In-Game Clinics


ZDAC4K5X7RJ3ClinicI’ve learned a lot over the years watching some of the greats of the game like Coach K, Tom Izzo, and Pat Summitt and I’ve heard plenty of them speak or conduct practice, but I have a new group of coaches that I learn something from every time I watch their teams. While it’s difficult to find time during the season, when these teams are playing I usually have a notebook ready to go!


Here’s my list of the Top In-Game Clinic Coaches:

mark-few1. Mark Few – Gonzaga Bulldogs

Few’s teams play hard, play smart, and always have a great game plan.  The Bulldogs score inside and out, pound the ball inside when they have to, and always know how to free up their shooters.  Since they’re usually on late, I don’t mind missing some sleep  Read more in Bravehearts: The Against-All-Odds Rise of Gonzaga Basketball.

Florida Gators v UCLA Bruins

2. Billy Donovan – Florida Gators

Donovan’s offense spreads the floor and attacks relentlessly.  The Gators’ use of the ball screen is truly a clinic for today’s style of play!  Donovan runs things in a first class way and is open and honest about his faith.  I love hearing his perspective on the game and love his Pick and Roll DVD .

Popovich3.  Greg Popovich – San Antonio Spurs

“Pop” is a master at getting elite, professional players to play as a team.  His ability to communicate is a model for all of us.  It’s fun to catch a Spurs’ game and find out which role player or cast-off has been given the chance to excel in San Antonio.  Learn more about his ideas in his DVD, My Favorite Drills . . .

Brad Stevens4.  Brad Stevens – Butler Bulldogs

Brad Stevens makes you feel good about coaching the right way!  His refinement of the “Butler Way”; has his teams making the most of their talent on a nightly basis.  They rarely beat themselves and they remind all of us to focus on the fundamentals!

Geno Auriemma5.  Geno Auriemma – Connecticut Huskies

If you don’t know Geno because you don’t watch the women’s game, you’re missing out!     His teams are highly motivated and always competitive.  Watch their sets and you’ll be amazed at how Geno constantly gets the right player shooting the right shot.  In Geno: In Pursuit of Perfection he shows us how it’s done.

While I enjoy collecting new ideas, I often find that I gather up far more than I can ever use.  In fact, often I find that I can’t replicate everything I see.  I may add a few things here and there, but I’ve also learned that you have to be true to yourself and be relevant for your program.  Simply trying to copy what everyone else does can run you right off the court!  So, keep growing and keep learning, but stay focused on your own team, your own situation, and your own philosophy.


There’s a great correlation to life in this, too.  Do you try to copy or recreate what other people do in their situations only to find that it’s not suitable for you?  In this age of technology and social media, there’s no shortage of ideas and philosophies for handling every aspect of life.  As I work with young people, too often I see them trying to imitate how others have achieved success.  It’s great to have role models and examples to follow, but not at the expense of charting the right course for you. Nobody else has the same make-up, same personal growth path, and life experience.


Like MikeListening to all the references this weekend to Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday brought back memories of the Like Mike ad campaign.  While many of us want to play like Mike, be careful saying you want to be like Mike in every way.  When I began this page, I said I have a passion for learning about heroes of the Bible.  Search the pages of Scripture and you can find a role model for almost any life-situation.  You can take notes and learn from them just as I do with the In-Game clinics, but even those heroes often come up short or fail to align with our personal situation.  In truth, there’s only one coach or player we need to copy or emulate – Jesus!  As Paul coaches us in Ephesians 5:1

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children”

Learn from the greats of the past, grow in this life as you observe the paths of others, but when it comes to following a model, choose to be like Jesus.


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