Prepare Like a Champion


Coach Rob Smith

Welcome to the fourth in a series of installments from Coach Rob Smith, East Lansing Girls Varsity Basketball Coach.  Coach Smith began his coaching career in his home town of Montague and has held basketball and softball coaching positions at Lowell, Elkton-Pigeon-Bayport, Grand Rapids Northview and Bath.

He and his teams have earned seven straight CAAC-Blue Conference Titles with four consecutive district and regional titles.  The East Lansing Varsity girls were State basketball finalists in 2008 and earned the State Class A Varsity Girls Basketball Championship in 2010!

Coach Smith is an eight time recipient of the Lansing State Journal Class A Coach of the Year and 2008 Michigan Coach of the Year!!

This installment features Coach Smith addressing the question of what a youth player should do to prepare for practices and competitive play.

At East Lansing our philosophy centers around five core covenants.

#1:  It is all about having fun.  After all . . . basketball is a game – so make sure you are having fun.

#2:  Work extremely hard.  Imagine your opponent in their gym.  Imagine how hard they are working. 

#3:  Work together as a team.  Put individual interests aside.

#4:  Commit to the process of building the team; based on what the team decides   not you.

#5:  Success:  mentally prepare yourself to be successful.  Visualize the team being successful.  Each player should write down a strategy for how they will mentally prepare for a game.  The player then reviews this strategy before, during and after a game.  All players should prepare, execute and reflect — this process will make you a better player.

Coaches can help players practice this mental preparedness and mindset by placing players in pressure situations during practice.  How do you react?  Were you prepared?  Did you execute?  Reflect on how you could have done better.  If you don’t review your performance how will you ever know what to work on to improve?

All this pressure may cause players anxiety.  Beat the anxiety by practicing deep breathing skills.  For example, EL players will take three deep breathes with a slow release on each one prior to shooting a free throw.

I hope you found this installment from Coach Smith helpful.  Please stay tuned as the next installment from Coach Smith will address what coaches can do to improve the relationship between coaching staff and parents.  Do not forget to leave any comments or suggestions!!

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About rheadmore

I spend my working day at a great higher education institution by the name of Michigan State University. I try to spend a majority of my free time coaching youth sports, baseball and basketball are my favorites. This blog is dedicated to enhancing youth coaching and helping youth become successful and well contributing members of society. This philosophy was passed on to me by my father who always stressed leaving something better then the way you found it. I have been trying to live by those words for most of my adult life. Thanks for checking out my blog.
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