January 2011
The Don Meyer Way:
Coaching Basketball

Occasionally, we stumble across a path in life as a coach that makes us step back and reflect upon all responsibilities placed upon us.  This month a dear friend and Heppner High School women's basketball coach passed unexpectedly leaving behind a stunned team and community.  After searching one night for the right words to say about my dear friend I came across two remarkable stories--the first a small documentary with a quite spoken and confident John Wooden (Wooden Video). The second a story about challenges and a drive for a sense of normalcy focusing on the countries top unknown coach--Don Meyer. 

Wooden shares his undying respect and love for his late wife, going as far as saying, the most important word in our vocabulary is 'LOVE'. While Meyer's uses intellect, not to devalue the tactical elements of the game, but rather marry them with a winning attitude.  Enjoy this edition of our newsletter focusing on the Coach Don Meyer Way of Coaching Basketball.  


Forrest McKinnis
Coach Mac's Basketball Resources

Meyer's Journey

by Doug Dreyer
For 38 years, what Don Meyer has loved most about coaching is the problem-solving. Fixing a player's jump shot. Correcting the way his team defends the screen-and-roll. Adjusting the offense.


Northern State announced that Don Meyer, the all-time wins leader in men's college basketball history, will retire at season's end after a long road filled with ups and downs:

� After a near-fatal car accident led to a cancer discovery, Meyer refused to quit on the team and sport he loved. Story

� Forced to coach from a wheelchair after he lost his leg in the accident, Meyer took it all in as he passed Bob Knight to become the all-time winngest coach. Story

� The all-time leader in coaching wins in NCAA men's basketball history will retire after the end of this season. Story

Coach Meyer Clinic Notes

Here is a great collection of Coach Meyer's clinic notes, which shares a lot of coaching philosophy from the games all time winning coach.  Its free take advantage of it.


Meyer's Match Up Zone Principles
New Playbook Download

This style of match up zone will create a stifling, dominating and mentally fatiguing experience for your opponent. Working with defenders on hard to scout shifts and sprints, Meyer's match up emphasizes not just denying the ball, but creating an atmosphere of denial throughout the entire offensive possession.

Instant Download Here

Wolves Blue Print
by Don Meyer

1. Staff On the same page - responsibilities organized.


2. Player development daily - all areas of their life.


3. Attract the best, toughest players we can to the program.


4. Promote the program locally, regionally, and nationally:

    a. Campus and student relationships
    b. Community relationships
    c. Reach out to former players and alumni
    d. Clinics - Free fall clinic and on the road clinics
    e. Coaching Academy
    f. Camps:

      1. Prepare
      2. Teach
      3. Consistency
      4. Compete
      5. Close

E:60 Meyer Feature

After watching this video, it is clear this is a story which must be shared with coaches, players, and fans of the game all over the world.  Don Meyer's E:60 video is fantastic.

Lessons Learned from a Lifetime
of Coaching

1.Questionable, unsportsmanship tactics employed to influence
the odds of winning are never worth the price paid in loss of self-respect.
2.Degrading remarks or actions aimed at spurring players on to greater effort may bring temporary success but results in long-range failure.
3.Anger is  a poor substitute for reason.
4.Your players tend to become what they believe you think you are.
5.Teenagers, by nature, are idealistic.
6.Attitudes such as jealousy and discontent among players are often nurtured by well-meaning adults whose eyes are set only upon the glamorous aspects of winning.
7.Patience and love are the most powerful tools in coaching.
8.Today's heartbreaks turn into tomorrow's strengths.
9.Gracefully accept unfortunate events beyond you control.
10.Work hard to influence the outcome of important things within your control.
11.Never "second-guess" yourself on decisions made with integrity, intelligence and with a glance from the heart.
12.The most essential thing in coaching, and a coach's greatest challenge, is to teach players to never give up.

In This Issue
Meyer's Journey
Free Meyer Clinic Notes
Meyer's Match Up Zone
Wolves Blue Prints
E:60 Meyer Feature
Lessons from A Lifetime
Featured Blog
Meyer's Journey
For 38 years, what Don Meyer has loved most about coaching is the problem-solving. Fixing a player's jump shot. Correcting the way his team defends the screen-and-roll. Adjusting the offense.

Don Meyer Videos
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Learning to Become a Head Coach

Sam W Blog 


by Sam Waniewski

Concordia University

My name is Sam Waniewski, and I am a Graduate assistant coach, with aspirations and dreams of one day becoming a division one Head Coach.  I'd like to share with you the rigorous activities someone in my position goes through regularly and how it prepares the Graduate Assistant to one day get that dream job, a college basketball Head Coach position. 


There are a variety of tasks or responsibilities that I am given on a daily basis.  My challenge is to become more self-reliant, and make the life of my Head Coach easier anyway possible.  Here is an example of a very common day.  I get to the office by 9 a.m. I grab the coach's keys and throw the dirty jerseys in the washer. I spend about 3 hours breaking down video of our opponent.  I clip every time a certain play is ran, every out of bounds play, and every player's tendencies that we can hope to anticipate.  Occasionally, depending on the opponent, I may also clip their offensive rebounding, or their press, any aspect that makes them unique. I go home, grab a sandwich, and come back.  Nobody tells me how long my lunch break can be, or even what time I have to be at the office in the morning.  However, I have too much work to do to relax, and this job is too important to me to not utilize every hour possible.  I get back at 12:30.  I then go over our status with video exchange, which I am in charge of.  I look at who we got videos from, who I need to send them out to, and who I need to email in order to get future game tapes.  I then put the jerseys in the dryer, early enough so they will be ready for practice at 3. Next, I check in with the two coaches, looking for different things I can do to help. Perhaps we have an away game coming up.  I fax in our meal plan.  I double check that we have van keys.  I check to make sure our away jerseys are all set to go.  Before I realize it, it's practice time. During practice, I am alert and active, looking to rebound for guys during drills, using the pad to hit players during other drills.  I am near the ball cage in between drills to help put the balls away.  I think it's important that, just as we tell our players to work hard, we lead by example, working hard ourselves.  Practice ends, but my day isn't over.  I stick around, rebounding for those players who still want to work out and spend extra time getting better.  Once that is finished, I take a deep breath, and head home.  Basketball at the office may be over, but now it's time for homework.  As a graduate assistant, I have online class work that I must completely weekly, and sometimes it gets to be difficult to find time.  Some days I am up til 1 a.m. doing homework, other weeks I wait until Sunday and spend the entire day on school work.  It's learning how to multi-task, getting my basketball work and school work done that will allow me to juggle 3 or 4 things at once as a Head Coach.  It's learning how to do all of the behind the scenes work that nobody sees, such as: ordering meals for the players, getting van keys,  doing laundry, contacting schools for film, sending out posters for exposure, getting shoot around times, reserving hotels, and mailing recruits, which prepare me for that special day. 


As far as basketball goes, I am learning how to be a Head Coach by simply being a "sponge," taking in and absorbing all the information that I can.  I pay close attention when drills and plays are taught.  I focus in on every detail said by the Head Coach and our top assistant.  I talk to players when they are subbed out in practice, and point out what they can do better. I ask questions when appropriate to clarify things.  I find out what works best for our team, and which elements I agree with and believe in the most.  I develop my own philosophy based on all of the great things I have learned from the Head Coach's I have worked for.  When I have time, I watch any college game that I can on TV, writing down notes, and plays.  I study the game religiously.  I make it my goal to impact the players we have in a positive way, while also continuing to grow by gaining knowledge and portraying the true passion I have for the game.  For when my day comes, to be a Head Coach, I will be as prepared and confident as possible from all of my years of working hard, doing the dirty work, and learning all I can towards this dream career!


In How Lucky You Can Be, acclaimed sports journalist Buster Olney tells the remarkable story of the successive tragedies that befell Coach Meyer but could not defeat him. Laid low by a horrific car accident that led to the amputation of his left leg below the knee, Coach Meyer had barely emerged from surgery when his doctors informed him that he also had terminal cancer. In the blink of an eye, this prototypical 24/7 workaholic coach-who arrived at the gym most mornings before 6 a.m.-found himself forced to reexamine his priorities at the age of sixty-three. A model of reserve, Coach Meyer had sacrificed much of his emotional life to his program. His wife, Carmen, felt disconnected because of his habitual reticence, while his three children-all now well into adulthood-had long had to compete with basketball for his attention.