Sunday, January 29, 2017

#64 Let's Get Serious About Rotations

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

For the strength of thepack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.  --Rudyard Kipling

There was a big college basketball game Saturday night with the #2 team in the nation battling the #4 team in the nation.  Both teams played exactly 8 players with the 8th player playing exactly 4 minutes for each team.  That means that in all reality, both of these future HOF coaches used only 7 players for the 40-minute game.  

I don't think either team pressed full-court for any real amount of time.  Neither team broke 80 points on the board.  Neither team had more than 80 offensive possessions.  So, the pace of the game was not abnormally fast in any way.

Most of you reading this do not have D1 workhorses on your roster.  If you do, you are lucky if you have one.  The D1 kids practice year round and have elite facilities, trainers and preparation.  Most of us cannot provide a glimmer of those types of resources or ever coach that kind of athlete.

Why is it that I continue to see high school coaches and small college coaches use only 7-8 players in a game like those elite D1 programs?

Let's talk BIG picture.  You are a high school coach or a small college coach.  You are lucky if you make enough money to do much but to make sure your tank is full of gas.  You have 12-15 young men or women on your roster (who you CHOSE to be on your team) who come to practice every day; give you everything they've got; commit to 70+ practices and 20+ games; and for their efforts, they get to sit and watch during games.

What are you naturally creating?

1.  Unhappy kids
2.  Unhappy parents
3.  Unhappy administrators
4.  Smaller crowds
5.  Tired kids at the end of games
6.  Exhausted kids at the end of the season

I was a college coach for a long-time, so I get the need to tighten up the roster for conference and important games.  I understand the value of a possession; let alone possession(s).  What I cannot understand is why coaches work to create conflict when they don't have to

You don't have to be Loyola Marymount or Grinnell or my old Maryville and La Verne teams and play 15 kids a game.  Those teams pressed for 40 minutes and had 6-7 second offensive possessions.  No kid could have played 40 minutes in those types of games without being a world class marathoner.  

However, I encourage every coach to not only think for the good of your kids, but to think of the good of your job.  If they were good enough to make your team or good enough for you to recruit them, don't you owe them and yourself the opportunity to prove their worth or lack of it in some quality game minutes?

In late 1990s, we had a high school program with 5 future college players, and 5 kids who could have easily been the 3rd place intramural team at a local liberal arts college.  They were great kids, but were extremely deficient in size, speed, ability or all of the above.  The 5 college-bound kids played for 3 minutes at a time, and then they were subbed in for those 5 "not ready for prime-time" kids for a full 5-for-5 substitution.  Those subs knew they were only going to get a  minute and a half opportunity, but they were fully committed to making the most of that 90 seconds.

Our first group pressed and ran and executed with high ability.  The second group was sloppy and out of control and rarely executed anything with precision.  The first group would score 80-90% of our points every game in about 22-24 minutes of play.  The second group would give us the rest in 8-10 minutes of play.  Most coaches look at those numbers and say, "We could score so much more if that first group wasn't giving away those 8-10 minutes."

We looked down at the other teams bench and said, "Wow, there's 6 minutes left in the first half, and that coach hasn't subbed yet and his kids on the floor can barely walk because they are so tired."

We were in very few close games, but when we were, we almost always finished victoriously because our starters were fresh at the end of the game, and the other team was having to sub kids in for their starters who had fouled out. Our elite best was finishing against their weak, worn-out and inexperienced bench.  The other team never had a chance.

By utilizing the "pack" as our strength, we made the "wolf" that much more effective and efficient.

You don't have to use whole-sale substitutions.  Heck, you don't even need to give kids consistent minutes, but if you make your team rotations a part of who you are and what you do, you may find that those 6 problems you were creating above turned into opportunities that look like this:

1.  Happier, more committed kids
2.  Happier families who leave you alone
3.  Happier administrators that like the energy your team creates
4.  Bigger crowds because they love your pace and the fact that all their friends get to play
5.  TV, Paper and Radio stations show up to see this unique style
6.  You are happier because all of your kids are invested and care about the bigger picture
7.  More wins because your kids are healthy and strong when you need them the most

You can question this philosophy.  You can doubt its validity, but I can show you on film and in the record books that good, bad and ugly high school teams, college men's teams and college women's teams can all make this a reality.  How do I know?  Because I've done it with all 3.  Give it a shot.  Be happy.  Make your kids happy.  Enjoy the game!

Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

#63 The Contagion of Rebounding

The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.  Wilhelm Stekel

It's that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so 'don't fuss, dear; get on with it'. ― Audrey Hepburn

I chose two galvanizing quotes about selflessness because I am writing about a topic that requires young men and young women to fully embrace the ideas of selflessness and humility to truly see the individual and group fruits of the topic:  The Contagion of Rebounding.

Contagion is a word that usually is associated with the spread of disease, but it also can mean the spread/transmission of an idea from person to person.  Rebounding is just that type of idea because it requires an individual to buy in whole-heartedly to not just the effort required but to fully understand how that effort translates into confidence for one's teammates.

If you ask most coaches how rebounding affects shooting, you will usually get a long pause before an answer because most have never really connected the two.  Most would even tell you there is an extreme disconnect or opposite correlation.

"Rebounding relates to a person missing a shot, so how does one help the other?"

The biggest problem with most young people is that they are in constant worry of disappointing their coaches and teammates.

"I'm wide-open, but if I miss, I will have let my team down and my coach may remove me from the game."

I can actually see those thoughts in the eyes of players in every game I coach or observe.  Now, the great scorers the world has seen (i.e. Jordan, Bird, Iverson, Curry) didn't have those thoughts...and if they did, they were quickly eradicated once they learned how detrimental they were to their personal gains and their team's success.

These are special players.  1 in a 100 maybe.  Whether they understand that their special, personal confidence comes from the "contagion of rebounding" or whether they just have innate confidence in their own ability is not here nor there.  These are not the players that any of us coaches have to worry about.  Most of us are not blessed with a 1/100 player in a career, let alone a season.

The contagion of rebounding is how we, as coaches, have an opportunity to enable those other 99 to learn how to discard that fear of letting their teammates down and just shoot the ball.

The contagion of rebounding really has 3 different perspectives that need to be taught, modeled, and then supported.

1.  Offensive Rebounding=Scoring Opportunities:  "If my coach is not running the offense through me, or I do not have built in opportunities to score, or I am not expected to score, I must use the opportunity to take advantage of missed shots to create my own opportunity."

2.  Defensive Rebounding=Offensive Possessions:  "If we don't have the ball, my team does not get the opportunity to play on offense.  If the other team can get as many shots as they like every possession, my team will never be able to catch up."

3.  Offensive Rebounding=Confident Shooters:  "When I am open, I am going to set my feet and take a good shot.  If I miss, I know my teammates will get the rebound, and we will have another opportunity for me to shoot again or for my team to score again."

As a coach, you don't just have an opportunity to spread the "disease" of rebounding; moreover, you have an obligation to create the contagion of that disease.

Think about it.  Who are the teams you hate to face the most?  This should be a unanimous answer...the teams who play the hardest and are relentless and demonstrate the most consistent desire on defense and on the boards.

Teams who are driven in practice every day on defense and rebounding to play their hardest for long periods of time can create this.  Teams who are given drills that are competitive in nature where scoring means nothing, but offensive and defensive rebounds create points for the win can create this.  However, it is the coach who preaches "Shoot when you are open," and "Attack the defensive rebounders shoulder to create a 50/50 or better offensive rebounding position," and "Crash the glass like a pack of wild, starving wolves" will create this every time.  This cannot be a once per week ordeal.  It has to be a daily and ever-present voice and message that rebounding on both ends of the floor will not only create a positive end result, but the tenacity of our rebounding will eventually break the spirit of our opponent.

You can keep on believing that your well-thoughtout offensive magic and your dynamic 1-3-1 swarming amoeba defense is going to win you a State or National Championship.  I wish you luck with that.  However, I hope you don't face the team during that run who has been infected with contagion of rebounding.  I would put money on the possibility that you may not be carrying that trophy home.

It's not to late to start the infection.  It will take more than one injection of that virus.  It must be infused daily!

Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

#62 Advice to My 15-Year Old Self

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. --Pope John XXIII

I'm a real sucker for any Robert Redford movie.  I guess it is the humanity and humility he brings to every character and every story he tells that gets me.  I am rarely as motivated within my own mortality as I am after watching one of his films.

I watched Lions for Lambs again today for about the 10th time, and I was again overwhelmed with emotion by the story and highly inspired by the message.  It is amazing how his political films going back 40+ years for some (see The Candidate) stand the test of time and are still relative and feel like they could have been written and filmed today without much change to story line.  Mr. Redford knows that history consistently repeats itself and his movies are a swift kick in the tookus as a reminder that we just can't help ourselves to put the brakes on when we have a chance to truly make a difference.

Maybe I am too soft or liberal.  Maybe I am just a Peter Pan who refuses to grow up. Maybe I am naive.  Whatever the answer, I simply cannot turn off my passion for wanting to make the world a better place while helping others take stock in their own reality and capabilities.

Robert Redford sure knows how to do that for me.  You might just say that is the sign of a great movie star or film maker, but I think it is the sign of a great human being.

That brings me to the point of today's blog:  If I could go back in time and sit down with my 15-year old self, what advice would I give?

As I look at the big picture of our world, I am also asking myself if I had the chance to go back and time and give advice to a 15-year old Donald Trump or Barack Obama, what advice would I give them?  I've received some very good answers to that question from some of you, and I will give you the shortened version of some of those:


  • Slow down and enjoy the moment
  • Listen to your [parents]
  • Live every day as if it is your last
  • Take advantage of every opportunity
  • Don't chase love, but don't be afraid of it when you find it
  • Be generous in all you do
  • Stand up for yourself and those you love and care about
  • Speak and act with conviction
  • Treat others the way you would want to be treated
  • "Let him without sin be the first to throw a stone..."
If we have the power to instill any of these messages into our children or any child, I believe that we are helping make the world a better place.  The problem is that these messages have become cliche.  We treat them like something we passed by on a bumper sticker giving it 5 seconds of thought and then moving on to the next thing we see.  How often do any of us sit our children down or our teams or our classrooms and not only express one of these themes, but talk about how we could put action to the words.  How do we practice what we preach?

For most of my young adult life, older teachers, coaches, etc. would often tell me that my passion would subside as I got older...that I would gain perspective, and I would not be so quick to fight for justice and righteousness.

I've been married for 19 years.  I am working on my third mortgage.  I have had a dozen different jobs with 6 different institutions and companies.  I have lost great friends, mentors and family members.  I am raising two children.  I've had to worry where my next paycheck would come from and how I would support my family.

Yet after all of this and a thousand other experiences, I am still disappointed in our world and in myself when we don't speak up and fight for what is right...when we don't stand up and fight for our dreams and our goals.  I still can't get on the phone with a family or watch a kid at a practice and say "Those people need my help, but they will be alright if I don't help them or if I don't give them my best."  I just don't have it in me to give less of what I am capable of.  And, I still get extremely depressed and disappointed when I fail in giving my best to anyone.

So, what would I say to a young Matt Rogers or a young Donald Trump or a young Barack Obama?

"Give them the truth.  Give them your best.  If they don't like you or don't like what you have to say, keep being true to yourself.  When you have a chance to do something good, don't sit on the sidelines and wait for your number to be called.  Take advantage of every situation to do good and don't ever let anyone tell you that you are trying too hard or are too passionate about what you believe in."

This one was for Adam - I love you, buddy!  Thanks for the great conversation yesterday.  No matter what I say, you continue to impress me in every way!



Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.








Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#61 Press Breaker Do's and Do Not's

Courage is grace under pressure. --Ernest Hemingway

For the first time in 17 years, I am coaching basketball without a shot clock.  The state of Colorado is a little late to the party of the shot clock, so the need, ability, and execution of the press and the press breaker are a gigantic part of our day to day development because we don't want opponents to hold the ball with a lead and eliminate our ability to use our strength...our deep bench.  Because of that, we press a lot and whether we are up or down late, we win a lot of our late games because the other team simply refuses to use their bench and their kids run out of gas.

I've already put a ton of time in this blog into the defensive side of the press (See Posts #39#25#13), so I thought it was a long overdue time to focus on breaking a press.  Like we try and do with our practice and all player development, below you will see 3 simple Do's and 3 simple Do Not's for whatever you are trying to do against a full to half court trapping scenario to keep it simple for your players.

The DO's


  1.  USE THE ENTIRE FLOOR:   Always have your best shooter in the front court in the deep corner versus a press.  If that person happens to also be your best ball-handler, then put your second best shooter in the deep corner.
    • Why?  To break a press, the most important thing you can DO is pull defenders from the back court, so they have fewer trappers to fill up your creative space.  By sending your best shooter down the floor, you are forcing the defense's hand to keep at least one "trapper" all the way back.
    • Intangible?  Consider putting two of your best scorers all the way back in opposite corners.  That pulls two defenders back and allows you to score quickly from each side of the floor.
  2. WORK INSIDE-OUT:  However you choose to break a press, always work to get the ball in the middle of the floor using the sideline routes as diversions.  Once you hit the middle, you can sprint up the sidelines and throw over-top without worrying about defense over-top.  Once the ball is in the middle (even against a 2-2-1), the wing defenders must pinch to the middle of the floor or they will give up a driving lane to the basket.
    • Why?  The middle of the floor is the worst place on the floor to trap because the receiver can then pass right or left or drive either direction.  You eliminate the sideline as a useful 2nd or 3rd trapper.
    • Intangible?  Put your best passer, decision-maker, and highest IQ guy in the middle.  This may even be your point guard in some cases.
  3. PRACTICE AGGRESSIVENESS:  If you are going to attack inside-out, that means you are often going to be passing middle to sideline.  Make sure you are practicing having your guys and gals getting trapped out of that middle pass, so they learn how to catch, pass-fake, and dribble penetrate to the middle of the floor splitting that next trap before it ever gets to the them.
    • Why?  It's the same idea as #2.  The middle is the hardest place to trap and the middle gives you the most options.  So, if your wings know to immediately attack the middle of the floor off a wing catch, you will remove the equation of another difficult trap.
    • Intangible:  Ideally, you want your middle passer (if you are giving them 2 choices up the floor) to attempt to pass to the side with your best slasher.  Now, when that slasher attacks and the defense collapses, that slasher always has the best shooter on the floor to kick to opposite on that drive.
The Do NOT's

  1. (DO NOT) PACK THE BACK-COURT:  I know this a little redundant from #1 of the "Do's", but I wanted to stress the importance of space for your kids.  I know that without a doubt, no matter how good or how poor your ball-handlers are, breaking the press with ONLY 3 guys in the back-court is always going to be your best option.  Teach your kids to seal a defender on each side of the floor to the inside (use the elbows as a viable place to start), and teach them to post up for the inbounder (yes, even your guards!).  The inbounder always knows that they are going to be passing the ball to one of the sidelines.  
    • Why?  The only way to counter this measure is for the defense to "stack" the defense on each side with a guy underneath and a guy over-top.  That means you either have one defensive player on the ball and no one back deep to guard your two shooters, or no one on the ball taking 75% of the pressure off your inbounder.  Either way, it hurts their press and helps your opportunities.
    • Intangibles?  Coaches are going to work hard to eliminate that initial entry to your point guard, so practice daily hitting a big on the other side and then shooting your PG up the middle of the floor (think zig-zag cuts) like you are shooting them out of cannon to the rim.  That sling-shot approach is nearly impossible to guard without creating a 2-1 break for the offense.
  2. (DO NOT) RELY ON YOUR BIG MAN TO INBOUND:  I'm sorry, but I have a real problem with my worst passer and decision-maker being my inbounder.  Now, if your big is a Christian Laettner-type who has a high level IQ, I love it.
    • Why?  That big guy is usually going to be my best finisher and biggest target, and I want that guy closest to the rim and not the furthest.  
    • Intangible?  If you are going to use your big against a press, put them opposite of your point guard to create a big target for your inbounder and then you have a guy who can pass over top of the press a lot easier.  However, don't be afraid to put him back opposite of your shooter.  You just may want him cutting to the rim before he catches the ball.
  3. (DO NOT) WORK BACKWARDS:  I have written many times about 1950's archaic basketball philosophies that still linger today and throwing the ball backwards against the press is probably the one I understand the least.  Always work to cut and position to continually work the ball forward towards the goal.
    • Why?  The more you move the ball back to the inbounder, the more time you are giving the defense to trap you in the back-court while putting more stress on your ball-handlers to get across the :10 line.  If you can pass back to the inbounder, then you can surely pass to him up the floor if he/she will just cut up the middle or up and to the sideline after they pass in.
    • Intangible?  Every coach should be teaching their players the power of passing and cutting.  There is no more valuable skill against a press.  Once you pass versus a press or a zone, all 5 defensive player are now shifting their vision, attention and bodies to the ball.  This gives the former passer and now present cutter an extreme advantage to get to space and get that ball back to be D-angerous.
If you would like to talk through any of this or Skype or Facetime to chalk talk, do not hesitate to give me a call.  Whatever you do, get busy teaching the breakdowns and practice daily, so they are ready when the pressure is on!  Have fun!

Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to a High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.

Friday, January 6, 2017

#60 The Desolation of Limitations

It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects. --Nikola Tesla

For the life of me, I cannot understand anyone who speaks in absolutes or puts limits on themselves.  With a world so vast and full of possibilities, why would you ever imprison yourself to one way of thinking or one opportunity?

"I am a great programmer, and I am not going to take a job until Google hires me."

"Even though it will bankrupt our country and do very little to change illegal immigration, I am going to build a wall to keep the bad people out."

"I only want to attend Stanford, so it is the only school I am going to apply to."

I like Nikola Tesla's philosophy better.  I'll type it again, "intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects."

As a human race, we tend to lean to absolute ideas and thoughts.  We restrict our sensibilities to the point where we cause only heartache to ourselves and those around us.  In spite of our well-being, we stick to archaic thoughts and reasoning.

Why do we do this?

1.  Pride.  "My grandparents and my parents did it this way, I can't begin to disrespect their memory by doing it differently."

2.  Fear.  "What if I do follow my gut and go against the norm?  Will I be outcast?  Will people no longer love me?"

3.  Ignorance.  "I saw somebody else do this, so I'll just do it the same way."

We are a country of immigrants.  At some point in time, all of our ancestors fled here out of fear of persecution or death.  We used to be a country that saw the unknown as something that could be conquered, or at the very least, understood.  We are so very capable of practical, logical, pragmatic and thoughtful curiosity.

My sister writes a blog called the "Daring to Ask Why", and although she can be a little bit more politically active (and angry :-) at times than me, I think the point of her blogs are right on.  Why are we so afraid to ask the "Why" questions?  When we are in doubt or we don't understand, is it that scary to say, "Why is that?"

I apologize if this blog has been a little politically polarizing for some of you.  It was not my intention.  I just picked some random vague anecdotes that seemed to fit my point of view.  In the end, this blog is still for those young people or those parents who are sitting their saying, "Why isn't Duke recruiting my child?  It is the only place he wants to attend.  Why can't Coach K see the brilliance that I see?  We aren't going to look anywhere else until he comes to that realization."

That my friends is "the desolation of limitations", but it is a very similar perspective that half of the young people I talk to have about their future.  The limitations that YOU put on YOURSELF will only hurt YOU in the end.

"I have a girl who is beautiful, smart, caring and loves me, but I am not going to date her because she isn't a super model."  There's really no difference from one analogy to another.

There are so many fantastic colleges in this country that will help shape your next 40 years and will provide experience and opportunity that you will cherish for the rest of your life.  Take the time to get to know those opportunities.  Learn your true value.  Give yourself a chance to find out what exactly your needs and preferences are.  I can tell you that you probably didn't even know your "dream" school existed.  Aren't you the least big curious to know if that is true?

I grew up in all-white, all-christian small town of 2000 people in the middle of nowhere.  I have become the man I am today because I took the risk of finding out if there was wisdom outside of that village.  What did I find?  Happiness.  Purpose.  Humility.  Generosity.  A new and improved definition of Family.  And, Passion for the world.

Unlock your personal prison, and give yourself a chance to see the good when you don't limit yourself!

Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

#59 The Power of Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is the greatest asset you can possess, for it can take you further than money, power or influence. --Dada Vaswani

One of my great joys of working at NCSA is that they let me continue to be a teacher every day.  I teach a couple of live webinars every month on a number of topics as it pertains college and college recruiting.  You may have watched one or seen the recordings posted on the blog in the past.

I finished one of those very webinars tonight, and it is always a great sense of motivation and pride for me when I hear from dozens of families around the world afterward who are now motivated and inspired to go fight for their dreams.  They tell me that my enthusiasm is contagious and want more of it.  It is the closest thing to winning a basketball game that I have felt in my 20 years of coaching and teaching.

With that said, I was inspired tonight to write about the power of enthusiasm.  I don't know why I have not written about it before because it is probably the singular most consistent thing I have to critique to young people every day.  The topic is well overdue and should not be taken lightly.

Imagine you want to be recruited by a college coach...or you want an employer to interview you...or you want the boy or girl of your dreams to go on a date with you...you catch my drift.  If you sound shy, disinterested, tired, bored, quiet, lazy, you are immediately creating a first impression that makes that person ask themselves "Do I really want to have to be with this person every day or even for the next hour?"

For my high school kids, they may only get a 2-3 minute phone conversation (1-shot) with a college coach.  If that coach doubts for a second that he or she may be a bad fit for their team, their program, their school or their coaching style, they will hang up the phone with him or her faster than you can say "goodbye", and they will forget his or her name faster than they learned it.

So, whether you may get a call from a future employer or future mate or your future college coach, you have to practice how you want that first impression to go well before it ever becomes real.  We practice our running, shooting, passing, and defense.  We make reservations and put time into cleaning up to smell and look good for a night out.  We go to school and take classes to master our craft.  Why wouldn't we practice presenting ourselves in a way that puts our best foot forward with each new person we encounter?

Whether you are introverted and shy or just a bit awkward in the beginning of any relationship, I encourage you to own it and own it with enthusiasm.  You don't have to change who you are or the values that make you special, but you have to make sure those characteristics don't cost you a job, or a date, or a chance to play at your dream school.

When I say own it, here is an example I have probably used with 10 kids already in January who sounded like they were trying to crawl under the couch when I called them for their evaluation:

"Coach, thank you very much for contacting me and having an interest in me.  My dream is to play in college, and I would love to hear more about your program and school and how I might fit with you and your team.  I want you to know up front that I can come off as a little shy and introverted when I don't know people well, so bare with me if my enthusiasm for my future doesn't show up on my sleeve.  I don't want you to think for a second I am not passionate about my future or not thankful for the potential opportunity you may offer to me at some point."

What do we all crave in our human encounters?  Authenticity.  Honesty.  Directness.  Generosity.  Humility.  Yes!  It is those things that make people fall in love with us...or at least fall in like with us.  Even when your best isn't as good as that darn extrovert sitting next to you, never forget that it is your ability to own YOU with enthusiasm that will always bring people back for more!

Now, don't just sit there.  Go find someone to practice with. 😊


Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#58 About Time

Most people fail in life because they major in minor things. – Tony Robbins

Over the holiday week, I watched a movie that my neighborhood friends would call a "Rachel McAdams chick-flick" entitled About Time.  I liked the ambiguity of this title very much.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a huge movie lover, and I can get sucked into anything with good writing.  Even though I am comfortable embracing both my masculinity and those things somewhat less masculine (like a Nicholas Sparks movie), this film had very good writing, and it kept me engaged and entertained.  It also made me think and reflect while motivating me to be a better me.  That's never a bad thing.

With 2016 ending in a very tumultuous way and a completely unpredictable 2017 ahead of us, I thought this would be a great time to talk about what I learned from the lessons of this movie and more specifically how we can enable our time and emotions to be on parallel planes if we simply get out of our own way.  

The plot of the film was centered around a father who sits his seemingly awkward and insignificant son down on his 18th birthday and shares with him that he is in the long line of males in the family who have the power to maneuver through and manipulate time.  It is from this shocking realization that the Director takes us through the next 10 years or so of this young man's life in a series of funny and sad life events lived and then relived with the knowledge of failure in the first attempt.  The son uses most of these re-boots to alter his own embarrassments while trying to create an opportunity for the love and companionship he craves.  After many years of utilizing this power to much success (but not over the top like winning the lottery every Saturday), the father gives his son a piece of advice and a challenge for his new powers.

He tells his son to pick a day in the near future that has not gone well in any shape or form.  The father asks him to go back in time to the start of that particular day and relive it.  This time, however, deal with the good, the bad, and the terrible with joy in his heart and a conscientious attempt to see the good in every situation.

As the movie shows, the son's first trip through this particular day left him depressed and beaten down.  After reliving the day again, we see a young man proud of what he accomplished in the face of adversity and stress and burden.  He took a full day of rotten experiences and made them the smallest and most insignificant part of that day instead of the center-piece of that day's journey.

What can we all take from this?  How can we bring this to our practices and classrooms and dinner tables and bedrooms?  Our lives are short.  Our joys can sometimes be few and far between.  It should be our goal to make those joys our "major things" while doing our best to keep the "minor things"...well...minor.  Find the good in every situation.  Don't let the bad stay bad.  Even though we can't go back in time to fix our wrongs, we have the power to own those results instead of letting them own us.

I wish you all a very great 2017.  Live with conviction.  Enjoy every second with those you love and those things you love to do.  I hope you all embrace your passion this year and turn it into your guiding light!

Coach Matt Rogers
Twitter:  @madcoachdiary
Email:  coachrogers12@gmail.com
Linkedin:  www.linkedin.com/in/rogersmatt16
Blog:  madcoachdiary.blogspot.com
Phone:  (312) 610-6045

Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran.  He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to High School State Championship.  His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level.  Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children. 

To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.