“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle

Monday, October 15, 2012

THE GRIND: Rated NL for Mature Audiences


Do you know "HOW TO" get there? We're talking PRACTICE. CHAMPIONSHIP PRACTICE! Do you know what it takes to reach your personal or team goals? Do you know what it takes to get to the "Next Level" and succeed. Do you know what it takes to reach your potential, to OVERACHIEVE or to win a Championship? The secret is is in THE GRIND. Do you know how to embrace The GRIND?

You might know? Then again, you might not know Diddlley.

Every player wants to get in the game. And some players do what it takes Pursuing the Fun enough to get by at their level. Then their are a few - A very few that Live for the GRIND, Pursue Their Dream, and THE NEXT LEVEL. Which Player are YOU? Do You Know?

We can all be Students of the Game and The GRIND! IF you want to know - YOU CAN!

"Bo Knows" was a NIKE advertising campaign that featured professional baseball and American football player Bo Jackson. The add goes "Bo knows baseball" and "Bo knows football." Even, "Bo knows basketball." Jackson was the first athlete in the modern era to play both professional baseball and football in the same year. Hal McRae, Player/Coach for the KC Royals in 1987 and observed his practice habits. He said, 'It takes time for a guy to learn how to get into the daily grind. Not just Bo, but all young kids.' Bo learned the Daily GRIND - He knew! And you can too!

Lesson 1: Learn the Grind!

"Brooks Knows" Oklahoma City Thunder Coach, Scott Brooks talks about Kevin Durant's GRIND: "He practices every day as if he is the worst player in the league." 

"Lyndsey Knows" Former Division 1 point guard Lyndsey Fennelly writes about Championship Practice in her blog post "Becoming a Champion." Noting attention to Oklahoma City Thunder Coach, Scott Brooks' observations about Kevin Durant practice habits - Lyndsey writes, "KD doesn't approach his game with a 'too cool', or 'I know it all', or even, 'I'm one of the best players in the league, so I'll just take today off'. He understands that continual improvement requires a daily grind." Lyndsey Meadors Fennelly played D1 basketball at Iowa State. She is the daughter-in-law of NCAA Division 1 Head Coach Bill Fennelly. If you want to know more - Read her full post HERE.

Lesson 2: Bring Your Grind Everyday

"Jon Gordon Knows" In Training Camp, a Playbook about what the Best Do Better Than the Rest,
Gordon shares what he learned during his GRIND which calls "His Training Camp in Life." He discovered that the best of the best, whether they're a athlete, teacher, coach or parent, etc, share similar success characteristics.

Jon shared 10 Tips to Be Your Best from TRAINING CAMP in a post on his BLOG (Read it Here) and issues a WARNING in TIP #3
"The fact is: Past success does not determine future success. Future success is the result of how you work and prepare and practice and how you strive to improve every day."
Lesson 3: Study Their GRIND | Copy the Best

I am not talking about studying KD's  Grindtography below! But, If you spent time in the gym like he does, you might earn the right to Grindtography!

"Alan Knows KD" Alan Stein, CCS, CSCS,, had the opportunity to work with KD when he was a Junior at Oak Hill Academy. Coach Stein is a student of the game and one of the best Next Level Trainers in the world.  I challenge you to read and study the list: 15 Things You Can Learn from Kevin Durant HERE on iHoops. Hopefully, you will see, We can Study KD's GRIND by reading, studying, and by making an attempt to copy any or all of the 15 Lessons Alan shows us. Remember, "Alan Knows KD" and the Next Level GRIND. Hopefully you will learn it too.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Are you Living Your DREAM? Are you Pursuing Your PASSION? Do you Know Your PURPOSE? Have you invested the time to define what Personal SUCCESS means to you? Have you written down Your VISION? Your GOALS

Do you have a PLAN of ACTION? Are you MOVING in the right direction? Do you know where you are going? What are you SEEKING to Accomplish? Do you want to get BETTER? When OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS on your door, Will You be Listening

Its YOUR TALENT, YOUR PASSION, YOUR LIFE, But the Talent part is over rated. It's the XFACTOR that matters most. 

Do you have it? If not, Go Get It! After all, It's YOUR LIFE!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Paying the Price vs Going Through the Motions

Have you ever just "gone through the motions"? Yesterday, it seemed like some of our guys might be "just going through the motions" during our preseason player development. It was obvious that some really cared, but it wasn't obvious who was really there? Did we (we being all of us, players and coaches) give our BEST focus and effort today? The coaches planned and prepared. We executed our plan. But, coaches don't play.

Student-athletes are the "real players" with the "real stakes" in the question of ordinary vs extraordinary performance. So what do you think?  Did you know that one of the secrets of the extraordinary performance begins with THINKING? Steve Seibold wrote about the process in his book Secrets of the World Class: Turning Mediocrity into Greatness. Champions raise their level of performance by raising their level of conscious thought. They study, prepare and THINK, like world class players.

Ray Allen talks about life in the NBA, "It's a job, that if you want it, you have to be willing to step up and pay the price."

Are you willing to Pay the Price for Extraordinary? You have a powerful Internet resources at your fingertips. Why not invest some time by yourself, studying a world class player that you admire. And before you go to practice today, ask yourself this question: How would my favorite College or NBA player approach the drills I am going to do today? Your thoughts? And That Is the Secret! Get It? Bring It!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Deep Thought: A Key to Extraordinary

"You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. 
And you can win when you’re outscored.” (John Wooden)

Invest twenty minutes listening and learning from Coach Wooden's experience.

Some questions to ask: Are you purposely pursuing the best you can be?  How do you define winning? How do you define success? What is the perfect player?

Monday, September 10, 2012


Friday, a colleague in the basketball profession sent me a note and ask, "I'm curious, from your years of being a basketball coach - in addition to experience - what have you found to be a good resource to help you in your coaching? Is there a website you like, book you found helpful, etc? That's a great question, I thought. And thought. And I am still thinking as I write this post.

Initially, my mind swirled through a personal library of books. Then, memories of teams, players, coaches, napkins, chalk talks, camps, phones calls, tweets, dvd's, team playbook, videos, scouting reports, binders, notes, files, interviews, websites, blogs, and my personal experience. Are you kidding me? It's a simple question? But, my mind swells with possibilities for a simple answer. Talk about a great open ended question: This one causes me great pause, reflection, and consideration. Their curiosity, I wonder, what is their motive? Or, is there a motive? If so, maybe I should refer my friend to the book DRIVE by Daniel Pink?

When you are passionate and intrinsically motivated, questions sometimes provoke deep thought. When that happens, I write: It might be a tweet, an email, a letter, and/or occasionally, just as happened during the NBA playoffs when reporters questioned DWade about Fathertime, I BLOG. So, this BLOG post is for you: Players, coaches, administrators - Anyone that might be looking for a resource to help you in your journey to Build a Championship Program.

In the introduction of his book, WOODEN ON LEADERSHIP,  "Coach" includes in the subtitle a section called "REMEMBER YOUR ROOTS" and writes the following: "I believe leadership itself is largely learned...Whatever coaching and leadership skills I possess were learned through listening, observation, study, and then trial and error...This comes most from what I was taught from my dad...The principles and values I learned back there stuck with me and became the compass that I've followed--or tried to follow--for more than 90 years." 

On that note, I frequently pause to reflect - Remember the Lessons of my Roots. Following are a few to consider. 

  • God's Lesson: If I had kept my priorities in line and lived accordingly life and time spent will be more efficient. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God..."
  • Dad's Lessons: Navigate life using God's moral compass and seeking God's Will; Believe, Pray, Forgive, Trust, Seek, Give, and Serve. If you want to be good at somethingGO PRACTICE!
  • Mom's Lessons: You can do all things through Christ. Everything Matters. If Better is Possible, Do Better! Never Quit.
  • Grandpa's Lessons: Do What You Love. Work Hard. Mind to Your Own Business. Stay Planted to Reach Your Potential. Everything has a Season. Good Things Take Time. The Ordinary can Produce the Extraordinary. And, Have Fun.
  • Grandma's Lessons: There is a recipe for success. All the ingredients matter. Respect Everybody. Fear No One! Oh Well, Accidents Happen.
  • Coach Roberts (PeeWee Coach) Lessons: Prepare Early to Be Great. Take Responsibility. Fundamentals, Situations and Reps are the Ordinary ingredients of Extraordinary performance.
  • Coach Marquardt's (My HS coach) Lesson:  Listen. Be ready. You don't know when your number will be called. Role Players are important.
  • Sheryl Howery's (My 1st coaching gig) Lessons: Read eyes. Stat and Evaluate the Pecking Order Data in as many relevant categories as possible.
  • Dan Hayes (My 1st Camp Job-Head Coach, OCU) Lessons: Use a systematic mechanical approach to teaching and developing fundamentals. Mullen's Drills!
  • Sherri Coale (Student Staff, Camps, +, Head Coach, OU) Lessons: Repetition, Everything Matters, Details, Pt. Differential, Find your voice, and More+.
These are the priceless resources. If one is willing to invest the time, 
the lessons can be learned and shared.


My personal library of books is significant and diverse. I believe reading and writing is paramount to developing one's potential in any profession. Below you will find 31 books, that in my opinion, are some of the best reading resources a player, coach, administrator or any sports professional can trust as a valuable resource.

  1. THE BIBLE: Proverbs 1:5 Listen: A Wise Coach will HEAR & LEARN. 24:30 STUDY Failure - Learn lessons from what you see. Habakkuk 2:2 Write the vision
  2. COACH WOODEN: Leadership Game Plan For Success
  3. COACH WOODEN: On Leadership
  4. COACH WOODEN: One on One
  5. COACH WOODEN: The Essential
  6. MINDGAMES: Strategy (Phil Jackson)
  7. DRIVEN FROM WITHIN: Motivation (Jordan)
  8. TRIPLE POST OFFENSE: (Tex) Offensive Sys Spacing, Angles, Reads, Options, Counters
  9. TRIAL BY BASKETBALL: (TexWinters) The System/Experience
  10. CHARACTER DRIVEN: Priorities (Derek Fisher)
  11. LEADING FROM THE HEART: Passion/Caring (Coach K)
  13. SWING YOUR SWORD: Fight/Nature/Outside the Box (Mike Leach)
  14. DRIVE: What makes people tick. (Daniel Pink)
  15. TALENT IS OVERRATED: Deliberate Practice (Geoff Colvin)
  16. SUCCESS IS A CHOICE: Deserve it (Pitino)
  17. THE WINNER WITHIN: Teambuilding (Pat Riley)
  18. SUN TZU FOR EXECUTION: Principles of Execution/Discipline
  21. THE INNER ATHLETE: Mental Mindset
  22. TRAIN TOUGH THE ARMY WAY: Toughness Training
  23. COURT SENSE: Dev Basketball IQ
  25. WHAT THE DOG SAW: Perception
  26. THE TIPPING POINT: Timing Awareness
  27. THINK LIKE A CHAMPION: Basketball IQ Parables


Below are some of the best websites I subscribe to and/or frequently visit to
read, research, stimulate thought and grab ideas.

Championship Coaches Network


The Coaching Toolbox

Play The Right Way


Alan Stein

SmarterTeam Training

The Academy For Sports Leadership Cory Dobbs

Janssen Peak Performance

The Tribe: Better Basketball

Kevin Eastman Basketball

Coach Like a Pro

Dr. Cohn's SportsPsychology Blog

SOSI Science of Strategy Institute


Coach Czeslawski

Coach Don Meyer

Technology is a very important part of coaching today. We live in a visual world where athletes are native users and producers of technological resources. Below are some of the best resources I have found and used.


SOFTWARE: Intelligym

Training Systems: 94Fifty

PGC Basketball



To Study!
  1. Phil Jackson
  2. Scott Brooks
  3. Sherri Coale
  4. Dan Hays
  5. Bill Self
  6. Coach K
  7. Vince Lombardi
  8. Mike Leach


To Splice and Cut into tape.
  1. Hoosiers
  2. Remember The Titans
  3. Rocky
  4. Saving Private Ryan
  5. KNIGHT School
  6. The Apprentice
  7. XFactor
  8. American Idol


There are a tremendous amount of resources available to coaches and programs today. Still the secret in my opinion is to Plan the Work and Work the Plan.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

DWADE VS FatherTime

DWADE VS FatherTime

A Lesson in the NOW for Student-Athletes

NBA Finals: GAME 1 DWYANE WADE: Post Game Press Conference

When probed by a sports journalist about his performance and any concern he might have about his ability to still seize opportunity, Wade replied, "One day it’ll happen,...Father Time will knock on the door and tap me on the shoulder. But, NOT right now!"


Statement made. Wade abruptly ended the interview-Pushing himself up and away from the open mic, he  left the stage. His body language and attitude spoke volumes that he was "In the Now" and off to work with Game 2 and the 2012 Finals the mission in mind.

Though Father Time's clock is ticking, Wade's 'right now' is all about the end of a season. He is obviously a focused athlete - Embracing the challenge before him, 100% focus on Seizing the Opportunity of the NOW!

What about you? For most basketball players the Off-Season is the right now. And that "right now" is really what determines who gets to their personal FINALS. Because for every Student-Athlete, regardless of the sport you compete in, 'The Finals' is about you playing up too and beyond your potential next year.

A WORD to Student-Athletes/Class of 2013:  Like with DWADE, FatherTime may not walk up and knock on your door today, BUT, he is watching and his clock is ticking. So, what are you going to do with your opportunity to get better today?

The 2013 HS and college playoffs start in less than 249 days. For FatherTime and DWADE that is "RIGHT NOW"!  Press conference OVER. DWADE doing work. What about You?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mental Toughness and Reading

Mental Toughness and Reading  There is a proverb that says, "Those who do not read are no better off than those who can't." Reading is a mental exercise of the brain. Read a book about "mental toughness" and you will start to view the intangible parts of the game differently. Read a biography about Micheal Jordan and Pay Attention to references about his intangible qualities of toughness and maybe some of it rubs off and sticks in your mindset. Read and study the game. Read and study your favorite players. You will gain knowledge and wisdom in the process. Plus reading in and of itself develops toughness.
Think about this: Our culture is driven by imagery. Pictures floating everywhere; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Lockerz apps. Then there is YouTube, ESPN, and Flipboard. Advertising teaches us that a picture paints a thousand words in our mindset and so a video must paint a million.
Here is the secret about reading. The words you read - Paint pictures in your mindset. And Mental Imagery is a huge component of mental toughness. So, it could be said "You are what you read." Or, "Those who do not read are no better off than those who can't." So, as NIKE says, "Just Do It" - Read something and improve your mental toughness.


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An Oklahoma Sooner and Norman High School graduate-Played for Hall of Fame Coach Max Marquardt-1974 Tiger Basketball State Tournament team. Harper brings (23) years of teaching experience: Head Coach(6)yrs, Asst Coach(16)yrs, and (1)year of NCAA D1 experience in a student staff role for the University of Oklahoma Women's Basketball program. Harper's track record includes numerous successful summer journeys, coaching many prominent student-athletes from Oklahoma on the AAU circuit. Success File: (3)State Championships, (6)OSSAA 6A State Tournaments,(2) OSSAA State Tournament Semi's,(1) 6A State Championship Runner-up and the Sweet 16 season with the Sooners. A proud Sooner graduate and two sport letterman at Norman High School, Harper played college basketball at Hillsdale College before investing 17 years in the corporate arena. At the peak of a successful career with Sprint Communications, Harper decided to return to the athletic arena and tipped off a new career, living a lifelong dream and purposing to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes!