Monday, September 24, 2012

The Countdown

A week from tomorrow begins the official first practice of the 2012-13 Season, and it has come fast! A few years ago the Women's Basketball Coaches Association pushed through legislation for women's basketball to start 40 days out of our first contest. Our reasoning was to transition our teams into the preseason with somewhat of a buildup after having roughly 8 hours a week of fall training. We are now allowed to have 30 practices during that window which gives coaches great flexibility on which days to take off. If you ask our players, they would say that change was awesome as semester schools have already had more than their share of preseason conditioning. Now we are a week out from our first official practice so I thought I would give a wrap up of our fall training. 1) Mental Training-If you have been following my blog you have seen we have targeted the Four C's as a point of emphasis in becoming a tougher team both mentally and physically. Now we will work on applying these concepts until they become habit. 2) Strength Training-As I'm sure you know, the game has gotten a lot more physical in recent years. One of our points of emphasis has to be for our squad to be a more PHYSICAL team. The weight room builds strength, expolosiveness, speed, quickness, and most importantly focuses on injury prevention to keep us on the court. 3) Speed & Agility-Our team would tell you that 11 seconds and 32 seconds enters their dreams (or nightmares!) because they have had plenty of Up Back sprints and "Champion" sprints to make. If you don't know what a Champion is it's a better term for "Suicide" sprint as we want to think of it as making us a Champion. Our strength coach has pushed them to their limits and it will pay off when we get to our high octane transition game this season. 4) Dictating Defense-Coach Starr ran our fall individual practice sessions and made a major point of emphasis on being a more aggressive and physical defensive team than last year. We may see double digit foul trouble in our first few games but the eventual payoffs will be transitioning off of the steals we get. 5) FOUL LINE, FOUL LINE-Yes, we want to and will be getting there this year. Last season we lit it up from 3 which I have no problem with but our mentality will be to get to the rack, first. Our fall emphasis has been our moves at the basket, whether off the dribble or the catch. So if you are in Bozeman on October 7th, enjoy the sunrise and come watch the Bobcats at 7AM. Yes, we start the day the right way... in the GYM, and will be working toward an exciting 2012-13 Season. This team is FAST & PHYSICAL, has depth and experience, so it's time to get the Fieldhouse rockin! Coach Bin

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Composure & Concentration

To wrap up the keys to mental toughness our team reviewed the importance of composure & concentration & how to maintain them in the face of adversity, the unexpected, or pressure situations. Our team came up with many scenarios where composure & or concentration may be challenged; whether it's an end of game situation, an official's call, fatigue, sickness, or an opponent's influence. We discussed steps that would help us maintain focus on the task of performance rather than letting our emotions negatively drift our minds elsewhere. We can establish consistent routines of preparation, practice unexpected situations ahead of time, & visualize ourselves in these situations with the response we want to have. Concentration can also be improved by focusing on eye contact, staying mentally in the present, & focusing on the details that improve our performance rather than the "what ifs." I want my playrs to own their emotions & use them to their advantage. Whether we get angry about something, nervous about the moment, if we can properly channel them, caring actually can heighten our level of play. Many people make the mistake of thinking these emotions are "wrong" and we should cover them up. Our team is going grasp them, enjoy the opportunity, and leave the worries that are out of our control behind. Mental Toughness is a skill, strength, and an asset that can be helpful both on the court and in life. Our team has learned that "toughness is not usually seen in the actions of a person, rather than in the reaction of that person." Ralph Jean-Paul Coach Bin

Friday, September 14, 2012

HOF Inductee Jessica Blake Carlson

Following a dismal 1999-2000 campaign, then-head coach Frank McCarthy knew that the key to any future Bobcat women’s basketball success, especially in Big Sky Conference play, lay with the post position. And, fortunately for the Bobcats, McCarthy found the answer to his quandary just three hours southwest of Bozeman in Rexburg, Idaho. When Jessica Blake arrived at Montana State following two seasons at Ricks College, she made an immediate impact on the MSU campus, both on the court and in the classroom. On the court, she quickly established herself as one of the most dominant posts in the Big Sky Conference, earning all-conference honorable mention accolades and all-academic honors in her first time through the Big Sky ranks. Combined with backcourt sensation Rebecca Alvidrez, the duo produced the fourth-best turnaround in the nation at the NCAA Division I level. The table was set for a memorable and remarkable 2001-02 campaign. Paced by Blake in the middle and Alvidrez at the point, the Bobcats notched an 18-11 overall mark and an 11-3 league slate, which gave the team a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season title. The season was highlighted by two victories over Montana in a seven-day span, the latter in the semifinals of the Big Sky tournament. Although MSU eventually lost a heartbreaking 53-47 decision to Weber State in the championship game, the season's most important and lasting achievement was the resurrection of a once-proud Bobcat women’s basketball program. For her efforts, Blake was named the 2002 Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player and was a unanimous first-team All-Big Sky pick. She still tops the Bobcats' all-time shooting chart, hitting at a .546 clip from the field. “Jessica had, arguably, the best set of hands to ever play at MSU and maybe in Big Sky Conference play as well,” said MSU Sports Information Director Tom Schulz. “When Jessica caught the ball on the blocks it was money. There wasn’t a prettier sight then an Alvidrez-to-Blake conversion for two points.” And while Blake enjoyed an outstanding basketball career at MSU her work in the classroom may have proven even better than her work on the court. The Shelley, Idaho, native was a two-time Big Sky All-Academic choice, earning Second Team CoSIDA District VII Academic All-America honors as a senior. She became only the second Bobcat ever to earn an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship, and was also named the NCAA Woman of the Year for the state of Montana after her senior season. Years at Montana State 2000-02 Hometown Shelley, Idaho Honors 2002 Big Sky MVP, 2002 First Team All-Big Sky, NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship, NCAA/Montana Woman of Year, No. 1 Career FG Pctg.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Commitment is defined as the dedication to the tasks of preparation to succeed. Our team highlighted a few of these tasks: Nutrition, Strength Training, Conditioning, Sleep,and Skill Work. The first question our team addressed is why do we commit? Most of us commit to things that we have a passion about or maybe good at. I believe the great athletes separate themselves from the good ones because they commit themselves to the tasks that are more challenging for them because they understand it's value in their higher success. Take for example sleep. Our goal for our student athletes is to get around 9 hours of sleep a night. However, we have 7AM practices which means most of our athletes are at the gym by 6:15AM. In order to get 9 hours of sleep our athletes would have to be in bed by 9:00PM. Does that sound realistic for a college student? The great athletes would say yes because they can manage their time and get their studies done early and will be willing to make some sacrifices on social activities. It certainly isn't easy and not everyone will be convinced of its significance to greater performance. Other factors may also prevent us from committing; fear of failing at the task, we aren't confident in that area, it doesn't come as easy for us, we don't know how, or we just don't think the task is that important to our overall success. The number one reason why we don't commit is that it is just flat out HARD. Here is what my team is working on and what WE are going to do to overcome these challenges. 1) We are getting educated in the vaule of the tasks that improve our overall performance. If we don't believe it has any affect then why would we commit to it. 2) We are going to face our fears. Get them out on the table, be upfront about it, and attack it head on. 3) We are going to continue to rechannel our mentality to becoming more confident & envision what we can and will become by committing to these things 4) We are going to train our athletes on how to eat better, how to time manage, and produce the drills that will enhance their abilities. 5) We are going to constantly put them in hard situations, reflect on what they have overcome, dust them off when they fall down, and hold a hand out for them to get up themselves with the reminder that we are on their side. See, our team isn't like any other team. We will separate ourselves not because we will be comparing ourselves to anyone else but because we will find our greatest motivation & satisfaction in the things that are hard. Coach Bin

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Follow up to last Friday of Mental Training Session 1: Our team had great discussion on what is and isn't mental toughness. To start we had to understand how critical mental toughness is to performance. It is absolutely essential to an athlete fulfilling her potential and her ability to capitalize on opportunities. We covered the first C of mental toughness, CONFIDENCE (as described by Spencer from the company Icebox). Our definition of confidence is "Having a consistent belief in your ability to achieve your goals in the face of adversity." As we know, some athletes don't need a lot of help in this area, and many even need to come down a notch. However, you may be surprised how much doubt does go through athletes' minds. The key here is to acknowledge that doubt is normal, but how do we retrain our mind to remove that thought and replace it with a performance enhancer? First we identify the triggers that hinder our confidence. Some of the triggers our team came up with were mistakes, criticism, comparison, or a previous experience. We then tense up, focus on that rather than the task at hand. Once we recognize the trigger we can then change the negative chatter in our mind into a positive self-talk. Our sports psychologist Pat Donahoe was facilitating awesome discussion on how we need to rephrase these thoughts in our heads without using absolutes. The third piece of this discussion is transitioning quickly so we can stay focused on the task or goal. For some of our athletes there is no rephrasing, it's letting go and moving on. As in any part of the game, the real work comes now as they practice these tools to make them a habit. Much more to come as tomorrow we cover commitment. Stay tuned! Coach Bin