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'IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL, YOU CAN CONVINCE AT HALFTIME THEY CAN'T WIN.'


I always email the Elite Coaches' Mastermind speakers a few days before our session to give them an idea of how our 'interactive podcast' works, what to expect, etc. I also tell them I have one goal for each class: every ECMM member participating live or after watching the recording can take one idea or tactic and use it the next day!

Sherri Cole, women's basketball hall-of-famer and the winningest coach in OU women's basketball history, spoke to the ECMM last night. Coach Coale was incredible.

She didn't tell me this, but I think she took this challenge of 'one take-home to use the next day' as a challenge and gave us several! If you are a member and have access to the vault, your assignment is to watch the session asap! Coach Cole was a 'top 3' speaker for me. I took six pages of notes!

As soon as I clicked 'end meeting' last night, my mind went to writing a blog to share with as many coaches as I could. The only problem was that there was so much good stuff; I had to choose what would send today that would impact as many coaches as today.

I chose a Barry Switzer quote she used once to help complete the largest comeback in Division 1 women's basketball history.


"If you're not careful, you can convince your team at halftime they can't win."

Here is the context of this quote; one of my standard questions is 'we love stories; if you have ever been told a story that changed your life, we need it. Please give us a story that we can use with our teams in-season or out-of-season. Coach Coale went with an incredible tale of taking her team, with four players from California, to Cal-Berkeley and how she handled being down 26 points at halftime.

"Cal started the game super aggressive. They had us on our heels, and we looked like we had never played before. We are playing safe, trying not to lose, all that type of stuff. We are on the verge of getting totally humiliated in front of a packed gym with at least half of them in attendance who are wearing red and white to support our four players from the area."

"As we walk to the locker room at halftime, my assistants are 'wound up,' going over everything we need to do to fix it. And, for whatever reason, I have no idea why because it had been maybe a year since I have spoken to Coach Switzer, but all I could hear in my head was him telling me once; "If you're not careful, you can convince your team at halftime they can't win."

"I tell my assistants, 'stop, stop.' I let that sit on me for a minute before I went in. I went to the board and would write something down, turn around because I was so mad, but fought the urge to yell and turned around and kept writing. I did that two or three times. I knew I had to give them a couple of things they could latch on to for the second half instead of ripping them over the first half."

Have you ever felt like a preacher was looking at you the whole time, and the sermon was intended only for you? :)

Back to the story: "The most essential part of halftime was making sure I convinced them we could still win the game. I told them in the second half we are going to do two things: run our 1/2 court trap and one offensive play (the play has several options but only one play). However they cover it, we are going to read the counter to it. That's all we're doing."


"If we do these two things, we win the game."

"The next thing you know, we are only down twenty, then only down fifteen, then only down eight..."

"We finish the game on a 34-2 run and win 86-75. It is the largest Division 1 women's comeback in history. If I had gone in and focused on the worst first half ever, I would have convinced them we couldn't win."

Did you get the brilliance of this?

It's ok not to be happy if your team is playing poorly, but convincing them of how bad they suck is not the thing to do at the time. 'So what next play' mentality comes to mind for me. Their heads are full of the mistakes they have made. Help give them clarity and purpose for the time left in the game. Make the plan more simple and tell them, "if you do this, we make a comeback people will talk about for years."


The OU comeback at Cal happened in 2008. Not only are we talking about it, but I believe it is a mindset you can use beginning today.

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