North Carolina Spartans: Spartan Program Principles

Coach Thompson’s Spartan Basketball Program Principles

The North Carolina Spartan AAU Basketball Program is founded upon three basic principles, or goals, that guide everything we do.

 

1- Establish a Solid Basketball Foundation for our Players Based on the Fundamentals 

Our main goal in the Spartan basketball program is to make our players better by giving them a solid foundation in the fundamental skills of basketball.  We believe that in any endeavor you must have a solid base in order for success and we hope to provide this to the players in our program. 

 

Basketball is the most over-coached and under-taught game in the world today.  I see so many coaches and teams so concerned with running this offense, that play, this defense, etc. that they neglect teaching the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the long run.  It goes back to the old saying “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”.  We will teach you the skills first, then coach you on how to package it all together along with your teammates toward victory.  Hence, we teach you to fish!J

I have seen countless players in the ninth grade who can run like the wind, jump up and dunk the ball two-handed, but cannot execute a simple left-handed layup.  As a coach, I am disgusted with such examples, so we decided to do something about it by starting our Spartan program.  Our philosophy is to teach basic basketball skills first, and then to build on this solid foundation of skills.  We want to develop our players on a solid base and go from there.   

 

“Therefore whoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rains descended and the floods came, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

– Matthew 7:24,25

 

Fundamentals win in the end - I believe that in the long run or over the course of a game/season, more times than not, the players who are more fundamentally sound will win.  When it comes down to the end and the pressure is on and players tighten up, the player who has been drilled in the fundamentals will flourish while the others will fold. 

 

“And everyone who heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:26, 27

 

We want our Spartan players to be the most disciplined and well trained TEAM on the AAU circuit. 

 

Every time we leave the gym, we want to say we became better that day.  Did we try ten times to do a ball handling drill at practice and still not perfect it?  Maybe so, but we are better for it because we are going to work at it until we can be perfect?  Did we play against a better team and lose by 20?  Maybe so, but we are better for it because we competed and we saw the level we must reach to be great?

 

Sound teaching of fundamental basketball skills to make the boys better players (we may not be as athletic as some of the best teams we will play, so we will have to play harder, smarter and be more fundamentally sound).  Our Spartan coaching staff considers themselves TEACHERS first and coaches second.  Many AAU teams put the best athletes on the court they can find to press and run up and down to try and outscore one another.  Our goal is to take a different approach - by developing the players we have through establishing a solid foundation in the basic skills of basketball- offensively, defensively, and with our mental approach.

2- Play Against the Best 

Expose the players and parents to the basketball talent in the state and nation.  I feel that many players believe they are destined for a college scholarship because they are the best player on their team/in their league/in their area.  That is, they live in their own little section of the world and do not realize how much talent is actually out there, competing against them.  This leads to a false sense of entitlement, laziness as it relates to preparation and practice, and the feeling that one does not need to get better.  One of the goals we have in our Spartan program is to expose ourselves to and play against the most talented players and teams in the immediate Triad area (local tournaments), the state of North Carolina (state tournaments), the Southeast (regional tournaments), and the entire United States (national tournaments).  Through this exposure we hope to motivate the players in our program to get better every day.  We want you to know what is out there and what you must do to be the best.

 

Knowing the type of competition we will be facing, we keep our third principle in mind-

3- Learn how to win and lose with class- Appreciate the process

Winning Early and Winning Late - People in the Spartan Program want to win, just like every other program out there. However, we try and not compromise our standards just to win. That is, we are not going to go out and try to get the best possible athletes we can get from anywhere, then put them all on the court at one time and see what happens.  If you come into our program, understand that we are trying to teach the right way to play first. We are teaching how to win games, but also how to act when you lose games.

 

It is not that we don't want to win, it is simply the fact of going through the experience of learning to win, learning to lose, and learning to play.  At this point, we do not want to place TOO MUCH emphasis is on just the wins and losses.  We are most concerned with developing better basketball players and improving each practice, game, tournament, and season.  We may not win right away, but we want to learn right away.  We believe there is a lot to be said for going through the process of preparation, competition, and the way in which you deal with the results.


We want our Spartan parents and players to stay around and stick it out through the rough time, until we start seeing the rewards of going through the learning process.  We hope that if we do lose early, we will get better and in the long run, when our players go into their high school careers, they are better players and they are more prepared for the level of competition they will face once they arrive.  We want our Spartan players to use this AAU experience to strengthen themselves physically and mentally for their high school basketball experience.

 

Sure there is an exception here and there, but for the most part, that is the case with our team. This thought is to help all of our new parents and players each season, as they try and decide what to do with their kids throughout their AAU Careers- Teach early, get better, win late.

 

A Closing Quote….Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Decide to construct yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct character through excellent activities and determine how to pay the price of a working goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast and one day you will build something that endures; something worthy of your potential. - Epictetus, Roman Teacher & Philosopher; 55-135 AD.