Values Over Drills – MBU Coaches Clinic
(St. Louis, MO) – The theme was constant and inspirational. Missouri Baptist University basketball coach Matt Brock hosted MBU’s first ‘Coaches v Cancer Basketball Clinic’ and the speakers, kept stressing values over drills. Coaches from local high school programs all the way to Division 1 coaches in power conferences echoed an idea that building character is just as important as free throws and scheduling.
Brock, in his second year at MBU and his staff hosted the clinic that brought together ex-NBA players, multiple high school state champion coaches, Division 1 and Division 2 coaches.
Former Missouri State University and NBA veteran Blake Ahearn, the NCAA’s all-time leading free-throw shooter and current DeSmet Jesuit High School head coach taught valuable offensive drills, but more importantly high-lighted the need for hard work and requiring a high level of execution, even when fatigue is a major factor.
Ahearn, a DeSmet graduate, shared valuable coaching lessons he learned in San Antonio with the Spurs. His insights about Coach Paul Popovich and the “Spurs Way” were inspirational in nature. The sometimes salty ‘Pop’ has created a family atmosphere in San Antonio by not allowing any player to be bigger than the team and pushing his players to value the so-called little things.
Lindenwood University head coach Lance Randall and Ahearn emphasized the need of measuring what players do during practice. Positive and negative consequences, they suggested, should be attached to every aspect of practice. Randall talked about how the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks are seeking to “create a language” throughout their organization, for better communication and the creation of better value systems.
Coach after coach invited the high school and middle school coaches to attend their college practices if they wanted to learn other lessons and drills.
Vashon High School’s Tony Irons, the defending Missouri Class 4 champion, opened his time with encouraging the coaches with his five key principles. The son of legendary Vashon coach Floyd Irons, talked about his time as a player at Lutheran North High School and at College of the Ozarks.
The Wolverines are an urban-based high school and Irons sees his role as a trainer of young men facing the unique challenges living in ‘the city.’ Coach Irons talked about encouraging unselfishness in a program. He spoke of an unselfishness that goes beyond the basketball floor, since players in his environment face hardships and they are looking for reasons to hope for some better things.
He had ample opportunities to watch his father help young men find a way out of difficult inner-city situations and to teach them valuable life lessons, that often led to young men receiving college educations.
Second year Southern Illinois Edwardsville head coach Jon Harris said ‘we’re not reinventing the wheel’.
Harris exhorted the assembled coaches to ‘coach to your personality.’ The veteran of several Division 1 coaching staffs wanted to help lift the pressure from coaches to feel the need to copy other successful programs.
The SIUE coaching staff stresses life-style values that Harris called “Cougar Maxims”. Those foundational thoughts relate to Integrity; Diligence and Discipline; No Excuses; Thankfulness; Run Your Own Race. Harris declared that ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’
Mineral Area Community College Head Coach Luke Strege brought a much different message on values. Strege values enhanced analytics. Baseball fans are aware of how sabermetrics are changing the way commentators and coaches evaluate players. Now advanced analytics are reaching into college and professional basketball.
Strege’s premise is that the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and advanced statistics agree, the mid-range jumper should be a thing of the past. Strege proclaimed the death of the two-point jump shot.
For those interested here are two of Strege’s math equations.
Possession = FGA + TO – OREB + (.475 FTs)
eFG% FGM + (.5 X 3PM) Divided by FGA
Old school coaches were scratching their heads on those hieroglyphics, but the math was compelling as Strege quoted statistics on how to make the best use of each possession and the value of attempting three-point baskets over routine deuces.
Strege sited NCAA statistics that claim college teams connected on 60% of their shots from within five feet of the basket, 37% from five feet to the arc and 34% from beyond the three-point line.
Missouri assistant coach Brad Loos says the Mizzou program is on better footing now, than at any time during the Kim Anderson era. Loos shared how the Tiger coaching staff got under pressure to do things like other teams do, and now they have returned to ‘being themselves.’
He encouraged coaches to enjoy what they did and not to take themselves too seriously.
Loos confessed that after winning the national championship at the University of Central Missouri and obtaining the Missouri job, the Anderson staff was over confident.
“We thought we knew all the answers,” said Loos. “We found out we didn’t even know the questions.”
Coaches that attended Coach Brock’s clinic learned that coaching is more about creating culture, developing character and being true to their own values. They watched numerous drills and learned some new plays and strategies, but more importantly they heard that success should be defined by something other than wins, points and championships.