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Ganon Baker Thoughts


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grindAll great players and coaches GRIND: GRIND stands for: G-reatness R-esides I-n N-onstop D-etermination. Cody Toppert, our Post-Grad Coach at the Academy is constantly talking about “Grind Guys” and getting your grind on!   It’s the 2014-2015 word for HARD WORK! GRIND is the ability to do it every day, every year, every decade, and the honest truth is, not very many people can grind it out, day in and day out, year in and year out, DECADE IN AND DECADE OUT! I also wanted to give coaches and trainers something to think about.   To build the complete player, you have to get your client to transfer his individual talent to make the team better!  Take your 1 on 1 skills and then “gel” with 4 others.   Many coaches/trainers cannot do this, they teach so many drills, that they lose sight of the skills.  They then get a grasp on the skill but don’t help the player transfer “his game” to his “team game.”  PLEASE DON’T LET THAT BE YOU! So think about this:

Ways to not just be good, but be GREAT!!

1.  Don’t just play as hard as a human, play with superman toughness:

  • You can have the most talented team in the world, you can have the most intelligent team in the world, but if your team doesn’t play TOUGH they will be successful over the course of time but you will never WIN a championship!!
  • You must, before all else, establish and demand that your players play tough.  It must be your identity.  Jay Bilas has a great checklist on toughness. http://www.mdbball.com/Documents/ToughnessbyJayBilas.pdf

 2.  Produce

  • You have to teach your players to be smart, make efficient, and productive plays.
  • After establishing that your team plays hard/tough, you must then teach your players how to play smart. They must have a high “basketball I.Q.”  Your players must learn and buy into the system that you teach and they must learn technique.
  • As a coach YOU HAVE TO HAVE POSITIVE INTERVENTION, you have to correct them and/or coach them on the fly!  Do you have Polaroid eyes, do you see the mistakes and instruct the change? Your players must learn to be students of the game.  We stress the importance of player notebooks and taking notes, EVERY WORKOUT, DO YOU?

3.  Play Together:

  • Finally, after teaching your players to play hard/tough and smart/produce, your players must then learn how to play together.  Your team will have a very difficult time if there isn’t unity among the troops.
  • Do you ever incorporate 3 on 0 workouts and teach 3 man game, “triangle concepts?”  What I mean by that is, in a basketball offensive or defensive action, it happens in 3 and a triangle. So teach 3 on 0 basketball memorization drills. Then get 3 on 3 work in. Give them a set, 3 dribble limit. 4-6 dribble limit off Balls screen and teach your tail off.  This will help the game

4. Final Thought:


Keep getting after it!

Ganon’s Take on Kevin Durant’s MVP Acceptance Speech

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Kevin Durant 2013

Just had a great trip to Japan. I know it might seem like a “pipe dream” for some of people, but IF YOU EVER GET A CHANCE TO VISIT ANY COUNTRY, MAKE IT JAPAN!  Now one of my favorite places to visit. The culture is so loving and kind. Cities are clean, people are so selfless and respectful. Food is amazing, and they LOVE AND ARE ADDICTED TO BASKETBALL!  What a great trip.

Please take the time to watch Kevin Durant’s MVP Acceptance Speech.  You can learn a lot from an Elite player.  He was humble, he thanked his teammates (EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM) specifically, and he was honest, passionate, and transparent.  During a season you go through ups/downs.  Things don’t always plan out the way you want as a leader and as team. He touched on that and I could really relate.

He talked about God’s guidance and being a Christian.  He acknowledged how sometimes he messed up. He said and did things he wish he had not. I respect that and can relate.  The church and the World will be the first to crucify you for not “keeping standards/rules.”  You make a mistake and they call/label you a liar, a hypocrite.  Props to KD for being real and recognizing that being a Christian does not make you perfect it just helps you become forgiven.  I have worked out with KD many times, and I know who he is, so I really respected his acceptance speech.

What an example he has set, as a guy who grew up with 3 brothers, one parent in the HOOD!  His dream was just to be a Rec Coach, but yet SO MANY PEOPLE BELIVED IN HIM TO BE SO MUCH MORE.  As a coach we know many kids right now that have a similar home environment like KD had growing up. We know young adults that are professed Christians that struggle every day to “fight the good fight” in an environment like professional athletics.  Unless you have walked in a “Pro’s shoes” you have no idea the temptations and battles those Christian athletes and coaches have to fight daily.  We as a Team can make a difference.  Please listen to his speech.  Learn from it, embrace it, and go out and change the World!!

Toughness in Teammates – “T Squared” – Ganon Baker

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Ganon and Lebron 2010

As a former high-school, D1 College, overseas professional player, college assistant coach, and currently a professional player development coach and business owner, I value toughness. I cherish the characteristic of being tough in body, mind, and spirit.  I think we all should embody this.

Jay Bilas, a colleague of mine at the Nike Skill Academies, wrote a best seller book on toughness, which I plan to read.  I have been asked to speak to numerous teams and players about toughness. I have made a life out of always seeking wisdom from those that preceded me.  Below are some of my thoughts that I have acquired on toughness this far in my lifespan.

To win another championship or to maximize your success you will have to have toughness with your teammates.  Teams may have more talent, and may be smarter, but they should NEVER be TOUGHER!  Toughness starts when you wake up in the morning.  It is the guy or gal that does not hit “Snooze.”  Snooze should be like a curse word, a filthy word in your vocabulary that you should never call upon.



Kobe’s DNA – Ganon Baker

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If you continually work hard, you will succeed!  I believe all of you have the talent to grow the game, inspire and make kids better, and prosper yourself!  If you are not doing these things now, then maybe read below and take some lessons from Kobe.

I did!

Below is an article from Sports Illustrated about Kobe Bryant.  I have listed some characteristics that I challenge you to ADOPT and make it apart of your DNA.  He is by far the most fascinating player I have ever been on the court with!  Ask yourself this question when you have finished the day and lay your head on the pillow, “Was that MY BEST?”

Kobe’s answer is always “”Hell Yes!!”



#1 – Unbreakable/Unshakable Faith in His Abilities.  His DNA can’t and will not be stripped. 


A)  HE WORKS DAILY! Some people work sometimes, Kobe works all the time every day! You see if you work, you will have success, this breeds confidence. If you don’t have success, right now, you have to keep working!

#2 – He is Authentically Different! He worries more about his passion more than being popular!

He has no posse’, no publicist, no groupies. He focuses on being the best at his craft he can be!  WHEN HE IS ON THE COURT HE DOES NOT WANT TO “COOL YOU” OR “BE COOL” HE WANTS TO KILL YOU!!  This is Uncommon in life.

Q) You want to make it in life and be successful?

A) Then don’t follow the norm.  Don’t try to be like everyone else.  Just achieve your goal or die trying.

#3 –  He is Human, he realizes he is not perfect.

He has self-doubt, insecurity, even the fear of failing.  Many nights his body hurts and he does not feel like “balling.”  You see two of the most common human emotions are fear and laziness. BUT, He does not succumb to it, he embraces the emotions, the adversity!  He faces it head on and knows if he can get through the “hard,” then success comes!

#4 – He Looks at Problems and Finds Solutions.  He does not complain, he competes.

Every Year Kobe adds another “Tool to his tool box.” Do you? Every year he continues to add value to his game.  Do you do this with your life?  If you continue to add value to your life, life can never beat you! You Win! Don’t get COMPLACENT GET COMPETITIVE!

Kobe Bryant and Ganon Baker#5 – FACT – He knows if you Keep pushing yourself, you will keep getting better!

At certain times in the game of basketball and in life, you are flat out going to get your butt whipped and your teeth kicked in.  It’s inevitable you will get hit in the mouth.  You then will realize, if it don’t kill you, it really was not that bad in the first place.  You get up and KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!


Some people are casual, Kobe is committed.  The Game simply means more to him than other players. The Game goes with him where ever he goes. This is a separator from average and good players:  from good players to great players.

Q) Do you really hurt when you lose or have weaknesses?
Q) Do you really have a burning desire to get better?
Q) Do you really embrace the feeling of winning?

A) Kobe does!!

#7 – He is not afraid to change his habits to get better.

He has changed his shot, his eating habits, how he motivates his teammates. He realizes mistakes are his greatest education.

#8 – He HATES TO SETTLE.  He is not a follower.  He wants what is BEST!

When he did not start early in his career, he came off the bench and was mad.  So every day in practice he tried to kick the starters’ rear ends! He went at them!

Q) How do you handle things when you don’t start? If you don’t play?
Q) At work or in school how do you handle when people don’t listen or respect your ideas or point of view?

A) Go right AT them! Kick their butt with wisdom, knowledge, ideas, and productivity!


#9 – He is open and honest with his teammates

He communicates to them even when it is hard.  If the leader communicates then that opens the door for everyone to.

Q) Do you communicate with your teammates/family/Coworkers even when it is hard?

#10 – He hates lazy people and teammates


#11 – He does not get bored!

Kobe had to rehab his heel and Achilles this summer.  He had to do the same thing over and over again.  He refused to let boredom and fatigue kill his game.  I am telling you, boredom will kill your career and life. I have seen way too many young people and players, turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, other addictions because they got bored and lost sight of their God given destiny.  DO NOT for 1 second think that you were not meant for greatness, YOU WERE MEANT FOR GREATNESS! ALL OF YOU HAVE A PURPOSE.  Do not get bored with the process. You are going to live a long Life.

Q) Do you want to be a leader not a follower?
Q) Do you want to be the “head” and not the tail”?
Q) Do you want to be a champion and not a chump?
Q) Do you want to be an entrepreneur and not an employee?
Q) Do you want your destiny to be in your own hands and not some systems hands?


This is valuable year for you. Kobe says sports is a great teacher.  If you give it all you got, DO YOUR BEST, IT WILL MAKE YOU A REAL MAN/WOMAN!  A SUCCESSFUL MAN/WOMAN!!

Document your journey.  Ask questions, pay attention, write in your basketball notebook.  You will be glad you did!

God Bless,

Ganon Baker




Grow the Game and Each Other

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Finally back from China. Great trip. I will head back there in March.

I had the chance to spend some time in thought on the flight over there (14hrs) and back (13hrs), and obviously you guys are always on my minds. Even though we don’t connect live in person or even daily, I feel close to all players and coaches connected to this great Game! Most of us are excited because this month is the beginning of our basketball seasons and journey’s. I know I have that feeling of exhilaration every day!! Most people unfortunately don’t feel excited, about the game or even their life. The only thing I can say is that I have favor! God has given me the gift of passion! Because I am a believer and been saved, I have HIS favor! That favor is with me through the good and bad times in my life.

I’m sure some of us are struggling right now. We all deal with pain in our families, programs or life. We all, as skill coaches, GRIND to either get our players to work harder at practice and be tougher or try to make some money at skill work to keep our business alive or BOTH. It’s hard running a skill business because most players don’t like work, and most parents don’t value sport education! They value sport Recreation! I’ll say that again, MOST PARENTS DON’T VALUE SPORT EDUCATION THEY VALUE SPORT RECREATION! So don’t be surprised that you have to grind hard to make a dollar or make a player :). My point in telling you these thoughts is that its medicine! Talking about issues and problems with such a great group is therapy for all of us. It brings us closer and makes us closer to the solutions. It relieves stress, gives us a common commitment to each other, and the life story’s we all tell each other are powerful! You never know whose life you are impacting. That’s another thing to think about:


So when things are not going as planned, just remember, it’s an honor to be a leader. One of life’s greatest privileges to be a leader to someone or everyone.

So basically this message is to motivate you to keep moving forward. If you’re struggling right now, get around a group of people, talk to those people, and share your life with those people because there is POWER in People. God will multiply your life quicker by people. He may not talk to you, but he is talking to someone else about you!

  • One moment can impact the month
  • One episode can impact eternity

I really believe those two statements!

  • One Week at 5 star Camp back in June 1989 I got NCAA Division One Scholarships
  • One Workout Nike saw me in Action
  • One meeting With Mike Alexander and 3 years later I have the GBB Nation, a team of over 40 coaches who share a common commitment to grow each other and the Game!
  • One Phone Call from Jorge (CEO of Elevate) changed my destiny of my business
  • In One conversation I met the woman of my life, my soul mate, my wife!
  • One summer in Austria and I met my Lord and Savior

People, Today could be that ONE!! All you need is ONE! When I write these letters to you guys, I pray I INSPIRE AND HELP ONE! God can put YOU IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!

At Elev8 we are making things happen! DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOU, YOUR FAVOR OR YOUR GIFTS!! We all have them! All of us! It’s just some people DREAM BUT STAY asleep! I say DREAM and then wake up and get out of bed!! You do that, and that’s the first step to Success!!

Below is a great article on Kobe! I used it in China week as well as, I gave it to my Team’s at Elevate! Man we got 3 teams’ now 33 players! BIG SHOUT OUT TO OUR STAFF!

Koby Work!


Keep Getting after IT! I want us to KEEP GROWING THE GAME AND EACH OTHER!


Ganon Baker’s Inspiring thoughts about Amazing Swimmer Diana Nyad

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Hello and I hope everyone has had a great summer. My fall season has started up, and I am looking forward to a great trip to Beijing, China in October.

As always we wanted to forward some basketball nuggets for you to enjoy. We also have some exciting news from my Academy. We are always looking to educate players and coaches, so come and train with us. Our Academy has a talented Post-Grad and HS Boys Team who are going to have an excellent season (www.elev8sportsinstitute.com). Please let us know if you have any players interested in our Academy.

I also wanted to pass on to you my thoughts of Diana Nyad. We can learn a lot from her! We can gain incredible values and inspiration from her story! Let’s think about it! Basketball is a team sport! It is lead by an individual coach! So I’m constantly trying to gain wisdom and strength from life so that MY TEAM is better! Our TEAM is our own players, family, friends, and other people in life! If we truly want to be a great coach we have to love people, especially ones in our own program!

Diana Nyad is a SIXTY FOUR YEARS OLD woman, who swam 110 miles, 53 hours, from Cuba to Key West, FL without a shark cage.

Diana Nyad Pic

-Passion and the fact that no one has ever done it before!
-It was a goal of hers and she wanted to reach her goal!
-She wanted to inspire the world! She wanted something more out of life!

What’s your Why? You have to constantly think about your why. Why do you coach, why do you want to be great at your business? It is the oxygen to your success. It is the energy and stamina you need to get through the “Hard.” It keeps you excited! If you are feeling stagnate, stale, lethargic, then next time meditate on your why, it will get you invigorated and back excited with energy!

Her Obstacles
– She went through jellyfish, sharks, heat exhaustion, dehydration, sleep deprivation, disorientation, hypothermia, sunburn, muscle cramps, many more. Her biggest obstacle was DOUBT! She failed 4 times before.

I know all of us experience it. All of us have these little things (like jellyfish) that get in the way of our goals, doing our best, or shining our light! People may doubt us and say doubtful things, and this hurts most of all. “Like a jellyfish sting” when people doubt and hate on us as coaches or aspiring business people, we get paralyzed and it stings. If we don’t fight through it, if we are not tough and persistent then we fail, we slow down, we get hurt!

Below is Diana’s Message and My Message:

– No matter what, there are no failures in life, only people who give up too soon! Don’t give up on a kid, don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on a family member. HOWEVER, make sure you have the passion, wisdom, and work ethic that is needed to succeed! If you do, “keep swimming.” If you want your program to grow and your business to grow, “keep swimming!” Too many people in this world are casual not committed!

– There are a lot of things people in this World have done! This World has some years behind it and some very driven people who have pursued their passion! However Diana has done something that no one else has done! Keep working. We will never be too old until we die.

We don’t get better sitting on our couches, looking at twitter, and saying it’s going to happen. So many people talk and tell you what they are going to do. I’d like to think my coaches and I make things happen. I dislike “tell me people” I love “show me people.” We all have to spend hours a day at our craft, making it happen!

– Diana had the best team assembled. She had some of the best shark experts, meteorologists, navigators, and nutritionist in the world to help her get to shore. I am sure you have a great team where you are at work, at home, in your business, in your athletic program. I do not know what most of your goals are, but I can assure you, whether in business or basketball, you will not achieve them unless you are connected to a powerful team of passionate people, that share your wisdom and your success!

With her face sunburned and swollen and tongue swollen she was able to say these words “One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”

Do not worry about what others think! Stay true to Christ, stay true to the game of basketball. Don’t feel limited anymore. Don’t feel unworthy anymore. Don’t feel “less-than” anymore. Be you, flaws and all!

I encourage you to DO YOU and watch it work in your favor. If you try to copy others, you become a puppet and not a game changing player/coach. You become a cheap copy of the original.

Yes, to some I am an “expert” and I teach others. My purpose is not to teach you how to do it my way, but to help you discover greatness and authenticity in you! The big thing that helps me coach with so much confidence is that I am at peace! I have NO REGRETS! I coach with heart, I coach prepared, and I love my players in that moment! I am ALL IN! So when I go to work, I let my coaching instincts take over. I do what I know. I coach with great instincts not impulses.

That is the beauty of this story. To some people the idea of swimming 110 miles from Cuba to Florida is stupid! To Diana it was her way of changing and impacting world!

Through your playing and coaching this fall, go out and CHANGE WHILE IMPACTED THE WORLD! To some it’s just a game. To YOU, it’s a WAY OF LIFE! It’s your LIFE! TAKE IT!

God Bless,

PS Come visit me while I’m on the road or at my Academy in Delray Beach, FL

What Champions and Chumps have in their DNA – What do you have??

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Champion DNA

  • Earnest and Optimistic– They actually think they can be successful.
  • Ambitious– They sincerely want to be successful.
  • Confident– They think they are special or can master things.
  • Open Minded– Most are not afraid to explore and try things. When motivated, they are willing to change
  • Respectful – they understand, obey, and are compliant. They want to be coached and THEY WANT TO BE COACHED HARD!!
  • Prideful– they try to have “Swag” in all they do! They are stylish. Lebron has this. They take every drill SERIOUSLY!
  • Intelligent– when they want to be. They have access to many resources. They know what it takes to be good!
  • They are “Innovators not just Dreamers”– the great ones “DO and then add their flavor or authentic spin. They take what the Coach tells them and makes it BETTER
  • Talent- kids in this generation are stronger, faster, taller more athletic than any before. More “phenoms” are having success at ages of 11 and up for many reasons.


Chump DNA

  • Lazy– Afraid of Pain! So many opportunities for kids and they waste them!
  • Entitled– they think because they put minimal time in and they think they deserve a maximum reward.
  • Non-passionate and SHY– they want to be “Cool” and “Reserved”. They don”t understand energy, spirit. They are informed but at times inactive. YOU CAN”T BE BOTH SHY AND GREAT. IF YOU WANT TO BE SHY OR INTROVERTED OR SILENT THEN YOU WILL BE AVERAGE. NO ONE LIKES MEDIOCRITY!!
  • Non Creative– they want you to give them the answers. They want you to organize their life. Its easier for them to be a “puppet” instead of a player. They don”t want to think!
  • SILENT / Anti-social– they communicate through phones and laptops. They won”t even talk on their phones but they will text. They don”t know how to communicate or relate to strangers or adults. They only hang out with people their own age or people that are like them (IF YOU DON”T BELIEVE ME, WATCH YOURSELF IN THE LUNCHROOM CAMPS OR FAMILY GATHERINGS. These type of players can”t relate to adults.
  • Don”t respect authority– you have to convince them the coach is right. Even then they won”t believe the coach. It takes tremendous motivation and effort to reach today”s young people
  • Development is stunted– Kids/players growing up today development is stunted because some parents/teachers/coaches don”t make them find solutions ON THEIR OWN! In schools we give them the answers. The parents don”t backup the teacher when problems occur. On the court, coaches just do drills and never explain why and don”t teach, they YELL!
  • Soft-players want to be winners but they are willing to cheat or find the easy way there. They have low pain tolerance. They can”t consistently work hard for a long period of time!
  • Selfish– when they play on the court its about THEM and their stats. Off the court their so narcissistic. Just check their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages. Even in business, there is so much self promotion. WE NEED MORE HELP PROMOTION

Be the CHAMPION!!  Below was a study done on What Americans in the Workforce, Schools, and Government  think about Qualities of People They employ and Promote. These can be good qualities to have in Your Personality:

Order of Importance

  • Creativity
  • Intelligence
  • Compassion
  • Sense of Humor
  • Ambition
  • Physical Beauty (Presence)


Men’s Final Four Notes – Ganon Baker

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If you have not already, you HAVE to visit the final four weekend. Not just as a Fan or a guy trying to Network” but as a true disciple and learner/lover of the Game.  For if you do, you walk away from the weekend energized, filled with the fruits of the spirit and a better Coach.

I had a great time with My Pops’. He is 67 and it was so much fun taking him around to see the beauty, camaraderie, and how special the fraternity of the game!  I was so proud to introduce him to the high profile people in the game, that also knew me and respected my work, Steve Kerr, Brad Stevens, Seth Greenberg, Mike Brey, Oliver Purnell, Tom Crean,, to name a few.  I was as equally proud to introduce them to My hero, MY POPPA!!

Another highlight was spending time with my beautiful wife!  My job is very demanding and it was so much fun having her under my arm, she was absolutely glowing!

When it is all said and done, the people that will be left in your Life, no matter what, when all the music and noise of life has gone away, the people that will always have your back and will always be “ALL IN” is your HOME TEAM, your FAMILY!!  It was a great weekend with my family

My Ganon Baker Basketball FAMILY was there too. Cody Toppert killed it in the Clinic.  He was my demonstrator and did a great job.  George Ellis filmed the entire clinic – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvUe62Z-4J0&feature=youtu.be

George Ellis, Bryce Bow, & Brandon Paquin all were there, learning and getting after it!

Below are some notes I took at some of the talks.  I also added to their thoughts. Enjoy

Van Chancellor (Former Louisiana State University Women’s Basketball Coach

  • WNBA Trends 2012
    • Players more selfish
    • Players less grateful
    • Past players played for rings first, money 2nd, current players play for money…period
    • Agents get a hold of them and it’s all about “ME”
  • Cynthia Cooper arrived at the gym at  830am for an 11am practice
    •  She would lift, shoot, and work on ball handling all before
  • HS Trends
    • Lack of skill and selfishness
    • Every parent wants kids to score, very few have team first attitudes
    •  It’s about scoring points not winning
    • They think if you get #’s you get scholarships
    • Everyone wants to be on ESPN Top 10
    • 2012 KY National Champion Men had Antonio Davis #1 NBA pick and Mike Kidd-Gilchrist #2 NBA pick ranked 4th and 5th on team with shots attempted. Both averaged below 10pts / gm
    • Too many distractions for kids. They get side tracked

Back in the day, there was nothing to do but play, now kids have too many choices

Tom Crean – (Head Coach of Indiana Hoosiers Men’s Basketball Team) – FCA Talk

  • Every day we have to get better
  • Every day we have to go to bed, wake up, and be better than we were yesterday! That’s our motivation! Better as Coaches, Fathers, Husbands, Christians, People!
  • We have a responsibility to be together, to be an encourager
  • It’s hard to keep perspective in today’s world. It’s so easy to forget how we got to success.
  • Everything we go through as people is not always going to be straightforward
  • The more we go through the more we have to be thankful for


    • Selflessness( starve me , feed you)
    • Problem Solving skills
    • Spiritual Guidance
    • You may add Discipline and Leadership
    • Players are craving for Accountability and TRUTH
    • Crean says “I have no Fear Apologizing”
    • When we lead/coach/or parent/ it’s a small fishbowl and criticism is inevitable. Look at people whether they are right or wrong as God’s children.
    • Remember, we are judged by God and our Families, and that’s it!
    • In regards to mistakes, learn to NOT RATIONLIZE.  Hit the problem and failures head on and move forward! Find a Solution!
    • Culture is a moving Target, you have to Fight for Culture
    • When “I took the job at Indiana on April 2, the next day at 10:17am April 3rd we began to change the culture.  We had 19 F’s in our program.  Fight for what’s right!  Make 1 or more right decisions a day!
    • God is with you every single day! Ask him for the ability to discern and the ability to forgive
    • There will be so many things pulling for your time.  We are in a fishbowl and get attacked. Keep moving forward. Although attacks come, do the right thing anyway!
    • On players I have “a vision where they need to be, and there is a Reality of where they think they are.  In between vision and reality is energy!!”
    • With players on teams in today’s world there might be 75% or higher come from single parent or nontraditional homes! As a coach YOU be in control of the relationship. Constantly ask questions because they won’t. But they want what you have and will answer you and do what you say if they see and feel your LOVE!
    • Focus also on the positive in relationships and in people because God puts people in place for you to be successful. Be in control of your life so you don’t miss them

Jon Gordon – (Author of Best Selling Books)

      • Coaches should be Lifelong Learners
      • Love tough not tough love… The love comes before the tough
      • Behavior creates habits, habits create culture
      • God picks not the Best in life to use, but the most willing, the ones who have the desire! The David’s, the Moses’, the Paul’s…
      • Jon did not have a ghost writer – he had a holyghost writer when he wrote his books.
      • His book “Energy Bus” was rejected by every publisher. It later went on to become a bestseller.
      • God uses all means to mold us and shape us
      • Tell God you are open and he will come
      • It’s not easy to raise a Godly Family in today’s world
      • Judge yourself and love others
      • Don’t let “Christian” keep you away from Jesus
      • Repent and let the Holy Spirit live and work through you.
      • You can be successful by using your TIME ENERGY and RESOURCES!!

Jim Larrañaga – (Head Coach of the University of Miami Men’s Basketball Program)

  • What makes a Good Coach? My mentor Jack Curran had:
    • Great teaching mind
    • Great person
    • Had a spiritual mentor
    • Coaches have a tremendous impact on their players career
    • You are a role model
    • You influence them
  • In his first meeting with Miami he asked his team
    • Who are the best teams in the ACC? They said Duke / Carolina
    • What do we have to do to compete with them?
    •  How good can we be?
    • How good are we at defending the 3pt shot?
    • What is a realistic Goal we can accomplish?
  • Coach Larranaga put last year’s Final Four Team’s on the board and broke down all their important stats. One Stat he loves is a players + – #.  What is the score when the player enters the game, and what is the score when the player leaves the game?
  • Coach said “if we want to go to the Final 4 then we have to be better than them!
  • He loves to motivate with #’s. He believes goals and numbers motivate!!
  • Your mindset has to be great not just good! We all have the ability just not the desire or consistency
  • Choose a job you love and you won’t work a day in your life
  • When you recruit for your program, focus on building 3 things in them:
    • Good player
    • Good person
    • Winner in Life
  • They have to work hard, have to behave, my players are my sons
  • We teach our players how to deal with success and failure
  • Visualize great BB. I have my players do mental imagery
  • It’s not who or where we play, it’s HOW we play our game!

We want guys to have the greatest time ever at our school. Your job as a coach is to help them!!

The Off Season needs to be “Your Season”

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Here is a recent letter I wrote to some players. They asked me how to improve during the off season.  They said there is so much information out there on improvement, what do I REALLY need to do? Here was my response:

Thanks for your interest in us and I know there is a ton of info out there.  I hope we can make it very clear for you on what you need to do to get better. I can assure you, the below solutions WILL WORK if YOU DO!!

As the HS season winds down and the spring AAU season heats up, I hope you are getting some MUCH needed rest. The spring and summer are very long and you must be sure you are refreshed and injury free.

A few things you need to think about this off season!


  • Any losses and frustration you had during the season about anything, let that motivate you, fuel you, let that give you that edge to work and get better!
  • Talk with your coach or your parents and see what your weaknesses are.  Write them down. Then come up, with a game plan on how to improve them. You have to be strategic, scientific about this.  Chart out a timeline and how many reps you will get in daily to improve your flaws. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!  You have to have solutions to improve your game.
  • Watch film weekly with some of you and some of your favorite NBA/WNBA/College players.  You must educate yourself on what you did well this year, and what you did not do well.  Always grow!  A lot of my NBA guys who I worked out did this during the off season


  • Get your skill workouts in – 5 days a week – 1-2 hrs a day
  • Learn 2 new moves! Make them your go to moves!
  • Play a lot of 1 on 1, 2 on 2, and 3 on 3 games against older tougher players.
  • Add muscle to your frame by lifting weights.
  • Improve your diet, where you are getting protein and amino acids!
  • Make sure you are getting in your ACL prevention exercises weekly

Specifically, think about these details:

  • When you train, pick 4 moves to work on. Maybe start out with a move and a counter off the dribble and a move and a counter off the 1 foot finish. Work on them until you feel you have mastered them at game speed by yourself.
  • Then pick 4 more moves. A move and a counter out of the triple threat.  Then a move and the counter off a 2 foot finish.  Master them.  It might take a week; it might take 2 months, depending on your talent and ability to learn.  Every person is different.  I have had young players take 3 months to learn something and other players 3 days…it varies.
  • Then add 2 more dribble moves (You get the picture?)
  • THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do is everyday play 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 to “try out” and “test” your moves.  There is no way your reads are going to be fresh or correct in 5 on 5 if you don’t get the reps in 1 on 1.  I mean think about it, in a 20 min 1 on 1 game you will get 30- 40 reps at taking and attacking your defender.  Where in a 5 on 5 game you might get 5 or 6.

So you have to play 1 on 1 try out moves, fail, try again, see what works.  I played at every level HS, D1 College, Europe pro ball, and NBA tryouts.  We all played 1 on 1 daily.  I trained over 50 NBA players; they all play 1 on 1 DAILY.

So play more 1 on 1 daily.  Learn what works and does not work.  But play against good competition or players better than you, so you grow! GROW means

G- Get better Daily

R- Real practice with reps.

O- Opportunities to be taken advantage of

W- Work HARD! A ridiculous work ethic and have a will to win.

And make sure you stick to a move and a counter until you have mastered it by yourself. You can do a lot of different drills but just make sure you are only working on a move and a counter for half the workout and then another move and counter during the other half.

Get after it!



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Below are some nuggets on Michael Jordan. I just got back from Spain, where I ran his camp. We trained the top 40 players in Europe age 16.  These guys were 6’4″ to 7’1″… Great, skilled players.  Just when you get soft and think, you can play?  Man, all these players would take your spot in a heartbeat, if you don’t work man!!

Michael Jordan was the best to ever to play the game.  He lived it, he loved it, he was committed to it daily!  You see people think commitment is saying you are going to do it, doing it for awhile and then they get satisfied.  Many people commit to basketball goals but never FINISH!  Many people say and speak their actions but they can’t get through the grind!  Commitment is EVERY SINGLE DAY! Every Day, until the job/goal is done!  You see commitment is a daily, everyday choice!  This is the reason I was able to become a good HS/college/pro player and as a coach build an empire and then partner with Elev8 Sports Institute.  My commitment produced value.  That’s why we will have one of the best basketball academies in the World, because our team is committed!  Committed UNTIL!  Until the job gets done!  I will be disappointed if you guys don’t achieve your goals, because you have a God given gift!  However I’m ecstatic that All of you are still committed to making yourselves GREAT!!

Michael Jordan did not “Fall out of Sky” and become a great player!  He was committed to being the best!  3 things MJ always wanted to do as a player!
1.  He wanted to get the most out of his body, He hit the weights HARD!
2.  He wanted to turn his weaknesses into strengths.  He was not afraid of his flaws.  He recognized them and attacked them with FIRE and PASSION!
3.  He competed in everything and wanted to WIN at it ALL!  He hated to lose and always had a motor to win!!

As a player you should have 3 things you want!!

MJ always had a presence.  He said, “I never wanted anyone to see me weak, tired, hurt, in pain, nervous, or defeated!”  MJ scored 37 and won the game 5 championship against Utah, with a 103 degree fever, he never let his enemy beat him!

As a player your presence, is not everything, IT’S THE ONLY THING that can reach you to the next level. AND IT STARTS IN PRACTICE!

MJ never wanted to be:

We cannnot let ourselves be soft!  Physical play, finishing plays, pursuing the 50/50 balls, contesting, boxing out, pressuring the ball, hard chest/feet blitzes, chesting , “hitting cutters,” all these things make you harden the “softness” out of your team and yourself!

We cannot be selfish.  With our teammates, with our parents, with our teachers!  Our mantra at E8/Ganon Baker Basketball Academy is – FAMILY
Forget About Me I Love You.  Share the ball, call out screens, and help full body helps on drivers.  Accept coaching with no disrespect in return.  Accept criticism from teammates (Dwight Howard 🙂 )…respect curfew, drug/alcohol free seasons in regards to team rules.  Selfishness is cancer to teams.  As a business owner I CRUSH it, if I see it! As a player you should too!!

You, as a leader cannot be quiet.  Greatness is not shy or introverted!  As a Leader you have to be engaged, high fives, tone of voice has to be like “thunder,” sometimes rain, what I’m saying is you have to have charisma in your delivery of leadership!  Jordan was always after his teammates well being!  He raised the bar and expected his teammates to exceed him!  It was hard to play with Jordan because he held you accountable!  You can’t fake it with him! He was not silent!

Quick story:  1981 NC was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with 4 starters, Matt Doherty, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Jimmy Black, and Dean Smith.  NC #1 in USA!  MJ was only one missing! Why? Dean said he did not earn the right to be on the cover yet.  He has not proved anything!  So true!  The problem with today’s players is that they feel entitled to success instead of earning it.  Players are rewarded based on potential and too early.  This gets in the way of their work ethic and desire.

MJ’s BREAKTHROUGH came when he made the game winning shot vs G-Town as a freshman!  That was his step of greatness that he used as a “reference point,” fuel for motivation and confidence, credibility he needed to get the next great step!

As a person we all need breakthroughs!  I have had many in my teaching/playing career, what about you?

Mike made the cover of Sports Illustrated 50 times!  More than any other athlete of our time.

MJ’s first shoe was banned by NBA
-So don’t let anything stop you or your program, if you believe in your vision!

In 1985 when he dunked from foul line, he was in air for 1 second!  Longest any human has ever been in air!

Took him 6 yrs and a lot of criticism to win his first championship

Reason MJ wanted to play on the Dream Team?

  1.  To get better by playing against better players
  2.  To get close enough to them to learn their WEAKNESSES (genius).  He wanted to take mental notes during games/practices so he could use it against them during the NBA season.- The morning after all the players would go out, they went to sleep, MJ would “go workout.” While they were all at breakfast, he would come in to the dining room “dripping with sweat.” Just so he could gain that edge.  He wanted to let, Magic, Bird, Mullin, Ewing, Barkley, Drexler, that while they were sleeping, “I was working to get better!!”Jordan was constantly motivating himself!  So he would not get soft or bored he was always “tricking himself” into getting better.  If they doubted him he used that as motivation.  If they did not, he would search out some form of criticism, as minute as it was, he used it to fuel him! When they said he was “great” he tricked his mind into thinking he was not, and worked harder. He trained to be the best!  He demanded PERFECTION!!

    Now the (Jordan Brand) Mantra is:

    – Meaning do you let the game define you?  Do you just accept whatever happens or do you dictate on the court.  Do you bring your authenticity and personality and play outside the box (without disrespecting the game?)

    Jordan missed over 9,000 shots
    26 Game winners
    He lost over 300 games

    DO NOT get down, don’t hang your head!  Anytime you want to make a step towards greatness, you have to take many steps of failure!

I will be down in Delray Beach Florida March 25-29. Meet me down there for some training!