Recently a local basketball coach here in QLD posted on IG a reference to his “old school” trainings. As an old school style coach myself, I acknowledged his post with a positive comment. However, not all comments were positive. So I began to think, why the negativity around old school coaching in 2020?
I am heading into my 38th year of coaching men’s and women's basketball (in the U.S and Australia). When I am not coaching, I am a husband, father of 5, grandfather to 6 and for the last 18 years, a personal development and leadership facilitator traveling to 4 continents, 13 countries, 135 cities and touching the lives of over 10,000 people from all walks of life. My book Time-Out! Winning Strategies for Playing a Bigger Game in Life has been a best-seller for over 10 years.
So what’s so terrible about being an old school coach? You’d probably have to define what IS an old school coach first. When I grew up in NY in the 70s playing basketball and then starting my coaching journey in 1982, the likes of Rollie Massimino, John Thompson, Jim Boeheim from the Big East and Bobby Knight (aka The General) from the Big Ten were the coaches I watched, followed, heard speak at coaching clinics and were mentored by, that helped formulate who I became as a coach and what I believed in. And interestingly enough, they all won NCAA Championships. These men were and still are (Jim Boeheim currently at Syracuse University) coaches that were fiery, demanding, knowledgeable, intense, held a high bar or standard, coached for excellence, not perfection (there is a difference), vilified, respected, yellers and screamers and finally, extraordinarily successful. If you ask many of their former players, as I have from time to time, what was their greatest take-away from being coached by these great coaches, they’d tell you it was the life lessons as much as the basketball lessons they valued. Perhaps not what you’d expect to hear.
So here’s my definition of an old school coach:
Whether a player is 15 yrs old and playing on a rep or school team and has a desire to play college ball, 20 yrs old playing college ball or 25 yrs old playing semi-pro or pro ball in a competitive league, why are they playing? I’ll take a guess and say it’s to improve as a player and to win. Winning games and winning championships. To be successful. Anything more than that is a bonus. Like being the top scorer, or being the best defensive player, or being a better person/teammate, or having “fun”.
So why are old school coaches getting a bad rap? Is it because they set a high bar for their players? Is it because they ask athletes to be on time, attentive, disciplined, focused and to work hard when they come to practice or play in a game? Is it somehow ineffective to be demanding and ask an athlete for their best effort? Is it inappropriate to teach a player the value of being accountable and responsible on and off the court? Is getting someone’s attention or the team’s attention by raising ones voice and pointing out their mistakes to teach them better ways of developing their game not appropriate as long as it’s not personal or abusive?
The demanding nature of any old school coach seems to be offensive in today’s game. The expectations of the coach and his or her antics just don’t sit well with most players and some parents. Not every old school coach yells at players or referees in games and/or practices. Some do, some don’t. It’s simply an aspect of the personality of the coach. It’s what many of us experienced when we were being coached ourselves and we turned out pretty successful. Perhaps the demanding nature is the coaches way of testing the athletes mental toughness. I’ve always said, if a coach isn’t talking, cajoling, enrolling or yelling at you, he probably doesn’t care much about your success. Not always true, however there is some truth to that statement. (And THAT is an old school statement.)
Being old school about anything really comes down to a belief one has about how things should be done because in the past, you have evidence of success from the old school methodology or system. Does it mean it’s right or it’s the only way of doing things? Of course not. Teachers, including one of mine, used to hit children in classrooms. You could say that was an old school method of teaching. Does it make it right? Of course not. Old school is certainly a perspective a coach has that he or she believes will work best for their players to put them in the best position to win and be successful. It happens in business, with parenting, as well as on the basketball court everyday. And again, it’s just a different perspective.
So here’s the thing. Next time you experience an “old school” coach, and before you write him or her off, if you’re a parent, take a moment to approach them and ask,
I look forward to any and all respectful comments. Coach Tom Haupt
www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com #7 #oldschool #BeEliteThisWeek #GoGrind #HardWorkPaysOff #basketballqueensland #basketballskillstraining
I’ve been coaching junior basketball for 31 years in America and 6 in Queensland at the Gold Coast. I have just returned from the very first AAU Australia basketball tournament in Melbourne and this was my first opportunity to coach in another state, against competition from southern Australia, specifically Victoria and NSW. And here is my revelation. The players down south play a much more physical brand of basketball and it’s more aligned to the American style high school and college game.
AAU Australia has been set up to be a platform for junior players to compete against each other countrywide to measure their skill level against their peers, and to allow U.S. college coaches an opportunity to scout them, in other words, an exposure circuit.
The challenge for many years for quality Australian junior players who dream of playing at overseas colleges in America, is the lack of exposure to their games. For years, unless you spent thousands of dollars to travel overseas with an exposure team for perhaps 2-3 weeks, which thousands of players can not afford, they miss the opportunity to showcase their talents. And thus, stay at home and become a hometown legend.
So why is my revelation a big deal? Because in Queensland, we are not preparing and/or setting up our junior talent to win. Both individually and as teams. Although this first AAU tournament was a small sample size to make my claim, and did not include 300, 500, or 1000+ teams, it was still apparent our Queensland juniors were not accustomed to the “swallow the whistle” officiating that so often stifles players aggressiveness both offensively and defensively here in Queensland.
Having coached in America for so long and being mentored by many great college coaching legends of the game, I believe offence wins games and “physical” individual and team defences win championships. And compared to the titles won each year by Victoria and NSW club, rep and school championships, QLD is far behind in the win column. Don’t get me wrong, QLD has had the occasionally first and their share of top 5 finishes, however going on percentages, QLD is way behind in championships.
Each year at the U18 Men’s and Women’s Championships the best men and women in each state and territory compete for the Merv Emms Australian U18 Men’s Championship and the Maree Jackson Australian U18 Women’s Championship. In a 20 year span from 2016 back to 1997, QLD Men and Women’s teams have each won once. During those 20 years, NSW and Victoria men’s teams have won 17 times and the women 19 times.
In the U16 Men’s and Women’s Championships the best men and women in each state and territory have been competing since 1955 and 1971 respectively. In a 20 year span from 2017 back to 1998, QLD Men and Women’s teams have won just three times combined. During those 20 years, NSW and Victoria men’s teams have won 17 times and the women 17 times.
THAT is astounding! That is if you play or coach basketball or parent a son or daughter who plays basketball in Queensland. And as a coach of young 15-18 year olds in Queensland that dream of playing overseas at the U.S. college level, that lack of winning is unacceptable. So what’s the solution.
LET THE PLAYERS PLAY! For the last 6 years I’ve coached in Queensland, I’ve seen the officiating stifle the aggressive play necessary to compete at the national level AND prepare our juniors to play overseas. Light physical contact above the 3pt line are consistently being called fouls. And the unintentional bump and ticky-tac touches below the foul-line are also fouls in the eyes of referees. When this contact is consistently called fouls, Queensland players and coaches adjust by backing off and become complacent. Over the course of a season, junior players learn not be aggressive for fear of fouling out of games.
Of course I am not talking about holding, chucking or impeding players going to the basket. In this video, Div 1 college coach John Calipari of Kentucky, a top 5 basketball program, discusses a point guard drill. In the video you see him push Derek Rose and then Derek is hit with a blocking bag. Coach Calipari says, “you have to play through bumps. He plays through 2 bumps.” If they were fouls in college, he wouldn’t be demonstrating pushing/bumping the player driving to the basket. In Queensland, they both would be called fouls. No doubt.
I am not suggesting throw the baby out with the bath water. There are many quality referees officiating games throughout the state so this is NOT an indictment of referees. I’m just asking the powers to be to let the players play. Swallow the whistle on contact away from the basket. Let the players know they can get after it without worrying about hearing the whistle blow.
In Victoria, the officials are less inclined to call soft physical contact and let the players be aggressive while defending their man. As a result, they are preparing their juniors for the more physical American style of basket played at the NCAA level. As a result, Queensland players are at a disadvantage and lose more often than not vs NSW and Victoria teams based on results. In fact, look how many college players each year get recruited from NSW/Victoria compared to Queensland juniors.
According to The Pick and Roll, for the 2019/20 NCAA D1 season, they listed 68 Aussie men playing basketball in the U.S. Of the 68, 5 are from QLD and 45 from NSW/VIV. Of the 105 Aussie women playing NCAA D1 basketball this season, 21 are from QLD and 51 from NSW/VIC. Even if these numbers are off by 10% +/-, that’s still a huge disparity.
So bottom line, Basketball Queensland will either take notice of how far behind our junior players are and change the way Queensland basketball is officiated or they won’t. In the event change does occur, it’ll probably take a few years. In the interim, I plan on doing something about it now to prepare our boys. I will continue to train, coach and mentor juniors in SE QLD to compete in an American style game. Be aggressive offensively, defensively, to run and gun and to attack the basket. Press on defense and cause the opponent to make adjustments to our style.
If as a player this appeals to you because YOU have that dream of being recruited to play overseas, then trial for our 18U, 16U or 14U AAU teams. We practice 1-2 times a week and enter multiple AAU Australia sanctioned tournaments across the country. These games are live-streamed back to the states via BALLERtv for the benefit of college scouts and coaches.
If as a coach this appeals to you, we are always looking for competent experienced coaches. However, if you are relatively new to coaching and committed to supporting juniors in approving their skills and overall game, apply to be an assistant and gain invaluable experience from one of our veteran coaches. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If as a parent this appeals to you, then encourage your son or daughter to trial with Be Elite AAU. You can either call me at 0481 580 007 or email me at email@example.com to answer any and all questions you may have. For more information on Be Elite AAU, go to our website at www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com.
Our next trials for Boys 18U and 16U are Sunday 27th of Oct from 8-10am and boys 14U and girls 16U 10:30-12:30pm at the Carrara Indoor Sports Centre. Please head to our website for more details and to register to trial. See you then!
And finally if you disagree with my whole premise, I would love to hear your thoughts and explanation as to why Qld basketball is behind in the win/lose column. All comments are welcome. Cheers! #6
#basketballqueensland #basketballtraining #goldcoastbasketball #BeEliteThisWeek
For 3 weeks in March every year the Div 1, 2, 3, NAIA and NIT NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments are in full swing. Thousands of male and female student-athletes thirsting for that one shining moment lay it all out on the court to be crowned NCAA National Champion. In other words, win 6 (5 in NAIA/NIT) games in a row, and you are a Champion. I love that and here’s why. On any given day or night, any team regardless of where they are seeded in the tournament can win and advance. How exciting is that? On the flip side though, on any given day or night your 6 months of practices, film sessions, travel, sleeping at odd times in hotels, endless meetings, games, and perhaps your senior year, all comes to a crashing halt. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.
Sound familiar though? For many reading this perhaps not, however there might be a few people thinking, yeah, sounds like life! In life things can be going amazingly well one moment and in the next, things can come crashing down. Last Thursday night it did for Phil Cofer of the Florida State University basketball team. After winning their first game of the NCAA Div 1 tournament, Phil was informed that his dad passed away. One moment the team gets their first win and are on an emotional high and moments later, they are consoling their teammate. Just like life. Highs and lows. Experiences we can control (like winning a basketball game) and some that we can not (like the passing of a friend or relative).
So what’s the point you might be asking yourself. The point is simple and challenging at the same time. When you wake up each day, be grateful you're alive. When you see the people in your life that you love, tell them. When you’re hanging with your friends, tell them how much you appreciate their friendship. When you can, do something for someone else asking for nothing in return. When you work on your game, be thankful you can because not everyone is physically or mentally able to do so. And finally, appreciate the little things in life because it’s the little things that make a huge difference. In your life and others.
www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com #5 #GoGrind #BeEliteBasketballAU #NCAA #MarchMadness #BeEliteThisWeek
OK, so your 14, 15, or 16 years old and your thinking, "maybe I'm good enough to play overseas at a U.S. prep school or NCAA college". You got the game, got hops, the work ethic, good grades, and the mental attitude to be a leader. Someone a high school or college coach would love to have you on their team. So now what?
First and foremost, get your parents involved with your dream. Secondly, talk with your current high school or AAU coach and ask if they have any connections or thoughts on how best you can get the word out. Lastly, go to the internet and check out services that provide support in providing exposure for you. And as you will see, there are hundreds to choose from. Some of these services are free and others will charge you an upfront fee to manage the communications/relationship between you and potential schools. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. NCSA is an example of one. (DISCLAIMER: I do not get paid anything from NCSA and I am not endorsing them, this is simply an example.) So again, like in my previous post, Do You Want The Best For Your Son Or Daughter?, parents, do your due diligence.
If interested in a prep school in the U.S., check out the schools website and email the head coach and their assistants direct. Once you do, be persistent and perhaps they'll respond to you and provide you with their requirements. Here is a list of the Top 25.
Finally, be persistent. Don't give up if you don't hear back from anyone at the high school or college right away. Life is a test. This will be just another test to see if you pass. Now get out there and be elite!
www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com #4 #GoGrind #BeEliteBasketballAU #NCAA
Ever wonder what elite athletes eat? Well, LeBron's longtime trainer Mike Mancias recently shared what LeBron ate on game days. Now I don't expect any of my players at their ages to be this particular about their diets and follow Lebrons to a T, however, it's a good idea to start getting into the habit of eating healthy now. If you think of your body as an elite sports car, say a Lamborghini, what type of gas would you put in it? The high octane or the low octane cheap stuff? And how about oil? The cheapest you can buy or the highest grade you can find? Any gas and grade oil would do, however, how would your Lamborghini perform? Less than the best it can? Just like your body would.
So it's your car and it's your body, what will you decide to put in it today? Because guess what, your competition is eating right. It's time you do too. Find a great nutritional diet plan that's appropriate for your age and get eating right today! Because your competition is. Now go out and Be Elite!
www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com #3 #GoGrind #BeEliteBasketballAU
Of course you do. That's a rhetorical question. However, I asked it to remind every parent reading this that you are the biggest influencers in your child's life. And you know that too. So when it comes to deciding should my son or daughter play AAU ball or rep ball or play on the state team or some other organised team here in Australia, you do what's best for your baller in the family. Not what one person says, or an article says, or where you think they "should" be playing. (Here is the best unbiased article I have read about AAU and your role in deciding whether an AAU team is a good fit for your son or daughter.) Take 5 minutes and read it.
Due diligence is key. Ask around. Check out references, websites, the experience and success of the organisation, who is coaching there, their credentials and philosophy of the game, the players who've played there in the past or who currently are playing there. Once you're well informed, go with your gut. This will alleviate the second guessing when things don't look exactly the way you think they should. And believe me, they never do. So trust your judgment, your child's desires and stick with your decision. See it through to the end of the season. If at the end of the season you and your baller want to move on, then choose to do so then. It's OK, because it's your son or daughter, and you know what's best for them.
www.Be-Elite-Basketball.com #GoGrind #BeEliteBasketballAU #BeEliteAAUAustralia #2
TODAY is the first day of the rest of your life. I'm pretty sure you've heard this before. However, what does it mean to you? If you're not doing exactly what you want to, STOP and do that thing, TODAY. I've wanted to open a basketball academy for my entire life. Life got in the way and up until today, I did not do it. So I STOPPED and TODAY I have.
If you are a player thinking, "I'd love to play college basketball in the states." and you haven't dedicated your game to that dream, then STOP and do it. TODAY is the day. I mean that. Find a competent coach you trust and respect and get after it. Have your coach and your inner circle all get on the same page to support you. Put together a workout routine every day and get committed to your dream, TODAY.
That's why I've started this blog. To support you with tips, insights, drills, opportunities, workouts, inspiration and motivational quotes, videos and stories, healthy nutritional plans, conditioning drills and everything else you can think of that will support you in your dream. Make TODAY count. Now go out and #GOGRIND! #BeEliteBasketballAU