Basketball’s 4 Winning Principles

by Coach Petty






In describing how I want our teams to play the game of basketball, the four foundations of Playing Hard, Playing Smart, Playing Together, and Playing with Pride are essential and also a simple formula for success.

What We Can Control

In the arena of competition, the only two variables we truly have control over are (1) our effort and (2) what we think.  Therefore our first two foundations address these areas:  Play Hard and Play Smart.

Five As One

Basketball is a team sport where the five players on the floor must play as one cohesive unit.  Unselfishness is vital.  Communication is a must.  Play Together.

Something Bigger Than Yourself

As a member of a team, a player comes to an understanding that he represents something bigger than himself.  For this reason, I want our players to compete with a tremendous amount of pride in the name written on the front of their jerseys.  I want our players to compete with an enormous pride in their team, their program, their school, and their community.  Play with Pride.

As a staff and as a team we must begin early to define what each of these components is.  The following page is a list compiled prior to the 2014-2015 season by our players when asked to define each of the four foundations.  I feel that having each group come up with its own list is important because it creates a sense of understanding, as well as a sense of ownership.  It also forces the players to think critically about each aspect of the game.

“Playing Hard is…”
  • Diving for a loose ball
  • Playing through mistakes (don’t give up)
  • Working hard in the weight room
  • Improving everyday
  • Sprinting the floor every play
  • Staying in a defensive stance throughout an entire possession
  • Taking a charge
  • Moving quickly from drill to drill in practice
  • Rebounding—going to the boards every time.
“Playing Smart is…”
  • Eliminating small mistakes
  • Following Rules of the Day (example: Don’t dribble a loose ball…”
  • Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of teammates, yourself, and opponents
  • Knowing your plays
  • Being courteous to officials
  • No trash talking or disrespect of any kind towards an opponent
  • Concentrating
  • Playing with poise
“Playing Together is…”
  • Talking (Communication)
  • Calling a screen
  • Being at every practice
  • Positive encouragement to teammates
  • Holding teammates accountable for their play, for their actions, for their grades
  • Picking up your teammates after a loose ball or a charge
  • Sharing the ball
  • Making the extra pass to get an even better shot
“Playing with Pride is…”
  • Being a positive representative for your school
  • Believing in the system/coaches/teammates
  • How we conduct ourselves
  • Making good grades
  • Playing for your teammates, not for the crowd
  • Respect for yourself, your team, your opponent
  • Winning with class, losing with honor


–Coach Petty and the Coaching Staff