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March 21: Standards vs Rules

The first time I really heard the discussion of Standards vs Rules was when I read Coach K’s book documenting his USA Basketball experience, The Gold Standard. Upon reading his book the high school program I coach immediately established player-defined standards.

I think that it is vital for any great program to have a set of Standards. Many teams establish “rules”. However, rules by definition regulate what is and what isn’t allowed in a set of circumstances; much of which are broken. For example, in the game of basketball you must dribble when you move with the ball, it’s a rule. Yet that rule is broken every game.

Standards are a foundation that are far superior to rules,  they define morally correct and acceptable behavior. Standards are guidelines to live by and hold each other accountable for.Below is are 11 Standards of Excellence as defined by the Boston Celtics.

  1. PROFESSIONALISM: We will commit to always conducting ourselves in a 1st class manner on and off the court every day of the year; this is a 24 hour-7 days/week commitment; we understand there is a difference between being in the pros and being a professional!
  2. NO PERSONAL AGENDAS: We will commit to one agenda and one agenda only; that agenda will be doing whatever we are called on to do in order to help this team win a championship; our personal gains or situations will never come into play.
  3. PROFESSIONAL & RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION: We will commit to listening to the “what” and not the “how”; but will always be aware of how we are sending the message; let it be teammate to teammate and delivered with respect!
  4. THINK OF THE NOW ONLY: We will commit to making sure everything we do is for the betterment of THIS TEAM-THIS YEAR; our personal situations will take a back seat to the team commitment!
  5. ONE WAY: We will commit to teaching the system that we have; trusting the coaching and holding yourself accountable to do things the CELTIC WAY!
  6. EFFICIENT TEAM: We will commit to executing our system with simplicity to ensure that we are productive and efficient in everything we do!
  7. TEAM OF EXECUTION: We will commit to learning our system; understanding our system; and paying attention to the details of our system; understanding that when two equal teams meet – the team that executes better usually wins!
  8. NEVER HAVE A BAD PRACTICE: We will commit to giving our best effort every day we hit the practice floor; at times understanding that we will have to pick our teammate up when needed!
  9. RESPONSIBILITYWe commit to holding ourselves personally responsible and accountable for our actions; our efforts; and fulfilling the roles that we have been assigned; everyone will take responsibility for their role on our success.
  10. TRUST: We will commit to this on a 24 hour/day basis; trusting each other in everything we do on and off the court; from talking on defense; to trusting that guys are getting their rest and taking care of their bodies; to trusting that everyone is representing each other in a first class manner at all times!
  11. NO EXCUSES: We either get it done or we don’t; either way we move on and make sure the next possession; the next quarter; the next game is up to CELTIC STANDARD!



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about rick torbett

Rick Torbett has taught thousands of coaches to win more games through his innovative approach to the game. He has created powerful training for coaches at any level so they can coach their best and win more games.

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Read & React 5-Player Coordination Drills

Enter your email address to get an inside look at teaching the Read & React Offense with the drills in this free video.