Don Showalter

Email – dshowalter@usabasketball.com

Twitter – @dshow23

Coach Don Showalter is a 10-time USA Basketball gold medalist while serving as head coach of the USA men’s U16 and U17 national teams from 2009-2018. In May of 2016, he was hired as a coach director for USA Basketball’s youth division.

A high school coach for 42 years and a nine-time USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year award winner, Coach Showalter owns a perfect 62-0 record at the helm of USA Basketball U16 and U17 teams.

Coach Showalter compiled a 601-346 overall record (.635 winning percentage) during his 42 seasons as a high school head coach, including 16 district titles and six state tournament appearances.

Don is also the Director of the Snow Valley Basketball School one of the premier camps for individual player skill enhancement.

You will not find a coach with a wider range of basketball experiences than Coach Showalter.  He is a true servant leader who cares about the players he coaches both on and off the court.   

What We Discuss with Don Showalter

Intangibles that separate good from great players:

  • Being a good teammate: Players should hold themselves to high standards in warmups and interactions with their teammates and failing to conduct yourself in such a way stands out to coaches. It is possible to be a high-level player without being a good teammate, however not having positive interactions with teammates, sends a message that you are good, but probably not the type or level of player most coaches are looking to add to their program.
  • Body language and communication: Players should always make an effort to have good body language, and communicate that they are listening and learning from their coach. Coaches want players who are looking to better themselves and the team, rather than those with poor body language, who communicate disinterest, by slouching in their chair and looking into the stands during a timeout. Body language is an important separator, as it goes a long way in telling coaches what kind of player you are.
  • Competitiveness: The first question NBA scouts ask about a player is; how do they compete? Great players have a winning attitude on and off the court and will always fight to win the game no matter the situation. These are the players that have separated themselves as great and make a good team a great team. One way to find and recognize the competitive players in your program is to individually chart players wins and losses in games and drills during practice. Looking at this information will allow coaches to see which of their players have demonstrated constant competitiveness and fight to win. These are the players that separate themselves as great by working hard to win, even in practice, when the stakes are lower.
  • Love for the game: Without love for the game it is nearly impossible to become a great player. Players that love the game spend more time in the gym working on their skills, simply due to their love for the game they play. Players who are good may work hard during the time they are required to work out or practice but are often unwilling to go above required because they have different levels of love for the game than great players. Great players refuse to be average and are happy to work extra hours because they love what they do.
  • Ability to raise their teammates level: Great players have the ability to raise the playing levels of everyone on their team, whereas good players may be important pieces of the team, but do nothing to make their teammates better. Great players go above and beyond to inspire their teammates with their competitive nature and positivity. The combination of a great player and teammates playing at an elevated level is often the recipe for a great team. Great players separate themselves in this regard by showing coaches that they are there to help the team and everyone on it win and play to the best of their potential.

The 6 most important lessons Don learned in 42 years as a high school coach 

  • Communication: Communication is extremely important at any level of coaching, as it ensures everyone in and surrounding the program understands how and why decisions are being made. It is often better to overcommunicate than it is is to risk under communicating. Somebody is always going to complain about the decisions you make as a coach, so it is better to alert everybody about what, why, and how the decision was made. Doing this will ensure that everyone is aware of any changes made, which will help reduce complaints and issues you may have otherwise faced.
  • Practice fundamentals all year: Emphasizing fundamentals all year in practice is a great way to help your team improve from the beginning of the season to the end. While fundamentals are some of the most basic drills, they are still invaluable to a team’s success. Improving and perfecting fundamentals over the course of a season helps all players grow no matter what their initial skill level might have been, and helps the team perform to its full potential.
  • Designate non-negotiables: By identifying non-negotiables for your program, you are setting the precedent for what needs to happen in the program. You will also have to address what the consequences will be if these non-negotiables are ignored. Players must understand that these non-negotiables must happen every time, regardless of the situation. There can be non-negotiables on the court (boxing out, sprinting down the floor after a rebound, etc.), or off the floor (attitude, focus, etc.), both are extremely important to build a successful program. Designation of these non-negotiables ensures that all players are aware of what you and the program expect from them both on and off the court.
  • Conducting efficient practice: Conducting an efficient practice, is a relatively simple way to elevate your team and your program. As a coach, you must create an atmosphere of focus and respect in the gym. Make sure that you don’t spend too much of the practice talking, as young people tend to have a short attention span. It is also important to make sure that you avoid repeating yourself. Your players are less likely to listen to you the first time if they know you are going to repeat yourself four times. Make it clear that you will say things once and expect that your players to be listening and ready to carry out your instructions.
  • Standards: As a coach, it is important to set standards for your program and your players and make clear what you expect. Using the word standard is often more effective than using the word rules, as rues generally have a negative connotation for players. Standards hold everyone in your program accountable for their decisions, as you have already defined expectations. Having standards is important as they ensure that you and your program achieve your full potential.
  • Play more 3 on 3: Playing 3 on 3 puts each player in a position where they actually have to play and understand the game. In 5 on 5, it is much easier for players to get lost and not touch the ball, however 3 on 3 gives all players the opportunity to handle the ball and make game decisions. 3 on 3 also make it easier for you as a coach to observe players and put them in specific situations that need to be worked on as a program. 3 on 3 is an effective way for coaches to give players more of an opportunity to work on their in-game decision-making skills while putting to use their fundamentals within the context of the game.

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Last year at the Jr. NBA Summit I came across an amazing company called iSport360 and its Founder Ian Goldberg.  Their youth sports app gets coaches, players and parents on the same page. Your team can set goals, share player feedback, training videos, sticker rewards, player evals and practice assignments.  All to foster healthy team communication and culture.  If your team or club struggles to keep open lines of communication, especially among team parents, iSport360 can help.  If you want to empower your athletes to have more success, more confidence and more communication with their teammates, give iSport360 a try today.  Reach out to me via email mike@hoopheadspod.com or give me a call at 216-392-4059 to learn more!

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THANKS, DON SHOWALTER!

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Transcript for Don Showalter – USA Basketball – Episode 280

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the hoop heads podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my cohost Jason Sunkle and tonight and we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast coach Don Showalter from USA basketball. Show, Welcome back.

Don Showalter: [00:00:10] Hey, glad to be back. I know you guys have been, kinda. Sequestered here as everybody has, but, your, your podcast had been great.

I don’t think I’ve missed a, one of them, for, for many, many times. So, you guys do great job and, and, I applaud you for, for growing the game of growing the game of basketball, in, in your, certainly with your podcasts.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:38] Well, we appreciate you. There’s been no bigger supporter. Of our podcast in terms of contributing to our round tables and just generally supporting the things that we’re trying to do here with the pod.

So we appreciate everything that you’ve done to help us and we’re thankful that you’ve been willing to jump back on with us. We want to do have you on to first of all, talk about the impact of [00:01:00] the current situation with Kovac 19 on USA basketball and just some of the plans. Jason and I were talking a little bit last night when we think about the.

The men’s national team and the Olympics being postponed, and then thinking about the NBA season, which may or may not resume this year, and then it looks likely that next season will be pushed back. maybe NBA players will still be in season next year when the Tokyo Olympics takes place. So just kind of give us the state of what’s happening from your perspective in terms of USA basketball, both at the junior level and then maybe also at the senior level as well.

Don Showalter: [00:01:36] Yeah. You know, that’s a lot of unknowns, obviously, Ash. , basically we up up to this point and you, you take a look, it seems like we’ve been, I’ve been working, our office has been closed since, since March 12th. And, actually March 13th, I think, but, you know, it seems like it’s been [00:02:00] two months instead of, instead of a couple of weeks.

, but, you know, we, we were in Colorado, on March 12th and we flew back. So that’s only been going like 13 days, but when we flew back, to Iowa on March 12th from Colorado Springs, I got off the plane and, got, got gotta. Yeah. Texts from, from my coworker, who I work closely with, the said the NBA season, it has been the NCAA March madness and canceled the NC.

The NBA season had had been canceled, I mean, a lot. All within like two hours while I was on the plane. So things have changed? No, no. Oh, kid. Things to change really quick on, on the forefront. Of course. , you know, when those, when multibillion dollar, sports [00:03:00] organizations canceler events, you, you obviously know it’s gonna trickle down to too many, many other events as well.

And that’s kind of what has happened. But, as far as USAB, you know, obviously we’re a part of the FIBA  organization, which governs, international basketball. and then our youth division, we do our, academies and, those are events there too, which, you know, academies are open. Courts our USA basketball Tournament that we do in July. So a lot of those things are under our youth. Three on three is huge, some big three on three stuff was coming out. But,all those are on hold right now. Obviously, April 10th, was kind of kinda when we have, when we were given the date of our office being [00:04:00] closed up until then.

, you know, who knows what’s going to happen after your called tank, but I, I think it just going to continue for several weeks beyond that. So all our events were canceled up through April 10th. those events included. , you know, we had a mini camp during the final four, which we always do with the.

Top 80 players in the country from all levels, all the way up from U16 through U18 teams. we bring them into the final four, venue and have a, have a mini camp. And then they also scrimmage, the NBA academies. The NBA academies are in India and Africa and Latin America. Australia, Europe.

So, so those [00:05:00] NBA academies obviously were, you know, didn’t come. We didn’t do that, but that was a big, that’s a big event for us just to, play, those academies, with international rules and, and kind of get ready for our training camps. And the fun part of that that the kids missed out on is that our kids didn’t also had a practice on the final four floor on Sunday morning.

So, last year in Minneapolis, you know, you can imagine how excited our kids were to, to practice and scrimmage on the final four floor, that was going to be used, on Monday for the championship national championship game. So, as kind of heartbreaking for a lot of kids, obviously, but, we knew, we knew, that was not going to happen, so that that event got canceled.

, and then of course, everything around the final four. it was canceled too.  We always do some [00:06:00] sessions with the NABC national association of basketball coaches. we have a social USA basketball social, which is always very well attended, during the final four.

So those all got canceled. And then, and then after that, we have our scheduled, hoop summit that  was in Portland, April 10th, which is our 12 top seniors, against an international group of European players. So that’s a huge event for us. Draws the about seven to 10,000 every year at the moda center in Portland.

So those were officially events that have been affected by the coronavirus. And been canceled. they’ve been canceled. Obviously you’re not going to be, we didn’t postpone those. They’re in the cancellation mode, so we’re not gonna have the hoop summit this year we’re not going to have the other mini camps.,

So, [00:07:00] so we’re kind of a stalemate right now coming into April, and May. We have a U 18 training camp that was going to start, around the 25th, 26th, may, and then, they were to leave for that group was going to play in, Argentina. Rozario , first part of June. Our  U17 world championship players?

Oh, we were a start a training camp with them on June 17th, 15, 16, 17, somewhere in there, and then, go to Bulgaria for their tournament. Now officially, they have not been canceled. , and I think FIBA is going to take a look at those. both boys and girls tournaments this week and decide what to do, what to do [00:08:00] with those.

So those are always kind of tough because you, you go by age groups for those. And so if you wait another year, you, you really miss that age group. , then you’d just, you’d have to start over with you. Sixteens a year from this smer, but as of right now, we haven’t yet got, have, haven’t gotten the official word that they’re, that they’re canceled, but our, our national, our national three on three tournament in Colorado Springs, a U 18 national tournament.

There’s been, yeah, it’s supposed to be, it’s an end of April. , and that’s been, and it’s been postponed, for a later date. Our, our, three on three open, tournament, which was, which was supposed to be an Olympic qualifier, in India has been canceled or postpone. So just a lot of things like that are affecting what we’re doing.

And then we’ve [00:09:00] had, we have Academy scheduled. A coach’s Academy scheduled for LA in may, May 16th, 17th, and I think in LA, we haven’t made a final decision on that yet and probably won’t hear for another couple of weeks. , and then also we have some gold camps coming up and our goal camps are for a higher skilled, middle school players, seventh and eighth grade players.

And, it was going to be in Dallas at the end of may. So, you know, we have a lot of events. This, we’re just starting our events season and what this was, you know, it’s obviously a big time for us and, what’s going on. And I’m, I’m sure everybody has heard that the Olympics had been postponed for a year.

, so that takes away some of the qualifying tournaments that our senior man’s team had been doing. . so we’re backing up to the man’s junior national team with these 17 and [00:10:00] 18. It’s basically on hold till we find out what’s what FIBA has decided to do with that, those situations. And then, you know, the options are cancel or move it.

We went to the fall, but then you, you know, there were all kinds of problems that arise because of the movement in, in that our senior man’s team. You know, obviously the Olympics where this was coming here, and that was a big thing for us. And, but it’s right, it was right thing to do. we, we certainly support, you know, the, U S soci, in what they, in the IOC, international IB committee for.

For going ahead and pushing the Olympics back until 2021 and we just had a conference call today and we really don’t know what that’s gonna look like when it’s going to be, they just said it has to be within the first nine months of 2021 so somewhere between January and [00:11:00] end of September. Will be the Olympics.

And, you know, you know, we, we don’t know when that, that’ll probably be in the next week or so, what the details are on that. But it could be, you know, we’re thinking maybe it might be April, may, we, they could have, could, could be in, in different, have different sports, have their Olympics at different times.

So we just don’t, you know, you just don’t, we just don’t know what’s going to happen there yet. But, but we’re, I mean, we were feel real confident that, the NBA is going to, we’re going to work well with the NBA and, and get, get get players. Can help us, whether they start their season late or end their season early, whatever, suspend the season a little bit.

It’s an an ass situation. There’s a lot of, obviously foreign players that international players are playing in the NBA, so it affects them as well. So that’s kind of [00:12:00] yet a June. We had Academy scheduled in a coach’s Academy scheduled for. for Dallas, second week of June 12th and 13th. Yeah. We just, we just hope we can get some of that in, but if we don’t, we’ll, we’ll postpone and we’re flexible and, I think everybody has to be a little bit flexible this time, this time of year when you have a whole, we’re dealing with, with the criminal virus.

Mike Klinzing: [00:12:25] Yeah, no question. Flexibility is going to be key for everybody. I think. If you look at. The Olympics being pushed back and obviously they waited. I think probably as long as any major sporting event. All around the world they held on to try to see if they, there was a way that they could make it happen, and then eventually it became clear that it just wasn’t going to work.

And then, like I said earlier, Jason and I were talking last night about the NBA, and I know there’s been a great relationship between USA basketball and the NBA, so I’m sure that those two organizations are going to do everything they can to ensure that the best guys that. And the guys that want to be there [00:13:00] representing our country get an opportunity to play in the Olympics will be interesting too.

I hadn’t thought of or heard that you might have different sports going at different times of the year, which I would think from a basketball perspective, if that were the case where there could be some flexibility, because as you said, it’s not just. You know, we’re looking at it from a USA basketball perspective, but clearly there are lots of more international players in the NBA than there ever have been.

And so all those teams and those players are going to be affected as well. So it seemed to be in the best interest of everybody, both the Olympics in terms of generating interest in the basketball tournament and in the various pro leagues, including the NBA, to figure out a way to make it work. It’s just obviously with this season being.

Shortened from an MBA standpoint, it seems like whatever’s going to happen next year, they’re going to want to make sure they get their 82 games in and the full schedule. So I think there’s probably going to be some challenges figuring out when that time is gonna really work [00:14:00] out so that they can get people, get players to play in the Olympics and see what happens.

So that’ll be interesting. It’s, it’s definitely going to be, they’ll definitely be some, a lot of discussions around that issue going forward, I’m sure.

Don Showalter: [00:14:11] . Adam silver. I just have a lot of respect for Adam silver at the NBA. He’s, he’s, he’s a very intelligent individual and, he just, he seems to push the right buttons at the right time.

I think, you know, he, right when Rudy go Bair, was, had the, had the coronavirus, I mean, right away he didn’t waste any time and suspend the season. , you know, he, he’s wanting to act quick, but, he certainly, he’s, he’s really one of those, one of those, people I have a lot of respect for and he’s, he’s always worked well.

They’ve always worked really, really well, closely with, with, with, with that, with us because they’re MBA’s, big partner of the USA [00:15:00] basketball. So, so whatever decision is made on, and I’m sure it’s going to be for the best for. Players, and, everybody else. So, so, and, you know, our, our coaching staff, is stayed intact.

, Popovich from the spurs is indicated he’s, he’s on board for sure for 21. , it was kind of a, at the end of 20, at the end of two, at the end of this smer after the Olympics. , it was, you know, he, that was kind of his. extended piece of, the, the contract for working with USA basketball, but, he graciously decided that he, you know, he’s going to see it out through, through whenever the Olympics are.

So hopefully he can still be that coach, for like routine. Yeah, that’d be great.

Mike Klinzing: [00:15:55] Is there any speculation on what might happen after that? Not if you have any [00:16:00] classified information, but any thoughts about where. Or who might be in line to be considered for that position once Popovich has done.

Don Showalter: [00:16:08] Yeah.

You know, we really haven’t even crossed that hurdle at all yet. I, I, you know, I think there’s, you know, I think there’s a lot of really good possibilities both in the NBA and the collegiate world. that would be, possible, coaches for, for our senior men’s team. And, and, you know, I mean, Popovich may be in that, in that mix.

Going forward as well for another year. So, like I said, we really don’t know. We are really crossed that hurdle yet at all. And so that’ll be, yeah, that’ll be something that’s the way down the road after the Olympics.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:47] For sure. Can you talk a little bit about, you mentioned while you were speaking earlier about some of the events that were canceled.

You talked about some of the three on three events and clearly with three on three joining the Olympics in what would’ve been [00:17:00] this smer, but now next smer, I think it’s going to lead to an explosion in the popularity of three on three as people get a chance to see the game. And I think as you look around the youth landscape, the more and more coaches that we talk to, the more you hear about the need for.

Playing three on three and playing those small side of games, whether it’s in a league format or whether it’s within the confines of a team practice. So talk a little bit about USA basketball’s stance on three on three and just kind of where, where you see three out three heading in the future and how USA basketball is going to continue to promote and support.

Three on three going forward

Don Showalter: [00:17:37] here. Yeah, I mean, that’s, so we’re really excited about the three on three. A red bull has done a great job of being one of our sponsors and they’re pouring a large s of money into, and now my dad with, they’re doing a great job of marketing. Our three on three, the three on three.

If you, if you, you know, your listeners, if you V if [00:18:00] you watch that, on, on the international three, on three on TV, it’s really exciting, fast paced, game. It’s got a 12 second shot clock. , you know, teams take the ball out. Underneath, on a made basket, they have to take it out underneath the basket in the charge circle, and they can either throw it out to a player or they may dribble it out from there.

, they cannot be guarded. you can’t be defended if you’re standing in the circle to make a pass, but as soon as you dribble out, then you can be defended. So, you know, the three on three and the three on three players are, you know, you, you have to really make, I think we have, we’ve made some great decisions on who to have play three on three cause it’s , the game is different, so different from five on five that you need a little different kind of player.

, you know, [00:19:00] your, your bigger, slower type of player is not very effective. In a three on three. , you know, Robbie Hmel, who played at Purdue that, that we’ve, we’re all kind of familiar with. He’s, he’s probably one of our best, well, he is one of our best top three on three players. he’s long, he can shoot the ball, you can get to the basket, but players like hammer, are very, very good.

And he’s part of our open three on three. And, and, . You know, moving forward, will we have, we haven’t officially qualified, our teams yet for three on three FIBA set up. there’s a whole point system that is developed by fever because they don’t want us or any other country just to pick. You know, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Duran, you can’t, we can’t do that for three on three.

It’s, it’s players. You have to be, acculate points by [00:20:00] playing in tournaments three on three tournaments throughout the whole year. So we send those guys all over the world. We send teams all over the world to play in three on three tournaments so they could acculate points that will benefit us, to qualify.

For, the Olympics and, and qualify players for the Olympics. So  that’s, that’s a little bit different from that standpoint. People ask you, I get the question, well, why, why can’t you just ask, you know, LeBron James and two other guys to play three on three? Well, that’s not the point of  why was developed three on three to develop?

So. Countries really have a chance to, don’t, can’t play five on five or don’t have the five on five capacity to make a good team. They can play. They can have get three or four guys to play. So countries, you really are, you’re not [00:21:00] even, you don’t even hear about much with that. With five on five basketball have really good, some really good three on three teams.

, Africa, Nairobi, you know, India, some of those teams that just could not function very well. Five and five certainly do a very good job of three on three. So that’s kind of the basis for what we’re looking at. And, and we’ll have qualifying tournaments. We think we have enough points if you, if you have enough world, three on three points.

, and again, I don’t want to bore anybody with a lot of the details, but, you’re in the top three. That automatically qualifies you for the, for the Olympics. , and then, and then, the other five spots are through qualification tournament. So, India was one of those. Places where we were supposed to be at.

Even if you qualify, you still need to go to the qualifying tournament. So, [00:22:00] I think in, our man, had a great chance to qualify, from the point total because we had, we had quite a few. We had a lot, a large nber of points, and I think our women were, if they didn’t qualify then, then they had a good chance to do it through the, through the qualification tournament.

So that’s the open part of it. , Jason and Mike. But then there’s also UAA teen tournament. And you 18, we host the UAT national, which is, which will be high school, basically high school juniors. , that are, that are really good. , so we’ll bring them in for a, for a national tournament. We, scheduled for the end of April and may, again, we’re not sure that’s going to happen, but, and then we’ll have, there’ll be about 12, 12, or 15 teams involved in that.

And [00:23:00] then we’ll pick four players to represent the United States in the world.  three on three, world cup. , I think that’s in a, I’m not, I, I won’t, I don’t, I won’t say for sure that I’m not, not for sure where it’s at, but, there it’s, it’s, it’s all internationally based. So I think last year was in a.

, might’ve been an Asia somewhere. I w I was at one in Spain one year, took a group to Spain one year. I took a group to Indonesia one year for those tournaments. So, so that’s, it’s a really a big thing, for USA basketball, to qualify for that. And, we were going to host a big, big tournament in Vegas.

Coming up, of course that’s been postponed, but a lot of interest now obviously is going to be a lot more interest in the law since it starts the Olympics. And I equivalent to the fact that, you know, you a beach volleyball where you play [00:24:00] two on each side. It’s not a full volleyball contingent. that’s kind of what it is for three on three basketball.

, and, and, you know, obviously I’m a big proponent of three on three, playing three on three and reading your regular practice session. So this is just an extension of that. And it should be, should be really fun to watch crowds get into it and it’s fast paced and, it’s, it is, it’s, it’s a, a different type of, of game.

The ball is both men and women use the same. . These are same ball. the ball is a little bit smaller than the man’s ball. , but the weight is the same as the women’s ball. So a little different balls being used by both men and women. But, . It’s really fun. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:24:54] It is. The international, the FIBA version of three on three.

If people haven’t seen that [00:25:00] and you don’t know what it looks like, it’s hard to, it’s hard to visualize it until you see it. Cause when you think of fast, when you think of three on three half court basketball, a lot of us think of . What three on three basketball may have been the old rec league three on three and checking it up every time up top and people walking around to get matched up and all that stuff.

And this game is not at all like that. It’s super fast paced and I think that’s what really makes the game fun and enjoyable, both I’m sure to play and to watch from a spectator side of it. Just I want to ask you one more thing regarding three on three. Do you ever see a time, and this would just be pure speculation, but I’m just curious to get your opinion.

Do you ever see a time where. Three on three basketball could make its way into high schools as a Scholastic, as an interscholastic sport. So we’re two schools to be competing and you’d actually have, you might have your five on five traditional basketball team, and then you might also potentially have three on three or even maybe some rural [00:26:00] areas where it’s difficult to feel the full team.

Maybe teams just go completely to three on three. Do you ever see a time where that could potentially be possible? Well,

Don Showalter: [00:26:08] I mean. at this time, you know, probably not for an immediate future, but you know, who, you know, 10 years ago, who would have thought you’d have in high schools, have as many sports that we have now.

You know, female wrestling is, is, is coming into high school sports, obviously lacrosse and, and, . Some of those kinds of sports. So, I mean, who knows? Once it, once it catches on as an Olympic sport, you know, that could change. That could really change the landscape of, of, three on three a lot in high school, in the high school arena.

Mike Klinzing: [00:26:51] Yeah. I agree. I agree. I think it’s potential once you play it, once you see it, there’s just so many more opportunities for kids to touch the [00:27:00] ball and be involved. And so that’s where, obviously from a practice standpoint, if you think about being a coach and utilizing that within your practice setting, to be able to just maximize the amount of reps that kids get.

But I also think that it’s. It’s just fun. And so I can see where eventually you could get to the point where it might take off. You think about, at least here in the Cleveland area, there’s, there’s a handful of schools that are playing volleyball. On the boys side, there aren’t many, but there are some, and I think back to when I was in school 25 30 years ago, and.

Male volleyball at the high school level didn’t exist. So at some point, I won’t be surprised if that, if that ends up happening. So let’s shift gears, not completely, but talk from this perspective about you’ve had an opportunity through coaching the junior national team through all the mini camps, through all the training camps you’ve been to, you’ve had an opportunity to be around some of the best players in the country.

At an age [00:28:00] when they’re still in the process of developing. So one of the things that I wanted to talk to you about tonight was some of the intangible things that the guys who have gone on to have tremendous success in the NBA. What has kind of set them apart from, I don’t want to say the average player, cause obviously the players that you’re seeing at the junior national team.

Mini camps. Those are some of the best players in the country. But clearly we know there’s a difference between a good player, a great player, and then the best, the guys who end up going on and having success in the league. So just talk about some of the intangible things that you see from the guys who go on to have the most success later in their careers.

What are some of the things that you’ve observed over the years?

Don Showalter: [00:28:45] But yeah, that’s, I get that question asked a lot. like as far as. What, what really separates a, you know, a good from a great player. And, I think we know, [00:29:00] even in our own high school teams, you know, we see, you know, we all have a best player.

And so, you know, as you think back on, on your, on your teams, all right, what makes that player the best player? , now obviously. You know, the, I have to have some skills. The skills have to be really high level. they got to, they got to, you know, be able to do mobile skills really well. shoo be fans, ball handling, you know, so, so that’s obviously one thing that you look at, but you know, we’re talking in tangibles because a lot of players have skills that are really good.

And in, we see when we bring in, you know, when we bring in. 25, 35 kids for you, 16. Are you 17 this year? They are. They’re all really good, skill-wise, and, and physically, [00:30:00] you know, you know, they can jp, you know, they’re just physically gifted. And so, there’s not much really much differentiation in those 35 that we bring in from the physically gifted.

Standpoint and same goals for your high school team. Now, obviously, you may have one player who’s much more physically gifted, but he may not be the best player on your high school team. He may be the best gifted player, but you may, you know, you may have a more valuable player, than, than your best gifted player on your team.

So, . That’s kind of what we’re talking about. But, I talk, I probably visit with every NBA scout, at some point or other, during the year about the kids that we’ve had come through, our programs. And, and now it’s really interesting for me because [00:31:00] now I, I spend most of November, December, and January, watching these kids in their own high school environment.

, and, and I’m on the, you know, an hour, I’m on the administrative side, organizing these mini camps, inviting kids, watching, and then inviting kids in, who I think would fit what we want. So, so that’s been a little bit of a change for them because previously I coached those kids, but I didn’t have really, I didn’t go out and watch.

A lot of the kids play with their own high school teams. So, you know, as I do that, I always, I always tell players, that, you know, when I, when I go out and watch you, I always, I like to get, get to the game early because I like to watch how kids that we’re looking at, how they warm up, what their interaction is with their, with their [00:32:00] teammates.

, we think that’s really important. from, from building, you know, from sustaining our culture with USA basketball, with high level players, you know, where you can be a high level player, and if you don’t, if you don’t have good interaction with your teammates and you know, you’re not a good teammate, or you’re kind of a dog in warmups and, and those kinds of things, you know, that that sends a message, that, you know, you’re, you’re good, but, you’re probably not the level that we want.

For USA basketball. And so it comes as a shock to a lot of the, a lot of the players when we, we tell them that. , the other thing is, you know, we think are, is really important is, is their body language. And we’re pretty upfront when we say, if you, if you really give us poor body language, or we see bad body language, when we go out to watch you w w w there are enough.

[00:33:00] Players that are equally as good as you, that had good body language. So we’re probably not going to bring you in. It’s probably going to be one, you know, a strike that, you’re not going to get three strikes on that because we don’t want players with poor body language who slouched in their chairs.

Don’t listen to coach. look up at the stands while during a timeout. you know, somebody makes a great play on the floor, and you’re not, you know, you’re not happy for them.  it just, it goes a long way in telling us what kind of person player that you really are. And I think that separates a good from great.

, but let me give back to, you know what NBA Scouts asked me? , one of the first questions, other than, cause they, they really know how good a player is physically and skill wise. But, they always want to [00:34:00] know, more about the player, being a good teammate and those kinds of things. but the first question they always ask me is, are they competitors?

Do they really compete? And, you know, when I first first started coaching with the junior national team, I thought, well, that’s an interesting question. Is that the first thing they want to know. Oh , how, how are they really do they really compete? And very interesting, feedback from a lot of the Scouts in the NBA is that they really think that being able to compete, just being a competitor is, is something that, a lot of players don’t have.

And so that’s probably one thing that separates good from great. I’ll go back to Brad Beal, [00:35:00] , who played force in Oh nine and 10 was just a, one of my all time favorites to coach. And, you know, he was, he was such a competitor. , I mean, he, he was one of those who was absolutely not going to lose, .

Unfortunately, he’s, he’s on a losing team team right now with the Washington wizards. but you know, he was such a competitor that, that you just, you know, it made everybody compete at a higher level. , so that, I think that’s one things that, that separates, and, you know, sometimes we’ve had kids that aren’t, aren’t that level, aren’t, aren’t to the level that really compete.

, and, . And so when you, when you take a look at that, aspect of a player, and I think at same way on a high school team, coaches that are listening, you know, you have a, you know, a player that [00:36:00] maybe not be a skill, but you know, if they can compete, I look back on, you know, teams I’ve had at city high and mid Prairie.

You know, those players were invaluable. I mean, they were, they were more valuable than players who were more talented. if they could really compete. One of the things we do, that I’ll throw out to coaches that are listening, because you may want to do it and put this down for your, for your team next year, is we, we really chart wins and losses.

So let’s say we play three on three, or we play four on four and practice, or we play, we have a defensive. A transition game where we play called a UC UCLA drill or Laker drill. We chart individually who wins and who loses. So a player might be on a three on three team. , and then we play four on four and, and we chart if the, his [00:37:00] team wins or loses, but we charge them individually.

And that, that if you do that, you, you will be surprised. I think over, you know, you do that over a period of time who really competes and who really, really takes the bull by the horns and hates to lose. I know I’m not gonna name any names, but there’s been some really, really high draft picks. That I S I S absolutely said he, you know, they, they’ve, they’ve, they have not won with us.

They haven’t won in our practice sessions. They haven’t won. you know, we, we cut them because we just didn’t think they were, they could win. And sure enough, when they get to the NBA, they’re struggling. . So that I think that’s probably one of the big things I think separates good from great. And I think the other thing that I always think separates good from great players, [00:38:00] is the love of the game.

, do they really love the game? You know, a lot of times you get into big guys, especially two big guys really love the game. , you know, if they love the game, they’re gonna spend time in the gym. They’re gonna develop their, their shots or foot works or skills without, you know, if they’re come in, if you practice the three and, and they come in two 55 and they’re done at five and they’re home at five, 10, you know, you question how much they really love the game.

, and they can be very, very skilled. But, I think that also says a lot. So I always make the point of. One of the things that youth coaches need to do, if you’re coaching a youth, eight, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 year olds, one of your, one of your main jobs is to have them love the game. And so they love the game and they’re obviously gonna get, get a lot better.

So I, I’ve kind of rambled there, but I w I would say being a [00:39:00] great teammate, body language, how you communicate, the ability to compete. And then a love of the game, I think are some things. It’s separate in my estimation, separate good from great. And, as I look over the, the 10 teams that I’ve coached with gold metals, you know, I could name you Jalen Suggs of the world ties Jones, Trey Jones.

, you know, I could go on and on with those guys really had a level, high level for competition. They could, Jason Tat was off the charts. With that. you know, as well, Harry Giles, who’s just been angel to lab, and I know I just made a really good comeback with, with the Sacramento Kings back in their starting lineup was a high level competitor.

So those guys all had great body language. They, they communicate well, they love to compete and you know, they had a great love for the game.

Mike Klinzing: [00:39:59] All right. I want to [00:40:00] ask you one thing about the competitiveness piece of it. When you have a player who is on the level of a Beale or a Tat in terms of competitiveness, and then you put them out on the floor with guys who are maybe just a step below that, do you find, have you found both at the.

The national level with USA basketball. And then thinking back on your high school career, have you found that when you have that super competitive kid on your team, that that raises the competitiveness level of the rest of your players? Are they able to probably not get that everybody up to the level that they are, which is why they’re special?

But do they raise the level of competitiveness within the practice setting for your team?

Don Showalter: [00:40:44] Oh, I mean, there’s no question. You know, there’s no question on that. I mean, everybody wanted to be on a Brad Beals team or adjacent Tat’s team or Jaylen’s Suggs his team because they knew, they knew how hard a [00:41:00] competitor they were.

And I knew they were, they had a great chance of winning just because they had those guys on, on a team. So, I, I think, I think that’s another, you know, you talk about great players, raise the level of, of, of. Of everybody else. And there’s, there’s no question that they do that. I, you know, I, I, I think we use, we throw the term great around way too much.

I don’t, I don’t think there’s any really players are that are, you know, great, great is something that takes place over a period of time. You can have a great play, but that doesn’t say make you a great player. And so I think kids here how great they are. but, but by the same token, that that word great is, is in my estimation, you know, you is, is thrown around way too much because there, there are very few [00:42:00] in, in the, even in the NBA, there’s very few great players.

, there’s, there’s probably 20, 25 players, I would say are great players. And then the rest of them are role players. So those, those great players have to. You know, they’re there, they’re there because they’re, they, they raise the level of play of the, of, of everybody else there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:42:22] Yeah. We had that discussion with, your guy, Mike Procopio and Mike talked about how if you look at the NBA, there’s really 20 to 25 guys that matter that are indispensable, that have plays called for them, that are sort of the, do everything guys for their team and then everybody else.

Has to fit in and figure out what is it that I bring to the table that makes me valuable to this team. And I think that that’s a lesson when you think about from being a high school coach or if there are players out there listening here, we’re talking about whatever, however many guys are on the league, 300 5,400 guys in the NBA, best [00:43:00] players in the entire world.

And we’re talking that 95% of those guys are. Roleplayers. And so when you think about the nber of guys at the high school or college level that become dissatisfied with their role and think they should be the star or get more shots or whatever it may be, and you think about as a coach, your ability to communicate what.

Role a player should have and why they should have that role. And I think that’s something that for coaches out there is critically important, is to get players to understand what their role is. And then on the player side of it, it’s important to figure out what role your coach wants you to play and then play that to the best of your ability.

And then the things that you mentioned, Don, the intangibles that these guys that are going to the NBA have, those are things that. We can control, like I can control if I’m going to be competitive every single day. Now I know there’s an, there’s an innate competitiveness in some people that isn’t present in others, but we can [00:44:00] all raise our level of competitiveness.

We can all decide that we’re going to have great body language. We can all decide that we’re going to be great teammates. And I think that on an individual level, from a player standpoint, you can make the conscious decision to be able to try to improve those things. And then from a coaching standpoint, those are things that.

Do you want to put time in with your team? Do you want to emphasize those things? Because if you can improve in those intangible areas, as you said a couple times. That can sometimes overcome a more skilled player, a more skilled team. On the other side, if you have those intangibles working for you, and obviously that’s with to have a baseline level of skill clearly, but those intangibles, I think if coaches can focus on improving those with their teams and players individually can really think about, Hey, how can I improve these things that are within my control?

We’d all probably be a lot better off in the game of basketball. We’ll continue to grow and improve by leaps and bounds. If we could accomplish that and get that message across. I,

Don Showalter: [00:44:57] you know, I always kind of define a great [00:45:00] player, by the level, and you alluded to this earlier, but, I always kinda define a great player by how much better he makes his teammates.

You know, you can be a great player and not make your teammates any better. ,

Mike Klinzing: [00:45:17] yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s totally true. I’m going to, I’m going to share a story right now today, Don, that happened with me today. So I was outside today. As I’m social distancing, I’m outside with my son who’s in eighth grade and we were talking about different things and we were talking about a player that my son played with and just talking about the difference in skill level.

And I said, the player that you played with in this sit in this situation, probably if I just look at the raw skills of that player. If I put you on the floor against a bunch of cones and I put him on the floor against a bunch of cones. He’s probably better than you, but what’s given you the advantages?

You talk [00:46:00] on defense. You’re a positive person on the team. You know where you’re supposed to be. You share the ball, you’re not playing the game in isolation. You’re playing understanding that you’re part of this five man unit. And I said, if you play for a coach, like he was fortunate enough to play for who recognizes those things.

Those intangibles are what push you over the edge. And now if you continue to improve your skill level and you combine skill with those intangibles, now you’ve really got something. But I think as you said, it’s really, really important that you look at the entire package as a player and as a coach, you want to make sure that if you want those things to happen for your team and with your players, you’ve got to make sure you put an emphasis on those things every single day.

Don Showalter: [00:46:44]

Yeah. Yeah, it’s a great point. And we’ve all had players, you know, for those you that are listening, we’ve all had players who, who, who you just say, you know what, w he’s gotta be on [00:47:00] the floor. He’s got a play. Cause we’re better when he plays. All right? Now, you know, you go back to why is he better while he brings out the best of everybody’s a competitor.

He loves the game though. All those kinds of things fit there and they’re there. They’re things that very controllable. I mean, some of the, some of the things that players, you know, can help their game out all the time are things that anybody you don’t have. It doesn’t take, outstanding skill level to raise your level of game.

, up at all. You know, I did, like you said, communication, being a great teammate, all those things you can control. So, we try and really get that across to our, you know, our players in any way you talk about the will to win, you know, desire to succeed and those kinds of things, you know, are really, really important.

But, but again, those are things that players can’t control. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:47:59] Hopefully. [00:48:00] As we get that message out and players hear it, and we all know that it’s a challenge and it’s challenged for players to sometimes be able to accept that role. And it’s a challenge for players or for coaches to get players to accept that role.

But I think the key is, is that you have to make sure that you’re taking care of those intangibles, both as a player and as a coach. And if you do that and you raise the level in each of those areas that you talked about, I think you’re going to have. A more successful career as a player and more successful teams when you’re a coach.

All right, let’s move on from that topic to our last one that we wanted to talk about, and that’s the five most important lessons that you learned over the course of your 42 year high school coaching career. What are the things, if you were to give five pieces of advice or five things that you learned over the course of that career?

Just maybe share some of those things with our coaches that are out there in the audience.

Don Showalter: [00:48:53] Well, you know, I think we all. Yeah. We all kind of, as we all kind of [00:49:00] evolve as a coach from the time you are a young coach, whether it be an assistant or a head coach and then you know, after you coach 10, 20, 30, in my case, more than that, 42 years, of high school ball.

and then being involved with the USA team. I think we kind of all evolve as a coach. And so, you know, we all, it’s that old saying, you know, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. . As a young coach and, after you coach for a while and now we look back and the other lot of things I didn’t know at the time.

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:37] I know a lot less now at age 50 than when I was 25.

Don Showalter: [00:49:41] Yeah, I know. I know. but that’s a great question. I get asked that a lot as well. important. You know, what’s, what are some really important things that maybe I learned as a high school coach? I think nber one is, is, . You got to communicate, you [00:50:00] almost have to over communicate, when you think that you’re over-communicating and it might be just right.

And then you communicate. Again, I’m talking with administration, with the players, with, you know, parents, you, you can’t isolate any of those people, and have them support your program. So I think, I think communication over communication is really. One of those keys. I mean, communicate with your players.

If you decide, you know, you’re going to change the lineup, any and have a starter come off the bench, in my opinion, you better communicate that before you do it on in a game night. Communicate with them why you’re doing it. Here’s where we’re doing it. , you know, we did that with Collin Sexton and Jason Tat.

, we both, they both came off the bench force, and they ended up being MVPs force in the world world championship. But, you know, we just didn’t do it, without them knowing that we, we sat them [00:51:00] down and in some cases I’ll call the parents. I would call a parents, say, Hey, Johnny’s been really good for us as a starter, but we think our team is going to be better with him coming off the bench.

He’s going to get same minutes of playing time or whatever may help him come out of a slp, whatever. But I think over communication. You almost can’t over communicate, is nber one. I think the second thing is practice fundamentals the entire year. One of the things I always saw that my teams did really well as I look back on on my teams is that we seem to get better as the season went on and in reached our peak.

At tournament time, I thought we always played our best basketball come district state tournament time. And , and I look back, part of that is I think we stress fundamentals and every practice, you know, we just didn’t come out and do some, just do some free shooting and then work on some sets out of bounds, whatever.

We, [00:52:00] we had good practices through the whole year. Emphasizing. Fundamentals and getting better that way. So I think that was, I think that’s, I think that’s one of the things that I would go back to and, and learn. , nber three, as a high school and, and cut me off your Mike. Jason, I’m going to,

Mike Klinzing: [00:52:24] we’re rolling.

Don Showalter: [00:52:25] And then nber three, I think every coach must have what, what are your non-negotiables. You know, I learned as a high school coach, you better have some non-negotiables. I think you better, I think just three and a quarter, three nine and go non negotiables that you have for your team. And, and what I mean by that or what are some things that you absolutely will emphasize on a daily basis?

And if they don’t do that, you are going to, let them know every time. So one [00:53:00] nonnegotiable, eh, that can change from team to team, but one that non negotiables. We always had three players that we sent to the glass called, they’re called Crashers. You are, you three are the Crashers and you’re going to get to the glass every time that shot goes up.

So shat goes up and two of them are standing outside the paint, you know, we would call them out on that. That was a non negotiable. another nine negotiables are wings. You sprint to the corner. We don’t want you holding up at the 28 foot line or at the wing area. , now if it’s an early up pass, you know, you’ll, you’ll get the ball, but you sprint to and don’t stop till you get to the corner.

And that’s, that’s something they’d be called out on every time that, that, that didn’t happen. So those are exam or non-negotiables might be another one. You know, coming off the screen, we want a, you know, we want you to make sure you try, off of, [00:54:00] off of the sentence, sidewall screen roles, really work on getting to the kill area.

So that was kind of a non negotiable for us. So I think you have to pick out what are three nonnegotiables that you are going to hold your players accountable to. . And, and that’s a point of emphasis and I think it’s something I learned as a high school coach. and again, those may change year to year.

Mike Klinzing: [00:54:27] Did you have some non-negotiables off the floor? Like in terms of standards in that way? I know you were talking about ones that were on the floor, but did you have any that you would say you used a lot or that ones that were common for you when you were coaching off the floor?

Don Showalter: [00:54:41] Yeah, I think, you know, one of those obviously is.

Is we used, we always talked about being, the gym is a classroom. So once you step across that in line, you are now in my classroom. And, you know, you’re not, you’re not there [00:55:00] to, to visit with your, with your teammate about, you know, about prom or whatever it is. You’re there. We’re starting to work.

So that was, that’s a nonnegotiable. Well, we have, you know, my assistants around a court, we’re ready to get going. When you step on that court, if, if you’re out there early, then we’re going to give some, we’re going to give some good shots. So that’s a non-negotiable. , you know, just little things like, .

You know neither right or wrong, but you required to have, are your players required to have their, their jerseys tucked in during practice? You know, is that a non-negotiable or isn’t it? If, if you don’t care, that’s fine and it really probably doesn’t make a lot of difference. But if that’s one of the things that you would like to have your players do, but then you better, you set that standard and so now you have to enforce that.

That’s a non-negotiable. So if somebody comes with a shirt tail out, all right, you better, you as a coach that need to address that or shoes in tide. You know, the biggest thing I hate is how can [00:56:00] you come to practice and have your, you know, have your laces.

Mike Klinzing: [00:56:04] Although I will say, Don, it’s very interesting because when I played, I felt like me and every single person that I ever saw or played with.

Wore high tops. Now maybe there was one exception and everybody had their shoes tied super tight and now you watch basketball. And the nber of guys that are a, and girls that are wearing low top shoes, and I have so many kids that I’ll see that will play an actual real basketball games with their shoes.

Not necessarily untied, but, but they’re super loose and I just don’t know how you play. With your shoes like that. To me, it’s just has nothing to do with a standard. It’s just, I don’t know how you, I don’t know how you play like that.

Don Showalter: [00:56:50] , and you know, all, I mean, some kids like their shoes a little looser, which is fine, but, but don’t come on to court with your, with, with not, with, with not tied up and ready to [00:57:00] play however you like.

So, you know, those are nonnegotiables. I think as a young coach, I, I, I probably didn’t realize how important nonnegotiables were. To our team. I think, you know, you guys have both been in snow Valley, and I think, you know, as I talked to the kids, in our, in our mass group session, I try to, I try to give some nonnegotiables to them, you know, Hey, here’s how you sit.

Here’s how you listen. you know, and so you’re, so you’re developing some culture with your non-negotiables as well. As well. So, well that nber three, I think nber four, I would say, I would say another one. Nber four, I had a, that I’m thinking about was conducting your practice efficiently is something I learned as a high school coach.

And, you know, there’s some, there’s a lot of things that [00:58:00] you as a coach should control in your practice session. Nber one is how much time you spend talking, which I think coaches talk way too much. , I think, I think players turn us off because we talk too much as coaches. you know, the, the old saying goes, they have, teenagers or young people have about seven second attention span, which was done by a study.

Oh, Stanford university. So seven seconds. So if you’re talking to them for five minutes, you know you’ve lost him for four minutes and 53 seconds. So think about how much you talk. Secondly, think about how much you repeat things. Players tend to, players will tend to not listen to you the first time. If they know that you’re going to say it again.

So I’m always really conscious. And I didn’t always do this as a coach, but I, I was always really conscious of when I say, all right, getting [00:59:00] five lines, I’m not going to save getting five lines four times. I say it once and then we do it. , and, and the kids catch onto that. I mean, even our, even our elite kids, they understand and they liked that.

, I think coaches need to control the pace and the flow of, of practice. Because sometimes players will try to milk that pace to their, to their pace, and you need coaches need to control the pace and how you do that, I mean, you do it from maybe by having what I call it, a transition shooting drill between going from working on your offensive.

To your defense. So you go from on offense, you say, all right, let’s do our key or shooting, drill clock’s running. You’re going for how long has taken to make 30 baskets? So right away you’re into going from one to the other at a quick pace. don’t let players walk to lines. So a lot of times you’ll, if you [01:00:00] come into practice, you’d hear me.

And even with our junior national teams, you’d hear me say, five lines, no more than four and a line line up in the baseline. And I would start counting backwards. Seven, six, five. For some reason, when you start counting backwards, I don’t even say anything. They know whether it is what that means. So, that sets the pace of practice.

Cause we all know if you let them do it their own pace, they’re going to drag their feet. They’re going to try and figure out what lion is should be in. Now. That’s, that’s a pace and flow. The coaches should, the coaches should definitely control.

Mike Klinzing: [01:00:37] How important is terminology in making that happen in terms of making sure that your players understand.

The names of the drills so that when you’re pulling out a drill, you’re not having to say, well, let’s do the drill where we kind of do this, and then you, you remember that one that we, how important is the terminology to make the pace of practice go at the pace that the coach wants?

Don Showalter: [01:00:59] Yeah, I [01:01:00] mean, you, you, you probably said that thing and I for I failed it because that cause that that dictates the for your practice.

All right. Keel, shooting, drill. And they know what it is. UCLA drill. They know what it is. So name your drills and, and when you say it, they all know what it is. And so that, that is something that really controls the pace of your practice as well. So that’s a great point. But again, as a high school coach, you know, coach in 42 years, a lot of these things I think I learned just along the way.

By going to clinics and going to camps and learning from other people, you know, how to do these things. so I think that’s really important. So a couple other ones real quick. Can you, am I good on time?

Mike Klinzing: [01:01:47] You’re good on time. You got as much time as you need.

Don Showalter: [01:01:50] That was nber four. So nber nber five I think then is kind of goes along with non-negotiables, but, you know, develop standards for your program.

[01:02:00] . I think probably the last 15 years I coached. I don’t think I ever mentioned the word rules. Rarely, if any. We didn’t have rules. you know, rules have a negative connotation in my, in my mind when I was a player, you know, rules had a negative connotation. Here are the rules, blah, blah, blah, blah. But you say, here are the standards that that’s more of a.

Definitely more of a positive way to say, you know, here’s, here’s what we’re gonna do, and we’re gonna do it in a very positive way, you know? So, being on time, you know, that’s a standard of respect, how you respect your teammates and your coaches and everybody else. You’re, you’re on time. That shows respect.

So, I think, I think development standards, and I’m, I’m big on standards. I give, I give us talks even to the corporate world on, [01:03:00] on setting standards in the, in the workplace. And I think that’s, those are things that that come to mind. , we have 15 standards and, and coach K was really good at setting standards.

, he would talk. Standards a lot with his senior men’s team. you know, what standards do you think are important? Not rules. They’re standards and standards. Individual standards are something you hold yourself accountable to. so I’m going to hold myself accountable to, to play great defense or playing or being on time, or, you know, being positive with my, with my.

Teammate when something doesn’t go right. Those are individual standards. Team standards are when you, you hold your teammates to that standard, then you, you really have a special team. Best teams, best teams that I’ve had, not including our national team, but best high school teams I’ve had were always teams who, who [01:04:00] had kids on that team held everybody else to a high standard.

You know what? No, you’re not going to that party cause there’s going to be alcohol at it. That’s, you know, that’s whole nother people to that standard. And so, you know, we talk about it. I just think you can’t probably talk about those things enough. We talk about our 15 standards, and like I said, I, I very fortunate to give, to give many.

, sessions to, to some corporate people that, you know, they’re, they’re, they’re amazed at, some of the things that we do as coaches, but that can carry over there to their workplace as well.

Mike Klinzing: [01:04:40] Yeah, I think standards, it’s amazing. Just you think back again to earlier in, in all of our careers and coaching, and there was so much more of.

These are the rules as opposed to these are, these are the standards. And I think rules tend to feel like they are very top-down oriented [01:05:00] from an authority figure on down. And I think standards are much more at the level where players are able to held each other accountable and hold each other to those standards.

And as you said. The most successful teams. I think you could talk to any coach on any level from youth all the way up through professional, and when you have teams that everybody’s bought in and players are saying, Hey, we don’t do that here, or, Hey, you need to do this. Those are the teams that really Excel beyond what you might think they’re capable of doing, because again, they’re just, they’re just together and they all have that same belief.

Don Showalter: [01:05:38] Can I go along with that? I think so. The best teams that I’ve coached. We’re not my state tournament teams. I mean my most, some of my most fun years or teams that you know, finished 13 and nine but, but we’re just great kids and they had great standards and you know, nobody, nobody expected him to get [01:06:00] 500 and you know, all that kind of stuff.

I think that’s really what, you know, kind of thrills me about coaching. Is when you have teams that, really Excel because of the individuals on that team had high standards.

Mike Klinzing: [01:06:14] , yeah. And I think that’s something that somebody who is not a coach, who has never coached, would have a really hard time understanding how you might.

Enjoy coaching a 13 and nine team that did all those things that you just described versus another team that might’ve gone 20 and two but should have been undefeated and just was not fun to be around on a daily basis because every day was a struggle to get them to live up to the things that you want them to do.

And I think somebody who hasn’t coached would have no understanding of why, why you would feel that way. Yeah,

Don Showalter: [01:06:50] I mean, and I’ve, I’ve, I’ve said that for years and, you know, coaches talk about, you know, sometimes, and I think, I, I’ve, [01:07:00] I’ve talked to a lot of coaches who, who had some miserable seasons that were 22 and three or 24 ill or still and, and, and, yeah.

And, and for a lot of different reasons, obviously, but I think, I think when you develop standards and they, you know, some of the, some of the, some of the teams, couple of teams I’ve had, I can think back on, we struggled with standards and, you know, when you struggle with standards, you’re going to struggle, on the court too.

I think at times, even though you’re, you might win. You might win 20 games. but it may, it may, it may be such that, you know, your, your, your, your standards are, are set, but, they have a hard time. . Playing up to your standards. And I think, I think as you log your coach, you kind of, you really understand that and, and try and make [01:08:00] that, you know, try and make that a high point of your,

Mike Klinzing: [01:08:03] of each team.

Yeah. And I would think sometimes that the growth rate of your team. As well in terms of how well they’re able to live up to the standards where beginning of the season it’s a struggle and mid season they’re starting to get it and by the end of the season they really get it. And then I’m sure you had other teams where right out of the gate they got it.

And then I’m sure you had other teams that never got it. Yup.

Don Showalter: [01:08:28] And if the fortunate thing with our, with our national teams, and we spent a lot of time on, on developing standards. obviously with, with like all 35 of them, and they come in and, and, and players that don’t buy into it, I think, you know, you, you, we cut it before they get to, I get to be, yeah.

Yep. So, so those are five. One more, one more, one more quick thing. Bonus [01:09:00] word. We’re

Mike Klinzing: [01:09:00] ready.

Don Showalter: [01:09:00] I would play more three on three. In high school, I think, what I learned as a high school coach, I think three on three is puts, puts each player in a position where they, they really have to play the game. They have to understand how the game is played off offensively and, and they really have to understand defensively how to cover.

So I would probably. I was thinking about playing. I mean, I would probably play more three, not that we didn’t do it. It’s mostly toward the end of my career, but I think I would certainly recommend, that’s one thing I learned is that, every day 10, 10 minutes of three on three would be very beneficial.

Mike Klinzing: [01:09:47] Yeah, I agree. I think that’s something that me personally, again, we talked about how you evolve and grow as a coach, and I think if you look back on, I would look back on my career, the practices that I ran or the practices that I was in [01:10:00] charge of. A lot of those practices early in my career would have been.

Very drill oriented, and, and not as much of the small sided games. Now again, did we scrimmage and go five on five? Sure. We’re working on offense and defense and that kind of thing. But I think now that there’s a balance between your skill development piece of your practice, you have. Then the competitive piece of your practice where you’re just developing basketball players, and I think that’s what three on three really does a great job of, or what snow Valley cutthroat really does a great job of is just developing basketball players and basketball IQ.

And then the final piece of it is. The five on five and going through and doing the things that your team needs to do. But to me, if I was to give a coach a template for building an effective practice, I think those are the three things that would be a part of it. You’d have some skill development, you’d have some IQ development, which would be the smaller side games, three on three, four on four, and then you’d have your five on five [01:11:00] total team development.

And I think that’s, if you just start with that as the basis for the structure of your practices. And you have one element of each of those in every practice, and then obviously you can figure out what skills that are that your team needs and what things you need to work on, and you can put them in different situations.

But I think if you use that as the basis, you’re going to be in a pretty good spot in terms of repairing a, a quality practice for your team.

Don Showalter: [01:11:22] Yeah, yeah, definitely. Anything that kind of goes along with, I think looking back on, on, on teams, getting better as the year goes on. I think that fits right in with it.

I talked about, you know, we worked on the fundamentals. You’re from day one through day 65 practice, whatever, and the three on three is important part of that. So I think that that goes along with your team just getting better as the year goes on.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:47] Absolutely. Don, we cannot thank you enough for spending an hour and 15 minutes with us tonight.

I think the things that you shared, one, first of all, the update on what’s going on with USA basketball. And then to [01:12:00] talking about intangibles that players need to go from good to great. And then finally the five things plus the bonus that you learned over the course of your career coaching in the high school level.

I just think that it’s been invaluable. I know the coaches that are out there listening. Always look up to you and the things that you’ve been able to accomplish in the game. So to be able to have you share with us for this time has been, again, invaluable. And we just like to say thanks and to everyone out there, we will catch you on our next episode.

Thanks.

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