I was recently able to participate on a Zoom call with Jeff Duncan-Andrade, a former basketball coach and now professor at San Francisco State University. Jeff has written multiple books and has a unique approach education. Below are my notes from his Zoom discussion.


  • Biggest mistake coaches and teachers make – “they don’t clearly define their purpose.” If you can’t clearly define your purpose so that everyone understands it, you are going to get off-course when things get hard.
  • The onion really gets peeled back on people when things get hard – when you are supposed to win by 20 and you are down 4 with 3 minutes to go.
  • Purpose is philosophical – it grows, it gets deeper.
  • When you watch film, do you watch yourself? Or do you just watch your team? Because very often your team is just a reflection of yourself as a coach.
  • Spent a day with John Wooden – the most important time I’ve ever spent as a teacher and a coach. He really helped me define my purpose, my philosophy, what I believe in.
  • Coach Wooden’s doorstop is Shaq’s shoe filled with pennies.
  • “You can be good at a lot of things, but you can only be great at a few.” – Advice he got from John Wooden – “that changed me as a coach. I had to let stuff go.”
  • That helped me get the foundation right. I cut out the noise. I became a minimalist.
  • Practice = Action + Practice – that’s how you grow.
  • Critical practice – Becoming increasingly aware of participation and involvement of all forms of inequality.
  • 3 things we wanted for our young people in English class – love reading, love writing, and think for themselves in a way that was critical – to allow them to use their reading and writing to make an impact.
  • Coaches can be really deliberate and explicit about how their teams can crossover skills to social inequalities.
  • As coaches and teachers we don’t have to have the answers, we have to have the questions.
  • Turn statements into questions. Don’t make statements, they kill dialogue. Develop a spirit of genuine inquiry and explore to solve problems.
  • Your ability to understand your players interests relates directly to your ability to drive them and push them.
  • When they have a negative influence in their personal lives – ask questions – what does that person want for you?
  • Do not screw up that relationship for them as a coach – that person wants what’s best for them. Do not question the way they care about you.
  • The best coaches are gophers – they get what people want and need.
  • The mindset of young people is the direct reflection of the mindset of the adults around them.
  • Conflict does not concern me.
  • Every year you have a new team – you have to constantly stay in learning mode, and humble enough to realize you don’t know it all.
  • Very often your expectations and their expectations are misaligned. Write them out, get connected on them.
  • The best way to learn something is to teach it. One big mistake we make is we have study hall in silence – study hall should be interactive and collaborative – it should mirror your practice.
  • Wealthy kids tend to study in groups – first generation kids study by themselves.
  • Create a rich, vibrant learning environment in practice.
  • He had a rule with his team – you can ask me to take you to a book store and I’ll buy you a book any time you want.
  • If you care more about what they did in the box score than what book they are reading, they are going to figure out pretty quickly what you think of them.
  • “We measure what we treasure” – Angela Duckworth
  • “Part of our responsibility as coaches is to create an environment for self-love – and that doesn’t come from getting twenty.”
  • “Everyone is biased. Get over it. The people that weren’t biased, between the giraffe and lion, are dead.”
  • “I started speaking my truth, when being free became more important than guarding the fear of my ego.” – Yung Pueblo, Inward

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *