Ido Singer

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Twitter – @idobasketball

Ido Singer just completed his third season as an assistant coach for UNCG women’s basketball.

Singer served as the head coach of the NAIA school Fisher College (Mass.) from 2016 to 2017, the head girls basketball coach for Mass Huskies AAU from 2015 to 2016, and as the director of operations at UMass Lowell for the 2014-15 season.

In 2013 Singer was the women’s basketball assistant coach at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.

Ido also served as the head coach of Heschel High School in New York from 2009-12.  In June 2011, he founded an elite basketball skills development service, IdoBasketball, that has conducted over 100 skills clinics in the New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts areas.

Singer played professional basketball from 1996 until 2003 for Maccabi Tel-Aviv in Israel, as well as a few other teams.

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Grab your notebook before you listen to this episode with Ido Singer, women’s basketball assistant coach at UNC Greensboro.

What We Discuss with Ido Singer

  • His Patrick Ewing Story
  • Waking up in the middle of the night as a kid in Israel to watch NBA games
  • Pivoting his way to and from school to work on his footwork
  • Growing up as a player in the Israeli club basketball system
  • Why he always felt he had to work so hard at his game as a player
  • “Are you actually willing to do what it takes once you figure out what it means to be successful and what it actually takes?”
  • Playing for David Blatt with Maccabi Tel-Aviv
  • His matchup with Manu Ginobili
  • Why he thinks David Blatt did not work out as an NBA coach
  • Getting his start in coaching in New York working kids out in their driveway or backyard
  • Why he believes footwork is so important in player development
  • The importance of free play for kids to develop creativity
  • Creativity comes from confidence
  • Reframe success around the process rather than the result
  • What are the skills you want to work on? And what are you willing to commit to get there?
  • Acting as a father figure as a coach and knowing who you are when building relationships with players
  • Being there to serve your head coach when you are an assistant
  • “Problems are solved before they’re even problems”
  • It has to be about others first and foremost, what can we do to help the players? What can you do to help the rest of the staff and what can you do for your head coach?
  • “Being an assistant coach is about making suggestions and being a head coach is about making life-changing decisions.”
  • “Every decision I make influences the lives of the people that I make it for and their families.”
  • Comparing coaching in high school and college
  • Comparing coaching men and women
  • Using YouTube and other technology to catalog and collect coaching materials
  • Why you should build your own playbook as a coach
  • Asking others why an idea he has won’t work and what he learns from that
  • The challenge of the Transfer Portal and the joy of working with players on a daily basis

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[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome to the podcast, the assistant women’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Ido Singer. Ido, welcome to the hoop heads pod.

Ido Singer: [00:00:16] Thank you so much for having me I’m fired up to be on right now.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:19] We are excited to have you on you actually had me on your podcast that you had one last thought and asked me to share a little bit of wisdom with your audience. So I’m hopeful that you will enjoy being on this podcast as much as I enjoy being on years back, I guess it was probably, I don’t know. It was probably over a year ago.

I think that we did that, but excited to have you on and learn about all the different things that you’ve been able to do in the game. Both as a player and as a coach, you’ve had. Many different levels experience in different countries. And I think you’re going to have a lot of wisdom to share with our audience.

I’m looking forward to being able to dig in with you. Let’s start by going back in time to when you were a kid, [00:01:00] give us an idea of what your first experiences with the game of basketball were like and how you came to fall in love with the game.

Ido Singer: [00:01:09] All right. That’s a good question. I actually got a chance to tell this story to the person that got me to basketball.

So I’m originally from Israel. So I, I was born and raised over there. I’m in my early forties. So it’s, it’s a while back and I was walking around. I was young, I think I was about seven or eight years old. And I was walking around and someone had dropped eight Patrick Ewing rookie card on the floor, on the ground.

And I looked at it and it was look, it looked like it was coming out of a silver bullet. You know, him really long red getting ready to dunk. And I said, wow, that is interesting to me. And so I started really digging into basketball and and I asked my mom to take me to this basketball class that was happening at the local wide that we had near my house.

And I always like to tell this story. My first claim to [00:02:00] fame was walking onto a basketball court in the middle of a random practice when I was seven years old receiving a pass, taken about 15 steps without a dribble and throwing the ball over the back board. So, but that was prompted by me picking up a Patrick Ewing card.

So fast forward 20 something years, I was working as a bouncer in a New York bar in between going to school in, in New York and then picking up my, for my first coaching job. And I see Patrick Ewing and his buddy walking down the street. So I completely leave my post and I run across the street.

I’m all out of breath because I haven’t been doing anything in years, but I come up to him and I shake his hand and I tell him this quick little story and he lights up and it was absolutely one of the coolest moments of my life. Being able to tell Patrick Ewing himself that I picked up his rookie card when I was seven years old.

And he was my inspiration for playing basketball. So I guess that’s kind of my story [00:03:00] of falling in love with the game,

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:01] Not a bad inspiration, Patrick Ewing, back in the day, when you think it’s kind of amazing when you look back at how basketball has changed and the fact that Patrick Ewing spent four years as a player at Georgetown, and we all felt like we knew him.

Almost personally, by the time he got to the NBA, you had, you had seen him in bed with him for so long. And it’s one of the things I think that has made college basketball, especially on the men’s side so much different today than it was back then, where you kind of had these teams of freshmen would come in and there was the Ewing era, Georgetown Hoyas.

And there was the Chris Mullin era St. John’s Redman. And there was the Pearl Washington era, Syracuse orange men. And there was the Michael Jordan, James worthy, North Carolina tar heels, and just all these different iterations of these teams that now in the college game you just don’t have. And I know that when I think back to that time of college basketball, I think back fondly on those years of being a college [00:04:00] basketball fan, it’s interesting that just, again, the randomness of it being a Patrick Ewing card, and then the randomness of you seeing him on the streets of New York city and getting an opportunity to share that with them.

That’s a really cool story.

All right. So you go from there and you can inspire it. And obviously your first steps out on the basketball court as a seven-year-old weren’t necessarily successful other than getting you a doctrinated into the game. And probably just the beginning of getting you hooked on it. So as you start to dig deeper into basketball, what does it look like growing up in Israel in terms of your exposure to the game and how you went about learning the game of basketball as a player?

Ido Singer: [00:04:43] It was fun. I mean, Israel is you know, if you’re looking at Eastern standard time, Israel is seven hours ahead. So anytime there was a basketball game on West coast or East coast, a West coast was a much easier. It will usually be about 1:00 AM. Israel time and East coast was [00:05:00] was 4:00 AM Israel time.

So I would be waking up in the middle of the night to watch NBA games because you couldn’t watch it. Back then it wasn’t on demand, there was no YouTube. You’d have to either wake up and watch it at 4:00 AM before you go to school and get in trouble with your parents and just ask for forgiveness than permission or you just don’t watch it.

And so you have to read it on the paper. So I fell in love with studying the game life with getting up early in the morning and sacrificing something for my personal development, for my love of the game. And that really bruise something inside me, something that’s really deep, a deep connection with this game as a kid and in Israel, it’s the second biggest sport after soccer.

So from a very young age, I was playing and. I was doing all kinds of things. I was playing outdoors. I was playing on basketball teams. I was just playing in school. It was just nonstop, constant basketball. And I [00:06:00] just, I couldn’t get enough of it. And I just really love to train. I love to get better. I knew right away, I didn’t have a lot of talent that wasn’t the most, that most athletic person.

I always joke around that. I could never really jump over an iPad. So,

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:14] You know, we have some, there’s another thing you and I have in common we’re right. I’m right there with you, buddy.

Jason Sunkle: [00:06:21] always jokes at basketball camp that he’s going to, I always joke that he’s going to dunk it and then he jumps and touched the bottom of the net.

So that’s pretty much what Mike does.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:28] Yeah. That’s about as high as I got.

Ido Singer: [00:06:31] I don’t have to jump to touch the bottom of the net, but that’s okay.

But yeah, I just loved working hard at something that I fell in love with. And so that started at a very young age. And it just kept growing from there. All my principal played basketball and I just started getting better and better and moving up the ranks as I was getting older and it just became much more than fun.

It just, it became an obsession. It became. [00:07:00] Something that I just wanted to get better at every day. I was living that old adage that if you’re the best player on the, on the basketball court, you got to find a new basketball court. So I was always driving around trying to find a new, new competition. I played a lot of three on three when I had some time after school.

And as soon as I was done with homework, sometimes even before I did homework, I would be out there playing and running scenarios from the game that I just saw last night, I was, I was dribbling back and I was posting up a key Malaysia one. I was trying to get him with the dream shake and I would practice it over and over and over again.

And in my head, I’m counting back and I’m imagining that I’m on a basketball court in the NBA and it’s just, it was an obsession, but I loved it so much and I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:07:49] What was the balance between. Playing and you practicing the game on your own. How much time were you spending just on a quarter in a gym [00:08:00] by yourself, working on your skills versus how much time were you spending playing pickup basketball?

Ido Singer: [00:08:06] I played pickup basketball every day for at least two to three hours. When I was in high school was when I was playing the most intense schedule for basketball. So I was playing on the youth team. So every, every basketball club in Israel and it’s the same way in Europe, most clubs like that.

Every professional club will have their feeder clubs everywhere, every anywhere from the grassroots level and all the way up to, to these like UAA team. So you just go up the ranks as you get older, and if you’re good enough, you stay with that club or you move up to better clubs. I was fortunate enough to be at the youth club from a cubby dealer, VB, which was the number one team.

And so my schedule became crazy when I was 16 years old. Cause I was playing on that youth club. I was playing for my high school team. I was playing for like a pre national team. And I was playing for the reserves for the [00:09:00] protein. So I was on four different levels plus to do in two to three hours of, of a three on three a day.

And I was that crazy kid. So here’s, here’s a story of how I fell in love with, with hard work. And my focus to this day is for work. I’m, I’m big on it. I’m a big believer in it. And the way I worked on it was I knew that there were only 24 hours a day. I wasn’t that smart, but I figured that one out. And I figured that I couldn’t work on it all day every day, as much as I want it to.

So I found a creative way to get my foot work reps in. And I used to, I used to always walk to school and it would take me about 15 minutes, but I decided that I was going to rip my foot work on the way to school. So Monday and Wednesday on the way to school, I would do front pivots only. So it took me close to 45 minutes, but I would literally front pivot one way front pivot, the other way to get to school Wednesday.

[00:10:00] So Monday, Wednesday was front pivot and then back pivots on the way back or reverse pivot or insight or whatever some coaches called different ways. And then Tuesday, Thursday was combination date and then Friday was free for all. I would just do some crazy stuff and I would try and do my latest moves and things like that.

And kids would look at me and laugh. But a year later when I was 17 years old signing my first professional contract, it wasn’t funny anymore, but I got hundreds and hundreds of hours of repetition of my footwork before I even got to school. So I became so much better than most of the kids in my, in my area, in my, in my age group that much quicker, just because I, I found a creative way to get my reps in.

Mike Klinzing: [00:10:49] That’s really a cool story. I don’t think I’ve ever, obviously you’ve heard the Pistol, Pete Maravich story of him carrying a basketball everywhere. He went and dribbling and riding his bike and all those kinds of things. I have [00:11:00] never heard of anybody pivoting their way to school. So that’s a new one.

That’s a new one on me. That’s a good one. I’m going to have to share with, I’m going to have to share that with some of my some of my players, maybe even my own kids. See if I can convince them to maybe, maybe I can get them to at least pivot through the living room. I don’t know if I can get them to pivot all the way to school.

That’s a, that’s a really good story. I think it’s interesting. Tell us a little bit more about the, the European club system and how that impacts in your mind. Player development, because one of the things that we hear all the time is that our system of basketball here in the United States, it’s backwards.

There’s too many games. There’s not enough training. We just there’s, there’s obviously a better way. Europe is better fundamentally than we are here in the U S so just maybe give us a little bit of a background on what the European, what the Israeli system was like when you were coming through it, and then how it compares in your mind to the way we bring players up here in the United States.

[00:12:00] Ido Singer: [00:12:01] I think, first of all, I think there’s so much more talent here in America than there is anywhere else in the world. Right? So I feel like the European model has no other choice, but to do it this way, because if you don’t, if you don’t double down on skill development, you will never be able to play with the big boys.

In America. So I think it’s out of necessity. It’s also something that they truly believe in. And so with the clubs that I grew up with, you’d have an 18 and a B-team for the same age level. And so if you’re on the B team, you’re really fighting hard to get to the 18, because if you’re associated, when you’re associated with your with your pro club, you’re never going to get a contract if you’re on the B team.

So you’re always trying to move up, move up, move up. There’s constant skill work there, there are two, a days every day. You would come in in the morning, you do a lot of skill work with your coaches and then you go to [00:13:00] school. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to do that early in the morning. If your club has the resources thankfully Macabbi had him.

So I was able to go in there early, sometimes 6:00 AM and just get a quick. Work out till seven 30, go home, take a quick shower, get to my eight 30 class in the morning. And then when you’re done with that, I go home, eat some lunch, go you know, take a little nap. And at four o’clock I’d be out there again, training.

And so you, you do two a days. If your, if your club has the resources, but if not, you’re still, you’re still working hard and it’s not so much of a games focus. It’s more of a skill development focus. They’re really trying to isolate what you need to work on, what they feel you’re going to be. What’s going to be successful at the next level and they just doubled down on it and, and gains are secondary.

There’s no AAU. I’m not sure if that’s the way it is right now, but there’s definitely no AAU when I was growing up. And it was all about you train you train five days a week. You play [00:14:00] two days a week if you’re lucky or maybe once a week. And that’s it. And there’s never another game. It’s it’s, that’s it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:08] Were you living at home at this point? And were there players that were part of the club that were away from home?

Ido Singer: [00:14:15] No the club is kind of central to the middle of Israel. It’s central it’s it’s middle of Israel. It’s Sylvia. So people are players from the area and sometimes from maybe an hour away would, would just commute to come in and train.

But yeah, I was living at home.

Mike Klinzing: [00:14:32] Gotcha. All right. So as you move up each one of the levels, and obviously that funnel gets smaller, the higher you go and you get to events, the, the level where you’re going to have an opportunity to play professionally, what does that look like? What’s the feeling when you signed that first professional contract, maybe take me through what that was like for you personally, and then maybe what it was like for your family.

What kind of conversations were you [00:15:00] having with your parents at that point? And just give us what. Give me an idea of what that first iteration of becoming a professional player was like,

Ido Singer: [00:15:10] Well, I had a great support system. My parents were always supportive. I always had shoes on my feet. And even though we didn’t really have money, we’re not coming from any kind of money or anything like that, but I always had shoes on my feet and I was always at practice on time and they figured out ways to make sure that me and my sister would have everything we needed to, to be successful.

So all the oldest support, all the glory goes to them first for that support. But as soon as I signed that contract, I looked left and I looked right. And I’m like, is this for real? Is somebody really going to pay me to do this? Cause I would’ve done this for free. I mean, I know, I know it’s a tremendous opportunity.

And I knew it at the time. I was just, I was just humbled by it. It was, it was some sort of validation to the fact that hard work does pay off. [00:16:00] But it’s also a reminder that now you’re one of so many good players and I never really considered myself a good player. I just considered myself a harder worker than you or you or whoever it is that is in front of me.

I was just going to outwork everyone. So I never really felt like I’ve arrived. I just felt like, Oh no I have not arrived. I just have to work three or four times as hard right now because everybody I’m going to be facing is going to be better than me. There’s no doubt. So I had to figure out ways to be better, to work harder, to find ways, to be creative, to find ways to be quicker and figure out ways to beat the better players that I’m going to face day in and day out.

It was humbling, but it was also a wake up call and it was more of a reality check.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:50] Do you use that lesson with players that you’ve coached over the course of your coaching career and talk to them about. How hard work maybe helped you to [00:17:00] overcome what your perception was, a lack of maybe natural athletic ability, for lack of a better way of saying it.

Do you use that lesson from your own life with your players that you’ve coached over the course of your career?

Ido Singer: [00:17:12] All the time or every day, every single workout? I keep telling them I had no business playing professional basketball, none. There were thousands of kids that had better talent than me that had better physical abilities than me.

Everything that they would have it on me 10 times, but they didn’t outwork me. They never really had the commitment and dedication that I had, and they were not willing to do what it takes. And I think that’s one of the biggest separators. Among people who are successful at any field in any level, is, are you actually willing to do what it takes once you figure out what it means to be successful and what it actually takes?

Are you [00:18:00] really willing to put in that kind of work into putting that kind of dedication and to do it day in and day out? And I was, I was ready to do it and I was excited and fired up to do it. And I think once people get to a certain level, if they don’t have that kind of fire there, they’re just not long for that profession.

And so I use that with my players all the time. It’s like you have talent, you have more talent right now that I’ve ever had, but I’m telling you right now, if we’re, if you know, like that old will Smith story, if we both get on a treadmill I haven’t, I’m going to die before I get off that trip.

You’re not going to out working even at 40, 41 years old. You’re just not going to do it. So, so yeah, I use that all the time.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:44] Yeah. It’s a great lesson. And it’s one that I think as coaches, that when you share that with your players, it, hopefully it hits home for them. And I, I, when, when you were talking about that and sharing that, I come back to [00:19:00] just thinking about the fact that you have, when you think about college basketball, and you think about the players that you coach on the women’s side or players that know are on the men’s side either way.

And you think about the hard work and the dedication and the level of commitment that you have to have in order to be a college basketball player, whether that’s at the division one level, or it’s the division two division three or an AI, whatever level it is, the amount of hard work and effort that you have to put in in order to be successful is.

Is a huge commitment. And I think about a lot of the players that you see at the youth level on the AAU circuit, or you think about high school players. And a lot of times I look at some of the players that you see their parents and they’re they want their kids to play basketball in college and they spent so much money and time and energy and effort to achieve this goal.

And then part of you [00:20:00] wonders if they’re not wired the way you were, which is to try to get the maximum out of your ability. And I think I was wired. I never pivoted my way to school, but I was wired in a very similar way to the way that you were wired Edo. And I look at it and I say what got me to where I was able to get in the game as a player was because of my hard work and my dedication, all those things.

And yet. I know there were days when I was a college basketball player that I was like, man, this is, this is really tough. If I didn’t love this, there were days where I thought, Ooh, I don’t know if I, I don’t know if I’d put up with this, if I didn’t really, and truly love it. And I think for players that are out there, it’s important to remember that if you want to maximize your ability, you have to, you have to put in that hard work and you have to love it.

And those are the people who end up getting to the top of, as you said, any profession, not just in basketball, but in whatever that you choose to do. [00:21:00] So you put it all that hard work you put in all that dedication, you get an opportunity to play for the top level club at Maccabi. And how do you, what, what are some of your best memories as a player to one or two things stand out?

When you think back to your time as a professional basketball player, what’s one or two of your favorite memories.

Ido Singer: [00:21:22] Yeah, well, let me, let me set the record straight. I did not get a chance to play a lot for that club. I was a glorified bench sitter. I sat there, I did a lot of practice with them. I would be the kid that got in 10 seconds at the end of the game and and get it a little taste of this and a little taste of that.

And I appreciated it so much because I got a chance to be around such great players and, and you know, and work with, with such great coaches. I mean, we, we were talking off there you know, about, about the calves and my point that I was trying to finish before we got disconnected was I was following the [00:22:00] calves back then because their head coach was David Blatt who coached me.

And so that was my little connection to Cleveland and, and, and that was. The, the, the kind of level of coaching that I was around. So I was appreciative. I appreciate it so much that opportunity to sit on that bench and to just listen to timeouts. And I wish I was more tuned in as, as a coach and enlist as a player because I would have gained so much more to be able to apply that right now as a coach, but still, I, I I’ve been influenced so much by, by being around such great players in such such great coaching.

But to answer your question, one of my favorite memories was in one of those summers in, in my first summer being playing professionally, I was, I was with Maccabi and we were doing a a practice game against against Polonia. And there was this young kid. I, I think you’ve heard of him. He was 18 at the time.

Manu was his name. Who [00:23:00] was playing for Balone yeah, he was considered the best. And obviously I’m joking. We all know monitor, but he was playing for baloney at the time and it was, it was just a practice game. It was camp and we just finished on a practice game against them and they were, they were really good.

We were really good too, and I never really expected to get off the bench at all. But the game was kind of out of hand at the end. I think they were beating us by good 15, 16 points. And it was about 20 seconds left. So I check in and I know we kind of figured out their rotations and I know mine sub just chick is sitting there at the table waiting to check in right after me, but the game is live.

I’m guarding one of their post players and I get Manu on a switch. So I’m laughing because I remember that so vividly, I get money on a switch. It looks me up and down. He has a live dribble. He takes a dribble back and he’s asking to clear and I go, [00:24:00] Oh boy. So here I am, I’m still wet behind the ears. I know I’m trying to check the best player, the best young player in Europe.

And you, you guys all know about the Shammgod, right? So, absolutely that, I think that originated somewhere in Europe, back in the eighties. But, but I don’t know. I don’t want to get into that argument shame. God is going to find me and get really mad. So, so you looked at it and he’s left-handed, so he’s dribbling with his right hand.

And I know he’s scouting reports as if he’s with his right hand, he’s going to cross over to the left-hand and he’s going to either pull up or drive. So I’m getting ready for the crossover. And I knew I wasn’t supposed to lean too much. So he’s dribbling with his right. He leans in with his left shoulder.

Any sham gods with his left hand and I go flying to the floor and then he pulls up right next to me, knocks it down. Of course it looks down and he goes, nice play. And he runs back. I’m sorry there. And I’m like, Oh yeah, [00:25:00] that, that was really nice. So, so that is hands down. One of the coolest, coolest stories and things that I will take away with me, but.

But yeah for a glorified 22nd player, I think that was, that was pretty cool.

Mike Klinzing: [00:25:15] That’s very cool to be able to get out onto the floor with players of that caliber and have memories of playing against guys like that. And I know during my playing career, I had opportunity to play against some guys that played in the NBA.

And it’s just again, you, you, you try to measure yourself if you have if you have some, some pride and some ego you try to measure yourself against those guys. And you know, I’ll still have people that’ll occasionally ask me my own kids or sometimes say, dad, you never played in the NBA.

And I’ll always say, well I wasn’t good enough. And it ultimately that’s really what it that’s really just what it comes down to. You just you, you, you try to maximize, you try to maximize the ability that you have. And then you look at some of the abilities that NBA players and guys that I was around, that I played against, [00:26:00] or that I knew.

And those guys just have an unbelievable wealth of talent. And then they maximize that talent. And you talked about how hard you worked and you maximized what talent you had. Just imagine if you had been blessed with more talent, what you could have done. And that’s what guys who are in the NBA that are blessed with that talent.

And then they also combine that with the work ethic and the determination and everything else that, that you had. And that’s really what sets them apart and makes them so special. I want to ask you, this is a question that is, I’m just curious for my own PR I don’t know if anybody in our audience is going to care about this question one ounce, but on a personal level, being from Cleveland, when the Cavs hired David Blatt, he was hired pre LeBron returning.

To the calves with the idea that David Blatt was going to hire a, it was going to coach a rebuilding young team. And then obviously [00:27:00] LeBron decides to come back to Cleveland and that all changes and David Black’s reputation coming over from Israel to the United States was that this guy was a tremendous coach X’s and O’s being able to relate personality wise.

And yet he got here and for whatever reason, didn’t mesh with LeBron. And obviously didn’t last, nearly as long as many people thought he would, when they hired him, I’m always a fan of hiring coaches who are new, as opposed to somebody who’s already had six jobs in the NBA and you’re just bringing them back and you already know what they are.

So I was excited when David blackout hired something, because I thought he could bring some new things and some innovation. So tell me and the 10 other people who care about, about David Blatt and what kind of coach he was. And, and what you enjoyed about being being a player underneath him?

Ido Singer: [00:27:56] He is incredibly smart.

I mean, the [00:28:00] guy played for Pete Kareel. So speaking about somebody who we’re talking about somebody who learned the Princeton offense from the originator, right. And then took it in all of his experiences and was able to modify that to the modern player back in the early two thousands at the highest levels of Europe.

So he is, he is incredibly smart. He’s got a million plays in his back pocket. He has wrinkles on top of the wrinkles that lead into other wrinkles. You can out X and O any, any coach in Europe. And he is really good. He has a really good feel for the game. He makes really good adjustments. They’re on-point.

I mean, I am not qualified enough to even assist how he does what he does. I mean, I wouldn’t even try what I will say though. When they hired him, I was a little afraid [00:29:00] that it wasn’t going to work. Not because he wasn’t a good enough coach, not at all, but because he’s very demanding, he doesn’t he doesn’t round any corners he’s just like, he, he knows what success looks like.

He coaches, players really hard. It works in Europe because in Europe, the coach is God basically. And especially when you reach that level of coaching, when he’s one of the top 10 coaches in Europe, he, what he says goes, but when you go to the NBA, the players are in control. And so if you have enough players turn against you, because they don’t like to be coached this hard, it becomes an issue.

And I don’t think for one second, LeBron walks into that locker room. And David Black is looking down. I think he looks him straight in the eyes and he is trying to let him know respectfully that we are here to win together, but this is my team. And I just did not have a good feeling about that.

But I think he’s one of the best to [00:30:00] ever do it in Europe. I think he would be a great fit in the NBA as an assistant coach. But as a head coach, I just don’t think it would be a really good fit. I think Messina was really good as an assistant coach in the NBA and he would have been a really good head coach because he’s not that intense.

Kokoschka of over in, at, at the suns a couple of years ago is intense. Very good X’s and O’s guy really good with the guys, but just, I think the intense cultures from Europe just, it’s not a good fit with the modern NBA player. So that was my worry, but he is phenomenal. He was

one of the best ever.

Mike Klinzing: [00:30:37] It’s so interesting to hear you say. And describe how different guys can have success in different places. Because when I think about what makes a great coach, I think a lot of times it’s matching up the coach with the right level or the right league or the right gender, whatever it might [00:31:00] be, where you might have a coach who is a tremendous coach as a junior varsity basketball coach.

And maybe there wouldn’t, maybe they wouldn’t be very good working at the college level, or maybe they wouldn’t be very good working with third graders, but at their level, they are an outstanding coach. And I think there are some coaches, again that are just built for the college game or better built for the program or better built for a particular type of player.

And the great coaches, obviously all make adjustments, but I do think that we all have our strengths and our weaknesses and the places that. Can best utilize our talent, just like a coach’s job is to put players in the best position to be able to utilize their talent. I think in a lot of cases, when you think about David Blatt, that’s really what when I think back to him being here in Cleveland, I think about a guy who again, had a tremendous reputation in Europe coming over here.

And as you said, it just for whatever reason didn’t work, it wasn’t the right fit for him. It’s [00:32:00] not that he wasn’t a great coach. It was just, it wasn’t the right fit for him. And I think that that’s something interesting when we think about ourselves as coaches and our career, and trying to find the right pathway.

You know, you have some coaches who have been tremendous high school coaches who move up to the college ranks and continue to have success. You have other guys who are like, I would never want to move up to the college ranks. I love. Being a high school coach, and this is the level where I’m meant to be.

And I’m sure as you know, there are great, great coaches at every level of basketball. It does not matter. You can find tremendous middle school coaches. You can find tremendous high school coaches, college coaches at all levels. And it’s just interesting to me that you find your niche as a coach and you find what what groups or what age levels that you like to work with.

And that allows you to maximize your ability as a coach without any question. And you’ve obviously had some different experiences at different places. How, when did coaching come on your radar? Because you [00:33:00] mentioned that while you were playing that you wish you had maybe spent more time thinking about the game from a coaching perspective.

So that maybe leads me to believe that coaching really didn’t get on your radar until you started to see the end of your playing career on the horizon. So just talk to us about how you came to coaching.

Ido Singer: [00:33:17] Yeah. Also for, to the last point, I think if your name is Brad Stevens, you could coach at any level and just, I, you can coach Bobsledding and still be just as amazing.

So yeah, but for me I was, I would say when I was done playing and I was done at an early age, I was about 23 years old. I just realized that was too short for my position. And I was just not good enough to play in the NBA. And if I wasn’t good enough to play in the NBA, I just didn’t want to play anymore.

And maybe it’s a little petty and silly, but I just, I just fell out of love with playing the game a little disillusioned. So decided to move to the States and go to school. And I moved to San Diego. I liked [00:34:00] the weather. I liked the place and I went to school there for a couple years, and then I moved to New York and I was going to be closer to family.

And I was just kinda kind of drifting a little endlessly. And didn’t really do anything with basketball for a few years. And so when I was closer to 30 years old, I just realized something was missing in my life. And I wasn’t really going in a direction that I wanted to go. I just wasn’t loving, going to work every day.

And so I was thinking, and I said, no, I really love basketball. Obviously I can’t play anymore. I think coaching is really important. And I think it’s, it’s, it’s a great job and I’ve always enjoyed some of the best coaches that I was around. So why not give that a shot? And I just started coaching at the lowest levels you know, coaching with, with different small club teams and coach middle school girls.

My first year of coaching. It, it was amazing you know, big city, big Apple city [00:35:00] champions of 2013 or something like that. I don’t know. You know, that was, that was my introduction to coaching and, and that was really fun. And then started coaching JV, boys and JV girls, and just, just working at these low levels.

I remember just going around to people’s backyards and just coaching their kids. I just, I enjoyed it. It was something I did every day working with players at all levels, and it just ignited this fire. And as soon as I started really building practice plans and, and mentoring players and, and seeing them succeed, I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I didn’t know that I wanted to do it in college. I just knew that I wanted to do this as a profession. So that’s, that’s where it started. It started in, in people’s basements and backyards, and just, just working my way from there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:35:53] How did you learn. What you were going to teach as a coach, when you go into somebody’s backyard or you went to their [00:36:00] driveway to work with them, how were you putting together the workouts that you were doing with those players?

Was it just from your playing experience of things that you had done, where you at that point, starting to look for coaching mentors, reading just, well, how are you getting the things that you were putting together for your players? Where was that coming from?

Ido Singer: [00:36:22] I think all of the above, but I think when you’re, when you’re working with kids, nobody’s a forward, everyone’s a guard or at least everyone should be a guard.

Nobody should be forced to play with their back to the basket until they’re in high school. And they’re six, six, nine and even then I would argue, they still need to know how to shoot, pass and dribble. So so everyone’s a garden, so I’ve never really had experience with working on so many guard skills.

I was always opposed. I mean, I’m 6’5” on a good day when my back is straight and you know, it doesn’t hurt. So, and I was playing the post. I was playing against six, nine, six, 10, six, [00:37:00] 11. So I was always a post player. And so I had to learn different techniques. I had to go in and research and read and read books and, and just watch videos and get those DVDs from championship productions at the time and get different, then talk to different coaches.

What are you working on? So I had to learn a lot of different ways to, to teach, but I think any kind of circling back to what I said about footwork. I think the basic movements in basketball are the same, whether or not you’re a post player point guard. I think there are only five things you can do with your feet in basketball.

And if you can master those five things, everything else you do with your feet is just combinations and creativity. But I always, I always challenge players to go on YouTube and give you the craziest backable move. And I can almost guarantee that I can prove that it’s a combination of these five things.

And so I had to really learn how to [00:38:00] deliver an effective skill development practice to, to younger kids who don’t have the skill level. And they’re just learning how to dribble. They’re just learning how to pass and they’re just learning how to run sometimes. You know, so it was a lot of learning is a lot of, of trying to get better so I can be better for, for other kids.

So it was just, again, humbling myself and going through the process of learning a skill. And, and learning how to teach it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:29] All right. So let me break this down for you. Let me ask you to break it down if I’m going to, because we have some youth coaches that are part of our audience. If I’m a youth coach and I have, let’s say I have a team of eight, nine, 10 year olds that are not super experienced, and I want to teach them some basic footwork.

What are some things that you would recommend to a youth coach to Institute into their practice to help their players work on their footwork?

Ido Singer: [00:38:59] I would [00:39:00] say so if, if this is, let’s say it’s, it’s, it’s a rudimentary level and you’re not just teaching them how to, how to pass, shoot or dribble. I would say focus on, on the front pivot and on the drop step.

So I think there’s so much versatility in the front pivot. So a front pivot could be turning to shoot, just catching the ball in the post. Making a front pivot, turning around and shooting. I know it’s a contested shot and it’s not a great shot if you look at analytics, but the foot work remains the same.

I think it’s the same thing for stiff Curry to come off of a white pin down from the corner, catch the ball on the wing front pivot one, two shot. The footwork is exactly the same. So it goes from the lowest levels to the highest levels and it goes all over the court. You catch the ball from an inbound you’re facing the baseline passer and you front pivot to turn and start dribbling.

So it doesn’t have to be on offense near the basket or at the three point line. It’s a [00:40:00] very basic basic skill you front pivot to pass. You sometimes front pivot to chase somebody off of a screen. So it translates everywhere. The drop step is the same thing. You drop step two, basically the scoring, the post you drop step to defensive slide.

So I would, I would focus on it on very basic foot work. And I just, I just always love to show how the basic footwork is the, I guess, the level for the base level for everything, if you can master front pivot, reverse pivot, drops it, and then two counters and you can really just teach those things to be consistent with players.

Then they can translate it to any place on the court and they can just multiply their skills. And I would say just, just focus, focus on foot, work, focus on balance. That’s it?

Mike Klinzing: [00:40:56] I think that athleticism piece is always [00:41:00] interesting to me when you talk about having good balance. And I think one of the things that kids miss out on today, because they don’t play, they don’t get as much time for free play, especially not outside.

The way that at least the way that I grew up and when I’ve named free play, I’m not even just talking about, just pick up basketball. I’m just talking about running around the neighborhood, playing tag, or chasing my neighbors over a fence or climbing trees or all those things where I feel like, I feel like I learned some of those balanced things and some of those athletic things and how to land and how to pull myself up a branch to get up into a tree or climb myself over a fence that I think that kids today.

And this is one of the reasons why I think we’ve seen an explosion in sort of the speed strength, agility. Market for coaches in that area because kids just don’t get the same experiences [00:42:00] that kids 15, 20, 30 years ago, God, of, of running around the neighborhood and developing their, athleticism them in that way.

And I think that by talking about footwork, by talking about balanced, by giving kids an opportunity to practice that I think we really are in a lot of ways kind of replacing what they might’ve gotten naturally back back in the past. Do you see that?

Ido Singer: [00:42:23] What’s your thought on that? You know, I always use the analogy of keep away.

When I teach back pivots or reverse pivots, I always say, do you have a younger sibling? What happens when you have a toy in your hands or you used to have a toy in your hands and they were trying to take it from you. You’re just play. Keep away, keep away as a back pivot. So you’ve done that when you were two and three years old, you stand on one leg, yank it from you, from your, your sibling or your friends and you pivot with the other foot to get the sense from them.

Right? So it’s, it’s in us. But to your point, I agree. I think we over structure, everything as [00:43:00] coaches, as adults, we don’t give them enough free play. And, and I think beyond basketball, beyond skills, athletic skills, I think by not letting them go out there and handle things with their friends. And I know the world is different.

It’s more dangerous. We can keep eyes on them and we can do all of that. But giving them the opportunity to free play with their neighbors, with their friends, teaches them negotiation skills, teaches them, teaches them problem, solving skills. She’s just been creativity. And that’s so important. And what we did this off season with, with UNCG with, with our team is we went And we just concluded that we did about five weeks of this a once a week.

We wouldn’t we would just come together cause we would do individuals one-on-one to want to, we would come together and we would do three on three and we’d give them three different starting scenarios. Maybe it’s a white pin down. And then we play from there and we just give them a limit on dribbles.

And that’s [00:44:00] it, 10 minutes. You have to call your own fouls. You have to you have to shoot the bowl. If you, if you’re arguing the call, you gotta shoot for it. And they started just, it became intense. They started coming up with creative things and they were teaching us things as, as we were watching film on that.

And I’m like, we don’t do enough of this. We don’t. Give them the credit for being creative. We over structure it. We tell them how things are instead of telling them these are the things you need to focus on and everything else is up to you, your creative, you got to come up with ideas. And when we challenged them to do that, but we give them a strong framework to work out of.

We can be really amazed by what they can do.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:45] I think the creativity piece is something that really strikes me as an interesting concept to try to figure out how do we instill more of that in our players. And I think that the challenge [00:45:00] is that when you were growing up or when I was growing up and you were playing three on three pickup basketball back in Israel, or when I was on my driveway, when I was seven, eight, nine years old, or when I was at the playground, when I was 14, 15 years old, there was nobody there watching me who was.

Try to critique my game. I, there was people that I was playing with who were older than me. That would point things out and say, Hey, you should do this. Or you have to fit in and play a role if you’re playing pickup basketball and you’re 15 and you’re playing with college players and adults, and you start chucking up a bunch of shots.

You’re not going to be playing much longer. So you have to figure out how to play a role. But the point is that there’s no parent, there’s no coach that’s there. That’s inhibiting you from trying new things and from being creative. And I know one of the things that I always used to love to do is if I was playing in a game with better players, my role was different.

And if I was planning a game with players who maybe weren’t [00:46:00] as good as me, then I would challenge myself and say, Hey, I’m only going to drive with my left hand, or I’m only gonna shoot jump shots in this game or this game. I’m not allowed to take any shots outside the paint. And I would put these little again constraints or challenges on myself.

And that always, I think. It helped me to develop my all around game and my creativity and players today. Every game that they play, at least here in the U S games that they play. And this is on both the men’s and women’s side of the game. They’re playing in AAU basketball or travel basketball, where they’re with a team, they have a coach, their mom and dad are in the stands.

There’s a referee with a whistle. There’s a scoreboard. And so they’re always, it’s always performance-based and there’s never an opportunity for it to be. Process-based like what you were describing that you guys just finished up doing where you’re giving kids an opportunity to just go out there and experiment.

And so I’m always heartened. When I hear coaches [00:47:00] again, at all levels, giving their players an opportunity to kind of figure things out for themselves. Because to me, that’s the best way to develop intuitive basketball players and intuitive basketball players in my mind are the best basketball players.

Ido Singer: [00:47:14]  I agree.  And I think it, the problem is it’s because it’s it results in it doesn’t result in, but it’s the end here is the result, not the process. So creativity comes from confidence. You don’t have confidence. If everything you’re doing is scrutinized against a result, not against development. So if we, if we’re working on a skill in practice and then you go out on a weekend and you play five games and every time you try it doesn’t work for you and you stopped doing it because you’re reframing success or failure based on the result in the game, not against the fact that you had the, the guts to try it.

And that should be celebrated. [00:48:00] So when I teach the footwork stuff, kids will get it mixed up all the time. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the college level or a you level or whatever it is. They’ll mix up a front pivot and a back pivot sometimes. And I always speed them up. When I see them standing there, I yell at them to go faster, not in a mean way, but in a way to speed them up.

Cause I don’t want him thinking. So they’ll mess it up and they’ll stop. And I always tell them, don’t stop. Keep going. You didn’t do the front pivot. I asked

you to do you did a back pivot. That’s awesome. You just got one rip of a back pivot. Good for you. Now go to the next one and do a front pivot and don’t stop.

It’s just reframing what success is to me. Success is moving on to the next rep without losing confidence in what you are doing. It’s not the fact that you messed up what I asked you to do. You just did something I didn’t ask you to do good for you. Move on. So I think, I think it’s our job to be lists.

Intense with them and not tie everything into a [00:49:00] result, tie it to a process, reframe what they feel is failure and tell them that you didn’t fail. You just succeeded at something else and it’s not going to waste. You just got to rip in something else. That’s fine. Let’s go again.

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:15] How big of a challenge is that at the college level, where clearly you’re judged based on not just the process and not just development, but ultimately you’re judged by what happens on the scoreboard and what your one loss record is.

So how do you balance. Developing that creativity and focusing on the process while still keeping in mind that ultimately you’re going to be judged by those external results. How do you balance that as a coaching staff?

Ido Singer: [00:49:50] Yeah, it, it is definitely a challenge as an assistant coach, my job, as I see it is to a support my head coach and do everything I can to make her [00:50:00] successful.

And that’s, that’s the result of working hard with the players and getting them to be as good as they can be on the floor. So that falls again into me selling them on the fact that this is a process. I understand we don’t have all the time in the world, but if you jump in with two feet with me, I’m going to jump in two feet with you and we’re going to get through this together.

And I will guarantee that I will make you better if you’re willing to put in the work and you’re willing to experiment. So, it’s a process of building trust with the players you work with. I wasn’t always successful developing skills with, with some players and it’s it’s not always because of them.

It’s not always because of their lack of work. Sometimes I misread what their needs are or what their skills are. So it’s, it’s from both of us, but we need to be able to jump in together and say, this is honestly where I, as the coach feel you can be. This is where I think [00:51:00] your ceiling is. If you work hard, this is my plan to get you there.

What are the skills you want to work on? And what are you willing to commit to get there? And if we can be on the same page, we both work hard. I think the end result will be a player that develops quickly a player that is engaged. And I think everyone benefits. I think the disconnect comes from players who say they want something, but don’t really put in the work or coaches that over promise and under deliver. I tried to under promise and over deliver. So like I said, I’ll jump in with the player. If they’re willing to jump in, I’m not going to drag you into the gym, I’m going to encourage you to do it. And if you really want to succeed and you want to get better you know, we’ll get better together and, and we’re just going to work hard at it.

So I just think everyone wins when you add that kind of attitude.

Mike Klinzing: [00:51:52] And you obviously have to have those honest conversations with players where you’re telling them exactly where they are, where you think they can go, [00:52:00] and then what they need to improve upon what they need to work on in order to get to that level.

But part of being able to do that in my experiences is that you have to build that relationship with a kid before you can have that completely honest conversation. So how long. When a player first comes into the program, how long does it take you to build that type of report? And obviously through recruiting, you may already have a rapport with the players before they come in, but it’s still different once you get them on campus and you’re with them on a daily basis.

So just talk about maybe the relationship building piece and then how that helps you to be able to develop them more, more fully on the court.

Ido Singer: [00:52:44] You know, Mike Neighbors from from Arkansas had a great quote and he said that they stayed 18 years old. We just keep getting older and older. So, so the age gap is always there.

And so I’m starting to feel it sometimes in some situations [00:53:00] where you want to build those relationships, but they listen to some kind of music that I’ve never heard of and big baby and a little baby and all these things, different rappers named baby. And I don’t know any of them.

You know, I tried to kind of figure out where my lane is and I’m not I’m staying in my lane. My way of building relationships is by being a father figure, I’m a father myself, I have three kids. And so I want to make sure that their parents understand that I’m going to treat them as close as I can, to my own kids in the sense that I’m going to care about them.

I’m going to make sure that they’re physically and emotionally okay. To the best of my ability. I’m going to be honest with them, but I’m also going to be hard on them and I’m going to demand that they do what they need to do, and they’re going to be accountable for it because they deserve that. So that’s the base of where I start.

And then from there, like you said, we can’t just [00:54:00] demand things from them without trust being there. So the way I like to build trust is I like to to work hard. So I want to work hard for them. I’m going to be there and I’m going to, I’m going to work hard in, in in developing their skills. I’m gonna, I’m gonna listen to them.

I’m going to encourage them all the time. I’m going to try and reframe their failures, which is something I’m really big on. I’m going to make them feel good as much as I can when they live, leave that gym after a workout because they worked hard and they will feel like they actually took a step forward.

And I celebrate us. I celebrate so much of what they do all the time, whether it’s on social media or I’ll make a big deal out of something that they accomplished. So if you know, we have a 63 post player she came into the program and she was, she was more of a defensive minded player. She still is.

She wasn’t very skilled offensively. So we’re working on a lot of different things right now, but what we’re narrowing it down to is, is [00:55:00] one or two posts moves, and her ability to shoot a 15 foot jumper. So the other day, we’re doing three on three and she can’t, she couldn’t go to the post move that we’re trying to do, which is just a drop step through the middle, drops it to the baseline, taking your defender in, and then taking her to the baseline.

She kept going to this runner that we don’t really work on that much because it was easier to do. And if she fumbled the ball, it would be it would be acceptable because she had so much defense on her, but that wasn’t acceptable to me. So we just kept pounding, Hey, go to your drop step, go to your drop step, go to your counter.

And when she did that the other day, and she did that against a really good defender and had her fly by and she went on an up and under, I was creaming up and down, running around like crazy person. Let’s go. And you just, you just hype them and you make them feel good. And that’s, that’s what I do. If you do the smallest thing that we work on, if you even attempt to do the littlest thing that we work on, [00:56:00] I am going to make you feel like a million bucks and I’m going to embarrass you doing that because I’m one of those people.

But, but I think they know it comes out of love and it comes out of caring. So this is how I pour into players. This is how I try and build trust there. Therefore them, I care for them. I demand some things from them and they’ll ask, and then I celebrate the crap out of them when they do well. And I try and reframe their failures, I’m just there for them.

So that’s kind of my process of doing it. It doesn’t always work with every player, some players I didn’t connect with, unfortunately, but that’s, that’s just the only honest way I know how to do it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:56:37] And what you mean by reframing their failures? I know you talked about it briefly a minute or two ago, but just give us a little bit more of a deep dive into what you mean by reframing failure.

Ido Singer: [00:56:47] I don’t let them dwell in their failure. So if, if a player is working on a new skill, so again, I’ll go back to my 63. We call her a big baby. So if, if, if she takes. If she takes a jump shot and we just started [00:57:00] working on her 50 foot jump shot. So she’s not allowed to be upset when she misses shots.

If she takes a Jumpshot and it’s an arable and she looks down, I’ll just look at her funny. I’m like, why? No, it’s a new skill. I don’t care. I’m not even watching your shot. I’m watching your feet. I’m watching your elbow. I’m watching your snap, your wrist. That’s all I care about. And when, when she shoots us, I stand behind her and

I will say good when I feel like the release is good, regardless of the result. So I’m trying to frame the process prior to the bull, hitting the rim because she needs to hear what I think and connect it to what it feels like to do the right thing. So when she misses a shot and she gets upset, I keep reminding her that I said that was a good shot.

When it lift your hand. So you can’t be upset when the shot didn’t go through the hoop. [00:58:00] It’s not going to go through the hoop all the time. Michael Jordan didn’t have 50% field goal percentage who are you? You can’t be upset. That’d be lucky to have a 40% of your, of your jump shots from 15 feet hit in a game.

You should have 50 something percent around the rink cause you’re six, four, three, and you’re a beast. But for jump shots, you should be happy with four out of 10. And you’re just learning this skill. So reframing failures is not letting them dwell on failing at a new thing that they’re doing. Not letting them dwell on the negative of a new skill that they’re acquiring, but highlighting the good things that they did highlighting the fact that you didn’t get it this time, but we’re still standing here.

There’s still 10 minutes on the clock and I don’t have a full sweat on right now. So we’re going to go again. And it doesn’t matter. Nobody’s watching nobody cares. It’s just you and me and the [00:59:00] basketball, that’s it. So just, you can’t dwell on these things. It’s just going to keep going. Nobody’s going to care.

And I, again, I’ll go back to that story of the footwork stuff. When people were looking at me funny and thought I was a complete crazy person. And then nobody laughed when I signed my first contract. So all your failures, every time you look stupid when you do this and it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t matter because people don’t know and people don’t care.

And the ones who are laughing at you when you’re making a mistake are the ones that don’t have the guts to step forward and try it themselves. So it’s just a matter of just reminding them that they’re in the gym, they’re doing good things. And it’s just another day. And we have another rep.

Mike Klinzing: [00:59:44] I love that.

And I just, one of the things that when I’m working with players that I really do try to do is. Look at what they’re doing and not look at the result. And you talked about it when you’re saying, well, the shot [01:00:00] didn’t go in, but you’re still using the correct form or your footwork was still good. And it was a good rap, even though the ball didn’t go through the basket.

And sometimes as coaches, that’s hard to do. And I think you have to be very intentional about going into a workout or a practice setting and making sure that that is the approach that you’re taking. So as you said, you don’t discourage players. You want to keep them thinking positively, especially if they’re trying to add things to their game, or you’re trying to make a change in something that they do, which can be frustrating and difficult for players to do.

And if all they’re looking at is. The results of whether the ball goes in the basket or whether they are able to perfectly execute the move, it’s gonna be really difficult for them to, it’s going to be really easy for them to get frustrated. And if you do it the other way, I think you give players a much greater opportunity for success, without question.

All right. I want to ask you about your role as an assistant [01:01:00] coach. Tell us a little bit about what you think makes for a good assistant coach. So somebody who’s out there as early in their career, who is maybe looking to get an assistant coaching job at the college level, what are some characteristics, some things that you think are important as an assistant coach?

Ido Singer: [01:01:21] I think empathy is really big. I don’t think it’s talked about enough in empathy in the sense that you have to really care about other people’s success and you have to really care about other people. First, you’re there serving other people. This is not your program. You are there to make the head coach look good.

You are there to help them with anything and everything they need. You are there to foresee issues before they happen, hopefully and solve them. I had a head coach that wants told me that the best head coaches are the ones that don’t hear about any of the problems. Problems are solved before they’re even [01:02:00] problems.

So the best assistants to head coaches will do these things. So your empathy needs to be there. You need to understand, it’s not about you. You need to have a small ego and, and hard work and being able to, to do those little things and not expect to get praise for them. I love working for my head coach right now because she will praise her staff all the time.

And we always say in our program don’t brag on yourself. Let other people brag on you. It’s a part of our core values. One of them is humility. So we always talk about that. We don’t have to say anything about ourselves as assistant coaches at UNC G because our head coach and the other assistant coaches will always mention something about your hard work.

And so that’s a big reason why I love this staff. Our head coach is phenomenal. She’s the best person I’ve ever worked for tremendous basketball mind, but 10 times better of a [01:03:00] person than she is a coach. And that says a lot for somebody who has been coach of the year and worked for Tara Vanderveer and had Gino as her position coach, she comes from a very successful basketball tree, but I think what I’ve learned from her and what I take as in, as an assistant coach, wherever I go.

It has to be about others first and foremost, what can we do to help the players? What can you do to help the rest of the staff and what can you do for your head coach? And then if you do all those things, people will appreciate you. And if you honestly care about other people’s success first, it’s funny how success finds you.

It’s just one of those funny things in life.

Mike Klinzing: [01:03:44] Absolutely. I think that sometimes we take that for granted of understanding kind of what our role is. And I know I was a long time assistant coach at the high school level. And you have to figure out what it is that you can do [01:04:00] for your head coach, because ultimately again, as you said, the program belongs to someone else and your job is to make their job easier.

When you’re an assistant. Now you’ve had a couple of opportunities to be a head coach, both at the high school level. And at the college level. So tell us a little bit about your experiences as a head coach and how that has benefited you in your current role as an assistant, just what you learned as a head coach in terms of dealing with your staff and then how you kind of maybe look at it differently than you did previously.

So just give us an idea of how being a head coach helped you in your current role as an assistant.

Ido Singer: [01:04:45] So the biggest thing I learned as a head coach is that I love being an assistant coach. No seriously, though. It being a head coach is a tremendous responsibility. Someone wants it. I can’t remember who it is, [01:05:00] but someone once said that being an assistant coach is about making suggestions and being a head coach is about making life-changing decisions.

So. The assistant coaches make all kinds of suggestions all the time, because it’s easy to make suggestions when you’re not the one that has to actually make the final decision. I think the best assistant coaches don’t make suggestions that they have an eight researched and B have 10 different reasons why they would work and then see maybe have a you know, a B plan for when that doesn’t work.

So it’s much easier to be an assistant in that sense. I think what being a head coach taught me is that this is serious stuff. We have the lives of not only young men and women in our hands at very impressionable time in their lives. We’re molding lives.  We have a relationship with them.

That they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives. And it has [01:06:00] to be a positive one. We cannot be scarring people for life, just because we have something that we’re going through and we’re putting them through the same thing. The responsibility as ed coaches is tremendous. And you know, it just taught me responsibility.

It taught me that every decision I make influences the lives of the people that I make it for and their families. And there’s so much that that is on the line for every little decision that you make. And so that’s why I kind of joked at the beginning that it taught me. I wanted to be an assistant coach.

I’m not afraid of making decisions, but I feel that I’m better served right now, helping our head coach make those decisions. I feel that my experience is there and I really enjoy being in the supporting role. It is really tough being a coach. I mean, my hats off to anybody that, that does that day in and [01:07:00] day out, knowing that knowing what the job is.

Mike Klinzing: [01:07:04] Absolutely. I don’t think there’s any question that the transition from an assistant coach to being a head coach, it’s, it’s different. It’s a different, it’s a different feel when your name is attached to the record when your name is the one that is publicly associated with the performance of the team.

And as an assistant coach, you can. Do a lot of the fun stuff of coaching. And as you described, you get to get out on the floor and work with players and you can make suggestions, you do all those things. And then you can sort of take that step back that the head coach does not have the opportunity to be able to be able to do.

And and that puts a lot of pressure on them. And I think when you, when you talk about what a head coach is looking for in an assistant, I think that word, empathy that you shared with the audience is a hundred percent spot on that you have to be empathetic [01:08:00] to what your head coach is going through, and you have to look for ways to provide value to them, to try to make their lives easier, because it certainly is a challenge day in and day out.

And I don’t care if you’re at the high school level, you’re at the college level, you’re at the pro level. If you’re a head coach, there is a lot of, there’s a lot on your plate. There’s a lot of pressure on you. And if you have a good staff. They can help to make your job much, much easier. How about the difference between coaching at the high school level versus coaching at the college level?

And then also maybe address some of the differences in coaching boys versus girls, men versus women. So just give us your thoughts on coaching at the high school versus college level, and then your thoughts on coaching males versus coaching females.

Ido Singer: [01:08:55] I love coaching at the high school level. It was some of the best years of my life, and I [01:09:00] wish I knew more about coaching when I was at the high school level, because I would have served my team better.

I was still learning, still cutting my teeth in this profession. And man, I experimented so much at the high school and middle school level, but I really. I loved it. It was, it was the biggest part of me falling in love with coaching, because it was such a such a raw relationship. I mean, these kids are going through puberty.

They’re going through high school, which is hard enough as it is. And then we’re we’re putting them on a line for suicides, which I will never do again as a coach, but I used to do, then we’re putting them on the line and doing all those things in this pressure. And all of a sudden the girls are in the corner watching them, or the boys are in the corner watching the girls and it’s such a raw time in their lives.

And I just loved it for everything, for all the hardship and all the, all the good times. So I thought high school was, [01:10:00] was fun. It’s also, I mean, obviously the, the level is, is much, much lower, but I think I think it made me a better coach because I had to figure out ways to make them successful in places that they.

May not have had any business being on the court and doing different things. So I, I, it definitely made me better. I love coaching women. I coached boys a little bit at the high school level and it was fun. But as soon as I started focusing more on the women’s side, for some reason, I just felt a bigger connection.

I think it has a lot to do with growing up with women in my house. I mean, my father died when I was 17 years old, and that was the only man in the house with my mom and my sister. And I’ve always been around women. Even right now I’m, I’m outnumbered. We have three women in the house and me and my three-year-old boys.

So we’re definitely outnumbered the dog. There are four, four females in the house, so I’m always, [01:11:00] he’s been outnumbered, but maybe that’s my why. My connection on the, on the women’s side is so strong is because I’ve always been around them and I was able to connect and I think on an emotional level, I’m able to better connect with them.

So it just became a natural thing. I just, I feel, I feel a connection with the game, but I felt a stronger connection on the women’s side and then transitioning to college. I just, I just loved the elevated skill level, but I think what I realized is they’re all still kids. They’re all still learning.

I, I think again with the footwork stuff, it’s a very quick thing to humble them with is to show them five things and show them how they’re maybe possibly can get better at them, or they’re not doing them well enough for, or how they can be better at this. Even at the college level where they think that they’ve arrived, some of them do.

So. I just, again, love working with players at all levels. I’ve enjoyed high school immensely. [01:12:00] And when the level became a little higher in college, I still found ways to challenge myself, challenged them. I just, and I’m just a basketball junkie and I just, I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this. It’s unreal.

Mike Klinzing: [01:12:14] All right. Where do you go? Where do you go to learn? What are your go-to sources? People mentors. If you want to get better in your personal life as a coach and as a human being, where do you turn to try to improve yourself?

Ido Singer: [01:12:31] See, we should’ve started with that cause this, it could be a one hour, right? I am not kidding.

I’ll tell you this. I have over 4,000 titles on an external hard drive of different clinics and things like that, but that’s not even the biggest source. So YouTube is an unbelievable resource. And at this point I have a a subscription list and I’ll be happy to share it with any coach that wants to [01:13:00] learn about about X’s and O’s about different philosophy.

Anybody that wants to share it. I’ll obviously leave my contact info at the end and you can reach out to me. I’ll share it with you. But at this point, I’ll have anywhere between 20 to 50 different items ping on my YouTube, which I will save into playlists and there are anything and everything to have to do with basketball clinics.

X’s and O’s video breakdowns, anything that you can think of, philosophy interviews, they’re all there. So I have this YouTube collection. I also have a list on Twitter that are just X’s and O’s different philosophy. You’re on there. A lot of other coaches are on there. So I’ll have all of these things that I save into my notes, and then I’ll put them in other places.

It’s all categorized. I just go to anywhere and everywhere I talk to coaches all the time I watch clinics. I just, I have a list of full games that I’m sitting through right now and [01:14:00] just breaking them down, putting different notes to them, trying to learn. I do a lot of European basketball breakdown right now because I just love that game, that style.

So I just go anywhere and everywhere. And there are so many free resources out there that people’s heads will spin if they, if they really dug into it. So I happy to share all of these different systems that I have and resources with anybody that wants to learn. It’s just, there’s not enough time.


Mike Klinzing: [01:14:27] right. So that leads to my next question, which is, if I’m an experienced coach, I can feel overwhelmed with all the things that are out there. And if I’m an inexperienced coach, I can only imagine what that feels like. So what. Advice would you have for somebody when they’re looking at video or they’re trying to find good things, and obviously you can share specific sources, but let’s just say that I’m a coach.

And I find something that I like, how do you then make sure that you [01:15:00] take something that you found, get it onto paper, or get it into a file on your computer and then actually instituted with your players or your team. What’s your system from going from seeing something cool. And you’re like, Oh, that’s interesting.

Or, Oh, that’s something that would be cool to try to actually putting it into practice with your players or your team.

Ido Singer: [01:15:22] So as an assistant coach, again, I make suggestions. I have to, I have to critically look at everything that I, that I find in really safe. Will this work for our personnel? Is this something for you and CG, or is this something from my personal playbook?

And it could be for both. I encourage every coach. To find. So Kevin Eastman says success leaves footprints, right? So find out what you feel is success. If you’re defensive minded, go study, the ones you feel are successful at any level high school, they’re all my goodness. There are such great high school [01:16:00] coaches that run the most amazing creative stuff.

Or if it’s a college level, if it’s Europe, if it’s fee, if it’s NBA, but just, WNB be mindful of the level though, when you’re trying to adopt something to your team. But I encourage every coach to figure out what they see as success, and then go study those programs, those coaches those teams.

Ido Singer: [01:16:25] It’s not necessarily something you can take to your own team right now, because there’s such a skill disparity or maybe somebody sees a great baseline out of bounds.

Well, in, in the women’s game in college, they don’t put a defender on the inbound, or they usually have a defender under the basket. So I can see the most amazing baseline out of bounds play. But if the defense is standing on the bowl, I’m not going to get the same cut at the basket because there’s a defender there.

So I can’t use it. So it’s maybe not for us, but it’s for my own playbook. So I encourage every player. I’m sorry. Every coach to find what it is [01:17:00] they feel is good. What kind of success they want to experience and just build their own playbook, offensively, defensively, philosophy, everything there are resources to do that.

So that’s, that’s my, my first thing, figure out what it is that you want to implement as a coach and start collecting different ideas. You don’t have to categorize everything right now and scrutinize everything collect then for me right now again, I have to look at it in the lens of what can we do, and if I find something that.

I feel is interesting and I feel that we can adopt it. Then I go in, I look at it and I go, okay, this is where I would put this player, that player, this player, that player. And then I go to every assistant coach on our staff or a head coach and everybody on the men’s team. And I challenged them to tell me why this wouldn’t work.

So I try and have them figure out where are the holes in my philosophy. And every time I find a hole [01:18:00] I either try and find a solution for it. And if I can’t, that’s gone. So I always look for why this wouldn’t work. And if I get to a point where I’ve asked three or four or five different people and they go, no, this actually could work.

Then I would bring it to my head coach after this whole process. So that’s, that’s my process, but I, again, I would encourage everyone to figure out what they think is good and start collecting ideas and just build your playbook. But yeah, it can get overwhelming. Just know who you are, know what you’re looking for and narrow it down from there.

And you’re not going to be able to use everything. I mean, we can’t run everything Gonzaga runs, which we could. It’s just not,

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:43] Yeah, there is so much out there and so much good stuff that it gets, it gets overwhelming fast. And I think to your point, you have to have a system that works for you, whether that’s three ring binders, old school, whether that’s computer files, whether that’s some combination [01:19:00] of both.

I think that when you start to put together and find those things and find those resources that are going to benefit you as a coach, whether you’re an assistant, whether you’re the head coach, whether you’re somebody that’s just starting out in the profession or somebody who’s been in it a long time, every coach eventually develops their own system of how they kind of put things together.

And what I’m always curious is that’s why I asked was just how you go from. Finding something you’d like to actually implementing it, because I think that typically is the challenge, because we’ll all go and maybe you go to a clinic or you see a video and you’re like, Oh yeah, I really liked that. And you’ll save it or you write it down or you’ll stick it in a binder.

And then two weeks later you kind of forgot because you moved on to the next shiny silvery object that was glittering. And then you went over to that you went over to that thing and now and that’s where I think sometimes coaches get, I don’t know, not in trouble, but you know what I’m saying?

They, they sometimes lose out on some of the things that they find and. I just think having a system is really what’s super, [01:20:00] super important.

Ido Singer: [01:20:02] Yeah. That’s what it is. Collect and categorize. And I’m pretty sure there’s some gyms in my office that are collecting Dust. I don’t know about them because they printed out and everything I have now is digital collect and categorize to the best of your ability and then just go through it.

And I’m literally going through every folder that I have of things that I categorize. And that’s some things I go, what was I thinking? And so that’s gone, but you know, you got to collect categorized, scrutinized.

Mike Klinzing: [01:20:29] Yep. I’ll do that with it. I’ll do that with a journal. Like I’ll write I’ll do some, I’ll do some journaling every day and there’ll be times where I’ll try to carve out some time to go back and look at what I’ve written.

And sometimes you go back and you’re like, Oh what was I thinking there? But at the same time, sometimes you’ll go back and you’ll say, Oh man, that was a great idea. I was super enthusiastic about that. How come I never followed through. And then it just brings you back to something that could end up being important.

I know I’ve done that where I’ve circled back to ideas [01:21:00] that had lie had been laying dormant for a month, two months, six months. And just by circling back through the journal, I’m able to kind of bring them back to the forefront and it, it, it does, it does a lot of good for me, both in my professional life and in my personal life to have those things written down and journaling has been really something that I’ve started doing in the last couple of years only.

And it’s really, it’s really helped me just as a human being forget about as, as a basketball coach, it’s just helped me in my life to again, get things out of my brain and onto paper where I can go back and the key is circling back. And I guess that’s what that’s the point that I’m trying to make here.

Before we get out of here, we are coming up close to an hour and a half Edo, and I want to be respectful of your time. And I want to ask one final question of you. And that is when you think about. What you do day to day and you look forward. I want you to share with our audience the biggest challenge that you see over the next year or two.

And then also just share the greatest joy [01:22:00] that you get from getting out of bed in the morning and being an assistant coach with the women’s program there at UNC Greensboro.

Ido Singer: [01:22:08] So I’ll start with, I’ll start with the second part of it. So the biggest joy for me is, again, like, I think I’ve alluded or said that I cannot believe I’m being paid to do this.

I get to go to work technically in my pajamas and go, what are the feelings? Exactly. And then go work with amazing people that I consider friends in that I’m talking to administration all the way down to the people that are on the other side of my wall, that we share an office suite with our staff.

And then I get to work for such great young women who are absolutely inspirational. I mean, when all the you know, the civil unrest happened last year we had players on our team that were so involved and [01:23:00] were able to you know, to, to raise their voice for, for a cause that they, they truly believe in.

And we all jumped in with, with both feet and supported them. And we’re doing that again, this Friday, we’re going to go March to downtown and just speak up and, and be, be there shoulder to shoulder with them. So I get to, to go to work for, and with people that I absolutely respect and admire.

So that, that is the biggest thing. I you know, I cherish about my job. I think one of the challenges. That we’re going to see in this profession in the next few years is I don’t want to be one of those coaches that keeps talking about the transfer portal. I think, again, we’re talking about reframing failure.

I think it’s easy to say that the transfer portal is evil. I think it’s harder to appreciate the fact that because of this transfer portal, every coach in the country had a chance to talk and meet with kids and families [01:24:00] from all around the world and all around the country. Of course, that they would never have had a chance to meet.

So I appreciate the opportunity to get to know all these players that we talked to because of the transfer portal and all of these families. So that was just really a cool thing that happened. You know, we had no business talking to them, but now we did, but I think one of these things that happens now is kids are less inclined to tough it out.

And they’re much, it’s much easier for them to jump ship and, and listen to bad advice. If things don’t necessarily work out exactly how they would want to. And obviously we all know that life is going to have its challenges. Things are very often not going to work our way. And it’s how we respond to hardship.

That really matters. It’s not how we you know, go and run the other way. And I know some situations are, are benefited by this transfer portal, [01:25:00] something there’s some, some abuse, there’s some players that are better suited for other teams, other conferences. I get all that, but the players who are jumping ship because they don’t feel like they’ve gotten enough minutes or they can go somewhere bigger.

That’s where I think the hardship happens and the challenges will happen over the next couple of years. There are over a thousand women in the transfer portal right now. And last I checked is know 357 teams. Seniors don’t have to graduate. The math just doesn’t work. And a lot of kids are going to step away from full scholarships into nothing.

And that’s just, that’s just a shame. I think a lot of, a lot of kids, if they could do it all over again, would probably reconsider. I just, I just fear that some of the consequences of this of this new legislation might, might affect you know, how they’re viewing or reframing failure and hardship.

Mike Klinzing: [01:25:59] Yeah. I agree [01:26:00] with you. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how this plays itself out and obviously. I think the intent is to enable players to have more freedom and to give them the opportunity to go in and find a better situation. And yet I think there’s going to be some ramifications that for both schools and for players that you know, are unintended and maybe unexpected.

So it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Edo. I just want to give you a chance before we get out of here, share how people can reach out to you, social media website, email, and then after you do that, I will jump back in and wrap things up.

Ido Singer: [01:26:42] Sure. So reach out to me on social. So it’s the handle is Idobasketball, so IDO and the word basketball, kinda like a play on words.

Ido basketball. It’s one of those silly things. So Idobasketball on Instagram. I recently got out of Facebook, so. You [01:27:00] might not be able to find me there, but Instagram or Twitter, it’s the same. My email is Definitely reach out for anything and everything. I can help you with any resource I can share any question or anything else you wanted to say or talk about, and if you get a chance to check out the podcast, it’s one last thought.

And it’s been sitting dormant a little bit and taking a little bit of a hiatus, but there’s there are plenty of episodes there. It’s not basketball related. It’s hopefully inspirational and thought provoking. And it is very different than, than a lot of different podcasts in that realm. So if you get a chance to check it out, please check it out and absolutely know what you think.

Mike Klinzing: [01:27:45] You could spend an hour and a half with our podcast, or you can listen to one of those episodes and you could probably get five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 of his end in the hour and a half that you spent and listening to one of ours. And it’s great. And it’s great stuff when [01:28:00] you know, reached out to me to be a part of it.

You know, I’ve taken a listen to a lot of his episodes and there’s a lot of very quick. And efficient and very profound life advice. And the people that he was found, as he said are not just basketball related. There are people from all walks of life who have had tremendous success. So please go and check that out, reach out to Ido.

If you listened to him tonight, you know that he is someone who cares deeply about the game of basketball, loves coaching and will definitely be a great resource for us here at who peds moving forward. And hopefully you’ll take the opportunity to reach out to him and have a basketball conversation or just a conversation about life.

And again, Ido cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your schedule to join us tonight and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.

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