Tony DeMeo

Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson along with the former Boston Celtic Coach Red Auerbach is arguably the two finest NBA coaches that ever coached professional basketball. Jackson created a dynasty with the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and duplicated the feat with The Los Angeles Lakers led by Kobe and Shaq. Coaching in the NBA is about dealing with tremendous egos and personalities more than Xs and Os, and Jackson has made it an art form. His philosophy turned Michael Jordan into a team player by involving all his teammates in the triangle offense. Then he made it possible for Kobe and Shaq to co-exist and win. That ranks up with creating a peace treaty between Ali and Frazier.

Jackson wrote Sacred Hoops when he was coaching with the Bulls and had some of the biggest egos in the league to deal with on a daily basis. They had talent with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman but getting them to play together was the secret to winning a championship. This is what makes this book so valuable to all coaches. The ability to teach team play usually is the key ingredient in successful coaches.

There are three concepts that Jackson discusses that are extremely valuable to coaching a team.

The Soul of Teamwork: SHARE THE SPOTLIGHT
1. Good teams become great when “we” replaces “me”.
2. Compassion and selflessness are keys to winning.
3. Trying to hard leads to “the choke” – also trying to control outcome leads to “the choke”.
4. You must have purity of thought and focus ONLY on playing.
5. Teammate’s compassion for each other leads to excellence.
6. “Make a conscious commitment to excellence” Vince Lombardi

The Tao Of Leadership: SERVICE IS THE KEY
1. Always trust your gut.
2. Correct performance not the performer.
3. The sign of a great player is that he elevates the team.
4. Coaching takes place in the teaching during practice. The games manifest your teaching.
5. The Leaders vision must be held by all.
6. Repetition leads to intuition

The Way of the Warrior: DON’T HOLD BACK
1. Peace of mind leads to values which lead to positive thoughts which lead to positive action which lead to improved performance.
2. Anger leads to loss of focus.
3. Poise is the value of the warrior.
4. The biggest cause of team failure is the search for credit. “To get credit forget credit” Lao Tsu.
5. The Code of the Bulls – Play hard, play fair, PLAY NOW.

These are a few of the many concepts of building a team. Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops is not only a valuable resource from a great coach but it is also written in an entertaining style that makes for an enjoyable read. Whether or not you like Phil Jackson; there is no debate on his success molding winning teams. I strongly recommend Sacred Hoops to any and all coaches.