The Gold Standard by Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K)

By Ken Sartini

Here are some key points from the Gold Standard by Mike Krzyzewski of Duke.

* Remember that everyone on a team must adapt, including the leader, so that your team benefits from the best of each member. Your team will not be the best that it can be if everyone adapts to a single individual.. …remember that the sacrifice is worth the reward because teams can accomplish things that no one individual could ever accomplish alone.

* The way you practice will determine the way that you play….I do believe that strong relationships are the foundation for great teams and that team bonding is essential… Players improve individually when internal competition is created during practice.

* The practice plan is a living thing; it is fluid and ever-changing. But writing out the plan beforehand is a step I always take. I can’t ask my players to be prepared to improve and to pursue our goal if I am not prepared.

* I love practice. It is when a coach exercises the most control over the improvement of his or her team.

* I constantly told our team…”We are not going to let them run plays. We want to force them to make plays.” If we could disrupt their system, we could reduce them to a group of individuals on the court as opposed to a team.

* On our team, there were two things that we talked about every single day; the gold medal and defense, our goal and our competitive edge.

* I do believe that strong relationships are the foundation for great teams and that team bonding is essential.

* Just as a team gets better as a whole in the face of competition, players improve individually when internal competition is created during practice.

* My goal was to seek out at least three guys at each practice and try to have personal interaction with them…..a leader wants all members of a team to feel included and invested all the time.

* I also try to think about which players I may want to single out for personal interaction, whether it be on the bus, while the players are getting taped and lacing up their shoes, during practice itself, or while they are working on individual shooting at the end.

* I can’t ask my players to be prepared to improve and to pursue our goal if I am not prepared.

* I love practice. It is when a coach exercises the most control over the improvement of his or her team.

* Part of what makes practices successful is attention to detail and respect for the opponent.

* I always tried to explain to the players their roles on the team, roles that were always evolving…. when you give time to a person and explain their ever-evolving role, it makes them feel good. It is a reminder to them that their role is important enough to warrant explanation.