Language Revolution, Leadership and the Requirements of Being Elite



At the Idaho Showcase, we were fortunate to have College of Idaho Associate Head Coach Colby Blaine both coach and speak with our players. Coach Blaine was incredibly involved in every aspect of the showcase. This included a great talk that he gave to the guys on Day 2 addressing three important topics: LANGUAGE, LEADERSHIP and being ELITE. 

Below is a transcription of his talk. If you want to watch and listen to the talk, you can click here to check it out on our Facebook page. 

Coach Blaine's Talk

Coach Colby: As you guys can tell we are doing a little less teaching and a little bit more of playing. So we’re coming in here to evaluate you guys but we also want to give you a little bit of teaching stuff and hopefully you can take away some stuff.

It's great to learn different types of ways to play the game, your team might play different way. We specifically in practice will put actions and plays in that we want to be able to guard, that we will never run offensively as a team. We will put flex offense in. We will never run the flex offense as a program, but why do we put it in? Somebody tell me why we put it in our system, why?

PLAYER 1:   So, we can know how to defend it.

Coach Colby: So, we can know how to defend it. OK, I kind of gave that answer but yeah, we want to be able to guard it. You’ve got to able to guard cross streams and down streams, you’ve got to be able to bump and talk and communicate, alright. So, it’s good to learn ball screens There is 20 ways to guard ball screens, alright. So, you never know, you need to learn them all, this is because your team does it one way, you need the learn it all, alright. Our coach always says the best way to guard the ball screens is to change it all the time. Change how you guard the ball screens all the time.  So, throughout   the game we will guard the ball screens four or five different ways. Okay so your knowledge is important, Coaches what else what have you got for today?

Coach Heyer: The talk has got to be better guys, that is something that it just makes it more fun. It shows us how you care but there is a couple of guys doing it but overall, I like seeing guys talking, it makes me feel excited, it makes me feel you are excited. So, step out of your comfort zone a little bit, give it a try.

Coach Colby: Okay, great point. Coach Mann?

Coach Mann: So many of guys have heard me say this, I am a fan of a cheezy saying but it’s fun to have fun, alright. It’s a Friday you guys aren’t at school we are here to play basketball alright. Have one being, be excited for your teammate, show others how much fun it is to have fun. Pete Carroll had one of my favorite quotes when he took over Seattle Seahawks, in his first player’s meeting he told the players, “Tomorrow you show up for playoffs with enthusiasm and if you are not enthusiastic you better fake it until you figure it out and it’s true it’s so contagious, start high-fiving your teammates, try and get 100 high fives and but slaps in the next session and watch how much louder it gets in this gym. So as cheezy as it is guys, it’s fun to have fun so let’s have fun in this next session if you may alright.

Coach Colby: Good anything else?

Coach Andy: Yea, it’s just this is a showcase guys and you want to show well, you are going to need your teammates for it, so if you don’t know them you’ve got to know them before the drill. High five them, let them know who you are because if you work together you are going to win those drills, that’s the goal. So, if just bring it in this nest session.

Coach Colby: Okay, fantastic, if you guys have questions ask alright. I'm sure it went great upstairs. If you guys have mobility questions or strength questions asked coach Taylor, ask his crew ask these guys alright, ask all the coaches in here. We’ve been to great places and got to see a lot. So, make sure before you leave camp tomorrow that you're asking if you have something. Or email us.

I wanted to talk about a couple things real quick, it will be 5 minutes and we’ll get you out to lunch alright. And it’s funny because every time a speech comes up, every time an opportunity comes up to talk things change, my change my mind set changes. You know I'm really interested in talking about a certain concept on offense or defense or a certain type of mindset and it changes and changes and so I wanted to give you guys some ideas about where my mind has gone the last couple of weeks, what I'm pushing forward with our guys in our program and what I am going to push forward when I work with high school players throughout the whole year.

So, some things for you guys to think about alright, coach Heyer just said it, and coach Heyer has played at the highest level, alright.  Played at Boise State, played at I think he's played at NC state in Arizona and in the NCAA tournament alright. So, he's not just lying, communication is huge alright. You have got to be able to learn the language. Basketball is a language and you have to learn it. If you can’t speak it you will you will get left behind. Just like going to a math class and not an understanding how to speak math or history or a foreign country, alright. You got to learn terminology so when you're hearing it in drills, when you’re hearing in practice you got to speak it, you got to use it.

There is a great book out right now called Legacy, it’s about the rugby team in New Zealand, the All Blacks, fantastic book about leadership and it talks about that revolutions are created by language.

Revolutions are created by language.

So think about that. Maybe your team had a mediocre year last and you want to take that next step into the elite. Maybe it's just a little bit of your language is the language you use. For us I'm going to ask them and put them on the spot, coach mike, coach Andy tell me one defensive of word that when used to create cultural program.

Coach Mike: Sticky

Coach Colby: Boom, sticky, coach Mike already knows it. We use the word sticky in our program and our guys get absolutely juice for it. That’s language and its created a revolution for us. We are ranked number 2 in the country in defense a one point last year because our guys are buying into it, they know what sticky means, it means charging, it means diving for loose balls, it means guarding the actions the way we taught it, it means being tough and rebounding, that's what sticky means it’s created a revolution in our program alright. So, you guys got to be able to learn how to speak. Not just basketball but our language of English to or Spanish or French or whatever it is whatever community you're in alright.

Something for you to think about.


Here's a big concept that's been popping up for me a lot, taking new guys and putting them in new leadership roles that they did not ask to be in. You seniors didn't necessarily ask to be leaders but guess what? You are because you're a senior, like it or not you have to be a leader, alright and you're going to go through those changes throughout your life and I hear this all the time recently from a lot of people that work with. You are asking them to be a leader but what is leadership mean. Everybody things leadership means screaming and yelling. There so many different types of leadership alright.

So, one you got to learn different types of leadership. Two, you got to be willing to take responsibility.

Here is what I hear all the time. I am asking a guy hey you got to talk, hey you got to bring it to practice, hey you got to give out more high fives as a leader and you know what they tell me all the time? Coach that's not me, that's not me, that's not who I am, so, it's really hard, I don't feel comfortable doing that. Well, guess what, we're talking about being special or were talking about just being who you are. Special has some requirements. Being elite has some requirements. Being a champion has requirements and you got to find that middle ground and you got a shift over and start learning what it takes to be special, not what it takes to be you, get out of your comfort zone and stop saying all the time that's just not me I'm just not a vocal guy. Well I am not asking you to yell and scream I'm asking you just to learn how to communicate a little bit better maybe I am just asking you to bring in little bit more to practice, alright.

I always tell our guys this, our great is up here and for a lot of guys your bad is down here. If we can get our bad to here and let our great shine through that will be great, I mean that's going to be fantastic alright. We just want to get rid of this really bad. As you get older and life you'll learn how to get this part 2 here. Your great is always going to be fantastic that's why you guys are good players, it's always up here but we going to get this down here from being noticeable to unnoticeable. You are not going to have a great day everyday but should go to be able to special is over here, being yourself is over here.

If you say you want to be special then you got to come over here and meet the requirements. Hopefully that makes sense.

Another thing I heard, we just had a coaches clinic last week and we had Randy Rahe, the head coach of Weber State, won a bunch of big sky conference championship tournaments he has been to the NCAA tournament, coached Damian Lillard all of those guys. He said a fantastic thing the other day, he said if you can’t bring it every day, if you can’t bring the juice, bring the energy, bring the effort every single day you are not a winner, simple as that that’s all he said. You got to bring it every day you can just come once or twice a week and think you're special. You got to bring it every single day, so you got to bring it to the next session and then you got to bring it to our last session with energy and effort. You may not know your teammates names, you may not know exactly what to do  offensively or defensively, that does not mean that you cannot play as hard as you possibly can get excited for your teammates. You got to bring it every day. He said if you can’t bring it every day you are not a winner, you are not a winner, that's Randy Rahe saying it. That was not me. That meant alot to me, that that made sense to me.

Here is the last thing I want to tell you guys about and I’ve mentioned this before. You got to start figuring out who is helping you in life, who is helping you, alright and what impact are you making on everybody. Today you might think that you're playing in front of College of Idaho, you might think that you're playing in front of Treasure Valley community college coach Zimm, you might think that you are playing in front of NNU but you are not, I promise you you’re not guess who you playing in front of today, anybody know when you're playing run up?

PLAYER 2: Teammates.

Coach Colby: Teammates, maybe. Here is who you playing in front of: Colby Blaine, Rob Heyer, Chad Man, Michael Johnson and Andy Harrington, Coach Zimmerman, all of our Off the Field guys. As individuals you're playing in front of people, you're playing in front of Paul Rush. You are not playing for programs today. I, now, as an individual, get to make a decision on how I represent you in the world.

Somebody might call me and say, “hey so and so was at that showcase what do you think of him?” and I'm going to have a choice to say here's what I thought, Was he good? Was he not as great? Did he bring it? Here is what he does, as well as he struggles with. As an individual I get to make that choice, what I'm going to say.

Every day you are making an impact on those who are going to help you.

So, when you go through that lunch line and you get mad because they made egg salad sandwich you don't like, alright and they are letting you let them know about it, you never know how that’s going to come back, you’ll never know, alright. You'll never know how any of these off the field guys are going to be able to help you. And you said, you actually mentioned your team that you’re is playing in front of teammates right, is that what you said? You never know how this group is going to come back to help you. Andy Harrington, right here was our ball boy, when I was in ninth grade I played for his dad and he was our ball boy and he was in fourth grade and he balled his eyes out when we lost the city championships alright, but I got to know Andy back in school and now all of a sudden, an opportunity has opened up where we had a spot to fill and the first phone call is to Andy Harrington. You never know who's going to be able to help you.

So, lessons are bring it every day, be great to everybody, alright, because they are representing you as an individual not as a program, you’re not playing in front of college Idaho today I promise you, alright. I hope that make sense to you, keep being good to people. Great job today.

About Coach Blaine

Coach Blaine enters his fourth season with the College of Idaho Men's Basketball program following five years as an Assistant Coach at the College of Southern Idaho. The Yotes' Associate Head Coach has helped lead College of Idaho to three straight conference post season tournaments, including two trips to the NAIA National Tournament. You can follow Coach Blaine on Twitter at @Colby_Blaine or learn more about him on the College of Idaho website by clicking here