When & How Do You Promote Selfishness?

By Joe Haefner

Extreme selfishness is not a quality you want with your players. Sometimes, selfishness can destroy a team full of great individuals. Most coaches experience these type of players and have developed good tactics to handle them and promote team unity.

But coaches also come across players that are too unselfish. Too unselfish to the point that it is hurting your team. Athletes usually become unselfish for many different reasons ranging from confidence to social acceptance.

So what do you do when the player is too unselfish?

Recently, while reading a PCA article about promoting selfishness for certain players, I saw this quote. The commenter named Eric talks about his Rugby experience and how he communicates to his basketball team when unselfishness becomes a problem:

“I had an epiphany one day when I played rugby. When I began playing, I always liked being in the action but didn’t necessarily want to be a “star”. Anytime I got near to scoring I’d pass the ball to a teammate. I surprised one with a pass one time when I was practically at the goal line, and we botched the play. Finally I realized that my unselfishness, if that’s what it was, was counterproductive. Doing your job includes scoring when you have an opportunity. I found out that if I got more aggressive with looking to score, it would focus more attention on me from the other team’s defense, and I could then create more opportunities for my teammates. Since then I’ve realized that when I scored, the points went to the team, not me. I’d tell your player that when she scores, she’s giving her team the points, and probably setting her teammates up for a lot more opportunities later. I’ve used this for some of my shyer basketball players, who don’t always like to shoot. The emphasis for these selfless players should be that they can take pressure off of their teammates by trying to score.”

What are your ideas to promote selfishness when you need to?

Should You Remove Competition When Teaching?

By Joe Haefner

Here is an excerpt from the FAQ section of the Post Player Development book by Don Kelbick.

What about practicing post moves with a defense? I’ve read that players need less 1-on-0 and more 1-on-1 and situational drills. Once they have a base for some moves, they need to practice those moves against competition. Otherwise, they won’t develop the “feel” of when to make the right moves. Why wasn’t that addressed?

I am completely on the opposite side here. I think players need more 1-on-0 work and less 1-on-1. I don’t believe in competitive teaching. I don’t teach reading the defense. I teach action and counter. There is no right move, there is only what you do well. 90 percent is mentality. The information in this book is exactly what I teach. Then I just send them out to play.

Now you’re probably wondering why I don’t believe in competitive teaching and reading the defense. Even though my feelings on this are too extensive to cover here, I’ll try to address some of my thoughts.

My philosophy has developed over 30 years of coaching in both team and individual situations. I combine that with three degrees in Education. I say that not to blow my own horn or to minimize anyone else, but to emphasize that it is not an arbitrary method.

I believe that to be an effective teacher you have to remove stress from the classroom. I don’t believe in negative reinforcement, running for mistakes, placing penalties for missed shots or turnovers, or winners and losers in teaching situations. All that adds to the stress level of the players you are trying to develop. A basic effect of stress is that it narrows the perceptual field. It limits what the player is able to see, and how they form perceptions.

When you are a big picture teacher, as I am, anything that prevents the players from seeing all the possibilities or puts them in a position to fear failure, as competition does, would be counter productive. I have seen situations where players fail over and over again because they are working out against a better player. That affects self-image and retards development. I have also seen players take advantage of lesser players and never fail. This gives them a false sense of accomplishment and when they fail in a game, it is a hard fall.

I put my competition into scrimmages where they actually have to play and do the things they practice. Admittedly, it goes slow at first but then the curve becomes very steep. I don’t teach reading the defense. Having a defense there so it forces a particular turn does not fit with my philosophy. Shooting over a hand or having to deal with contact are moot points because I try to build an act and counter mentality to the position. I also really push the mentality that shooting is all rhythm. So, getting a shot blocked, bothered or shooting with contact doesn’t matter because I want to ignore those things and just concentrate on rhythm.

In practice, not using competition in your teaching allows for a better pace of learning, more consistent situations, less dropped passes, less bad passes, more skill intensity and better self image.

And then there is the biggest issue; if a player can’t get on the floor they can’t improve or help you. If I had one hair on my head for all the players that got hurt in competitive drills and had to sit out practices or games I would have more hair than the ex-Governor of Illinois (I can’t even say his name properly, no less spell it, but I do know he had a lot of hair). An injury in a game or scrimmage is acceptable. But an injury in a teaching situation is tough to defend. To say they need to knock heads to become better when it knocks them out instead is not acceptable.

School and You

By Joe Haefner

Here is another guest blog by our coaching friend Bud Leonard.

You will often hear stories of “student athletes” on the radio or TV.

There are many stories written about “student athletes” in the newspaper and in magazines such as Sports Illustrated.

You may even hear stories about “student athletes” in everyday conversation.

There is one common thread among these stories: they are all about students who are athletes. The “student” part is the most important, and deservedly so.

You are here at your school to receive a complete and valuable education. Everything else is second to that goal! Basketball is considered as an extracurricular activity; that means outside of the classroom.

Is basketball important? We, the coaching staff, feel that it is. But, we also know that it is secondary to your primary purpose here: to get an education.

Playing basketball, or any other sport, while in school is a privilege, not a right! You probably know by now that a privilege is earned through hard work, and can be removed if the hard work is not continued. Basketball is one of the important privileges.

We expect all of our players to be diligent in their studies and to be leaders in the school. You may not realize this, but you will be known, and probably respected, by your classmates as part of their basketball team. This is not a joke, nor is it something to be taken lightly. Your behavior and deportment, both on and off the basketball court, will be judged by everyone: coaches, staff, students, parents, and friends.

Part of being a successful and respected basketball team comes from your behavior and performance in everyday situations off the basketball court and in the classrooms and hallways of the school.

The coaching staff will expect you to act in a manner that will not detract from the team, but one that will identify you as one of the student leaders in the school. This expectation starts from the time you decide to try to gain the privilege of being a member of the Basketball Team and continues throughout your career here at school!

It is now time for you to make the decision to mold yourself into what will be expected of you by the coaching staff in order to earn yourself a position on the Basketball Team.

It all starts now!

- Coach Bud Leonard

Jump Rope Training Video – Prevent Injuries & Improve Athleticism In Just 3 Minutes

By Joe Haefner

Here is a great 3-minute, jump rope workout. This is a great jumping workout for beginners and a great warm up for more advanced athletes.



Jump Rope Workout

  1. Jump forward & backwards
  2. Jump laterally both directions.
  3. Rotational (transverse) jumps w/ toes pointing in on landing.
  4. Hops (forward and backward).
  5. Lateral hops both directions.
  6. Rotational (transverse) hops.

Go about 5 to 15 yards in each direction based on the level of the athlete.

Key Points:

  • Toes up in dorsiflexion
  • Spend little time on the ground.
  • Soft landing.
  • Use wrists and forearms to turn rope.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed.

Benefits to Jump Rope Training:

  • Strengthen & warm up foot and ankle.
  • Improves jumping and landing mechanics.
  • Promotes good posture.
  • Prevents injury.
  • Improves coordination.
  • Improve rhythm. Can’t have a great crossover without great rhythm.

Not to mention, the athletes seem to enjoy it when challenged and progressed properly.