Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hold On, Be Strong, Move On

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season sometimes we can find ourselves a little overwhelmed.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, beat down, or you just plain have the holiday blues, here’s a little exercise in positive thinking that might help. Hold on, be Strong and Move on. And move forward.

If you find yourself down and out, sometimes it helps to just take a moment, pause and reflect on your situation. It could be bad, but is it the worst thing ever? Can you get through this? Have you gotten through worse?

They say people don’t stumble over trees and mountains, they trip on weeds and rocks.

That's what "they" say, but to some of us, there's a huge mountain in our face, blocking our path. There’s only one thing to do, only one option. Too high to get over, too low to get under...Better get your hiking boots!

Maybe you have heard the phrase that “God never gives you anything you can’t handle.”
Well, I’ve read the bible multiple times, never once have I seen that written anywhere. So scrap that.

What I did find was a powerful verse in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

All things, not some, all. You have to like that, THAT you can work with.

When things don’t go as planned and you’re hanging on by a thread, take a page from Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said,

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

There’s always hurdles, there’s always setbacks, perseverance is always the key.
It was Albert Einstein who said “It’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

I don’t know about that Albert... E=MC2, theory of relativity...He was pretty damn smart. But the point remains the same genius or not, persevere.

You can’t persevere without hope. And you can’t have hope if you don’t believe. Believe things will improve, hope they will, and persevere until they do.

Look at the NFL right now, particularly at what Tim Tebow, aka God’s QB aka the “Mile High Messiah,” is doing in Denver. By now you should have heard his story...To summarize, He wins, period. Six straight to be exact.

Recently Team President John Elway said in the Denver Post about Tebow and the Broncos, "Everyone believes that something good's going to happen...And, obviously, Tim's been the guy that's led that thinking. He's just such a strong believer. He's really got everyone else believing if you stay strong, stay positive, something good's going to happen...When guys are thinking that way — and it's been led by Timmy with that positive attitude — all boats have been rising with that."

So if you’re feeling down today, overwhelmed, or just flat out defeated, take a moment, cry, shout, punch a bag, go for a jog, do whatever you need to do to clear your head. Then get back on the saddle of life, strap in, stay positive and keep on riding until you get to that sunset. It’s just a little further.

Hold On, Be Strong, Move On. And move forward.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Coaching Youth Basketball: Great Coaches are Mentors

“No written word, no spoken plea can teach our youth what they should be, nor all the books on all the shelves...It’s what the teachers are themselves.”

John Wooden cited this powerful verse as part of what he re-defined as success. This small verse speaks volumes to the obligations that Coaches have to their young players.

As Coaches we have the opportunity and the privilege to mentor the youth and provide them with lessons and principles that will not only make them better basketball players, but better people. We have an opportunity to provide young boys and girls with a tool box for life.

Some of my favourite quotes from the legendary Coach John Wooden include:

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

“Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.”

“If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

This isn’t X’s and O’s....As I have eluded to in the past, winning is a philosophy that extends far beyond the painted lines of the basket-ball court. At UCLA, John Wooden won more than any coach, though he never talked about winning, his philosophy was that of a winner in life.

In the video below, Wooden quotes from a very inspiring poem by George Joseph Moriarty, entitled “From the Road Ahead and the Road Behind.”

“Sometimes I think the Fates must
Grin as we denounce and insist
The only reason we can’t win
Is the Fates themselves that miss

Yet there lives on an ancient claim
We win or lose within ourselves
The shining trophies on our shelves
Can never win tomorrow’s game

You and I know deeper down
There’s always a chance to win the crown
But when we fail to give our best
We simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all, and saving none
Until the game is really won

Of showing what is meant by grit
Of fighting on when others quit
Of playing through, not letting up
It’s bearing down that wins the cup

Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score
Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead
Of hoping when our dreams are dead
Of praying when our hopes have fled

Yet losing, not afraid to fall
If bravely, we have given all
For who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span

Giving all, it seems to me
Is not so far from victory
And so the Fates are seldom wrong
No matter how they twist and wind
It is you and I who make our fates
We open up or close the gates
On the road ahead or the road behind."

It's all about helping the youth reach their full potential. That's a victory on the scoreboard of life.

Here’s John Wooden on success.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Coaching Youth Basketball: Can't Never Could Win

"Can't" never could win. "Can't" never could do anything.

Just how powerful is will power? "The phrase "where there's a will there's a way" has become cliche, but it's more than a phrase and when Coaching Youth Basket-ball, will power is a concept that should be taught, as it should be taught in all sports.

Legendary Coach Vincent T Lombardi once said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."

You may have also heard it said somewhere that the winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I WILL, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do.

Can't never could.

What it amounts to is a state of mind and ultimately a state of being. I call it a champion state of being. Players who fail to take hold of this concept are ultimately afraid or perhaps, unwilling, to try, for fear of failure. The fear in many cases comes from some perceived ineptitude that the player may or may not possess. One can never know what one can do or cannot do unless one simply tries.

But that's just the beginning. In order to truly try, to truly give yourself a chance at success, you really have to believe you can do something, otherwise you're just hoping.

Once again, we are at that point where sport meets real life, where a lesson of will power mastered on the athletic field can carry over into the office, a marriage, a PHd, a daily cross fit workout, a mid-term, or even baking a freaking cake, dunking for your students...actually scratch the last one, but the point is always the same... (INSERT OWN Challenge Here).

All things being equal, the player/team with the stronger will, wins. People will say "they wanted it more," and talk about "how they out-hustled" or "did the dirty things"...but it all boils down to will power.

So it follows the principle that teaching the youngsters the power of will and the power of exerting their will on the game in which they are trying to learn is paramount for their future individual success and the success of their team.

It's not a stretch to realize that the player who is able to successfully exert his will on the game when he chooses, not only grows in confidence, but is more likely to be clutch when the game is on the line.

Any coach who has watched his team finally "get it" and finally reach their true potential knows it's a special thing to watch the whole team do this. Coaches you know the times, it's beautiful isn't it when it seems like even the last person on the bench that you put on the floor is going out there and making big plays. It can happen in the blink of any eye, where all of sudden every player wants it so badly, all the practice, all the teaching and all the hard work gels and each player seemingly turns legend...Even if it's just for a half, it's a beautiful thing.

If only you can get them to play like that all the time. Hey, Coaches need to exert their will too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

John Boateng: Coaching Youth Basketball

John Boateng: Coaching Youth Basketball

Coaching Youth Basketball

There's a different breed of basketball player out there these days. Too often I see talented players who care more about how their crossover buckled the knees of their defender than using it to change direction and get to the cup.

The point is simple, it's winning. That's all anything is about, and if you're teaching something else you're doing yourself and your players a disservice. It's not to say that fair play and fun aren't important, but they are but secondary to the purpose of the game of basketball. Teach the game, keep it pure.

You play to win the game, anything else is unacceptable.

Therefore, when dealing with younger basketball players who are just learning the game, teaching them how to win first precedes fundamentals in my opinion.

Let me explain...

Winning is habitual and a state of mind

Before you teach fundamentals, you must first teach the player how to incorporate the fundamentals into his game. In order to do that, players these days must be taught what goes into being a winner, a winner's disposition.

What are winners? Winners are consistent, they are creatures of good habit, they opportunistic, they are resourceful, they are timely, reliable and cooperative. And it is only through their mastery of the fundamentals of first the art of winning and then the game of basketball (or whatever their craft is) that they can attain these attributes. It should be evident that this concept extends far past the painted lines of a basketball court. These are life skills for success.

In the art of winning, everything is a competition

A good coach makes his players understand that before they pick up the basketball they must be prepared to not only work hard, but to challenge themselves and their teammates to the point where it's a competition as to who can work the hardest. It is then important for players to understand that through teamwork and pushing one another, the individual can elevate the play of the team and a team working together can elevate the play of the individual so that both succeed in the common goal of winning.

Anyone not up to the level of competition must fall in the pecking order and be held accountable by first himself, then his teammates and then the coach. Each player must understand that the second he steps on the court they are competing for everything and in everything. That means you don't run, you sprint, you don't get down on the floor for a loose ball, you dive, it's maximum effort, 100 percent of the time if you want to be a winner.

Because the game requires constant competition, the stronger athlete always has an advantage. As such, players must be taught the value of continually strengthening and improving their bodies on a daily basis. As such, a basketball player must continuously train his body and know his body's capabilities completely. This philosophy must also be applied to individual basketball skills, practice, practice, practice! Then practice some more.

Again the concept of daily improvement extends past the realm of sports.

Each day is an opportunity to be physically stronger, mentally sharper and just flat out better than you were the day before. Players must understand that this is the only way to ensure that winning can become habitual.

And as you become stronger and better it means you must only work harder, for not only are you strengthening yourself so that you CAN work harder, but you must assume that others are doing the same, and as such you must out-work them, again, everything is a competition, nothing can be taken for granted or left to chance if winning is to be habitual.

Additionally, as a side note, I have seen it useful in many instances when players are encouraged to play other sports to understand the concept of winning in various games. Too many times I've seen a play that could have been made if the player had played baseball, soccer or another sport that would have given him the required skill/mind set to have made the play. While a failure to make a play that required a different skill/mind set may not be worthy of blame, the failure nonetheless could cost you the game, and quite simply, losing isn't winning.

Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals.

With that in mind, the next step is to outline the fundamentals of good basketball, beginning with footwork, athletic posture, balance and other fundamentals of body positioning.

Next the actual basket-ball skills come into play. First shooting, then ball handling, passing, screening, rebounding, boxing out etc.

Too often coaches fast forward and miss the basic principles of sport and competition. Youth are supposed to learn more than X's and O's from playing sports, that's what is so great about team sports. It is more important for young players to master these concepts than it is for them to be able to run flex to perfection.

As a Coach, you have built a solid foundation if you are able to instill these values into your players as a common way of doing things with anything less being completely unacceptable. If you waiver, so will your players, and ultimately, it may not be the case that you don't win, but it will be the case that you will lose to a team that has hung their hats on a winning philosophy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's all about LeBron James

The 2010-2011 NBA season and NBA Playoffs can be summed up with one name, LeBron James.

LeBron James has become the most polarizing figure in professional sports and he didn't even need a mistress or an explicit sexting message to do it.

You either hate Lebron James, or you like him or you just can't figure him out, or you're a combination of all three.

Regardless, you have to feel one way or another about the man, he's forced us all into that. LeBron James forces you to think about him, to watch him, to dissect his every word and his every move so that you might perhaps gain some insight into why he is what he is, and why he does the things that he does.

For example, you may be able to rationalize why the one hour episode of The Decision on ESPN was necessary for him to announce he was taking his talents to South Beach. You may even be able to rationalize why he boasted that the Heat would win 7 championships before they had even played a game together.

But no one can come to a reasonable explanation as to what happened to his game in the NBA Finals, particularly in game 4.

It's too easy to say he shrunk in the moment, while that answer may be good enough for LeBron haters, it doesn't do justice.

The problem with trying to understand LeBron James is that there has never been a man that has worn his shoes, figuratively speaking.

Since he was in HS he was the King. The world was given to him on a platter and since he came into the NBA, the league has been his playground.

But this year the love turned to hate and LeBron became the villain in the NBA. The evil force that his detractors wanted stopped at all cost. The Mavericks played hero in the NBA Finals, and stripped the king of his crown.

But why do so many hate on LeBron James in the first place?

Here's some reason why it's fair and un-fair hate.

Why do people hate on LeBron James?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Building Strength and Endurance

Excellent strength and unbeatable endurance are two characteristics of a high profile athlete. Both of these attributes are often accompanied by explosiveness. These physical qualities can be built and expanded upon, but it requires consistent training, determination and mental toughness. No pain, no gain.

Jason Noel, a successful high profile personal trainer in Vancouver British Columbia emphasizes these qualities in his training philosophy, and he epitomizes them in his own personal life. At roughly 5`10, 180lbs, Mr. Noel is what you call a powerhouse.

Observe The General at work, getting it DONE.

Jason N 20RM Squat (275lbs) from Crossfit Optimum Performance on Vimeo.

Whether you`re an athlete in training, or you just want to improve your physique or personal fitness level, this guy can help you achieve your personal goals.

Visit Cross Fit Optimum Performance
Contact: Jason Noel (604) 512-0554
Email: jason@crossfitoptimumperformace.com

Friday, March 4, 2011

Miami Heat Ice Cold

It must be a tough situation in the Miami Heat locker-room right now. It's almost official at this point that the Big 3 is actually only the Big 2, with Bosh being the odd man out. But to me, the problem isn't that the Heat can't beat the best teams in the league, I don't expect them to be able to do that, they're still a work in progress.

The problem is that no one in the league is scared of the Heat right now. Even with their star power, teams don't appear the least bit intimidated, because of the way they play. Teams expect and can live with James and Wade getting theirs, because it's never a guarantee the Heat will pull it out even if James and Wade light it up.

Orlando proved that when came back after being down by 24 to upset the Heat in what used to be D Wade's house. When is Spoelstra going draw up a play for Wade at the end of the game? Not sure Bosh taking a 30 footer is the best option Coach!

After the Spurs took Miami to the Woodshed tonight in a game that was never close, you have to wonder...What's wrong with the Heat?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ESPN Shattered Dreams Interview

Let me first begin by making a slight correction, I'm not actually 5'10, in fact in my college ball days I was listed at *cough* 6'0...I'm probably closer to 6'1, but my shoulders slope, and I've been told I look as tall as 6'2 on weekends, just to clarify...

So in the span of less than a week, suddenly this video goes viral... why? Was it because I broke the glass on a MISSED dunk while trying to show off/inspire the 14 and 15 year old St Patrick's HS team I coach?

They see me dunk it, and they see I'm not that tall, they think they can do that too, and I NEVER EVER tell them that they can't do or accomplish something/anything.

Maybe it's funny for other reasons...Wait, check that, not only did I break the glass and MISS the dunk, but I landed flat on my back and probably (if not for the grace of God) should have broke my neck...AGAIN! ...It's pretty damn FUNNY!

You know, I've been asked why this whole thing is so popular, and I don't know why. It probably means something different to everyone who watches it. To me, it's hilarious. I get a kick out of everyone's reaction to it. Perhaps one of the funniest reactions I've heard about, was apparently, someone wished that glass landed in my eye. LOL. It didn't, but I appreciate the love. Lol.

In all the inspirational sports screenplays I create and love there's always one theme that is consistent :

People love to watch someone try really, really hard to achieve something and then fall FLAT on their face...or in my case...my back. But you know what people love even more? They love it when you bounce back. Everyone loves the comeback. That's a fundamental part of every sports movie. Maybe people like it because my back bounced when it hit the floor.

Oh and btw, people have been asking me what I was thinking in mid air...Aside from expletives...At around 11 seconds, I was thinking

"I'm the biggest stud and loser all at the same time"

And then I remember I was slightly confused as to how that was possible.

Back Board Breaking Dunk FAIL

When I'm not locked in my home office busting out inspirational sports screenplays, I coach a junior boys (Grades 9-10) basket-ball team at St. Patrick's Secondary school in Vancouver British Columbia. Great school, unbelievably awesome kids. But what happens when the team asks Coach Boateng, AKA Johnny SHOWtang, AKA Johnny Blaze to throw down one dunk for them? Of course he says NO at first..."He doesn't dunk on request"

"Please coach, just one. Please, you promised"

No, not today, sorry guys...Wait a minute...is that a SLOW CLAP y'all just broke out?

Trying to be like Mike

I was so thrilled to have the privileged to be in a commercial spot promoting the Jordan XX2 shoe. Like most kids born in the 80's, I grew up idolizing MJ, and wanted to be like him in every way. Minus the tongue wagging stuff, I was never about that.
By the time I got a chance to do this spot, I still had some hops, but they were slowly fading.

Jordan XX2 Evade Commercial Spot

Getting above the rim is easy. You just run and jump and it's simple...That is, until you get a little older. But you always think, you'll never get older, you'll always be able to do things like this...

Dream Hops

There was a time when the legs always felt fresh, there was always bounce in the stride and swagger in every step. There was a time when it didn't matter where that ball was, you just go get it, and bring it down...With Authority. Every-time. Let's take a walk down memory lane...

Feeling For Baron Davis

When a top tier player gets traded to one of the worst teams in the league, to a coach that he doesn't get along with, and to a city that he'll probably hate, you have to assume it's a personal jab at that player from the GM, and from the organization.

One day Baron was throwing lobs to the sky, the next he's staring up at the sky asking "why"...

That's exactly what the Clippers did to Baron Davis. Check out this piece on CalvinAyre.com, that talks about how the Clippers traded Baron Davis to Basket-Ball Hell.

NBA Trades Recap

In the span of one year the NBA has completely revamped itself. If I had a crystal ball, I think it would tell me that with Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant and OKC Thunder are the team of the future in the West. Still don't know what Boston was thinking.

But then again, would it surprise anyone if more superstars joined together elsewhere? Does it really look like Chris Paul is having fun? Maybe the Big Apple is calling his name too.

Here's a look at the 2011 NBA trade recap from an article on CalvinAyre.com.