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COACHING TIPS FROM

DEAN SMITH

* Our coaches graded every possession of each game. It was tedious work and took more than five hours to grade game tapes, but we thought it was important.

*We rewarded unselfish acts that helped the team: good defense, setting effective screens, diving on the floor in pursuit of the ball, assists, blocked shots, deflected passes. We didn't even want the official game statistics kept for the media to be given to our players because they stressed points scored over all other aspects of the game.

* My basketball philosophy boils down to six words: Play hard; play together, play smart. Hard meant with effort, determination, and courage; together meant unselfishly, truisting your teammates, and doing everything possible not to let them down; smart meant with good execution and poise, treating each possession as if it were the only one in the game.

*Maybe it was old fashioned on my part, but I detested showboating. I didn't want a fancy pass when a simple one would work as well or better.

* When our players performed well and lost, I thought it was important to let them know that they'd done many things well. Losing couldn't override that. It didn't do us any good to lose confidence after losing a well-played game against a good opponent.

* I was careful about what I said to the players right after a game. I kept my remarks brief if I made any at all. I didn't want to come down hard on the players in the locker room and then have to change my story the next day after I had reviewed the tapes. It was better to wait until I had all the information in hand.

* I came from an era in which coaches raised their voices to correct mistakes, and I certainly raised mine. But I didn't use profanity, nor did I allow it in our practices. A violation of the rule resulted in team running, a lot of running. A leader can be tough, and still show respect. (Ed. Note: I am afraid there are many coaches who need to learn from this comment. Profanity is not coaching....it is just simply showing a person's background and lack of a good vocabulary.)

* We graded carefully at practice. Players earned points that could be used to get out of running. Points could be earned for good defense, diving for loose balls, setting good screens, deflections, drawing charges, and other unselfish acts--winning acts. I believed that if we got the little things right, it would help us get the big things right.