The founder of PGC Basketball, Dick was a highly decorated high school and college player who was regarded as the prototypical “coach on the court.” He was named as the best high-school point guard in America by Parade Magazine and went on to earn Academic All-American and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) all-star honors at Duke. Later, he played and coached professionally in Europe and South America.
An English major and lover of literature, Dick authored five books during his lifetime—including STUFF! Good Players Should Know, praised as “the ultimate guide to playing the game the right way” by Larry Brown, the only coach ever to win both NCAA and NBA championships. Devenzio was considered by many to be a basketball genius, and Dick’s books continue to influence basketball lovers all over the world and have been translated into several foreign languages.
During college, Devenzio began running his own summer basketball camps, and he continued to offer sessions every summer until his sudden death in 2001 at just 52 years of age. The program he was most proud of, however, was the nationally acclaimed Point Guard Basketball College, the predecessor of PGC Basketball. Although Dick’s ingenuity, humor, and creativity are missed, his principles, ideas and teaching remain at the core of PGC's programs.
Confidence is what comes along after you have trained diligently and learned to perform flawlessly. A lot of people seem to think you can get confidence through some gimmick or mental technique. Your confidence level mirrors your skill level, and that’s as it should be. There’s nothing much more foolish than the confident chatter of a mediocre performer going into battle against a champion.
When your harmless superstitions and rituals get you to the point that you are trying to have a bad day in practice (so you will play well in the game the next day) or trying to miss in warm-ups (so your game shooting will be on), you must realize that you have gotten carried away in your thinking. You have become not merely a bit superstitious, but allowed something other than your preparation, give you confidence. A mind does seem to have the tendency to bring about the things it believes in; therefore, you need to realize that you are causing your own poor performances by a faulty way of thinking.
When athletes say “It’s just not fun anymore” they mean that they are failing, either individually or as a team (or both), to produce results commensurate with their training efforts. To have fun in sports, your training and your efforts and your diligence and your striving must show up in the performance of the skills for which you trained. If your performance does not reflect your training, don’t expect any fun.
You will probably never again be in a position to delight and honor your special friends and family the way you can as an athlete or performer. The phenomenon of acknowledgment is so strange it’s almost funny. Let me give just one example.
THINK THE GAME
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To this day, when I hear TV commentators discuss at halftime the “adjustments’’ some coach is making in the locker room, it makes me laugh. Sure, every once in awhile there is some strategy or different technique that can be employed, but what mostly happens is a coach gets in your face and reminds you what sports are all about. It comes down a lot more to doin’ things than to talkin’ about ‘em.
Every coach is concerned with how coachable an athlete is. How concerned should a player be with a coach’s coach-ability? I think it ought to be crucial to you, even if from a purely selfish standpoint. If you happen to love your coach, love listening to his pep talks and philosophies, and want to do everything your coach says in the best possible way, you are lucky and will probably be able to listen attentively and flatteringly and do your best effortlessly. But what if you don’t like your coach?
End-of-game nervousness doesn’t seem to cause more bad plays than occur any other time in the game, it simply gets more attention. In other words, don’t beat yourself up or consider yourself a choker just because you happen to lose a lead sometime.
For all the complaining that players are apt to do about not getting the ball enough, one of the biggest faults of most players is their failure to come to the ball against pressure. “Hiding” is more relaxing, and that is what players tend to do. They get 25-40 feet from the ball, and they stand there waiting for it to be thrown. Sometimes, they even wave their arms and frown, but whether they know it or not, they are hiding.