invitational

  20. Thanks John. Right back at you. What you are doing is awesome! I love small college basketball.

  21. I’am a juco coach my players are failing in the classroom what can I do to keep them focus

  22. Remind them they will be ineligible.

    Print out articles on players who have been successful and those who have not.

    Explain how important it is to stay eligible.

    Recruit kids who show some sort of work ethic/decent grades in HS.

    Bottom line, the kid has to want it. Internal motivation.

    Good luck.

  23. Coach,

    I follow you on twitter and like the knowledge you pass along to us coaches…keep it coming!! My twitter is (coachnelly8) look forward to reading more. Thanks


  24. Coach,

    i just found your blog via twitter, and I can’t stop reading! Thanks for your time and effort, I have already learned so much. I just began my coaching career at Northern Oklahoma JC and I am excited to grow and learn everyday. Thanks again!

  25. Thanks A.C.

    Kick ass and work hard.

    You’ll do great.

    Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    Good luck with your career.

  26. I saw Rock Eisenberg’s name mentioned on this site. Where is he? How’s he doing? They just mentioned him during the NIT Finals broadcast while they were talking about West 4th street in Greenwich Village.

  27. YES!

    I too heard Franny mention his long-time buddy Rock.

    I believe Rock still coaches at Tilden. His wife passed away a month ago.

    Thanks for writing.

    Enjoy the games.

  28. Wow! The Knicks and Nets Article really brought back such wonderful childhood memories for me. I am a huge Bernard King fan too. Watching the Knicks play against Miami made me long for a Knicks team that moved the ball. Let’s hope they can keep it going.

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