How to be a Champion

May 13, 2011, 12:01 p.m. (ET)

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach recognized the fact that there is no substitute for hard work.  Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.

Careful planning: The national teams of other countries are training together every day under the guidance and supervision of the national team coach, so the results good or bad are directly related to the effectiveness of the coach.  

We all know that this is not the case here in the U.S.

So the role of our national coaches in my opinion should be to recommend training camps and international competitions where our players are tested against the top players in the world, and to bring and accurate report and recommendation of things need to be done in order to close the gap between our players and our international competition. Based on the information we receive our coaching experts should design a training plan for our National Teams to follow.

Hard work: It's unreasonable to expect medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships when  our international competition trains 6-8 hours per day, and our players do half of that. We can always come up with reasons why we can't do it, and most of the time we claim that we have no time and we have no money.

My 40+ years experience tells me that a well organized training program will produce world class players by the age of 18-20 if they work with talented players starting at age 12-13 as members of the National Cadet Team and willing to be homeschooled to be able to commit to the amount of work it requires.

"The will to win is important, but the will to prepare to win is vital" (John Wooden) 

How to be a Champion

You wonder how they do it,

You look to see the knack,

You watch the foot in action,

Or the shoulder or the back.

But when you spot the answer
Where the higher glamorous lurk,

You’ll find in moving higher

Up the laurel – covered spire

That most of it is practice

And the rest of it is work

                                    -Grant land Rice