Monday, May 27, 2013

It's 8:30PM Do You Know Where Your Kids Are?

IT'S 8:30PM

Most people believe that in the early years, kids need much more attention than they do when they enter into high school. But the reality is in high school, they need their parents' leadership & direction just as much (if not more). High school is one of the biggest transition points that young people will face. This is where all of the lessons they have learned during their pre-high school lives start to play out in a "trial by fire" type of way. 

For instance, what young adults eat, how much they sleep, where they spend their time, who they spend their time with...all now become important. If the wrong decisions are made and they do not have the correct guidance, they are potentially sacrificing their hopes and dreams; and even their future careers. 

Even more important to these young adults is the understanding that their parents are right there to remind them of the dangers that are in their path and how to avoid them. To ensure that their children know that even if they go down the wrong path that someone is there to help them "reset." 

Don't let go of your kids in high school! Continue to be a strong & present force in their lives. Help them make quality decisions and keep teaching them. You don't have to be overbearing but rather a stable support mechanism your child can depend on.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Call That Our Student Athletes Have On Their Lives
Are We Getting Them Ready To Respond?

With graduation on the horizon, my thoughts turn to the responsibilities that each of our graduating student-athletes has relative to making a difference in the world. But even bigger than that, we must realize that these young men have a call on their lives. 

Most know that our program is all about generating world leaders that will make a difference in the years to come. Whether they are from the US or Africa, Europe or the Carribean Islands, our student-athletes can be the leaders that teach the world the importance of compromise, hard work, character and social responsibility. 

These leaders will open foundations that give back, set up infrastructures that weather storms, invent new solutions to global problems and produce results unlike anyone else. However, our job as parents and coaches is not complete. Even as these student-athletes go off to college, we are still responsible to protect the investment made into these student-athletes throughout college so that they get all the tools needed ensuring that our investment has the opportunity to yield a significant return. They are responsible for giving back in a big way and we must never allow them to forget that. 

These students-athletes are not just graduating from high school, they are taking the strong foundation vested into them and practicing practical application so that when they are called, they are able to effectively respond. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Seize The Moment 

Having been on the road for two straight weeks, it has been hard to blog. But these two weeks have given me a lot to say but I will keep it brief. At every one of my Compton Magic Elite games there are tons of college coaches. Each coach represents an opportunity for our players to garner interest that could provide them with a college education that is completely paid for. When many of their friends will graduate from college with serious debt from student loans, our guys will have the piece of mind that they can start adult life without that same economic burden hanging over their head.

So what is my point? Life is about seizing the moment. Opportunity sometimes only knocks once and you never know when that opportunity will come calling. So it is important to be prepared and execute habits of excellence every day, all day, that produce results! I try to get my players to understand you never know who is in the gym looking at you that can make a difference in your life. They are critiquing you and attempting to ascertain whether you are worth the risk. For a college coach, that risk is their job and the means by which they provide for their family. This is a big risk with serious consequences if failure is the result. So it is all about producing results consistently. High stakes, big business, is all about production. Basketball is a high stakes business and is completely about producing.

As a coach, my job is to produce wins, high character kids and a stellar program that can be monetized, coupled with sending kids to college on athletic scholarships, garnering them accolades along the way for their accomplishments and playing by the governing rules. If I do not produce, a lot of people lose in the process. So I have no choice but to produce and take advantage of opportunities. I must seize the moment and teach my staff & players to do the same. That is the name of the game.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Home Games Must Be An Entertaining & Fun Experience

Crowd Cam Shot of Cathedral Phantoms vs. St. Paul  - 2013
When you coach a high school team it doesn't take long to realize that running a team is unlike running any other “business.” On one hand the competitive side of coaching is a driving force. I want to win championships. I want to win every game. Not just for me, but for the entire school (alumni, students, parents & staff), all of Northeast Los Angeles and for Middlebrooks Basketball fans everywhere. Fifteen + years into coaching and it still hurts every time my teams lose. I still have a hard time sleeping after any game we lose.

On the other side, running a high school basketball team has become a business in the world of elite level basketball. But unlike every other business, making the most money possible is not a driving motivation. I recognize that our REAL fans aren't only about wins and losses. They don’t bad mouth the team or coaches about what went right or wrong during each game. In fact, while they want us to win, they are fans, win or lose.
But to some fans, our games are more than just a game. They are a release. They are a connection to other family members. They are an escape from the realities of a very difficult life. There are fans who love my teams because it makes their lives better.
There are not many businesses that can begin to have that kind of impact on their customers/fans.

It is this connection that also drives me to make sure that every home game is about far more than basketball. I want to make sure that every time any fan walks into my gym they know that they will feel special. They will have a special experience. They will have an emotional connection. They will feel an energy and excitement they cannot get anywhere else. They will be able to see a look of joy in their family members. They will know that we respect the financial, emotional and time investment they have made in our program. In a years time they won’t remember the score, or even a single play from the game, but they will remember who they were with and how they felt during the game.

It is a special trust that is incumbent on me and my staff to live up to. It is expensive to deliver on this goal. But it is worth every penny. No matter what it costs. I’m proud of the fact that I spend, by all accounts, a lot of money on our program. We try to provide an unrivaled game entertainment and experience for fans. While other teams worry about the regular stuff high school programs think about, I worry about creating an experience that is unique and special to our fans, players and overall community. I focus on making sure our staff, parents and players remain committed to sacrificial preparation and understanding just how important what we do is to our community.

Monday, April 15, 2013

You Will Miss Most Of The Shots If You Do Not Practice
Opportunity...A chance for progress or advancement. When opportunity comes, you can not fear it nor shy away from it. You must embrace it and attempt to take full advantage. Will you fail? You might. But failure is guaranteed if you never try. Many people never try simply because they succumb to fear. Opportunities come and go because they do not take chance to embrace the moment. Basketball players do this all the time. They have a wide open shot but because of a lack of confidence they pass up on the shot and look to give the ball to another teammate who generally does not have as wide open a shot. I always tell my players, if you are open you MUST take the shot. If you don't, that guarantees you missed but if you shoot it, the chances of you making the shot are always greater than 0%.
Now a major reason for fear in opportunistic situations is a person knows in their heart that they failed to be prepared. "If you prepare yourself . . . you will be able to grasp opportunity for broader experience when it appears" (Eleanor Roosevelt). Preparation puts you in a strategic position to capitalize when opportunities arise. A lot of people want to take the shot but have a low percentage chance to convert because they did not practice. They never did the things necessary to put themselves in a position to be fully prepared to take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself. I tell my reserve players all the time, you never know when I will call your number to play in a game but will you be ready to seize the moment when I give you the chance. Did you get stronger in the weightroom, become a better shooter with lots of practice, become a better defender with a commitment to working on defensive drills outside of normal practice? I ask players a lot of questions all the time simply to reinforce in their minds that they need to train and practice hard so that they have answers when I ask the questions. Generally I already know the answer because you can see improvement in player through daily practice. But the ultimate point is to encourage them to always remain committed and focused on daily preparation, so that when opportunity presents itself, they can seize the moment; on and off the court!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Approach All Aspects Of Life Just Like You Are A Business

We all go to work everyday and slave hard to make others money. My philosophy has always been, why not do that for yourself, at some level. While I know everyone is not going to be an entrepreneur, I still believe that everyone must learn to handle their own business. Manage your finances, monitor your children, invest in your relationships, develop yourself on an on-going basis…do what is necessary to maximize your operation! Do you understand all the line items that are important and are you developing all of your existing assets, while strategically looking to procure new assets? 

This same thought goes into my players on the court. Our players all want to play in college and earn a scholarship. The challenge is are they doing all of the things necessary to play in college. Do they take care of their main asset; their body. Do our nutrition plan, do our training program, put in extra work outside of team mandated workouts, go to doctor immediately when they feel pain, go to the trainer at school everyday to proactively make sure they are doing proper maintenance on their body, work hard in school so they have the highest grades possible, prepare for standardized testing so they score as high as possible and the list goes on and on. My point is are they addressing all of the core areas of business that affect earning a college scholarship. If not, then they are running their corporation poorly and will ultimately go out of business.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013


Head Coach William Middlebrooks & Varsity Team During A Team Huddle

Most people are not honest with themselves when it comes to assessing the effort they truly put it. It is easy to judge effort by how many hours a day passed while you are at work or in the gym. That’s the worst way to measure effort. The truth is many people are at work doing nothing or simply not being productive. They are just passing time wastefully. I see basketball players all the time in the gym not working out at game speed or just shooting shots they would never get in a game. They are not doing things that will make them better but in their minds they are working out. Many people waste time this way everyday in various areas of their lives but in their minds tell themselves they are giving effort.

In my mind, “effort is measured by setting goals and getting results,” (Mark Cuban). You have to ask yourself all the right questions and surround yourself with mentors and coaches that will challenge you to push yourself harder and harder each day. What did I need to do to close this account? What did I need to do to win this person over and build a strong relationship? What did I need to do to understand how to fundraise well? What things will make me better than anyone else on the basketball court? What did I need to do to find an edge? Where does that edge come from, and how was I going to get there? These are the types of questions you must ask yourself and/or allow a mentor or coach guide you in to set and accomplish goals and objectives. Life is all about results. In the end, that is all that matters!