Sacred Hoops

I read Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops, and mostly liked the more biographical stuff. His tales of the early days (in a Pentecostal family in North Dakota) reminded me of my father and grandfather, devoted Christians growing up in the midwest and geeking about about basketball and eventually other spiritual traditions. One nice treat of reading books like this – recent history when there are always cameras rolling – is the ability to check YouTube for the highlights.

Understanding a fan’s relationship with management in sports – Grantland

You hit 30, 35, 40, and the life of a professional athlete seems more and more remote. It’s one of a million pasts that never happened rather than a future you can dream about. And the experience of the coach is simply much more accessible to almost every grown-up fan than the experience of any high-level player. And not just because so many fans go on to coach their kid’s T-ball team or whatever; think of it as a lifestyle question. The coach doesn’t have to be able to score from an overhead kick or throw a football 80 yards; he has to run meetings, make plans, juggle lists, and justify himself, same as anybody. He does paperwork. Maybe hops on the treadmill when he can. He’s still connected to the magic of sports, but with him it takes the form of inspired halftime speeches and brilliant late-game stratagems — basically work e-mail lifted to a spiritual plane. More than anything, he has to watch a ton of games: obsess about what’s not working, get mad at players who screw up, praise players who do well.

Understanding a fan’s relationship with management in sports – Grantland

All you had to do was look at each of your players and ask yourself: What story does this guy wish someone would tell him about himself? And then you told the guy that story. You told it with a hint of doom. You included his flaws. You emphasized the obstacles that could prevent him from succeeding. That was what made the story epic: the player, the hero, had to suffer mightily en route to his final triumph. Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering. Most people couldn’t do this alone; they needed a coach. A good coach made you suffer in a way that suited you.

Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding (via Austin Kleon)

The Joy of Stats – Tablet Magazine

Where before we silently cursed the dumb coach in our living room while remaining unsure whether we were pissed because we were right or because we had had four beers, today we take to the Internet and find thousands of people who also think we are right, and some more who have done the math that demonstrates that we are right, and therefore we know.

The Joy of Stats – Tablet Magazine

The purpose is to give yourself an opportunity to get your best performance. It’s not about winning. There’s a difference. You want your best performance. You want your teammates’ best performance. And if you provide your best performance chances are you will win. But in order to have your best performance, you have to be relaxed.

LA Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons on using meditation before games. The Lakers’ mental preparation for Game 7 – TrueHoop Blog – ESPN.