Twenty-Five Little Things to Remember

This weeks entry in our SJI Coaches Corner series, featuring Owner and President Jim Walker, is from coach Pete Carril’s book, “The Smart Take from the Strong”.

Summers are a great time for coaches. They are great for rest, relaxation and re-energizing, but they are also great for reading and preparing for the next season. Every coach has a bookshelf with plenty of basketball books and yesterday I was browsing through mine and came across a book that I first read over twenty years ago. It was a good read then and just as good now. My good friend Pete, with whom I have shared both tears and beers, has lots of interesting philosophical thoughts about the game of basketball. If you don’t have this book, perhaps you want to add it to your shelf? He ends the book with this helpful list of coaching “tidbits” that I thought you would enjoy. Even if you find only a few things to help your coaching, this would be a worthwhile read and you will be a better coach.

Twenty-Five Little Things to Remember

  1. Every little thing counts. If not, why do it?
  2. When closely guarded, do not go to the ball. Go back door.
  3. Whenever you cut, look for a return pass.
  4. When you commit to a cut (or back-door) do not stop and do not come back to the ball.
  5. Bad shooters are always open.
  6. On offense, move the defense.
  7. Putting defensive pressure on the ball makes it harder for the other team to run an offense and gives your team a better chance to defend.
  8. In a zone, or in any defense, when their five men guard your three men, throw a cross court pass.
  9. Watch the man in front of you. He shows you what to do.
  10. Keep your dribble. Use it when you’re going to do something useful.
  11. A pass is not a pass when it is made after you have tried to do something else.
  12. A good player knows what he is good at. He also knows what he is not good at and only does the former.
  13. You want to be good at those things that happen a lot.
  14. When the legs go, the heart and the head follow quickly behind.
  15. Defense requires three things: courage, energy, intelligence.
  16. If your teammate does not pass the ball to you when your open and he doesn’t say anything, then he did not see you. If he says “I’m sorry,” he saw you and did not want to throw you the ball.
  17. In trying to learn a specific thing, the specific thing is what you must practice. There is little transfer of learning.
  18. Whatever you are doing is the most important thing that you are doing when you are doing it.
  19. Anyone can be average.
  20. Being punctual is good in itself. However, what is more important is that your punctuality tells your teammates what you think of them.
  21. Hardly any players play to lose. Only a few play to win.
  22. I like passers. They can see everything.
  23. The way you think affects what you see and do.
  24. Rarely does a person who competes with his head as well as his body come out second. That was said even before Coach Vince Lombardi, by the Greeks and Romans, and probably by the Chinese.
  25. The ability to rebound is in inverse proportion to the distance your house is from the nearest railroad tracks.

We hope you can find something in this blog to help you for this off-season as well as for future seasons. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Some of this information have you interested? Keep an eye on our blog for more thoughts throughout the summer as we continue this series of comments from our Owner and President Jim Walker. Let us know at if there is a specific topic you are interested in.

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