Basketball Coaching: The Thought of the Day

I like to have a thought for the day during each of our practices.  I post it in the locker room, present it to the team prior to the start of practice and ask for any input the players have regarding the thought.  I require that at least one player give some of their input prior to beginning the day’s basketball activities.  I stop to utilize any teachable moments during the practice when the thought can be applied.  We conclude practice with a huddle and include the review of the thought for the day as a part of the review of the day’s practice.

Once each month, we review the thoughts for the day that apply to our current season and current team.  I want the discussions and lessons to be pertinent to the challenges that the current team is facing, so that each year the lessons are fresh, and that each player is continually growing through his four years of basketball.

We include lists of and pertinent notes for the thoughts for the day for the updates that we give our players in their team notebooks.

I choose the thought for the day based on the following criteria:

1) It should be something that impacts their mental attitudes and mental toughness,

2) It must be a concept that when applied correctly, will improve the performanc of our team. 

3) We have a pre-defined culture for our program that the thought must fit.

4) I want it to have immediate impact in all areas of the players’ lives as well as potential for a positive impact on the remainder of their lives.

In our program, mental tougheness is our #1 area of emphasis.  We teach it and expect it (along with positive attitudes and championship effort) every day that we have contact with the players.

Here are just a few examples of some of the past thoughts of the day and basketball quotes that we have used.  I hope they give you some ideas to find and create inspirational basketball quotes to pass on to your team.

  1. If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my ax.  Abraham Lincoln
  2. The image of a champion is someone who is drenched in sweat and is at the point of exhausition–when no one else is watching.
  3. You need to decide whether you want a life of comfort or a life of accomplishment.
  4. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
  5. You never stay the same, you are either getting better, or you’re getting worse.
  6. There are two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.  Which one will you choose?
  7. Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.
  8. Repetition elevates personal skills.

I want the thought for the day to be meaningful and not just somethng we go through the motions. I don’t want it to be something that I am searching for 5 minutes before practice starts.  I spend time between the end of one season and the start of the next working to improve myself as a leader, teacher, and basketball coach.  As a part of that process, I document the thoughts that I am going to use in the upcoming season and have every thought for the day planned for every practice before we start the season.  

That is not to say that I don’t adjust as the season goes along or make changes during the season.  I just feel that it is much too important a part of our basketball program to not have a game plan for.

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