Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Discipline Creates Freedom!!

"Discipline creates freedom." Dan Charnasin 'The Big PayBack'

My ten year old club players were confused. I was in the middle of teaching them a '4 -out 1-in' continuous offense. The newness of the offense seemed overwhelming. The offense had 3 basic rules. When a player passed from top to top, they screened away. When a player passed from top to wing, they basket cut. When a player left an area, the nearest player replaced the area. Above all rules was the constant reminder that the offense was a no-mistake offense and was designed to let them play.

These simple rules seemed to restrict the kids into being robotic. They were thinking too much. They passed and ran around with a purpose, but without purpose. They failed to see the forest for the trees. While being robotic, I still was full of pride. They cut to get open on the wing using the cuts that we previously worked on. They caught the ball and used pivots to face the basket. They faked a pass before making the requisite pass. They cut to the basket with conviction while calling for the ball. They moved, they talked and they helped each other remember the "rules". When I was comfortable that they understood the discipline, I yelled "rack it" to my best dribble penetrator. She was isolated on the wing and easily took her defender off of the dribble and drew a secondary defender near the basket. She dropped off a beautiful bounce pass to her open teammate and the flood gates were now open.

In that instant they all realized that the discipline of the new offense created spacing and spacing meant freedom! My big girl who plays the "1-in" in the offense smiled the biggest smile. Her "rules" left her initially feeling unimportant in the offense. Now she understood all the opportunities she would receive because of these "rules". Her smile said " Ohhh, now I understand Coach". The offense had allowed them to play basketball. All of the dribbling,passing, cutting and communication drills that we constantly work on came to life. The 10 year old kids who tire of my lectures and silly rhymes constructed to help them remember principles were now having a ball, playing ball. All the discipline created a beautiful freedom.

This freedom through discipline reminds me of UTSA Assistant Coach, Tai Dillard. When speaking to those that played with and against Dillard in high school, they never fail to mention her discipline. They mention that she shot and shot when others were not shooting. She "always had a basketball in her hand" is the common reply. Dillard's discipline allowed her to matriculate to the University of Texas and play for coaching great Jody Conradt. Her discipline allowed her to be drafted into the WNBA. Her discipline allowed her the freedom to eventually enjoy the world. She took her services to Europe and was paid handsomely to "play" a game that she loves.

Coach Dillard now gets to enjoy her freedom. She learned the rules and the discipline that it took to achieve her goals. She has a professional life that allows her to make a great living while impacting young women. She gets to travel across this great country and connect with young kids that share her passion for the game. At a recent UTSA practice, Dillard was involved in one of the daily scrimmages against the players and was going to "work". Her work consisted of schooling her current players with the tools that she has sharpened for years. Coach Dillard rained pull up jumpers and open three point shots with ease. Coaching college basketball has more than its share of stress, however, Dillard seems to be enjoying herself. She is a great example of how the discipline of the game can create freedoms that most of us can only wish for. At some point, she, like my ten year old ballers, had to have an "Ohhh now I understand" moment. I have been told that Coach Dillard gave up a six figure salary as a player to enter coaching and broadcasting. Why? She was ready to move one. How about that for freedom?!!!!!