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There was a book written recently that said a kid needed to put in 10,000 hours in order to master a sport. It also talked about being in the right time and place. This book talked about how your background and opportunities have had much to do with the success of some of our most successful  people. The book was called Outliers and it was a great read. I have two relatives making millions playing a sport. I know there is a lot of truth to this book. I watched much of what was said, up close and personal play out.  But what the book didn’t discuss was how not to be successful.

I have seen it all in my years as a college coach, a parent of a D1 and D3 athlete and as a trainer. I been on all sides and trust me when I say, what I am about to say. It’s not bragging and it’s not to show that I am more knowledgeable. I say what am about to say because I have seen so many people make mistakes that can be avoidable. I KNOW MORE ABOUT THE PITFALLS, KIDS AND PARENTS MAKE THAN JUST ABOUT ANYONE. There is a reason some kids are successful and why some at not and it’s not just about the talent level. In most cases it has more to do with mistakes along the way.


Three years ago I had a conversation with RBC’s Hayley Moore mom. She asked me what Hayley needed do, in order to play in college. I told her it’s simple “GET BETTER”. I told Traci Moore, not to worry about college coaches, I told her don’t focus on being on the best AAU team. I told her not to worry about her daughters size and strength. I told her to simply worry about her daughter getting better. I told not to play politics and never do anything except help her daughter get better. I told her to live in the gym, but know when to take a break, never play for publicity or to gain favor. I told her KIDS LOVE GAMES, but kids also like soda and candy.  I told her basketball hours are precious and most parents and kids don’t understand this until its TOO LATE.  The Moore family listened and Hayley Moore has D1 offers these days. But there is a flip side to Hayley Moore and those are the parents and kids who one day will wish they did things differently.

There are parents and kids who will always find reasons to play meaningless games(instead of taking the those hours to work on a real weakness). Many will train in poor non competitive environments or do things on the cheap. There will always be parents and kids who believe they are working hard and doing what’s best. There will always be parents who will make politically motivated decisions for there kids (kids don’t play politics, this is ALWAYS A PARENT ISSUE). They will be those who believe that sometimes you must play the game, learn to beat the system. These are the kids who will one day look in the mirror and wish they had those hours playing politics and beating the system back. They will wish that time was spent in the gym doing quality work. It will not hit them until they realize that it always comes down to GETTING BETTER…NOTHING ELSE.


I see kids every year who are close, but they can’t get over the hump and in 99% of the cases, its because they simply can’t show up day in and day out. It’s just too hard and it takes real backbone. Somebody asked me yesterday, do I really believe Jose Larkins can be Player of The Year? I told her yes and it’s because Jose Larkins number goal is to always get better. How else to you explain her becoming one of the TOP 4 players in the shore and the 2nd highest recruited player in the ’17 class. If fact there is one kid currently in the loaded “18 class with more recruitment….ONE! Why because Josie Larkins used her gym hours correctly and concerned herself with one thing…GETTING BETTER.

I see it all folks an not much has changed from year to year except the faces.  My good friend Rick Smid (father of Wagner asst. coach Kaitlyn)  and I, meet every year and discuss which kids may struggle in college after the signing period. In almost 99% of the time, he will tell you, we are almost always right. Why? Because habits are hard to break and everyone knows which kids work hard and which kids don’t work hard. We know which ones spend all their time worrying about visiting or talking about colleges. We know which ones will not work hard during the off season. WE KNOW…WE ALL KNOW WHO THEY ARE.. We all know the kids who duck competition and which ones don’t. I give you Sara Karpell for example, her mother is Coach Karpell. Dawn Karpell, believes in competition and her kids getting better. She doesn’t allow her daughter to focus on reputation or hype. Just like with her SJV program, Dawn Karpell has only one goal for her daughter….GETTTING BETTER. Her daughter will be the best combo guards in the shore at some point.


I tell kids often get in the gym and shoot. I beg them to shoot, I tell them you better be able to shoot. Why? Because I know if a kid cannot shoot the ball these days, they will only reach the level of their natural ability. I know kids with real talent and ability who refuse to shoot EVERYDAY. There will work on every skill set in the game, but will not make shooting, the be all, do all. Why? Shooting takes real time in the gym TO DEVELOP(just ask the best shooting coach on planet earth BETH CHAMBERS). I love when a parent says “she is shooting everyday” or she made all her shots at a fall AAU game ( not exactly known for defense). I love when a parent or a kid says proudly “She shot yesterday” …LOL. They just don’t understand the hours it takes. I see that same kid and they can’t make a shot against REAL COMPETITION. Then a college coach says “she just can’t shoot it well enough for us” I then say to myself  “she just can’t get to the gym everyday”  Why beat her up?  Her plate is either full or she doesn’t have that burning desire. I give you Christine Dicindio, who will attend U-Penn next year. She wants to become a better shooter. Because she knows if she wants to impact the Penn program, she will need to shooter better. It’s why she shoots after her 2 hour NBS session every weekend. It why every Tuesday she shoots after  her hour Mike Rice post work outs. We chart her shots, SO WE  KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. She my friends always shows up and why SHE IS GETTING BETTER.

I watch the same picture every year and the movie doesn’t change, JUST THE NAMES. There always will be talented kids, who just don’t understand the simple formula to be successful. They say there is a 100 ways to skin a cat. Well am here to tell you… that is not true. There is a 100 ways to find yourself in the same pothole of many before you. There is only one formula parents and kids should follow…GET BETTER… because I have enough stories to prove that this is the only formula that works….. and I know this better than anyone, because I have seen the sadness and disappointment on the faces of too many kids over the years





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