Don’t Overlook the “Little Things”

When conducting a facility check recently, I noticed one of my student staff, Noah Gilbert, playing a game of two-on-two basketball.  I stood and watched a few minutes to see what kind of game Noah has.

During one sequence, Noah received the ball on the left wing and made an excellent post feed, right to the target his teammate presented away from the defense.  Noah then made an excellent basket cut off of his post feed.  He got a step on his defender, so the defender guarding the ball in the post stepped back to prevent a pass to Noah.  Noah’s teammate faked the pass to Noah, and then knocked in an 8-foot jump shot.

Did Noah score on this play?  No, but he was responsible for creating the open shot, and deserves a lion’s share of the credit for creating this score.  The average spectator may only give credit to the shooter who scored the points, but teammates deserve equal credit when the opportunity is created.  I observed in this short time that Noah knows how to play the game, and he cares about his team winning.  I have also witnessed his unselfish, team-first, positive energy behavior in his work.

In reading Dick DeVenzio’s book There’s Only One Way To Win:  Lessons From A Legend:  Modern Success Principles From An Old-School Coach, Coach DeVenzio would shout affirmation to the players who created the opportunity, rather than the scorers.  His rationale was that others would give the scorer all the credit, and he wanted to let everyone know he valued all who created the score (Click this link to read my book review).

After reading this section of the book, I have always shouted encouragement when I coach, play, or observe a “little thing”.  I shouted, “Great basket cut, Noah!”  He may have thought I was crazy, but I don’t mind.

As a leader or to casual observers, it is easy to give credit to the person who got the end result, finished the job, or who leads the team.  Great leaders recognize that the teammates who provided the logistical support, encouragement, or legwork to make the end result a possibility need to demonstrate appreciation for their roles.

Noah’s post feed and basket cut may have been  “little things”, but consider the alternatives if he didn’t take positive action.  A turnover, a contested shot, could have changed everything.

If you are the leader or the “finisher”, step up and thank the teammates who helped make success possible.

I would love to hear your feedback.



Here are a couple of my most viewed posts.

Click here for my book review of Toughness:  Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas

Click here for my book review of The Power of Negative Thinking by Bob Knight

Click here for my book review of Bo’s Lasting Lessons:  The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

I am the author of The Basketball Match Up Zone and Multi-Purpose Basketball Offense ebooks.

*My blog contains affiliate links.  I have read all these book links and recommend them because they have tremendous value.


The little things mean a lot….

Last Friday, I was heading out of town to go to school.  I was disappointed because I did not have the chance to say goodbye to my lovely bride Jennifer.  However, I knew there was a chance I would pass her on the road (don’t worry friends, my parents were with the boys).

Much to my delight, I saw her coming in the opposite direction about a 1/2 mile from our house.  I stuck my hand out the window waving frantically to get her attention.  She saw me and blew me a kiss.  Sweet right?  It’s much more than that.

On our third date, Jen blew me a kiss as she was walking back to her apartment after we said good night.  I had a good feeling about her before that, but it was at that point that I knew I wanted to marry that girl.  My feeling at that moment is hard to describe, but it was so powerful and intense (much beyond the old-fashioned feeling Jim Carrey refers to in Dumb and Dumber).

Jennifer still blows me kisses from time to time, and I get that powerful feeling every time she does it.  It seems like a little gesture, but it is so much more.

Would love to hear about “little things” that positively impact your life.  Take care,